Which tumble dryer brand to buy in 2020
Problems with the sensor are the main reliability issue for tumble dryers, accounting for 17% of all faults. This means clothes can come out still wet, or they’re stiff and over-dried.
Door faults are also common: 10% of reported issues concern broken door locks, hinges, handle or seal – all of which could render your tumble dryer unusable until it's fixed.
Knowing which brands develop the most faults and how quickly is vital when buying a new tumble dryer. That’s why each year we ask more than 2,000 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy, or have experienced problems, with their tumble dryers in our unique reliability and customer satisfaction survey.
Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, severity of these faults and the speed with which they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of the biggest manufacturers – including Beko, Bosch, Miele, John Lewis and Samsung – and have calculated a reliability rating and customer score for each so you know which brands to choose and which to avoid.
Best vs worst tumble dryer brands compared
We’ve found huge differences between how much owners are satisfied with their tumble dryer.
The most reliable tumble dryer brands
The table below summarises our latest reliability results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which relates to whether their customers would recommend that brand.
The higher the percentage score for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.
|Brand||Reliability score||Customer satisfaction score|
The above data is based on a survey conducted on 2,178 Which? members in September 2019.
Common tumble dryer problems
Most tumble dryers on the market now have a sensor inside the drum, designed to measure the humidity and stop the machine automatically when the clothes are dry.
However, a faulty sensor is the most common reason for a tumble dryer not working as it should.
Wiping the sensor bars (found either in the drum or next to the lint filter) clean regularly can help keep them working well, although if they break down irreparably they will need to be replaced.
Top three tumble dryer faults
1. Sensor problems or poor clothes drying (18%) - sensors end programs early when they detect that the clothes are dry. Wipe the drum every few months with white vinegar to keep the sensor working well.
2. Blocked filter or condenser (12%) - to keep your dryer running at peak efficiency you should clean the lint filter after each time you use it.
3. Door seal broken (10%) - the rubber seal around the door is often a replaceable part, but broken locks, handles or hinges will need more significant repairs.
You might expect cheaper tumble dryer brands to fall down on reliability, but our survey shows this isn’t always the case.
Three brands with tumble dryers that cost on average (of those we've tested at the time of writing) £300 or less have an astounding reliability score of 91% - just shy of the highest score of 92%. This proves you don’t always need to shell out for a reliable tumble dryer.
Which tumble dryer brand stays fault-free for longest?
The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for the longest compares with the worst brand and the overall average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over an eight-year period in the table below.
|Brand name||% fault-free after eight years|
Results based on feedback from 2,178 tumble dryer owners, surveyed in September 2019.
How long will my tumble dryer last?
On average a tumble dryer will last just under 11-and-a-half years. That's according to the experience of Which? members who told us how long they kept their previous appliance from a brand, before they replaced it, either due to a fault, or because it wasn’t working as well as when they first bought it.
As you can see from the graph below there’s a big difference between how long the best and the worst tumble dryer brands last.
How we measure faults and reliability in tumble dryers
Our data takes into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:
- Minor faults do not affect the product's performance significantly, or only occur occasionally with minimal impact. This issue may be irritating or annoying, but isn't frequently problematic and you can easily work around it. For example, a blocked filter that you can easily clean yourself.
- Major faults have a noticeable effect on the product’s performance. They affect how you use the product and can be problematic. For example, the sensor not working properly, affecting the quality of drying.
- Catastrophic faults will render the product unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before it can be used again. For example, the heater breaking, meaning that the machine can no longer get your clothes dry.
Tumble dryer brands rated
Choose a brand from the list below to find out more about how good it is, including the number of Best Buys it’s received and the average score of its tumble dryers in our reviews.
Head to our tumble dryer reviews
Know which tumble dryer brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:
How we calculate the best and worst brands
Which? has a wealth of information on the UK’s favourite home appliance brands. Every year, we ask Which? members to tell us about the home appliances they own - from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once you get them home. This year, almost 10,000 members told us about more than 34,000 devices. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our annual survey.
Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best tumble dryer you should buy.
This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer’s Best Buy recommendations and won’t recommend any of its products unless a marked improvement in reliability is shown.