Tumble Dryers: Buying Guide

Tumble dryer buying guide

A helpful tumble dryer buying guide

Choosing the right tumble dryer can make laundry day a breeze, saving you time and effort. With so many options on the market, it’s important to find a tumble dryer that suits your needs, lifestyle, and budget. Our helpful guide will help you navigate the key features and considerations to help you make an informed decision.

Types of Tumble Dryers

First, let’s look into the difference between a freestanding and integrated tumble dryer.

Freestanding Tumble Dryers

Freestanding tumble dryer

Freestanding tumble dryers can be placed anywhere with access to an electrical outlet, and an external vent if needed. They are standalone appliances, typically featuring a wide range of models and capacities.

Pros: Easy installation, flexible placement options.

Cons: Takes up floor space, and requires room for door swing.

Best for: Most households seeking convenient drying solutions.

Integrated Tumble Dryers

Integrated tumble dryer

Integrated tumble dryers are designed to integrate discreetly into cabinetry, hidden behind a cupboard door. This design choice allows them to blend seamlessly into the overall kitchen or laundry room aesthetic.

Pros: Aesthetic integration with cabinetry, enhances kitchen design.

Cons: Generally more costly, fewer model options available.

Best for: Modern kitchens or laundry spaces.

Tumble Dryer Drying Types

There are three main types of tumble dryer drying types: vented, condenser, and heat pump. Understanding their differences is crucial to selecting the right one for your home.

Vented Tumble Dryers

Vented tumble dryer

How they work: Vented dryers expel warm, moist air through a hose that needs to be connected to a vent or window.

Pros: Typically cheaper upfront, efficient drying.

Cons: Requires installation near an external wall or window to vent the hose outside.

Condenser Tumble Dryers

Condenser tumble dryer

How they work: Condenser dryers collect moisture in a tank, which needs to be emptied regularly, or plumbed to drain automatically.

Pros: Can be placed anywhere in your home, no need for external venting.

Cons: Generally more expensive than vented models, higher energy consumption.

Heat Pump Tumble Dryers

Heat pump tumble dryer

How they work: Heat pump dryers recycle warm air, making them highly energy efficient.

Pros: Much lower running costs, gentle on clothes, environmentally friendly.

Cons: Higher initial cost, longer drying times.

Tumble Dryer That Doesn’t Need a Vent

Opt for a condenser or heat pump dryer if you want a model that doesn’t need a vent. These are versatile and can be placed anywhere in your home.



The right tumble dryer capacity for you largely depends on how much laundry you have, and how frequently you do it. However, below are some good guidelines to follow:

Small drum (up to 7kg): Suitable for singles or couples.
Medium drum (8-9kg): Ideal for small-medium families.
Large drum (10-11kg and above): Best for medium-large families or those with heavy laundry loads.
Extra large drum (12kg+): Ideal for large families with lots of laundry or commercial sized.

We recommend getting a dryer that is slightly larger than your washing machine. This will allow you to move a full load from your washing machine into your dryer, with additional space to tumble.


Most tumble dryers will come in a standard size to fit into your allocated space.

A standard freestanding tumble dryer has a width of 60cm and height of 85cm. The depth will vary depending on the size of the drum, with measurements from 46-68cm.

Integrated tumble dryers are slightly smaller, measuring around 82–85 cm high to fit underneath your worktop. However, their width and depth measurements are the same as freestanding models.

Before purchasing, you’ll need to check that your chosen tumble dryer will fit into your designated space. If you’re replacing a tumble dryer, it will be easier to measure your current appliance and replace it with a tumble dryer of the same dimensions.

Energy Efficiency

Look for models with high energy efficiency ratings for the most energy efficient tumble dryer.

Although they may cost more initially, heat pump tumble dryers are the most energy efficient model, saving you money on your energy bills.

Energy efficient tumble dryer

Key Features

Tumble dryers come with many additional features that can improve efficiency, and make your life easier. Below are some of the key features we recommend looking for:

Smart Connectivity

Control your tumble dryer via a smartphone app.

Quick Dry

Quick Dry settings are perfect for when you need clothes dried quickly.

Sensor Drying

Sensor drying technology adjusts the drying time based on the moisture levels in the drum, preventing over-drying and saving energy.


Reduces wrinkles by periodically tumbling clothes after the cycle ends.

Quiet Mark Certified

Check for a Quiet Mark Certificate for a quieter tumble dryer.

Maintenance Tips

  • Clean the lint filter after every load to maintain efficiency and prevent fire hazards.
  • Empty the water tank regularly for condenser dryers.
  • Check the heat exchanger on heat pump models for blockages.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines to ensure longevity.

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