Although a tumble dryer isn’t essential appliance, they’re great for large families that gets through a lot of laundry every week, or if you don’t have space to hang your washing. Here at Appliance Supermarket, we have put together the ultimate guide to help you decide which tumble dryers are best for your lifestyle.
Things to consider
Where is your tumble dryer going to go? It doesn’t have to be in the kitchen, it could live in the utility room, or even a spare room as long as it is ventilated. Once you know where you’re putting your tumble dryer, you can then decide if you need a freestanding or integrated machine.
Freestanding tumble dryer - A freestanding dryer will offer the most flexibility as you’ll be able to move it from one location to another. Standard dimensions should fit under most kitchen worktops at a height of 85cm and a width and depth of 60cm.
Integrated tumble dryers - These dryers are designed to be installed within a kitchen unit and hidden behind a door matching your other cupboards. They’re usually slightly smaller than freestanding machines, with the same height and width of freestanding ones but less depth, at 53cm.
What is the difference between vented, condenser and heat pump dryers?
These models pump out the hot and damp air from the drum through a flexible hose to the outside, meaning you will need the dryer to be next to a wall or window. The dryer can be permanently vented through an outside wall using a venting kit (most models come with their own kit!). Or you can temporarily hang a flexible hose out of a window when the machine is in use. This is a temporary method and we wouldn’t recommend it during cold or wet weather. Vented tumble dryers are the more traditional type and they tend to be the cheapest.
These don’t need to connect the exhaust hose through a vent to the outside, they can be put anywhere in your home that’s well ventilated. They condense the steam inside the machine and turn it into water, which is collected in a removable container or reservoir. The containers easily pull out which can be emptied into the sink when full. Most machines will have an indicator light to let you know when it needs to be emptied.
The newest heat-pump models use clever technology to dry your laundry by using hot air to extract water from the load, which then evaporates in a tank. These tend to be the most expensive models with the most sophisticated features. Heat-pump dryers are also more energy-efficient than the other types.
• 4-6kg: Perfect for smaller households, or for those who dry less and often, having a small capacity tumble dryer will suit your lifestyle.
• 7-8kg: This size is the most sought after, a medium capacity tumble dryer is great for any family’s everyday drying needs.
• 9kg +: A large capacity washing machine allows you to dry more in one go. It’s perfect for larger families and for drying bigger and heavier items like duvets.
Common features on tumble dryers and what they mean
• Water filter - Check the filter is easy to remove and the water tank is in an accessible position – waist height is ideal to save you from bending.
• Child locks - These are useful to stop children from fiddling with the controls.
• Delay start - With this feature, you can choose to start drying your load at a time that is convenient.
• Reversible doors: Rather like fridge doors, some models allow you to swap the direction the door opens – this gives you more flexibility about where to locate your machine.
• Warning LEDs: It can be useful to have warning light which comes on to let you know when you need to empty the water container or clean the lint filter.• Reverse drum: The drum can turn in both direction, clockwise and anti-clockwise, aiding the drying process and helping to avoid creasing.
• Anti-crease action: The drum continues to turn at the end of a cycle to help prevent tangling and make ironing easier.
While the latest models are considerably better than older machines, the running costs will depend on how much time the machine is drying for and how hard it has to work. A higher spin on your washing machine, will mean less work for your tumble dryer. You can also keep costs down by not overloading the machine or by drying similar fabrics together.
- Make sure that everything you’re putting into your machine is tumble dryer safe, you will be able to check the labels on each item to ensure this.
- Separate the fabrics before tumble drying to reduce drying time and save energy.
- Don’t over load your machine and avoid adding heavy blankets and duvets.
- Spin dry your wash load at the highest spin possible before loading the dryer so that your clothes aren't too wet.
- Clean the lint filters after each cycle to keep your machine running smoothly.
- If you have a condenser dryer, check your user guide to find out how to remove the heat exchanger and then clean it under a running a tap.
Think you're ready to invest in a new tumble dryer? Head to our website to discover our range of tumble dryers.
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