How to buy a tumble dryer

A white tumble dryer set against fluted blonde wood cabinetry

It’s one of the little luxuries of life: hopping into a freshly washed pair of pyjamas, still warm from the tumble dryer, after a nice shower.

‘How to buy a tumble dryer’ in your Google searches? That’s understandable. A tumble dryer might be top of my appliance wishlist. Yes, even higher than a dishwasher. But I still miss my mum’s tumble dryer now and then. Talking to my friends, a lot of us feel the same; at least, those of us who don’t have a tumble dryer.

The ones who do, on the other hand, can’t stop singing its praises.

But what do you need to know when setting out to buy one of these appliances?

an integrated washer dryer behind a grey cupboard door
How to buy a tumble dryer: V6540X2GB integrated washer dryer, £1288, Neff.

What is a tumble dryer good for?

The obvious answer is right there: it considerably speeds up drying times. There’s no need to hang bedsheets over doors, or to keep checking your towels in winter to make sure they’ve really dried and don’t just feel cold.

It’s even better if you have a family that goes through loads of laundry, because it makes the task so much more efficient. No more waiting for things to dry – simply whisk one load into the dryer while the other is starting a wash cycle.

It will save you so much time.

Plus, as mentioned, a nice byproduct is that a tumble dryer leaves your laundry nice and warm right after the circle. Trust me – it might be a very little luxury, but it feels so good.

How to buy a tumble dryer: Types of tumble dryer

When choosing an appliance, you’ll face three different designs.

A heat pump tumble dryer uses hot air to extract water from the laundry. It then evaporates into a tank – and that’s all there is to it.

These models tend to be the most expensive, but they’re also the most energy efficient.

A condenser, or condensation tumble dryer, condenses steam inside the drum and turning it into water. This, in turn, is collected in a removable tank – which you will have to empty whenever it’s full. It’s an easy job, and the machine will usually tell you when it’s time, so don’t stress about this part.

However, bear in mind that you need to place a condenser tumble dryer in a well-ventilated space. Otherwise, you risk a room becoming damp, due to the heat the appliance generates.

Last but not least, you’ll also find the option of a vented tumble dryer. It pumps damp air straight outside, which is why you need to position these appliances against an exterior wall. You’ll also need a venting kit.

a heat pump tumble dryer next to washing machine, both housed between two wooden cupboards
How to buy a tumble dryer: 200 series WT260110 heat pump tumble dryer and 200 series WM260164 washing machine, prices on application, Gaggenau.

How to buy a tumble dryer

Most models have their own venting kit, but always double check. Some also allow you to hang a flexible hose (like from a mobile air conditioning unit) out of the window. Just bear in mind that this isn’t ideal in winter or when it’s really wet outside.

What if I don’t have the space?

If you’re in the market for a tumble dryer but don’t have the floor area, there are two options.

How to buy a tumble dryer

You can stack your laundry appliances on top of one another. You’ll need to buy something called a stacking kit for this, and it’s also best if you buy everything from the same company. This way, you’ll know that it definitely fits together and save yourself from costly mistakes.

You could opt for smart appliances, which also means your tumble dryer might be able to communicate with the washing machine to automatically set the ideal cycle for your laundry load.

If stacking is not an option, there are also washer-dryers, which combine both functions into one.

What programmes or functions should I look out for?

First of all, check the appliance’s noise levels. This is given as decibels (dB) on the specification sheet. Most tumble dryers are much quieter now than they were a few years ago, but it never hurts to double check.

a Haier laundry setup with two laundry appliances together in wooden housing with accessories above them
How to buy a tumble dryer: HD90-A2939R I-Pro Series 3 tumble dryer, price on application, Haier.

For reference, a normal conversation is at around 50dB – a whisper is at 30dB. Many appliances will lie between these two, but even if they’re a little above they won’t be horrifically loud.

I mentioned smart tech, and it truly is here to stay. So look out for a tumble dryer with Wifi connectivity – which is pretty much standard these days, but there are still some out there without it. Apps allow you to remotely control cycles, and in some cases even to download new programmes.

In terms of other functions, your tumble dryer will likely offer a few specialist cycles. A refresh programme is always good, especially for delicates that might only need a little airing rather than a full wash.

Not every fabric can go in – you’ll probably have heard horror stories about shrunken wool jumpers. (I’ve seen someone transform a cosy jumper into a pretty racy crop top by accident. And no – it wasn’t me.) But luckily, these days there are appliances that have been approved by Woolmark, which means even delicate items can be dried.

So if you have a collection of woolly hats, mittens, and jumpers – keep your eye out.

Featured image: TEL785 WP 9kg EcoSpeed + Steam tumble dryer, £1429, Miele.

Lastly, now you know how to buy a tumble dryer. So why not read about how to buy a dishwasher next?

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