A guide to heat pump clothes dryers

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A clothes dryer can be one of the most important appliances in your home, especially during the winter months when trying to dry your clothes without one is a real challenge! If you’re in the market for a new dryer, you might want to consider buying a heat pump dryer. If you’re not sure what a heat pump dryer is, we’ll cover that in this guide, as well as the following topics:

  • How heat pump dryers work
  • If heat pump dryers are better than other types of dryers
  • How much heat pump dryers cost
  • How energy efficient they are
  • What size dryer you need
  • Who sells heat pump dryers
  • What features you should look for

What is a heat pump dryer?

Heat pump condenser dryers are a type of dryer that delivers outstanding results while using only a fraction of the energy needed by other types of dryers. They contain a fully integrated system that’s far superior to simpler condenser or ventilated dryers, and are usually more expensive as a result. But you could stand to save in the long run through cheaper energy bills.

How do heat pump dryers work?

The heat pump system used by these dryers is the exact same cycle used in the air conditioner that cools your living room. A heat pump cycle is the same thing as a refrigeration cycle – it absorbs energy from a cooler area and then releases it into a warmer area.

Some refrigerant fluid (or air) absorbs heat in an evaporator and is then compressed to a high temperature. It then travels to a condenser and releases its heat, before being expanded and returning to the original evaporator to absorb more energy. In a refrigerator or an air conditioner, this cycle is used to remove heat from an area to make it cold. In a heat pump such as a dryer, it’s used to draw energy from electricity and heat up your clothes in the dryer.

Are they better than other types of dryers?

The main difference between a heat pump dryer and other types of clothes dryers, such as electric or gas models, is the lack of a need to vent moisture outside. The heat pump technology means that they recycle warm air, and do not produce nearly as much heat as a result. This means you can put them wherever you want, not necessarily near to a window or door, and many models have reduced noise levels.

This is not the biggest advantage of a heat pump dryer, however. The biggest advantage of this type of dryer is their energy efficiency, which we’ll cover shortly.

Condenser Clothes Dryers Explained

How much do heat pump dryers cost?

Heat pump dryers range in price from about $1,000 to $4,000. This compares to conventional electric clothes dryers which generally cost around $500. The majority of heat pump dryers retail for between $1,500 and $2,500. So they’re not cheap to buy upfront, but there could be substantial long term savings to be made through reduced energy usage.

Do heat pump dryers save money over time?

According to Sustainability Victoria, heat pump dryers use less than half the energy of conventional electric clothes dryers due to their closed ventilation system. In fact, they are so energy efficient that most heat pump dryers achieve a 6-star energy rating – the best score possible. Most clothes dryer models tend to score about 2 or 3 stars.

Because of this, buying a heat pump dryer over a cheaper dryer can save you a good amount of money in the long-run. Their vastly superior efficiency will result in lower power bills, which can help offset the initial cost of the things. Given that the average family spends about $300 powering their dryer, saving 50% of this per year could go a long way.

What size dryer do I need?

One of the first things you need to consider when buying a new dryer – besides how much money you can spend – is how big you need it to be. There are certain questions you’ll need to ask yourself, such as ‘do you live by yourself or with a family’, ‘do you live in a flat or in a home’ and how often you wash your clothes.

Dryer capacities range from 4 to 10 kilos, and depending on your answers to these questions, you could need a small one, a big one or anything in-between. Someone living with a lot of people (especially children!) will need a larger capacity model, while someone living alone in a small flat will probably only need 4 kilos. The table below can give you a good idea of what size you’ll need.

Dryer capacity Suits
5kg or smaller 1-2 people
5kg-7kg 3-4 people
7kg or bigger 4+ people

Source: Appliances Online

It’s important to know that when a dryer states its capacity in kg, that refers to the weight of the clothes once dry, not while they’re sopping wet and straight out of the washing machine. Heat pump dryers are no exception to this.

Who sells heat pump dryers?

Heat pump dryers have been enjoying something of resurgence lately, with consumers eager to take advantage of their outstanding energy efficiency. More manufacturers are now supplying them as a result. According to Appliances Online, there are 14 providers of heat pump dryers. The five most prominent are as follows.

Bosch heat pump dryers

There is just one heat pump dryer listed for sale under Bosch’s name – the Series 8 9kg model. With a 4.5 star rating after a total of 35 reviews, this $1,650 model is expensive but clearly comes highly recommended. It should be noted that this dryer has been reduced by almost $1,000, so you’re already guaranteed good savings.

Samsung heat pump dryers

Among its dryer range, Samsung has two that classify as heat pump models. Both of these dryers – which have 8 and 9 kilogram capacities respectively – will set you back $1,400 each. Both have been reduced by over $1,000, and come with 6-star energy ratings. Samsung heat pump dryers appear excellent value for money.

Fisher & Paykel heat pump dryers

There is just one Fisher & Paykel heat pump dryer available, this 8kg model. Reduced by $630, it will set you back about $1,450. A 6-star energy rating and numerous advanced features make this a worthwhile purchase.

LG heat pump dryers

Like the other providers mentioned so far, LG has just one heat pump dryer for sale – the 9kg hybrid dryer. Not to be outdone by others on the market, this model has the rare 7-star energy rating, meaning it has earned the ‘super energy efficiency’ label.

Electrolux heat pump dryers

Costing roughly $1,900 and $2,000 respectively, you have two heat pump dryers to choose from with Electrolux. Both have an 8kg capacity, as well as a 6-star energy efficiency rating.

There are other high-quality providers of heat pump dryers that you can buy from, such as Omega, Panasonic and Omega. We recommend doing plenty of research on the different manufacturers to familiarise yourself with what they offer before diving in.

What features do they come with?

Aside from high energy efficiency, there are several other common features you should look for when buying a heat pump dryer. These features should be:

  • Auto-sensing: automatically stops the drying cycle when it senses that your clothes are dry, which prevents over-drying and saves electricity
  • Lint filters: emptying this lint filter can improve the long-term efficiency of the machine
  • Electronic display: this gives you a more visible idea of how much time is remaining in the cycle and whether or not you need to empty the filters
  • Auto-programs: an example of a program these appliances come with is the anti-crease feature, which reduces the creasy that comes with machine drying. The inclusion of these programs let you easily pick your favourite settings, which the machine will implement for you.
  • Noise dampening: more expensive models come with this feature, which silences that annoying racket they always make
  • Reverse tumbling: the drum reverses the spin direction from time to time, which minimises tangling of clothes and gives better drying results

How to use your dryer more efficiently

Given that you’ll need to have one of these dryers for a long-time before you get a good return on your investment, you might want to implement some money-saving techniques in the meantime to make things a bit easier. Doing some of these things can also prolong the lifespan of your dryer.

  • Use a higher spin cycle: the faster you spin clothes in the washer, 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 two 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.

The bottom line

So you now know what heat pump dryers are capable of. They are just as capable if not more so than conventional electric dryers, and can potentially give better drying results in less time, depending on the model. One major drawback is how expensive they are, so you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to take the plunge in the hope of energy savings over time.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing your dryer every 10 years or so. Factoring in the extra cost of purchase combined with the yearly savings on your power bill, you could end up turning a profit on a heat pump dryer in about 6-7 years or so.

With this in mind, you should definitely consider buying a heat pump dryer if you plan on staying put in your home for this amount of time or longer. If you’re not going to need to buy a new one, why not invest in a machine that will last you for a long time? Heat pump dryers have the value for money and performance credentials to easily be a worthwhile purchase for anyone who can afford one.

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