We’ve tested heat-pump, condenser and vented clothes dryers to find the most efficient, easiest to use and fastest.
Snapshot: The Fisher & Paykel DE5060M1 vented dryer can dry up to 5kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Fisher & Paykel DE6060G1 vented dryer can dry up to 6kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Fisher & Paykel DE8060P2 condenser dryer can dry up to 8kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Samsung DV90H8000HW heat pump dryer can dry up to 9kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Electrolux EDC2075GDW condenser dryer can dry up to 7kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Haier HDV40A1 vented dryer can dry up to 4kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Simpson 39P400M vented dryer can dry up to 4kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Simpson 39S500M vented dryer can dry up to 5kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Simpson 39S600M vented dryer can dry up to 6kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Asko T884XLCHP heat pump dryer can dry up to 10kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Miele TDA 150C condenser dryer can dry up to 8kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The LG TDC80NPW condenser dryer can dry up to 8kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The LG TD-C902H heat pump dryer can dry up to 9kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
Snapshot: The Miele TKB350WP heat pump dryer can dry up to 8kg of washing at one time. But how does it rate?
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Mechanically, vented dryers are simple beasts.
They suck in air and heat it before blowing it through the clothes. Water in the clothes evaporates – and this hot humid air is blown out of the dryer, preferably through a duct to the outside of your house.
Condenser dryers use a heat exchanger to remove heat and water from air that has passed through your clothes.
The water is collected in a reservoir or funnelled down a drain.
Heat-pump dryers use a small heat pump to heat the air that dries your clothes. The warm, damp air is then cooled to remove the water, which is collected in a reservoir or funnelled down a drain. The cooled air is then reheated and recycled within the dryer. This “closed loop” system means there’s no hot air or moisture released from the dryer. They’re ideal for places where external venting isn’t possible, like apartments.
A washer-dryer does the job of a washing machine and clothes dryer in a single appliance. Is one right for you?
Sensor-and-timer models tend to be more expensive than timer-only. Think about how often you'll use the sensor: there's no point paying for sensor drying if you use it only occasionally.
That’s why we calculate life-cycle costs, which show the real cost of a dryer over 10 years. Inflation and interest rates mean each dollar spent on a dryer now is worth more than a dollar saved through reduced running costs in the future. We also factored in a yearly power price hike of 1%.
We plotted the average life-cycle cost over 10 years for the top-performing models in each category. The result’s a bit grim for heat pump dryers, with 383 loads required every year to make them a better option than condenser models.
The numbers are even more daunting if your house is suitable for a vented dryer. You’ll need to dry 549 loads a year to make heat pump dryers cheaper to buy and run than vented models.
This means heat pump dryers will only offer true savings if you’re running at least one load every day. While this could suit some large families or workplaces, it’s not viable for most of us. For the typical family, vented dryers will be the cheapest option to buy and run. However, if your home isn’t suitable for ducting, or you don’t have a well-ventilated space for a vented dryer, then a condenser model won’t cost you too much more.
GUIDE TO THE FIGURE We’ve charted the average 10-year life-cycle costs for the models in each category which perform well enough to earn our recommended tick. The intersection of the lines is the number of loads per year required to make heat pump dryers economic with respect to condenser or vented models. Results are shown for a 3.5kg load.
Become a paying Consumer member to find out our estimate of how long a clothes dryer should last, and when it's more economic to replace rather than repair.
Is your sensor clothes dryer stopping short of drying your clothes? A sensor clothes dryer should detect when a load is dry and stop running. This prevents over-drying, which can damage your clothes. Because it’s not running any longer than it needs to, you’ll save money on your power bill too. But what if your clothes dryer stops and you open the door to a still-damp load?
If you’re having trouble getting your sensor dryer to fully dry a load, try these tips:
Clean the moisture sensors: These are 2 metal strips that are usually inside the drum underneath the door. Over time, residue from washing powder and fabric softener can accumulate on the sensors, which reduces sensitivity. To clean them, switch the dryer off at the wall and wipe with a soft cloth and mild soap.
Sort your load: Mixed loads – for example, lightweight T-shirts and heavyweight jeans – can be challenging for a sensor dryer. For even results, dry similar-weight items together.
Use the right setting: Clothes dryers are becoming more sophisticated, with settings for different fabrics and items such as sheets and sportswear. It pays to read the user guide to check you’re using the most suitable setting for the type of items you throw in your dryer. For example, if your dryer has a “sheets” setting, use it as it will alternate the tumbling direction to prevent sheets tangling into a damp-centred ball.
According to the Australia New Zealand Standard our test is based on, clothes dryers must be capable of drying a full load to a moisture level of 6% or less. However, not all settings achieve this. While the setting stated on the dryer’s energy rating label must be able to dry clothes to this required moisture level, some settings are programmed to leave items damp so they’re easier to iron.
If you’re using the energy rating label setting and haven’t overloaded your dryer and you’re still getting damp clothes, then your dryer isn’t doing its job properly.
Our clothes dryers test uses a standard load of cotton bed sheets, small towels and pillow cases. This allows us to compare clothes dryers fairly and repeat the test year after year. We test using a 3.5kg (dry weight) load, which gets a lot heavier when wet at a 90% moisture level. This is the same size load we use when testing washing machines – it’s about the average amount a consumer washes at one time.
A load with a moisture level of 6% will meet the Australia New Zealand Standard but we look for better than that in our testing. So when we test clothes dryers, we’re looking for a moisture level closer to 2-3% by the end of the drying time. It’s not often that we find a clothes dryer that can’t achieve a moisture level of less than 3%. When we do, we apply a penalty to the overall score. This is because we think any dryer should be capable of drying your clothes to the point where you can hang them in your wardrobe or put them in a drawer straightaway.
The Asko Drying Cabinet is a scaled-down electric drying room. It uses natural convection to dry clothes. Heated air is forced down the middle of the cabinet to the base where it rises up the sides again. The cabinet also features a "cold dry" function.
The cabinet is tall enough at 1.7m to let you hang unwieldy items like wetsuits and jackets in it. It's also versatile enough to have shoe and glove racks. Farmers, trampers, skiers and surfers would probably find it handy.
According to Asko, the cabinet has a drying capacity that's equivalent to 16 metres of clothes line.
The cabinet won't suit everybody:
Asko's website says the cabinet will dry everything from linen to boots in less than 4 hours. The company also claims energy savings over conventional dryers.
We packed the cabinet with a cotton washing load equivalent to Asko’s advertising claim of 16 metres of clothes line. This worked out to 4.325kg – 24 percent more than Asko's technical specification of 3.5kg. Nobody (other than test labs) weighs clothes before they wash or dry them, so we think our test load was reasonable.
We tested it on 2 auto functions – auto normal dry and auto extra dry. A load that had been well spun in a top-loader washing machine and put on the auto extra dry programme was dry after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Energy use and running times were comparable to small conventional tumble-dryers.
After our test results were sent to Asko's distributor, Asko said it suggests the cabinet is "used as an accompaniment" to a normal dryer – that is, for items that shouldn't be tumble-dried.
Miele performed well across all measures, with excellent customer satisfaction. Consumers can be confident a brand touting this award has delivered top results both in the lab and in our surveys.
Check out more of our tests, articles, news and surveys in our Appliances section.
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