Heat pump vs condenser dryers

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?

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 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 faster at drying than heat pump dryers, as they generate more heat to dry the load. As a result, they tend to emit a lot of moisture and should be placed in rooms with good ventilation. They are typically heavy-duty performers that come with a larger wet-weight capacity, ranging from 6kg to 10kg and are quieter in operation. Condenser dryers are ideal for families and large households.

Heat-pump dryers offer better protection for clothing as they use a lower air temperature to do the job. They are more eco-friendly than condenser dryers because they recycle the hot air they create back into the drum to keep the cycle going, compared to the condenser model that expels the air. Another benefit of heat pump dryers is 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 large households
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  to buy upfront than condenser dryers, but this will easily be offset by energy savings in the long term, as the most energy-efficient design of the two. 

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.

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 $55 per load as opposed to heat pump dryers that cost around $28 per load.

Heat pump vs condenser dryer: which has more features?

Heat pump and condenser dryers offer similar 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 prevents over-drying and saves on energy. Both types of dryer use multiple drying settings to cater to different fabrics, such as silk, cotton and synthetics. Other features 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 as well as drying 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 clothes drying priorities are fast action and 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 the best option. But if reducing carbon emissions and saving on energy long term is more important than upfront cost, then a heat pump dryer is an ideal choice. When shopping for a new dryer, consider the additional features, functions, design and cycles of each model, plus energy efficiency and stated performance.

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Picture credits: Shablovskyistock/Shutterstock.com, Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock.com, Mdbildes/Shutterstock.com.

Dean Heckscher
Site Editor
Dean Heckscher was a content producer and editor at Canstar Blue for more than five years until 2024, most recently as the Site Editor. He holds dual Bachelor degrees in Business and Creative and Professional Writing from the Queensland University of Technology.

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