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Your guide to buying tumble dryers

Tired of waiting for a clear day to dry your washing?

A powerful, efficient tumble dryer from Homebase can help you to dry your clothes quickly and easily whatever the weather, and are really useful if you’ve got a large family, and don’t want every bannister and radiator in your home permanently covered in clothes.

When choosing the right tumble dryer, there’s a lot to think about – so we’ve produced this helpful guide designed to help you navigate through the process and find the perfect dryer, so you can get your family’s laundry under control.

What is the best type of tumble dryer for me?

Condenser models

Condenser models are convenient as they can be installed anywhere in the home. They don’t require ventilation, which means they can even be tucked away in cupboards or under the stairs, as they work by heating the air within the drum, before blowing it through the clothes.

The air then passes through a heat exchanger and the water re-condenses, before collecting in a built-in tray, which you can then easily remove and empty.

Vented models

Vented tumble dryers tend to be cheaper than condensed models, but they require ventilation, and need to be installed next to a window or wall vent. They work by removing moisture from the clothes and expelling warm damp air and steam through a hose.

What size should I choose?

The capacity of tumble dryers varies, from 3kg to 6kg. Whilst a smaller model is perfect for singles and couples, if you’ve got a big family, it’s a good move to go for a larger 6kg model.

What features should I look out for?

Tumble dryers come with a range of different features including:


Different models come with varying timer capabilities. They typically range from 80 minutes to 160 minutes.

Heat settings

Generally, the more upmarket and sophisticated the dryer, the more heat settings it will come with. This is useful when drying different types of materials. Delicate items will require a lower temperature than other clothes.

Automatic drying

Some models feature an automatic drying feature which alters the drying setting to suit the load, saving you time checking on your clothes.

Crease reduction

Some models are designed to intermittently rotate once the load is dry until it is ready to be emptied. This reduces creasing, so you won’t have to do as much ironing.

Reverse tumble

Dryers with a reverse tumble feature give clothes a chance to properly separate. This enables them to dry faster and more evenly.

Filter/reservoir full indicator

This lets you know when you need to empty the filter/water reservoir, so you can ensure that your dryer is working at peak efficiency.

What energy efficiency rating should I choose?

Tumble dryers are graded from A through to G, with A being the most energy-efficient, and in general, the newer the model, the more energy efficient it is likely to be. Some of the latest models come with AAA efficiency – which is the highest efficiency currently available.

Whilst the more sophisticated A, AA and AAA rated models tend to be more expensive to purchase, they are more efficient and have lower running costs, meaning that they use less electricity, and can provide much better value in the long run.

What should I consider when buying a tumble dryer?

There are many factors you should consider when buying a tumble dryer.

 Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Repair costs: How affordable would it be to repair?
  • Size: What drying capacity does your household need?
  • Cost: Which dryer can you afford based upon your budget?
  • Energy efficiency: How energy efficient is the dryer?
  • Features: Which additional features come with the model you are interested in?

Can I stack my tumble dryer on top of the washing machine?

If you are a bit short on space, it might be possible to stack the tumble dryer on top of the washing machine. However, if you do this it is recommended that you use a specialised stacking kit so that it holds the tumble dryer securely while it is running to avoid vibration damage.

Should I pay attention to brand?

Brand can be an important consideration when it comes to lifespan and the cost of repairs, with some brands having a better reputation for reliability than others. It’s a good move to do a little research on the different brands and models available before choosing the right one for you.

What safety features should I be aware of?

During operation, tumble dryers can become extremely hot and if not properly maintained, excess lint and fluff can become a fire risk. To prevent this, it’s really important to clean the dryer and empty the filter regularly. For added safety, never leave your dryer running overnight, or when you leave the house, and don’t overload it.

Apart from that, it’s probably a sound plan to read through the instruction manual before use.

What is the typical annual consumption?

This varies massively, depending on the efficiency and capacity of the dryer, and how you and your family use it. You may notice some models feature typical annual consumption information. This is an estimation of how much energy and water the dryer will use throughout the year, and is based upon a family of four’s average use.

Should I be concerned with noise levels?

Whilst noise levels vary from model to model, on average tumble dryers tend to reach around 70dB. If you’re concerned about noise, there are quieter models available, and some manufacturers provide noise level information (although they aren’t required to do so).

Are there any purchasing tips I need to be aware of?

It might sound obvious, but make sure you choose a dryer that’s suitable for your home. If you don’t have access to good ventilation, you’ll need to go for a condensing model, and if you opt for a vented model, it will need to be installed correctly.

If you opt for a condensing model, it’s important to remember that they cannot be used in low or high temperature conditions (under 5ᵒC or over 30ᵒC), and work best in larger rooms, so they have access to plenty of fresh air.

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