The main difference between a condenser and vented dryer comes down to how moisture (from your clothes) is extracted from the machine during the cycle. Along with price, energy efficiency, and functionality both condenser dryers and vented dryers have their own sets of pros and cons. So, which is best?
Condenser vs vented dryers: how do they work?
Old-fashioned (traditional) vented dryers remove moisture through a ducting vent fitted to an external wall or window. They typically come with a long hose that vents the hot air outside the house. This means you have to ensure the vented dryer is placed close enough to a wall or window for the hose to reach outside. Vented dryers will generally require professional installation and will need to be placed in a room with good ventilation to prevent mould forming on walls and ceilings.
Condenser tumble dryers extract moisture from your clothes and store it in a removable water tank or reservoir fitted within the dryer itself. Some models will require you to empty the water tank manually when it’s full, while others will have a hose that drains the water automatically. The main benefit to condenser dryers is that you can plonk them pretty much anywhere you like.
Condenser vs vented dryer: which performs best?
A vented dryer will dry your clothes quicker than a condenser dryer because it vents moisture directly outside. This means there is no damp build-up within the machine and no need to empty a water reservoir. Vented dryers are also simpler machines both in terms of settings and design, meaning they’re more eco-friendly and low maintenance, plus come in a wide range of capacities ranging from 4.5kg to 10kg. Vented dryers are also cheaper to buy and run than condenser dryers.
The most obvious benefit to condenser tumble dryers is that you can place them anywhere in the house. They also come with more features and settings, including tailored drying modes for different fabric types and variable drying speeds, making them gentler on clothes. However, condenser dryers take a little longer to dry clothes than vented tumble dryers, in turn, making them less energy efficient.
|Vented dryer pros||Condenser dryer pros|
|Cheaper to buy and run (more energy efficient)||Offer more advanced technology and settings|
|Dry your clothes quicker||Gentler on clothes and fabrics|
|Simpler to use and repair||Can be placed anywhere (ideal for apartment living)|
|Vented dryer cons||Condenser dryer cons|
|Must be installed somewhere with good ventilation||Take longer to dry your clothes|
|Can create lint and excess moisture in the home||More expensive to buy and run (less energy efficient)|
|Offer limited technology and settings||Can get hot while operating|
Condenser vs vented dryers: which is cheapest?
Vented dryers are cheaper to buy upfront than condenser dryers, by about $200-$300 depending on the model or brand. This is partly because of the need for professional installation, the limited technology available in vented dryers and the fact they’re typically low maintenance. They’re also cheaper to run.
Here’s a quick price comparison for a 7kg condenser vs vented dryer from brands found on Appliances Online.
|Vented dryer prices||Condenser dryer prices|
|Esatto 7kg Vented Dryer (EVD7): $399*||Esatto 7kg Condenser Dryer (ECD7): $599*|
|Beko 7kg Vented Tumble Dryer (BDV70WG): $599*||Beko 7kg Condenser Dryer (BDC710W): $949*|
|Fisher & Paykel 7kg Vented Dryer (DE7060G2): $829*||Electrolux 8kg Ultimate Care Condenser Dryer (EDC804BEWA): $1,199*|
*Prices are taken from Appliances Online, correct as of July 2021.
Condenser vs condenser dryer: which is more energy efficient?
Vented dryers are slightly more energy efficient as they can dry your clothes quicker than condenser dryers by venting excess moisture straight outside, as opposed to condensing it into a water reservoir. Condenser dryers consume more energy as they tend to take more time to dry clothes. The energy consumed vs drying time ratio between the two dryer types isn’t massive though, so you can expect about a 1-1.5kWh consumption difference per load. Heat pump clothes dryers are the most energy-efficient dryers and typically have higher efficiency ratings.
Condenser vs vented dryer: which has more features and functions?
In the way of features and functions, condenser dryers win over vented dryers. They often come with the latest technology and nifty settings like auto-sensing that automatically stops the drying cycle when your clothes are dry to prevent over-drying and save on energy, as well as multiple drying settings for different fabrics like cotton and wool.
Other features to look out for include:
- Reverse tumbling: rotates the drum both ways and pauses in between to keep your laundry separated and dry fabrics evenly
- Anti-wrinkle: anti-crease technology to reduce wrinkles in your clothes while drying
- Delay start: allows you to choose when your drying cycle starts and finishes
- Fast-drying: speeds up the drying process without putting strain on your clothes
Condenser vs vented dryer: which is best?
If you’re looking for a dryer that’s flexible and comes with all the bells and whistles in terms of design and features, then a condenser dryer is for you. These models are also gentler on fabrics, but keep mind you’ll pay more upfront and potentially in running costs unless you buy a model with some nifty energy-saving features.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful model that dries your clothes quickly and that’s simple to use and low maintenance, then a vented dryer is ideal. Keep in mind it will need to be placed somewhere with good ventilation and may require professional installation, adding to the upfront cost.
When shopping for a new dryer, it’s also important to consider the additional features, functions, design and cycles of each model, plus energy efficiency and stated performance.
*Prices taken from respective retailers, correct as of July 2021.