How much electricity does a clothes dryer use?

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Clothes dryers can be one of the biggest energy-sucking appliances in your home, but conversely are one of the easiest to consider when you are trying to reduce your bills.

The sage advice is simply to try and stop using it, especially in a sunny country such as Australia – where the Hills Hoist was invented! But of course, it’s not always that easy. When the temperature drops, it genuinely can be difficult to get your washing dry, so many of us turn to our trusty tumble dryers. In this Canstar Blue guide then, we reveal what you can expect using a dryer to cost you on average each year, plus share some handy tips and tricks that may help you to reduce these costs.

How much electricity does a clothes dryer use?

A basic vented clothes dryer will generally cost between $76.30 and $534.12 a year to run, depending on the number of loads done each week. A condenser dryer on the other hand, will typically cost between $50.13 and $350.91 annually. Keep in mind that electricity rates vary depending on your location, retailer and plan. The running cost of a clothes dryer will also, of course, depend on the model, capacity and energy efficiency. Here are some approximate yearly costs of running a vented dryer or condenser dryer in a little more detail:

Loads per week Annual cost of Vented Dryer Annual cost of Condenser Dryer
1 $76.30 $50.13
3 $228.91 $150.39
5 $381.51 $250.65
7 $534.12 $350.91

Source: www.canstar.com.au – 30/05/2022. Average usage per load of condenser dryers (5,786 watts) and vented dryers (3,801 watts) based on dryers with a capacity of between 5 and 10kg listed in the Commonwealth of Australia E3 Program’s Registration database. Average usage rate (25.4c/kWh) based on single rate plans on Canstar’s database. Average usage costs are based on an annual usage of  4,200kWh.  

While vented clothes dryers are slightly more expensive to run than condenser dryers, they are usually much cheaper to buy upfront. It’s common to find one under $500 and rarely do they top $1,000. Additionally, if you’re renting your home, then chances are you already have a vented dryer included, and it makes little sense to buy another if you don’t plan on sticking around long-term.

Is it cheaper to run an energy-efficient dryer?

There are two costs you should consider when purchasing a clothes dryer – the initial tag price, and the ongoing electricity usage costs. While a certain model of clothes dryer might appear cheaper at the outset, you may find it will cost you in the long term if it’s not energy efficient. The table below represents the estimated cost per clothes dryer cycle and annual cost, depending on its energy efficiency rating.

Condenser Dryer

Star Rating Cost per load Annual cost (1 load per week)
1 to 4 stars $1.40 $72.93
5 to 10 stars $0.69 $35.80

Vented Dryer

Star Rating Cost per load Annual cost (1 load per week)
1 to 4 stars $1.47 $76.30

Source: www.canstar.com.au – 30/05/2022. Average usage per load of 1 to 4 star condenser dryers (5,531 watts), 5 to 10 star condenser dryers (2,715 watts) and vented dryers (5,786 watts) based on dryers with a capacity of between 5 and 10kg listed in the Commonwealth of Australia E3 Program’s Registration Database. Average usage rate (25.4c/kWh) based on single rate plans on Canstar’s database. Average usage costs are based on an annual usage of 4,200kWh.

As shown in the data above, almost $38 a year can be shaved off energy bills for going with a more energy efficient condenser dryer model, (granted that households are only using the dryer once a week).

Cheap Electricity Plans

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

What about other types of dryers?

There are some alternatives to the ‘old school’ way of drying clothes if you’re determined to reduce your long-term drying costs. They are in the form of heat pump and gas powered dryers.

Heat-Pump Clothes Dryers

V-Zug Adora 7kg Heat Pump Dryer from Appliances Online

Heat pump dryers simply dehumidify the processing air and keep the heat contained within the machine, resulting in less heat escaping and preventing your laundry from getting fogged up! It’s like a condenser dryer, but the humid air doesn’t even have half a chance to escape. As such, heat pump dryers are some of the most efficient dryers on the market. Take for example the V-Zug Adora 7kg model (1200665014) pictured. According to the government’s Energy Ratings Calculator it uses 73kWh per year and boasts a 10-star energy rating, which is an outstanding achievement for clothes dryers. At 73kWh, it’s estimated that it’ll cost a hair under $23 a year to run based on the electricity cost of 30.7c/kWh and one load per week.

With heat pump dryers, you definitely pay the price for energy efficiency. The V-Zug mentioned above retails for just under $4,000 and it’s rare you’ll find one for under $1,000. The average price seems to be around the $1,700 mark. If you use your dryer a lot – say if you live in an apartment and have little-to-no choice – then a heat pump dryer could pay off – but for those budget-conscious then you might struggle to see value in an expensive endeavor.

Gas Clothes Dryers

Another viable option is the gas powered dryer. These can be powered by natural gas or LPG. Take the Rinnai 6kg natural gas powered dryer for example, which uses a maximum of 16.5 megajoules an hour. Using a standard rate of 4c a megajoule, this appliance would cost 66c an hour.

However, traditional dryers are usually much cheaper to buy than gas powered dryers, so even with the massive bill savings it will take years to recoup the initial cost of purchase. Generally gas-powered dryers are rarely available for under the $1,000 mark, and can skyrocket up to and over $5,000. For all but the heaviest dryer users, you may struggle to find value in gas-powered dryers – especially high-end models. It’s up to you to decide if the energy savings are worth it. If you decide not, see below for some tips on how to save money.

Cheap Natural Gas Plans

Gas Plans Compared in VIC

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for VIC. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Melbourne and yearly gas usage of 29,830MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in NSW

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for NSW. These estimated annual costs are based on the Jemena Gas Network in Sydney and yearly gas usage of 18,542MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in WA

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for WA. These estimated annual costs are based on the ATCO Network in Perth and yearly gas usage of 27,620 (units), but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in SA

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for SA. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Adelaide and yearly gas usage of 11,875MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Gas Plans Compared in QLD

Here are some of the cheapest gas deals on our database for QLD. These estimated annual costs are based on the Australian Gas Network in Brisbane and yearly gas usage of 6,842MJ, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest estimated cost. This table includes products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

How can I reduce my clothes dryer costs?

It’s understandable if none of these more energy-efficient dryers are viable options for you. You may be renting, you may not use a dryer much, or you may struggle to see value in purchasing something that costs $1,000 in the name of saving a few bucks. In any case, here are three easy ways to minimise the damage your clothes dryer has on your next energy bill.

Use the dryer in off-peak periods

If you are on a time of use tariff that accounts for energy usage differently depending on time, then consider using your dryer in either ‘shoulder’ or ‘off-peak’ periods. The convenience of loading up your dryer as soon as you get home from work is undeniable, but chances are it’s costing you. With most retailers, off-peak rates are nearly half the price of peak rate and even shoulder periods offer some significant savings. They’re not very convenient, but if you can bear having to dry your clothes at 10pm then you might find your electricity bill friendlier next quarter.

Don’t under/overload your dryer

This might seem like a no-brainer, but overloading a dryer is easy, especially when you’ve got a load full of wet clothes you just want to get out of your hair. Overloading means your clothes have less chance to be fully dried. This means that you’ll likely require a second cycle to fully dry them. With dryer costs up to $2 a load, one more load means that’s now up to $4 out of your pocket.

By the same token, you want to make the most of your load. Under-loading means that you’re simply not getting the most out of your dryer; why waste up to $2 on two shirts and a pair of underwear? Save your dirty clothes where you can, do one wash to fill the washer and dryer the best, and make the most of that $2.

an indoor clothesline

Consider an indoor clothesline

If you’re living in an apartment block, we appreciate that you’re often stuck between a rock and hard place about what you can do to dry your clothes. A full-blown clothesline isn’t feasible, and using the dryer can be both costly and environmentally-unfriendly. In comes the indoor clothesline or ‘clothes horse’. These can be had from around $10, and are a great compromise. If you have a balcony, you can also place it outside for even quicker drying – use pegs though, or risk your underwear on the pavement below for the world to see.

What type of dryer will be best for me?

Owning and using a clothes dryer isn’t exactly cheap. Dryers are frequently seen as one of the most energy-sucking appliances in the house. Though several types of dryer have largely broken that stigma; condenser, heat-pump and gas-powered types of dryer all employ technologies that minimise power use compared to traditional vented dryers. These innovative dryers don’t come cheap though – mostly over $1,000, with some over $5,000. Before buying one you’ll have to consider how much you actually use your dryer and whether you can bear the burden of a hefty upfront cost for slow, long-term money saving.

If you need help choosing a new dryer for your home, be sure to check out our annual clothes dryer ratings. Here consumers which brands they think are top notch across a variety of categories, from performance and reliability, value for money, design, overall satisfaction and more.

Best-Rated Clothes Dryers

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