Clothes dryers are certainly convenient, but they can also be huge energy suckers. Therefore, there are lots of considerations you need to make before choosing which clothes dryer to purchase – not the least of them being which type to invest in. You may not have known that dryers come in so many varieties, including gas powered dryers, heat pump dryers, washer/dryer combos and condenser dryers.
The type of dryer we’ll be talking about in this article is the condenser dryer. We’ll cover the following key points:
- What a condenser dryer is
- How condenser dryers work
- How condenser dryers differ from other types of dryers
- Why you should or shouldn’t buy one
- What size they come in
- How much they cost
- Who sells them
- How energy efficient they are
- The pros and cons of condenser dryers
What is a condenser clothes dryer?
Condenser dryers work differently to traditional vented dryers. Your stock standard vented clothes dryer pulls in air, heats it up, and injects it into the tumbler. This air moves around the moving clothes, which eventually dries them out. However, this also means the air becomes moist, and so it gets sucked out through the vent and expelled from the machine. This is why your laundry room can become muggy when your dryer is running, and you need good ventilation in your laundry so the moisture can escape outside.
Condenser dryers cycle the hot air through clothes, but extract the moist air and pass it through a heat exchanger. This heat exchanger recondenses the water and stores it elsewhere. So essentially, it takes the dampness from your clothes without turning your laundry into a sauna, and the process repeats whenever you use it. Some condenser dryers have a drainage tube that automatically drains the condensed water into the sink, while others have a removable container that you yourself will need to empty.
Why buy a condenser dryer?
There are numerous advantages to owning a condenser dryer. Mainly, they do not require nearly as much ventilation as standard vented dryers. This means that there are very few restrictions with where you position the dryer, making them perfect for any living condition, be it in a cramped apartment or a spacious house. One drawback to note is that they are often too heavy to be wall mounted, which limits some of your options. They’re also quite cheap, which we’ll cover shortly in more detail.
What size should you get?
There are several considerations you to make when deciding what dryer to buy;
- Do you live alone or with people
- Do you live in an apartment or a house
- How often do you dry your clothes?
Based on the answers to these questions, the size and capacity of the dryer you’ll need will change. A dryer’s capacity shows how many kilograms of dry clothes it can hold. The below table will give you a good idea as to what size dryer you might need.
|5kg or less||1-2 people|
|7kg +||4+ people|
You should always avoid overfilling your dryer past its capacity. If you do, the efficiency of the dryer will decrease over time, results will be poor and it can even create a fire hazard. Make sure you read the product information closely before buying any particular dryer model.
How much do condenser dryers cost?
Another benefit of the condenser dryer is their relatively low cost. While they are more expensive on average than a standard vented dryer, they are still quite cheap. According to Appliances Online, the most expensive option is worth $1,700, while the cheapest costs just $560. So they are generally more expensive, but not by much, and you can easily find some really cheap models out there that represent excellent value.
Who sells condenser dryers?
If you’re thinking about buying a condenser clothes dryer, there are a total of 10 manufacturers you can choose to buy one from. Five of the most prominent in Australia are as follows.
Fisher & Paykel
Fisher & Paykel’s only condenser dryer is this $879, 8 kilo capacity model. It is quite cheap, and has a solid capacity of 8 kilograms. A relatively poor energy star rating of 2 stars means you won’t save much electricity over the years, but this hasn’t stopped almost 30 consumers from giving this model an average score of 4.8 scars out of 5.
Bosch has two condenser models available, both of which have 8 kilogram load capacities and cost $1,150 and $1,670 respectively. Like Fisher & Paykel’s condenser dryer, both of these options only have a 2 star energy rating, but they do have an excellent range of features and programs to choose from, which makes them incredibly convenient and easy to use.
One of the cheapest manufacturers out there, Electrolux also has two different options for condenser dryers, which cost about $800 and $820 each. These models are fairly basic in terms of features and energy efficiency, as they have 2 star ratings. But they are very cheap, so you can’t expect them to have any advanced properties.
Midea only has one condenser dryer, but it is one of the cheapest you’re likely to find at around $560. It has the standard 2 stars for energy efficiency, but comes with an impressive 16 automatic programs and modes, which for less than $600, is an awful lot.
Euromaid’s one condenser dryer is a 6 kilogram capacity model, suitable for between 2 and 4 people. It has the lowest energy star rating out of any provider so far, with just 1.5 out of 6. But at $640, it has an excellent range of 11 different programs, so it is an ideal budget option if you aren’t too concerned with saving money long-term.
Are condenser clothes dryers energy efficient?
No, condenser dryers are not energy efficient, if the specs of the models mentioned above are anything to go by. They are one of the least energy efficient dryer types out there, so you really shouldn’t buy one if you’re after long-term savings on your electricity bill.
However, there are still some measures you can take to save as much as possible, such as:
- Use a higher spin cycle: the faster you spin clothes in the dryer, the less time they’ll need in the washer, saving on energy costs
- Clean the lint filters regularly: blocked filters make it harder for the dryer to circulate air through your clothes, which along with being less efficient, is also a fire hazard.
- Wait until you have a full load: why do 2 separate loads when you could easily fit all of those clothes into one?
- Use nature: sunlight doesn’t cost you a cent, so use it as much as possible! Only use your dryer if you need to dry certain clothes in a hurry, or if the weather is poor. This dryer type is extremely energy efficient so this might not be that much of a problem, but it can still save you quite a few bucks over the years.
You’ll find that all these little amounts you save by doing these will really build up over time.
What are the pros and cons of a condenser dryer?
To wrap this guide up, we’ve prepared a brief little summary of the pros and cons of each type of dryer to help give you a proper understanding of what each one can do.
|Condenser dryers||· They don’t require ventilation
· Are ideal for those living in places with little space
· Are quite cheap as far as dryers go
|· They are heavy, and can’t be wall mounted
· They can get quite hot while operating
· Poor energy efficiency
|Washer dryer combos||· Costs about the same as buying the two machines separately
· Convenient for those living in small homes or apartments
· Convenience of drying your clothes in the same machine you washed them in
|· Reduced drying capacity, may require multiple drying cycles
· Can take longer to dry clothes than standard dryers
· May have higher energy use over time, costing you more money
|Electric dryers||· Are cheaper and easier to install
· Do not require a gas line
· Often don’t need to be vented to the outside
|· Are more expensive over time
· They are generally slower to heat up and take more time to warm your clothes
· They require a minimum 240V outlet in your laundry. Most homes will have this however
|Gas dryers||· Less expensive upkeep, but this can depend on the cost of gas v electricity
· They heat up clothes faster than electric dryers
· They warm up faster
· Are gentle on fabrics and are more energy efficient
|· All gas dryers require a vent to the outside
· They also require a dedicated gas line
· Require professional installation
· Are more expensive up front
|Heat pump dryers||· Extremely energy efficient
· Quicker than standard dryers
· Your laundry won’t get filled with steam and moisture due to heat pump technology
|· Significantly higher purchase price
· Can be louder than other types of dryers
· Added complexity (not that much of an issue)
The bottom line
The bottom line is that condenser dryers are useful for people who don’t have a lot of space or ventilation, but can also be used by people who live in spacious houses too. Their versatility and convenience is the main attraction to them, as well as their cheap price compared to other types of dryers. The only real drawback to owning one is their poor energy efficiency, but since they are more of a budget option, this isn’t too much of an issue.
Whatever clothes dryer model you decide is right for your household, you’ll need to look out for a brand that delivers in all the right ways – such as energy efficiency and value for money. Our clothes dryer customer satisfaction ratings can show you which brands make the cut.