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 cycle the hot air through clothes, but extract the hot air and pass it through a heat exchanger. This heat exchanger recondenses the water (from your wet clothes) and stores it in a water tank inside the machine (which is manually emptied) or drained via a hose. 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 will need to empty yourself.
Condenser clothes dryers work differently from 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.
How much do condenser dryers cost?
Condenser dryers are available at various price points, usually retailing between $350 and $4,000. Vented models similarly cost between $350 and $3,000. Both types of clothes dryers are significantly cheaper than heat pump dryers ($600-$5,000) and gas dryers (1,600-$3,700).
For a budget-friendly condenser unit, some brands you might want to keep an eye on include Esatto, Kogan, and Euromaid.
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 clothes dryer’s capacity shows how many kilograms (kg) of wet 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 & over||5 or more 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.
Are condenser clothes dryers energy efficient?
No, condenser dryers are not energy efficient and 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 on energy, 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.
You’ll find that all these little amounts you save by doing these will really build up over time.
Is a condenser dryer good?
A condenser dryer is a great option if you’re short on cash and space and looking for a no-fuss convenient dryer. Most are compact in size, and cheap to buy and install (anywhere in the home) as they don’t need to be located next to a door or window. Condenser dryers also come with basic features and functionality which makes them easy to use but don’t expect any fancy smart features or added bells and whistles. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication here. Their main downsides are that they’re not as energy efficient as vented dryers, and they can take longer to dry your clothes due to the extraction process. Condenser dryers also can’t be wall-mounted.
Here’s a quick summary of condenser dryer pros and cons:
|Condenser dryer pros||Condenser dryer cons|
|Condenser dryers can be installed in most places around the home||Some condenser tumble dryers may take longer to dry clothes than other types of dryers, especially vented dryers|
|Their compact size makes condenser dryers ideal for small spaces or homes where external venting is possible (i.e. apartments)||Condenser dryers cannot be wall-mounted|
|Condenser dryers are cheaper than other types of dryers||Condenser dryers generally use more energy than other types of dryers, which can produce longer drying cycles and higher power bills|
What is the difference between a condenser dryer and a vented dryer?
There are a few major differences between condenser and vented clothes dryers you should know about. These include:
- Vented dryers remove moisture via a hose or external wall or window, while condenser dryers convert moisture into water, which is then emptied manually or through a drainage hose.
- Vented dryers need to be installed in a well-ventilated room, preferably near a window or wall.
- Condenser dryers cannot be wall-mounted, but vented dryers can.
- Vented dryers tend to use less energy than condenser dryers.
Unlike vented dryers, condenser dryers convert all the moisture collected from your clothes into water. This is then collected into a reservoir in the appliance, which can either be manually emptied or automatically drained via a hose. Vented dryers simply remove the moisture by funneling it through a vent or hose.
Vented dryers must also be installed in an open space with plenty of airflow ─ preferably near a window or wall vent, so you can vent the clothes dryer outside via a hose. Meanwhile, condenser dryers can be placed pretty much anywhere else. However, it’s a good idea to similarly keep a condenser dryer in a well-ventilated area since it still needs to push out the hot air, which can create a build-up of moisture and potentially create mould or other problems.
Keep in mind that only vented dryers are wall mountable. Condenser dryers are too heavy to mount on the wall and need to be stacked above a washing machine or placed on the floor.
Vented dryers are additionally seen as more energy efficient than condenser dryers because they don’t have the additional step of turning hot air (i.e. moisture) into water. Although different types of clothes dryers, including condenser and vented, now come with water and electricity-saving features.
Is a condenser dryer better than a vented tumble dryer?
A tumble dryer can be in the form of either condenser tumble dryer, vented tumble dryer, or a heat pump dryer. What separates each of these units is how the particular clothes dryer extracts the hot air:
- Condenser tumble dryer: turns hot air into water, which is removed via the drainage hose or water tank.
- Vented tumble dryer: directs moisture outside by moving it through a hose or a wall or window vent.
- Heat pump tumble dryer: reuses the hot air as part of a closed-loop system.
Condenser tumble dryers may be worth purchasing over vented dryers since these are usually easier to install and not limited to rooms that allow for external ventilation. This can be particularly problematic if you live in an apartment or small house. Condenser dryers are also fairly cheaper compared to vented dryers, especially if you shop for a washer-dryer model. But if you want clothes to dry fast, vented dryers tend to be better because it uses higher temperatures to keep drying times short and water and energy consumption low.
However, if water and electricity usage is your top concern, it might be worth bypassing both condenser and vented dryers and skipping straight to heat pump models. Heat pump tumble dryers are more efficient because they dry items at a lower temperature than vented and condenser dryers, which has the added benefit of being gentler on clothes. While these have significantly pricier upfront costs than vented and condenser models, you might end up saving more long-term.
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 brands in Australia.
Kogan condenser dryers
Kogan offers budget-friendly condenser dryers for anywhere between $800 and $1,200, but signing up as a Kogan member (and paying the $49 annual fee) can attract prices of $500 to $780. The retailer doesn’t offer as many options as other brands, but here is a couple you can expect:
- Kogan 8kg Condenser Dryer: $799.99 RRP*
- Kogan 10kg/6kg Washer Dryer Combo: $1,199 RRP*
The Kogan 8kg condenser dryer is among one of the affordable models on the market and features 15 drying programs, 24-hour delay start, LED control display, child lock and a stainless steel drum.
Esatto condenser dryers
If you’re shopping for an appliance with a small price tag, Esatto is a brand that’s hard to miss ─ even if it has just one model on offer. That’s the case when it comes to condenser dryers, with the Esatto 7kg condenser dryer (ECD7) being the sole unit available (at the time of writing).
It retails for $599 RRP* and is said to be suitable for small to medium-size households. Some features to expect include:
- 16 drying programs
- Anti-crease function
- Sensor Dry
- Dial controls.
Please note that this particular model does not have a drain hose included.
Euromaid condenser dryers
Euromaid produces some of the most affordable home appliances on the market, and its clothes dryers are no exception. There are two models to check out, at the time of writing:
- Euromaid 7kg Condenser Dryer (CD7KG): $694 RRP*
- Euromaid 7kg Condenser Dryer (ECD700W): $899 RRP*
The Euromaid 7kg condenser dryer (ECD700W) boasts a QuietDrive inverter motor and 15 drying programs, such as Extra Dry, 10 Minute, Refresh and Cupboard Dry +. It also comes with sensor-controlled drying and an anti-crease function.
Fisher & Paykel condenser dryers
For households that don’t mind investing a little extra on a mid to higher-end model, major appliance label Fisher & Paykel has a dryer and a washer-dryer to choose from. These include:
- Fisher & Paykel 8kg Condensing Dryer (DE8060P3): $1,099 RRP*
- Fisher & Paykel 8kg/5kg Combo Washer Dryer (WD8560F1): $1,549 RRP*
Unlike some other clothes dryers, the standalone 8kg condensing dryer comes with an internal drying rack for items too delicate to tumble around in the machine. The model also boasts auto-sensing technology, which is said to prevent under and over-drying items by measuring the moisture inside the drum and automatically switching the dryer off at what it considers the ‘ideal’ time. This Fisher & Paykel condenser dryer additionally offers 13 programs and a drum light.
Electrolux condenser dryers
Similar to other brands, Electrolux keeps the decision simple with just one model (at the time of writing) ─ the Electrolux 8kg Ultimate Care Condenser Dryer (EDC804BEWA). It retails for $1,199 and offers features such as:
- 12 drying programs
- Refresh Cycle: uses hot and cool air to refresh clothes that have been in storage for a while
- Reverse Tumble Action: prevents items from tangling
- Advance Sensor Dry: uses sensors to avoid over-drying
- Reversible door.
This Electrolux clothes dryer additionally has a Soft Touch Drum, which is claimed to ensure gentle care on clothes by minimising the amount of contact your clothing makes with the drum.
Is it worth buying a condenser dryer?
A condenser dryer is worth purchasing if you don’t have a lot of space or ventilation. It can also be a good option for those on a budget. The versatility and convenience of condenser dryers are the main attraction, as well as their fairly cheap price tag 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.
*Prices are taken from respective retailers, Appliances Online and The Good Guys, correct as of January 2022.