Clothes dryers are certainly convenient appliances, but they can also be huge energy-suckers. Therefore, there are lots of considerations you’ll need to make before choosing which clothes dryer to purchase – not the least of them being which type to invest in. You may not know that clothes dryers come in several varieties, including gas powered dryers, heat pump dryers and even washer/dryer combos. There are also condenser clothes dryers, which we’ll focus on in this guide. In it, we’ll cover the following key points:
- What a condenser dryer is
- How condenser dryers work
- How they differ from other types of dryers
- What sizes they come in
- Who sells condenser dryers
- How energy efficient they are
- The pros and cons of buying one
We’ll also look at some of the leading brands and how much they cost, should you decide that a condenser clothes dryer is the best dryer for your needs and budget.
What is a condenser clothes dryer?
Condenser clothes dryers work differently to traditional vented dryers. Your stock standard vented 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 quite muggy when your dryer is running, and you need good ventilation in your laundry so the moisture can escape outside.
Condenser clothes 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. 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 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 several advantages to owning a condenser clothes dryer. Mainly, they do not require nearly as much ventilation as old vented dryers. This means that there are very few restrictions with where you can position the dryer, making them perfect for any living condition, be it in a cramped apartment or a spacious house. One drawback to note, however, is that they’re often too heavy to be wall-mounted, which limits some of your options slightly. They’re also generally cheap to buy, which we’ll cover shortly in more detail.
How much do condenser dryers cost?
Another benefit of condenser dryers is their relatively low cost compared to some other dryer types, most notably heat pump dryers. While they’re typically more expensive on average than a standard vented dryer, they’re still quite cheap. According to Appliances Online, the cheapest condenser dryer costs under $800, while the most expensive is the premium V-Zug range worth up to $4,00. So, you can easily find some really cheap models out there that represent excellent value.
What size dryer do I need?
There are several considerations 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 the above questions, the size and capacity of the dryer you’ll need will change. A dryer’s capacity shows how many kilograms (kg) of dry clothes it can hold. The below table will give you a good idea as to what size dryer you might need.
|Dryer capacity||Household size|
|5kg or less||1-2 people|
|7kg +||4+ people|
Source: Appliances Online
You should always avoid overfilling your clothes dryer past its capacity. If you do, the efficiency of the dryer will decrease over time, results will be poor and it could even create a fire hazard. Make sure you read the product information closely before buying any particular dryer model.
Who sells condenser dryers?
If you’re thinking about buying a condenser clothes dryer, there are many manufacturers you can choose to buy one from. We list a few of the most prominent in Australia. Click on the links to check current prices.
Fisher & Paykel Condenser Dryers
Fisher & Paykel’s only condenser dryer is the ‘DE8060P2’ model with its 8kg drum capacity. It’s a stackable dryer, so if you’re tight on floor space, you could place it on top of a front loader. It comes with 11 drying cycles and also features reverse tumbling action to help reduce tangling. Additionally, it’s equipped with moisture sensors to automatically switch off the unit once your load is dry, saving you energy and money. You can also find a drying rack for items that don’t require tumbling, such as backpacks and shoes.
This condenser dryer has a recommended price tag of $1,349. While it has a relatively poor energy-efficiency rating of two stars, it’s quite common for this type of dryer to sit fairly low on the spectrum. While you won’t save much on electricity over the years, with an additional cost of $103 per year – according to the Standard Test (based on 29c/kWh) – it hasn’t prevented 65 consumers from giving this model an average score of 4.7 stars out of 5 on Appliances Online.
Electrolux Condenser Dryers
Electrolux is best-known for its ovens, cooktops and refrigerators, but it’s also a big name in the laundry space. It has two different options for condenser dryers, which are priced at $1,099 RRP (7kg capacity) and $1,269 RRP (8kg capacity). These models are fairly basic in terms of features and energy-efficiency, with just two-star ratings. According to the Standard Test, both units can add around $90 to $105 to your annual energy bill.
These Electrolux condenser dryers come equipped with 14 different drying programs, including Cotton, Delicate and Anti-crease. Both models also feature reverse tumbling action, designed to provide consistent drying and prevent creasing by alternating the drum rotation clockwise to anti-clockwise. Noise emission in motion is stated to be between 64 and 65 decibels.
Euromaid Condenser Dryers
Euromaid’s single condenser dryer is a 6kg capacity model, typically suitable for a household of two to four people. It has the lowest energy star rating out of any provider so far, with just 1.5 out of six. But at $849 RRP, it has an excellent range of 11 different programs, so it could be an ideal budget option if you aren’t too concerned about saving on power bills. While it does have a low energy rating, due to its small capacity, it uses approximately $84 in energy per year.
Additionally, you can expect sensor controlled drying, which means that once your clothes are dry, the unit will switch off automatically, so that no energy is wasted. In terms of design, it has a traditional style control panel and fully sealed door. If you prefer to check on your load while it’s in cycle, you might like to opt for a model with a glass door instead. It does feature a child lock for safety and is equipped with a water tank full indicator as well as a clean filter indicator for easy maintenance.
Bosch Condenser Dryers
Bosch currently has three condenser models available, two of which have 8kg load capacities and one with 7kg. The prices sit between $1,399 and $1,749. Like other condenser dryers in this guide, the three Bosch options all have a two-star energy efficiency rating, but they do have an excellent range of features and programs to utilise, which makes them convenient and easy to use.
Each unit has 10 or more programs, including a quick dry cycle for busy households. The most expensive – the Bosh WTG86400AU 8kg Condenser Dryer – has an LED drum interior light to illuminate your load and a time delay feature to help make use of the off peak electricity times. For the price, you can expect moisture sensors to automatically stop the drying process once it is complete to help save time and energy. Its ‘AntiVibration’ design is further boasted to reduce vibration so that noise is minimised.
LG Condenser Dryers
The appliance brand that says Life’s Good usually has you covered with well-designed products. It currently has three condenser dryer models on offer with prices starting from $1,279 RRP and maxing out at $2,299. Drying capacities sit between 8kg and 9kg.
The LG ‘TD-C80NPW’ 8kg Condensing Dryer with white finish features a Tag On function, which allows you to download more drying cycles and assists with troubleshoot problems. It’s boasted for three sensors that monitor the heat exchange, moisture and air temperature to prevent the clothes from over-drying. Additional accessories also include a stacking kit, if you want to save on space and place the dryer on a front load washing machine, as well as a drying rack for items that you don’t want to tumble dry such as shoes and backpacks.
Beko Condenser Dryers
Beko has two condenser clothes dryers that sit towards the lower end of the pricing spectrum – both under the $1,000 mark. Beko’s dryers have the standard two stars for energy-efficiency but come with an impressive 16 automatic programs and modes, which for less than $1,000 is an awful lot. Load capacities are also the standard 7kg and 8kg, typically suitable for households of four or more.
Expect cycles such as Quick Dry and Anti-Crease. Additionally, it features reverse tumble action, boasted for consistent results as well as sensor drying, claimed to save you energy and time by cutting the cycle short once all of your clothes have dried. The BDC830W 8kg Sensor Controlled Condenser Dryer also has a time delay option if you want to postpone your start time and make use of the off-peak energy price tariffs.
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 if you’re after long-term savings on your electricity bill, you might like to consider other types of dryers.
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 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.
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 condenser dryers?
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
· Ideal for homes with little space
· Cheap compared to other dryer types
|· Heavy and can’t be wall-mounted
· Can get hot while operating
· Poor energy efficiency
|Washer dryers||· Costs similar to buying two machines separately
· Convenient for small homes
· Convenient to wash and dry clothes in one machine
|· Reduced drying capacity & may need multiple drying cycles
· Can take longer to dry clothes than standard dryers
· May have higher energy use over time, costing more money
|Electric dryers||· Cheaper and easier to install
· Doesn’t require a gas line
· Usually doesn’t need to be vented to the outside
|· Generally slower heat-up time
· Requires a minimum 240v outlet
|Gas dryers||· Less expensive upkeep, but this can depend on cost and electricity
· Heats clothes faster than electric dryers
· Gentle on fabrics and more energy efficient
|· Requires a vent to the outside
· Requires dedicated gas line
· Requires professional installation
· More expensive upfront
|Heat pump dryers||· Energy efficient
· Quicker than standard dryers
· Laundry won’t get filled with steam and moisture
|· Significantly higher purchase price
· Can be louder than other types of dryers
· Added complexity (not that much of an issue)
The bottom line on condenser dryers
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 are the main attraction, as well as their fairly 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.
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