A tumble dryer can be a life-changing purchase, especially in a full and busy home where space to air dry clothes is limited. However, not every tumble dryer works for every situation, and the type of dryer you need will depend on how and when you plan to use it!
Let's take a look at the differences between each type.
The two main types of dryer on the market are the condenser tumble dryer and the vented tumble dryer. All dryers generate a lot of steam as they dry, the condenser takes that steam and condenses it in a reservoir within the machine. Conversely, vented tumble dryers need help getting rid of their steam, usually in the form of a pipe that disperses it outside.
Condensing dryers are considered to be more modern, and are the most popular kind, but they do require more maintenance in the form of emptying the reservoir. Vented dryers need to be close to a window or opening that the pipe can be draped out of, but need virtually no maintenance at all, and are cheaper to buy and run.
While the split between vented and condensing is the biggest differentiator in the market, how the dryer is powered is also a factor that needs consideration. It can affect every aspect of your dryer, from the size and speed to the cost, to the right power source is a big decision.
Heat pump tumble dryer - Heat pump tumble dryers are very similar to condensing dryers, except for the way the heat is generated. While condensing dryers heat an element to warm the clothes, heat pump dryers recycle the heat generated by the machine. This means the dryer often can't get as hot and takes longer, but it is much more energy efficient, with all heat pump dryers rated at least A and many that use three times less power than other dryers.
Tumble dryers powered by LPG heat themselves rather like an oven, relying on a gas flame to heat the water. They are identical to other dryers in all other aspects, but LPG gas is usually much cheaper than electricity per kilowatt hour. These are often good options for houses that already use LPG for their heating or businesses that rely on it, because they are already used to managing the infrastructure.
Similar to the LPG tumble dryer, the natural gas dryer heats its water using gas, but drawn from the gas main like your boiler or oven. Like LPG, natural gas is much cheaper than electricity, but the dryer itself is mechanically more complicated, so can cost twice as much as an electrical one.
Natural gas tumble dryers must be installed by a gas safe engineer and it's also important to bear in mind that it needs access to a gas main, and so may not be suitable for rural homes.