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How to choose a tumble dryer – vented or condenser?

OK, we know the most energy efficient way to dry our clothes is outdoors, but modern lifestyles don’t always allow for this, and a tumble dryer, for a busy family, is often seen as a necessity. But should you choose a vented or a condenser tumble dryer? And what else should you look for?

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Vented machines have those wiggly hoses that take the damp air produced by the drying process outside, so are restricted where you can put them. You either have to put a large hole in an outside wall, or dangle the hose attractively out of an open window. Vented machines are often cheaper to buy than condenser models and sometimes cost less to run. Not all machines come with a venting kit, so check this out before you buy.

Tumble drier vent

Vented tumble driers require outside wall or opening window

The bonus of a condenser tumble dryer, is that they don’t need venting so can be put in almost any well-ventilated spot. They work by converting the moist air into water, diverting it to a tank, which is then emptied, however a full water reservoir can weigh up to 6kg!  They have improved in energy efficiency in recent years and now condenser models rank top on Sust-it. But that doesn’t mean all models cost less to run, and you may need to pay a bit more for a decent appliance.

Condenser tumble dryer water tank

You will need to empty the water reservoir.

Energy efficiency

A tumble dryer can be one of the most energy guzzling appliances in our homes, with some appliances having an average running cost of over £150 per year! All machines will be given an energy and drying performance grading of A-G, A being the top. You can help cut down on energy use by not overloading and drying similar fabrics together. Also look for appliances that have a sensor to turn off the heater when clothes are dry.

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