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Heat pump vs condenser dryer: Which is best?

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Heat pump and condenser dryers technically perform the same job – to dry your clothes after washing – and both extract moisture the same way using different technologies. Both designs also have their own sets of pros and cons. So, which is best?

Condenser dryer vs heat pump dryer: how do they work?

A heat pump dryer is for all intents and purposes, a type of condenser clothes dryer. It uses a heat pump to heat the air and absorb moisture from your laundry. The warm damp air is then cooled to help remove the condensation and then reheated and recycled inside the unit to dry your fabrics.

On the other hand, condenser dryers extract moisture from wet clothes and drain it away as condensed water. The dry air is heated and used to dry the clothes. Most condenser dryers come with a drainage tube that automatically drains condensed water down the sink, but there are still models out there that have a water container that needs to be manually emptied periodically.

What is the difference between heat pump dryer and condenser dryer?

Heat pump vs condenser dryer: which performs best?

Condenser dryers are more fast-drying than heat pump dryers, as they generate more heat to dry the load – and because of that, they tend to emit a lot of moisture during operation and therefore should be placed in rooms with good ventilation. They’re typically heavy-duty performers which come with a larger wet weight capacity, ranging from 6kg to 10kg, and are quieter in operation. Ideal for families and large households.

However, heat pump dryers offer better protection for clothing and textiles, as they use a lower air temperature to do the job. They’re also more eco-friendly, as they recycle the hot air (while condenser models expel) they create back into the drum to keep the cycle going. Another benefit of heat pump dryers is that they don’t need to be vented, since they recycle hot air and don’t produce as much heat as condenser dryers. This means you can place these dryers practically anywhere in the house. This is an ideal choice if you live in an apartment.

Heat pump dryer pros

Condenser dryer pros

More energy-efficient and eco-friendly Larger capacity
Easier on fabrics Quick-drying
No need for ducted venting Ideal for apartment living
Heat pump dryer cons

Condenser dryer cons

More expensive upfront Too heavy to be wall-mounted
Limited capacity Need to be connected to a drain or the water tank emptied frequently
Not as quiet in operation as condenser dryers Can damage garments overtime

General guide only 

Heat pump vs condenser dryer: which is cheapest?

Heat pump dryers are more expensive ─ costing between $500 and $700 more to buy upfront than condenser models, but this will easily be offset by energy savings in the long term, as the most energy-efficient design of the two. Here’s a quick price comparison for a 7kg heat pump vs a condenser dryer from brands found on Appliances Online.

Heat pump dryer prices

Condenser dryer prices

Beko 7kg Heat Pump Dryer (BDP710W): $1,249* Altus 7kg Condenser Dryer (ADC70): $599*
Teka 7kg Heat Pump Dryer (THPD70): $1,699* Beko 7kg Condenser Dryer (BDC710W): $949*
Euromaid 7kg Heat Pump Dryer (EHPD700W): $1,799* Artusi 7kg Condenser Dryer (ACD7000): $1,429*
Miele 7kg Heat Pump Dryer (TCB140WP): $1,899* Euromaid 7kg Condenser Dryer (ECD700W): $1,385*

*Prices are taken from Appliances Online, correct as of January 2023.

Heat pump vs condenser dryer: which is more energy efficient?

Thanks to the reheating and recycling process of heat pump dryers, these are the most energy-efficient types of dryers on the market. Heat pump dryers use less than half the energy per load than condenser dryers. Condenser dryers typically consume about 3kWh per average load, while heat pump dryers will use roughly 1.5kWh per load.

woman using dryer

Heat pump dryer vs condenser dryer: which is cheaper to run?

Dryers are a relatively expensive appliance to run compared to other household appliances, however some models do cost more than others. Overall condenser dryers are more expensive to run per load, costing around $58 per load as opposed to heat pump dryers that cost around $29 per load. The table below is a general guide to how much each type of dryer costs to run.

Average Annual Clothes Dryers Running Costs (5-10kg)

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Loads per week Condenser Dryer Energy Usage Condenser Dryer Cost Heat Pump Dryer Energy Usage Heat Pump Dryer Cost
1 176kW $58 88kW $29
2 353kW $116 177kW $58
3 529kW $174 265kW $87
4 706kW $232 353kW $116
5 882kW $289 441kW $145
6 1,059kW $347 530kW $174
7 1,235kW $405 618kW $203

Source: – 26/10/2023. Condenser dryers: Average energy consumption figures based on clothes dryers listed in the Commonwealth of Australia E3 Program’s Registration database. Heat pump dryers: assumed to use 50% less energy than condenser dryers, based on multiple online sources. Electricity usage cost estimates based on the average electricity usage rate of 32.8 c/kWh. Average electricity usage rates are based on single-rate, non-solar only plans on Canstar’s database, available for an annual usage of 4,347 kWh.

Heat pump vs condenser dryer: which has more functions and features?

Heat pump and condenser dryers are pretty much tied in the way of functions and features. Both are well-regarded for their smart drying and durable designs. Most heat pump and condenser dryer models on the market today will typically come with auto-sensing technology which automatically stops the drying cycle when your clothes are dry to prevent over-drying and save on energy, and multiple drying settings to cater to different fabrics such as silk and wool. Other features to look out for include:

  • Drum size: this will impact the functionality and efficiency of your dryer, so choose a large enough capacity to accommodate your household’s needs.
  • Reverse tumbling: rotates the drum both ways and pauses in between, to keep your laundry separated and dry fabrics evenly.
  • Dampener system: reduces noise operating levels.
  • Fast-drying: speeds up the drying process without putting strain on your clothes.

Looking for more guides on clothes dryers?

Heat pump vs condenser dryer: which is best?

If your priorities are fast action and a large capacity to get as much drying done as possible with each load – which is often the case for families and large households – then a condenser dryer may be best suited to your needs. On the other hand, if reducing your carbon emissions and saving on energy in the long term is more important to you, then a heat pump dryer is an ideal choice, that is if you’re prepared to pay a little more upfront. 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.

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Picture credits: Shablovskyistock/, Evgeny Atamanenko/, Mdbildes/

Dean Heckscher
Site Editor
Dean Heckscher oversees and maintains the quality of all content produced on the Canstar Blue website. He’s been writing in the comparison industry for over five years and holds dual Bachelor degrees in Business and Creative & Professional Writing from the Queensland University of Technology.

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