Heat Pump Tumble Dryers: All You Need to Know
Written by Jasmine Vorley
Have you ever heard of a heat pump tumble dryer? They’re growing in popularity in the UK, thanks to their ability to use considerably less energy – up to 50% less, in fact. However, because they cost more than normal tumble dryers, you may be wondering how they work, and what the savings could actually amount to.
We want to explain in straightforward terms what exactly heat pump tumble dryers are – and outline the pros and cons of owning one. We’ll also get into the average savings, to estimate how long it might take to recoup your costs. Let’s take a look.
What is a heat pump tumble dryer?
Whilst other types of tumble dryers (i.e. condenser and vented tumble dryers) release the hot air they use to dry clothes, a heat pump tumble dryer reuses it.
Here’s how it works: firstly, the tumble dryer makes hot air to absorb moisture from the wet clothes. Then, the moist air passes through the drum and goes through an evaporator, which removes the moisture. Then the dry, warm air is reheated and used to continue drying your clothes.
It’s a closed-loop heat exchange system. Sounds fancy, but it basically means your clothes can get dried at a lower temperature, which is better for your clothes and your bills.
What are the advantages of heat pump tumble dryers?
- They’re cheaper to run. You can expect to pay far less on your electricity bills when you have a heat pump tumble dryer instead of a condenser or vented tumble dryer. This is because the heat pump technology recycles warm air, instead of constantly heating it from scratch.
- They’re better for your clothes. Your clothing doesn’t like being exposed to hot air. Fabrics shrink, necklines get misshapen and prints get degraded. A heat pump tumble dryer will dry your laundry at a lower temperature, which extends the life of your clothes.
- They’re more environmentally friendly. Tumble dryers use a lot of energy, which isn’t just a problem for your wallet – it takes its toll on the environment too. Using a much more energy-efficient appliance reduces your household’s electricity use, and thus your carbon footprint.
- They can be placed anywhere. Whereas other types of tumble dryers need to be plumped in or have a vent pipe coming out of your house, heat pump tumble dryers can be placed wherever is convenient. All the moisture they draw from your wet clothes goes into an easy-to-empty container.
What are the disadvantages of heat pump tumble dryers?
- They’re more expensive. Heat pump tumble dryers aren’t as expensive as they used to be – but they still cost considerably more than other kinds of tumble dryers. When you start looking at the real budget tumble dryer options, a heat pump model could set you back two or three times more.
- They’re slightly slower. Because they dry your clothes at a lower temperature, heat pump tumble dryers take a little longer to dry your clothes. However, because they’re so efficient, drying times tend to only be extended by 5 to 15 minutes.
How much could I save with a heat pump tumble dryer?
So – when you crunch the numbers, what are the savings in real terms?
- A vented tumble dryer uses 5.34kWh for a full load, which works out to be £1.82 per cycle and £216 per year.
- A condenser tumble dryer uses 5.2kWh for a full load, which works out to be £1.77 per cycle and £209.78 per year.
- A heat pump tumble dryer uses 2.16kWh for a full load, which works out to be just 73p per cycle and £88.06 per year. That’s a big saving!
These estimates are calculated using current energy prices, assuming a full load of laundry twice a week in a 9kg machine.
Do you use your tumble dryer more often? The savings could be significant:
- Twice a week – you could save £118.25 per year versus a condenser dryer.
- Three times a week – you could save £177.37 per year versus a condenser dryer.
- Four times a week – you could save £236.49 per year versus a condenser dryer.
- Five times a week – you could save £295.62 per year versus a condenser dryer.
So depending on how often you use your tumble dryer, a heat pump model could rapidly pay for itself. With energy prices set to continue climbing in current years – and with many heat pump tumble dryers coming with long manufacturer guarantees – making the switch could be a no-brainer.
Interested in switching to a more energy-efficient tumble dryer? Take a look at our collection of efficient appliances here.
Air Fryers & Slow Cookers
Reduce your energy usage and cook smarter with our range of air fryers and slow cookers
Slimline and traditional freestanding energy efficient dishwashers for a variety of place settings
Food Processors & Blenders
Reduce your food waste, carbon footprint and save money with our range of food processors and blenders
Freestanding tall and under-counter energy efficient freezers
A range of energy efficient, frost-free, and freestanding fridge freezers
A range of freestanding energy efficient tall and under-counter fridges
Energy efficient condenser and heat pump tumble dryers
Energy efficient washing machines from brand like Beko, Hotpoint and Bosch