A guide to heat pump clothes dryers

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

We’ll also offer a guide to some of the top models around and how much you can expect to pay if you conclude that a heat pump dryer if the right fit for your laundry room!

What is a heat pump dryer?

Asko T208HW 8kg Heat Pump Dryer

Heat pump dryers are a type of clothes dryer that can deliver great results, while using only a fraction of the energy needed by other types of dryers. They contain a fully integrated system that’s generally considered 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 much cheaper energy bills, with heat pump dryers boasting energy-efficiency ratings of up to TEN stars! This compares to other types of dryers with energy ratings as low as one or two stars. So it’s really a decision about whether you want to save on the upfront purchase cost, or reduced power bills over time.

How do heat pump dryers work?

The heat pump system used by these dryers is the exact same cycle type that is 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 the condenser and releases its heat, before being expanded and returning back to the original evaporator to absorb more energy. In a refrigerator or 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 one main difference between heat pump dryers and other types of clothes dryers, such as condenser dryers or gas models, is the lack of a need to vent moisture outside. The heat pump technology means that these dryers recycle warm air – and don’t 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 energy-efficiency, which we’ll cover shortly.

How much do heat pump dryers cost?

Heat pump dryers range in price from about $1,500 to $5,000. This compares to conventional electric clothes dryers that will generally cost around $500. The majority of heat pump dryers retail for between $1,500 and $2,500. So they’re not exactly 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 clothes 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 at least six-star energy ratings. Some even achieve ‘super’ efficiency ratings of nine or ten 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 purchase price of the dryer. Given that the average family spends about $300 a year powering their dryer, saving 50% of this per year could go a long way.

The saving potential will also be influenced by how often you use your dryer. The more you use your dryer, the quicker you should redeem the upfront costs. That said, it really all depends on whether or not you have a spare $1,500 or more to buy the dryer upfront in the first place!

What size dryer do I need?

One of the first things you will 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?
  • How often do you wash your clothes?

Clothes dryer capacities typically range from 4kg up to 10kg and depending on your answers to the questions above, you can choose the right size for your needs accordingly. Someone living in a house with a lot of other people (especially children!) would need a larger capacity model, while someone living alone in a small flat will probably only need 4kg. The table below can give you a good idea of what size you’ll need.

Dryer capacity Household size
5kg or less 1-2 people
5kg-7kg 3-4 people
7kg + 4+ people

Source: Appliances Online

It’s important to know that when a dryer states its capacity in kilograms, it 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 a 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 different providers of heat pump dryers, so you have plenty of options. Here is a guide to some of the most prominent and what they currently have to offer to Appliances Online. Hit the links below to check the latest prices.

Bosch Heat Pump Dryers

9kg Bosch Heat Pump Dryer WTW87565AU

There are three heat pump dryers listed for sale under Bosch’s name, all with seven-star energy ratings or above. Two of these dryers have 9kg load capacities, while the other provides 8kg. All three would likely suit a large household with average drying needs.

The Bosch WTW87565AU Serie 8 9kg Heat Pump Dryer comes equipped with 14 different programs including Delicate, Anti-Crease and Quick Dry. It’s boasted for faster dryer technology than the previous Bosch models – up to eight minutes per kilogram faster – so for those with busy lifestyles, this might be one to consider. With a 4.6 star customer rating after a total of 119 reviews, this dryer ($2,629) is fairly expensive, but clearly comes quite highly recommended. It should be noted that this dryer has been reduced in price by almost $1,000, so it looks like you are already guaranteed good savings.

Samsung Heat Pump Dryers

9kg Samsung Heat Pump Dryer DV90H8000HW

Among its dryer range, Samsung has two that classify as ‘heat pump’ models. Its 9kg capacity model comes with a six-star energy efficiency rating and the 8kg capacity model with a seven. Prices range from $2,449 and $2,299 respectively. Both models are equipped with Samsung’s ‘Smart Check’ error-monitoring system that apparently helps detect and diagnose any problems and provides troubleshooting via the Samsung app.

The Samsung DV80M5010IW 8kg Heat Pump Dryer is equipped with 14 cycles, including 35 minute Quick Dry, Wool, Towels and Bedding. It’s also boasted for the Samsung ‘Optimal Dry System’, that continuously adjusts the drying time for optimum results, as well as help prevent your clothes from over-drying. Samsung heat pump dryers have been reduced substantially and with the number of features they’re equipped with, they appear to be solid value for money.

Fisher & Paykel Heat Pump Dryers

Fisher Paykel DH8060P1 8kg Condenser Dryer

There is just one Fisher & Paykel heat pump dryer available – the 8kg DH8060P1 model. It has a retail price tag of $2,099, with a six-star energy rating. According to the Standard Test, it uses just $45 in energy per year. It boasts numerous advanced features to make this a worthwhile purchase, including Auto-sensing that shuts off the unit once it senses all your clothes are dry, reducing energy consumption.

It comes with 12 different cycles, five dryness settings and four temperature settings. Cycles include Delicates, Anti-crease and Wool. Featuring a Delay Start option, you can set the load for a later time that’s more convenient for you (up to 12 hours). In terms of its design, expect an interior drum light for improved visibility, a drying rack for items you don’t want to tumble dry and the Fisher & Paykel’s ‘SmartTouch’ control dial.

LG Heat Pump Dryers

LG TD H901MW Centum 9kg Heat Pump Dryer

LG has one 8kg capacity heat pump dryers and two with 9kg load capacities. The LG range is slightly on the dearer side of the price spectrum with prices starting at $1,949 and maxing out at $2,749. Not to be outdone by other brands on the market, two of the models – TD-H802SJW and TD-H901MW – have nine-star energy efficiency ratings, earning they earn a ‘super energy efficiency’ label. These units should have you spending only $35 on energy per year – talk about long-term savings!

Expect features such as the LG ‘TrueSteam’ cycle to freshen clothes that have been hanging in the wardrobe too long and the LG Smart THINQ system that can download additional drying cycles as well as troubleshoot any problems via the LG app. You’ll also find three sensors that are stated to monitor when your clothes are dry, switching off the unit early and preventing your clothes from over-drying. The design itself features a stainless steel drum and an interior LED drum light to see your load inside. Included accessories are a stacking kit to save on floor space and a drying rack to help keep items such as shoes and backpacks from tumbling around unnecessarily in the drum.

Electrolux Heat Pump Dryers

Electrolux EDH3586GDW 8kg Heat Pump Dryer

Costing roughly $1,600 and $1,800 respectively, you currently have two heat pump dryers to choose from with Electrolux. One has a 5.5 star energy-efficiency rating (8kg capacity) and the other seven stars (9kg capacity). Both feature 14 different programs, as well as reverse tumble action for efficient drying.

The Electrolux EDH3896GDW 9kg Heat Pump Dryer is also boasted for the Woolmark Certified Woolens and Silks programs as well as the rapid 38 minutes Quick cycle for small loads. It has a delay start option and auto sensing to help reduce over drying. Similarly to other brands, it’s equipped with an interior drum light and has a special refresh program to help reduce odours and smooth out the wrinkles from your clothes, especially if they’ve been folded away for some time. With this unit you can budget around $52 in additional electricity costs for the year.

What features do heat pump dryers 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 can reduce the creasing that comes with machine drying
  • 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

In addition to the five brands mentioned above, there are other high-quality providers of heat pump dryers, such as Asko, Panasonic and Omega. We recommend doing plenty of research on the different manufacturers to familiarise yourself with what they offer before diving in.

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 upfront investment, you may want to implement some money-saving techniques in the meantime to make things a bit easier. Doing some of the following 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 on heat pump dryers

So you now know what heat pump dryers are capable of. They’re just as capable if not more so than conventional electric dryers, and can potentially provide better drying results in less time, depending on the specific 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 clothes dryer every 10 years or so. Factoring in the extra cost of purchase, combined with the yearly savings on your power bills, 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 clothes dryer if you plan on staying put in your home for this length of time or even 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. But be sure to shop around because prices can vary hugely.

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