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Different Types of Clothes Dryers Explained

Whether it’s size and drying capacity, or features and running cost, there are plenty of factors to consider to make sure you’re buying the best clothes dryer for your home. Although they all serve the same purpose, there are a number of factors that can impact your decision. So, here’s a guide to the various types of clothes dryers you’ll find in store, the differences you might find between models and anything else you may need to know about dryers.

Types of dryers

If you’re looking at an electric dryer, it’s important you know that there are three different kinds – vented, condenser, and heat pump condenser. Alternatively, you can opt for a gas dryer. Here are the key differences between gas dryers and the members of the electric trio:

Gas dryers

What is a gas clothes dryer?

Buying a gas clothes dryer in Australia will usually set you back between $1,600 and $4,000, which is a sizeable investment. These dryers use gas to heat the tumbler and in turn, use less electricity to fuel the appliance compared to standard dryers. In terms of wet weight capacity, expect 4kg to 9kg, with other traits including:

  • Generally cheaper to run
  • Often heats up clothes faster than electric dryers
  • Require a vent to the outside, thus not ideal for small apartments

Some brands offering gas dryers include Rinnai and Speed Queen.

Vented dryers

What is a vented dryer?

Vented dryers heat up air and pass it into the drum to dry your clothes, with prices starting from as little as $350 and max out at around $3,700. Once the hot air has become too moist to dry any further, it’s vented out of the drum and replaced with new, dry air. Most vented dryers range from 3kg to 9kg of capacity, but also need a few more space requirements than other dryers. Here are a few facts to keep in mind:

  • Cheaper to buy than other types of clothes dryers
  • Must be used in well-ventilated rooms, not tight and enclosed spaces
  • Excess moisture can cause mould to grow on walls and around the vented clothes dryer
  • Can cause a potential fire hazard, especially if inside an enclosed space
  • Can be mounted on a wall

Condenser dryers

What is a condenser dryer?

Condenser clothes dryers recycle hot air by extracting the water vapour from it and sending it back through the clothes in the dryer, rather than simply expelling the moist air as a vented dryer would do. While this method of dealing with moist air means no humidity in your laundry room, it doesn’t do anything for the heat itself, meaning your laundry will be just as warm as if you were using a vented dryer. A condenser clothes dryer can cost between $600 and $1,700, although the majority of models are under the $1,000 mark. Some things to keep in mind when choosing which clothes dryer to buy:

  • Condenser dryers don’t require as much ventilation as tumble dryers, thus you’re not restricted to where you position the dryer, ideal for apartment living
  • Most models are too heavy to be wall-mounted but can be stacked on a front-load washing machine

Heat pump dryers

What is a heat pump condenser dryer?

Heat pump dryers are a type of condenser dryers that recycle heat in the process of extracting moisture. It’s an old form of dryer that appears to be making a comeback due to a desire for more energy-efficient appliances. Expect to fork out between $1,500 and $4,000, although you can find heat pump dryers for cheaper from brands like Esatto. On the other end, there are even models from high-end brands such as V-Zug that reach up to $29,000.

  • Typically, more expensive than vented or condenser dryers
  • Makes up for the higher purchase price by being comparably more energy efficient in some cases, but it’s worth noting that it can take years for that cheaper running cost to offset the higher price tag
  • Doesn’t vent heated air or water vapour, so no heat and no humidity in your laundry room

Factors to consider when buying a clothes dryer

In addition to the type of clothes dryer, there are a number of additional factors to consider, including the capacity, features and what power connections you have available to you. Each factor is explored more below. 

Dryer capacity

The first thing you’ve got to figure out when it comes to a clothes dryer is how large you need it to be. Are you living by yourself in a little flat, or part of a big family? How much clothing do you and your family wear (and subsequently wash) on a weekly basis? Capacities tends to range from 4kg to 10kg, but if you’ve got no clue about your capacity needs, consider these two tips:

  1. The capacity of a dryer is measured in kilograms and refers to the weight of the clothes once dry, not while they’re sopping wet and straight out of the washing machine.
  2. A general rule of thumb is the capacity of your dryer should be double that of your washing machine. While you don’t need to aim for exactly double, just remember that your dryer capacity should generally be larger than the capacity of your front loader or top-load washing machine.

Dryer Features

Common features across models and most price points include stainless steel drums, extended tumbling cycles, multiple choices for temperature, cycle options for different kinds of clothing, safety locks and no-wrinkle functions. Some key features to look out for in any type of dryer include:

  • Energy ratings: look for energy-efficient dryers – the more stars the better! While an energy-efficient dryer might cost you more upfront, it can help you save in the long run with cheaper energy bills.
  • Size: apart from load capacity, it’s also important to measure the space where you want to fit one in, as not all dryers are the same size.
  • Programs: while the basic program might suffice, you might want to look out for models that feature additional programs such as anti-crease or eco-mode.
  • Lint filter: filters typically need to be cleaned regularly (especially if you have a vented dryer), so look out for dryers with easy to access lint filters.
  • Auto-sensing: this is a particularly helpful feature that automatically stops the drying process once it senses that the load is dry, which helps to keep your clothes from over-drying, as well as save you on electricity bills.
  • Electronic display: the more advanced the dryer is, the more high-tech the front panel will be. Electronic displays allow you to see at a glance how much time is remaining and when systems such as the lint filter or water container need to be emptied.

Which type of clothes dryer should I buy?

While there are certainly pros and cons to each type of dryer, it might ultimately come down to your budget in terms of which one you will settle on. Nevertheless, we hope you found this guide helpful! To offer an extra hand in regards to which brand to buy, why not check out our customer ratings for clothes dryers, which can be found via the link below:

Clothes Dryer Reviews & Ratings

Original Author: Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito

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