There are different types of tumble dryers. Each has its pros and cons.
In this article, we run through the difference between condenser, vented, and heat pump dryers to get a clearer idea.
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A condenser dryer functions by using a process of condensing extremely warm or hot air. When this is done to wet clothing, the moisture from the clothes is removed.
The condensed (now hot, wet) air turns to water which is then fed to an internal reservoir. The reservoir does become full and requires periodic emptying for the condenser dryer to stay effective.
Dryer Placement Benefits
A condenser dryer can be positioned virtually anywhere. Unlike some other types of dryers, it doesn’t necessarily need to be positioned against an external wall.
Whilst some other dryer types do require a hose to go through an external wall, that’s not necessary with a condenser dryer.
Also, it doesn’t create an ongoing problem with moisture collection in smaller living spaces or a room without windows. This makes this type of model appropriate for rooms with little airflow or venting opportunities (this will make more sense once the other dryer types are explained later in this article).
Energy Efficiency and Time Taken
For energy efficiency, condenser dryers are reasonably good.
However, they’re not as effective as heat pump dryers.
Nevertheless, the higher heat levels dry a few minutes faster per kilogram of clothes in the dryer. This is attractive to busy households with multiple loads of washing to wash and dry on a Sunday morning.
Heat Levels and Consequences of It
The heat level with a condenser dryer is considerably higher than for heat pump dryers, for instance. Because of this, fabrics are subjected to higher levels of heat than is sometimes desirable. As a result, using a condenser dryer is likely to wear out or wear through clothes somewhat faster, especially more sensitive fabrics.
With that said, sometimes this is the only type of dryer that’s possible to use due to size or venting restrictions in a rented home.
A vented dryer is perhaps the modern commonly used tumble dryer today.
Clothes are dried by a process of drawing in air from the room where the dryer is situated, the air is then heated up, and passed around the drum while it rotates quickly. The warm air creates moisture evaporation as it moves inside the drum.
A hose connects the dryer through an exterior wall or a window to the outside the property. The dryer vents out the air that’s collected with the moisture (rather than stripping the moisture from the air and reusing it). It then continually pulls in more air from the room and repeats the process over.
Limitations of Vented Dryers
These are affordable and useful dryers. However, they suffer a few negative points.
They operate best in larger rooms that have an ample supply of air. The air needs to be sucked inside the dryer for it to function. In smaller laundry rooms, other dryer types that operate differently are often better performers for this reason.
Vented dryers also require either an open window (a possible security risk as a point of entry into the home) or a hole through an exterior wall to expel the moist air once it’s been used inside the dryer. The vented models cannot function without this facility.
Why Use a Vented Dryer?
They’re less expensive to purchase than other kinds of dryers.
The exterior connected hose expels steam due to the hot evaporation process and not water. While this might be inconvenient, the higher heat levels dry clothes sooner for you.
Heat Pump Dryers
With a heat pump tumble dryer, a pump produces hot air which is used to soak up moisture present in the clothes. Air escapes the drum, proceeds through an evaporator which acts to strip the moisture from it.
The collected condensation is retained in a separate tank, and the now dry air is reheated and sent back into the dryer’s drum to continue drying the clothes.
Better Protection for Clothes
The heat level is significantly reduced with a heat pump dryer compared to other methods.
The lower heat level does account for most of the longer drying time, but it also protects the fabrics during the drying phase, so there’s no singed clothing such as underwear or other more delicate items.
Cleaning and Replacement Filters
With heat pump systems, the tank needs cleaning to ensure it stays effective.
Also, the filtration system is especially important too. The filters must be replaced as often as required by the manufacturer to keep the dryer working well.
Time and Cost Differences to Operate
It does require longer for a heat pump dryer to clean clothes compared to other forms of drying methods such as condensers. Per 1-kilogram load, an additional 5 minutes is required, on average.
However, around half the energy is required making heat pump dryers less expensive to operate and more eco friendly too.
As you can tell from this article, the three types of tumble dryers are distinct from one another.
It’s necessary to consider where the tumble dryer will be situated, how fast you expect clothes to be dried, and the energy efficiency needs too. Once this is known, narrowing down the right type of dryer for your home becomes much easier.
If your main priority is speed and you’re less concerned about energy efficiency a vented model is probably the best option for you, especially if you already have a hole in the outside wall from a previous dryer.
But if you’re looking for a money saving option a condenser tumble dryer could be the better choice, heat pump models being the most efficient but bear in mind that they take longer to dry than normal condenser models as they dry at lower temperatures.
Founder of homeappliancegeek.com, avid cook, and lover of Asian food.
Signature dishes include Thai Red Curry, Chicken Saag, Bibimbap and Sushi.
Massive clean freak; a habit baked-in after spending 9 years in the catering industry.
The one appliance he couldn’t live without? Easily the dishwasher (total relationship saver!).