Drying sensors failing to detect the right levels of humidity in the drum, blocked condensers and drum problems are the most common faults found on tumble dryers.
Knowing which brands of develop more faults is vital when you're buying a new machine. That’s why this year, in our unique customer satisfaction survey, we've asked more than 12,000 Which? members and 5,000 members of the public to tell us whether they're happy with their tumble dryer and if they've experienced any problems with it.
Our survey data takes into account which types (heat-pump, vented and condenser) had faults reported and whether they needed to be repaired or replaced as a result.
We've crunched the numbers for the biggest manufacturers – including Beko, Bosch, Hotpoint, Indesit and Miele – and have calculated a customer score for each, so you know which brands come recommended by owners.
The table below summarises this year’s tumble dryer brands results, based on models bought in the past seven years. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which reflects whether customers would recommend each brand and their level of satisfaction.
The 'proportion faulty' column shows the percentage that experienced a fault in the first seven years. And the 'proportion repaired or replaced' is the percentage that were fixed or thrown away due to the fault. The lower the percentage, the better.
|Brand||Customer score||Proportion faulty in the first seven years||Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault|
As the chart below reveals, there are big difference between the best and worst brands in both the satisfaction score reported by customers and the proportion of appliances that developed faults.
|Proportion faulty in first seven years||5%||22%|
|Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault||3%||19%|
Tumble dryers should sail through the first seven years without causing you any problems. But we've found that for some brands as much as one in five need to be repaired or replaced in that time.
As you can see in the table below, there’s a big difference between how reliable the best and the worst brands are. The least reliable brands are more than six times more fault-prone than the most reliable.
To become an Eco Buy, a tumble dryer must be energy efficient, do a good or great job of drying clothes and come from a reliable brand.
|Proportion repaired or replaced due to a fault|
|Average for all tumble dryers||7%|
We've pulled together our fault data, customer insights and all of our Which? test performance data to give you an in-depth look at each brand.
Getting into good habits will give you a chance of avoiding some of the most common tumble dryer faults.
Playing your part in keeping your dryer in good working order could also aid in more effectively drying your clothes.
Load the drum with the correct weight of clothes, regularly wipe the insides to keep it clean and separate your laundry by fabric type, so that you're not drying quick-to-dry gym kit with heavy cotton towels.
Humidity sensors inside the drum end programs when they detect that the clothes are dry. But with clothes made of different fabrics and weights drying at different speeds, a mixed load of cottons and synthetics can fool the machine into thinking that everything is dry.
You can help your dryer to dry more accurately by separating fabric types and by not overfilling it. Splitting cottons from synthetics will give your the most effective results. But in busy homes this might not be realistic.
So, to help your dryer out, try drying big and heavy items separately, such as towels and blankets. That way, the smaller and lighter items are given a better chance of drying properly.
Also, wipe down the insides of the drum monthly to keep the sensors clean.
This can be a problem that stops your dryer from working, but it's also one of the simplest to fix. And if you carry out regular maintenance of your machine, neither of these problems should affect you.
The lint filter is in the door and around the door rim of your dryer. Every time you dry clothes, quickly wipe it clear of fluff. By doing this, you'll keep it drying efficiently and safely.
The condenser can become clogged with fluff and hair over time and this will reduce the air flow through the dryer, which could lead to poorly dried loads or extended drying sessions. So, every month remove the condenser, and clear any hair and fluff from it.
More than one in 10 of faults experienced by dryer owners who took part in our survey told us that they'd had a problem with the drum.
One way that we can help to avoid drum problems is to never overfill the machine. By making sure that there's plenty of room inside for the clothes to tumble as they dry, we're helping to protect the drum while also giving our clothes the best chance of drying.
Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite 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 they get them home.
This year 12,411 Which? Connect panel members and 5,011 members of the public told us about more than 75,000 individual products. We calculate a brand's customer score, fault rate and proportion replaced or repaired based on the results of our annual survey. Our surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean that we can recommend the best tumble dryer for you to buy.