Inside tumble dryer

Best Condenser Tumble Dryers (2022 UK)

Condenser tumble dryers work by condensing warm damp air from clothes inside the drum into water, which is then deposited into a container to be emptied once drying has finished.

This means they can be located almost anywhere in a house or flat, as they don’t rely on connecting a hose to a vent or window.

There are many condenser tumble dryers available to buy right now, from budget buys to high-end, more expensive models that use modern technology and features.

Best Condenser Tumble Dryers in the UK

1. Beko DTLCE70051W 7Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Beko DTLCE70051W 7Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

 

Load capacity: 7 kg
Dimensions: 84.6 x 59.7 x 56.8 cm
Energy rating: B

The Beko DTLCE70051W is a straightforward, inexpensive condenser dryer with a no-nonsense design. Its 7 kg load capacity make it a good choice for couples and small families.

This dryer has a noise level of 65 decibels, which makes it slightly quieter than average.

The Beko DTLCE70051W has a range of drying programmes ranging from a 10-minute “Cool Refresh” programme to long programmes like “Cottons Extra Dry”, which takes 131 minutes.

The mixed load programme lets you dry 4 kg of cotton and synthetics together, so you only need to run one cycle rather than separating them.

This is a very popular and highly rated condenser dryer that would be a great choice for most households.

 

2. Electra TDC8112S 8Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Electra TDC8112S 8Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Load capacity: 8 kg
Dimensions: 84.5 x 59.6 x 59.2 cm
Energy rating: B

The Electra TDC8112S is a reasonably priced condenser dryer with an 8 kg load capacity, making it a good choice for medium-sized households. With a noise level of 65 dB, it’s slightly quieter than average.

This dryer offers a choice of 15 programmes including quick 10, 29 and 30-minute programmes as well as a range of cotton programmes that take from 126 minutes (iron dry) to 155 minutes (extra dry).

Extra functions include a child lock; a delay start timer that can be set to 3, 6 or 9 hours; and an anti-crease option that will save you time on the ironing!

If you want a straightforward dryer with a good load capacity, the Electra TDC8112S is a great choice. Electra might not be so well known as a brand, but most users find this dryer to be very reliable.

 

3. Candy Smart CSC8DF 8Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Candy Smart CSC8DF 8Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Load capacity: 8 kg
Dimensions: 85 x 59.6 x 58.5 cm
Energy rating: B

The Candy Smart CSC8DF is an 8 kg-capacity dryer that can be connected to your smartphone or tablet to control the start time and programme (hence the ‘Smart’ name). If you want to control the dryer from a phone or tablet, you will need the Candy simply-fi App.

Like most modern tumble dryers, the Candy Smart CSC8DF uses sensors in the drum to detect how moist your clothes are and automatically adjust the cycle time, thereby saving energy and cutting the cycle time.

With a noise level of 69 dB, this dryer is relatively loud (but excessively so).

There are 15 cycles to choose from, including special cycles for baby clothes, jeans and wool, as well as regular cotton and synthetics programmes.

 

4. Beko DCR93161W 9Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Beko DCR93161W 9Kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Load capacity: 9 kg
Dimensions: 85 x 65.4 x 60 cm
Energy rating: B

With a 9 kg capacity, the Beko DCR93161W offers plenty of room for drying large loads of laundry.

This dryer uses sensors to adapt the drying time to the moisture level in your clothing, which prevents over-drying sensitive fabrics and helps save money on energy bills.

If you don’t have time to put your laundry away immediately, you can use the anti-crease programme to rotate the laundry for up to two hours, preventing creases.

With a noise level of 66 decibels, it’s very slightly louder than average.

This dryer is more expensive than some of the others reviewed here, but it has a larger drum capacity and a nice, stylish design.

 

5. Logik LCD7W18

Logik LCD7W18

Load capacity: 7 kg
Dimensions:  84.5 cm high 59.6 x cm wide x 56.3 cm deep
Energy rating: B

The Logik LCD7W18 is a good cheap tumble dryer that dries clothes quickly and effectively. It has a useful light that comes on inside the drum to make it easier to take clothes out without missing anything.

This dryer offers a choice of 15 programmes and uses sensor drying, which detects when clothes are dry and then stops the cycle automatically. There’s also an anti-creasing option, which spins the drum periodically after the cycle is finished to prevent creasing.

One useful additional feature is the delay timer, which lets you program the dryer to start after 3, 6 or 9 hours.

One downside to this dryer is that it can be quite noisy, but that’s to be expected with tumble dryers in this price range.

 

How Do Condenser Dryers Work?

Many of us rely on our tumble dryers to help us dry our laundry, especially when we haven’t got the time, space or good enough weather to dry our clothes outside.

Traditional dryers require a vent to remove the damp air through a hose and out of an open window, or through a vent installed via an outside wall.

However, it’s not always possible or practical to install a vented dryer, particularly in a small house or flat.

Condenser dryers don’t need venting so can be installed almost anywhere, making them a good alternative for when a vented dryer isn’t suitable.

Condenser tumble dryers remove humidity from wet laundry in quite a different way to vented dryers.

In a condenser dryer, there are two separate airflows. The inside airflow is sealed within the drum of the dryer.

This is re-circulated inside the machine and heated, and as the airflow passes through the damp clothes, it collects moisture.

The damp air is diverted into a heat exchanger in one direction, as air from the outside room passes through the condenser in the opposite direction.

As the air is then condensed back into water and is emptied through a hose or into a plastic tank.

Below is a super quick video which shows how condenser dryers work with diagrams:

Condenser Dryer Glossary

Here are some common technical terms you may come across when choosing a condenser tumble dryer.

Load capacity

This refers to the weight of laundry you can put in the dryer, not the weight of the dryer itself.

It refers to the dry weight of clothes (how heavy they are when you take them out of the dryer). This means that if you have an 8 kg washing machine, an 8 kg tumble dryer would be a good choice.

Energy rating

This refers to how energy efficient the machine is. A more energy-efficient model will be better for the environment and also mean you’ll pay less in energy bills. Tumble dryers are known for being expensive to run, so the energy rating is important.

The most common energy rating for a condenser dryer is B.

Reverse action

This means that the drum spins in both directions, which dries laundry more evenly using less energy and with less creasing.

Sensor drying

If your tumble dryer has sensor drying, this means that there are sensors in the drum that will detect when your laundry is dry and then stop the cycle. This saves energy and therefore money.

Delay start timer

A delay start timer allows you to program the dryer to start after a certain period of time. This can be useful, but isn’t always recommended as programming the dryer to start when you’re in bed or out of the house could be dangerous.

Tumble dryers can catch fire, so it’s better to use the tumble dryer while you’re awake and at home just in case.

 

Installing and Using a Condenser Dryer

Although condenser dryers can be fitted almost anywhere, it’s ideal to fit your dryer in a well-ventilated room that allows some of the warm air to escape.

Condenser dryers can raise the temperature of a room, which might save on heating bills but can cause condensation problems on cold surfaces such as windows.

If your condenser dryer has a water tank rather than a hose, it will need to be emptied after each drying cycle as once the tank is full the machine will interrupt the cycle.

Which? also recommend that you remove fluff and debris from the heat exchanger four or five times a year to keep the dryer working effectively.

Condenser drying capability is sometimes built into washing machines, creating washer/dryer combination appliances which have the advantage of being able to dry straight after washing, so you can do your wash and dry immediately without the need to move the clothes across.

These appliances can also save space rather than having a separate washing machine and tumble dryer in small houses and flats. However, there are some drawbacks to washer dryers – this article weighs up the pros and cons.

Tumble Dryer With Pile of Washing

Tumble Dryer FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about tumble dryers.

Are tumble dryers safe? Can they catch fire?

Occasionally, tumble dryers can catch fire and there have been issues with particular models in the past. A fire safety notice has been issued for several models made by Whirlpool, who discovered that their tumble dryers could set on fire when fluff built up and came into contact with the heating element.

Switching the tumble dryer off at the wall when you’re not using it is always a good idea. However, there have been horror stories of some tumble dryers catching fire despite being turned off, so you definitely need to be careful to buy a tumble dryer with a flawless safety record.

We’ve written an in-depth article on which tumble dryers are the safest here.

Do tumble dryers turn off automatically?

Yes, almost all tumble dryers turn themselves off automatically once they’re done. You should check the instructions manual for specific details about how your machine works.

Do tumble dryer sheets work?

Tumble dryer sheets are small sheets of material treated with fabric softener that prevent clothes from picking up static while also softening them and helping them smell nice.

They are usually effective at reducing static and giving your clothes a nice smell, but many contain harmful chemicals and allergens.

Some manufacturers produce fragrance-free and organic tumble dryer sheets for people with sensitive skin or environmental concerns.

Do tumble dryers cause damp?

Vented tumble dryers that aren’t vented properly can cause substantial amounts of damp. They will pump out a lot of moisture, causing condensation and damp.

Condenser tumble dryers are much better than vented dryers if you want to avoid damp, as they store the moisture in a bottle which you can empty down the drain.

However, condenser tumble dryers aren’t always 100% efficient, so they might contribute partially to damp.

Can tumble dryers shrink clothes?

If you’re not careful, using a tumble dryer could shrink your clothes. To prevent this from happening, wash and dry your clothes at a low temperature.

Using too much heat is the main culprit when it comes to shrinking.

Carefully check the care label on your clothes before washing and tumble drying them to make sure they can be safely machine washed and dried.

Can tumble dryers be used in the garage?

You can put your tumble dryer in the garage if it is warm enough, but you shouldn’t if your garage gets very cold in the winter.

If it’s too cold, the dryer might stop working and it might not be covered by the warranty. If you heat your garage this shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s generally not advised to put a tumble dryer in the garage if it gets very cold.

A cold garage combined with a condensation-producing tumble dryer is also a recipe for rusty tools and damp, so if you’re using a vented tumble dryer, make sure it’s vented properly so the moisture is being pumped outside and not into the garage itself.

Are tumble dryers expensive to run?

The cost of running different tumble dryers varies greatly. To get an idea of how cheap a tumble dry will be to run, look at the energy efficiency rating.

A dryer with an ‘A’ rating will cost about half as much to run as a dryer with a ‘C’ rating.

The most energy-efficient dryers are condenser dryers with heat pumps and gas-vented dryers, which typically cost around £30 a year to run.

However, if you buy a standard vented or condenser tumble dryer, you will probably pay closer to £100 a year.

You should look for dryers with good energy efficiency ratings and smart features such as sensors to turn the dryer off when it’s done.

You can also part-dry your clothes and then finish them off with air drying to save more money.

How heavy is a tumble dryer?

The lightest tumble dryers weigh around 15 kg, but a regular tumble dryer will usually weigh around 25-30 kg.

Obviously, the weight of a tumble dryer increases when you put when clothes in it, and most dryers have a capacity of 3-9 kg.

Will tumble drying kill fleas and bed bugs?

Tumble dryers usually won’t kill fleas and bed bugs unless you use the hot setting for over 30 minutes.

However, this might not be a good idea as you could shrink or damage your clothes by using the hottest setting.

 

Condenser vs. Vented Tumble Dryers

Tumble dryers are super handy if you have space in the kitchen or in your laundry room. It’s not always suitable to dry your washing on the line outside and it’s not great drying your clothes on radiators or hanging them indoors.

This is where tumble dryers come in; they take your washing from wet to dry, fluff towels and warm your clothes so you can pop cosy clean clothes on straight away!

Once you’ve decided you’d like a tumble dryer in your life, then you have to decide which type works best for your home: vented or condenser? If you’re wondering what those two words mean, then read on and we’ll help you out.

Vented Tumble Dryers

Vented Tumble Dryer Hose
Hose carrying damp air from vented tumble dryer out of the house

A vented tumble dryer is the original design of this helpful appliance, with a hose which needs to be placed out of a window, door or purpose-built vent.

The hose removes hot, damp air out of the machine and out of the house.

Without the hose, there would just be a hole, which would mean a lot of condensation in the home.

Pros

  • Tend to use less electricity
  • Usually a little cheaper to purchase
  • More reliable than condenser dryers
  • Easier to fix as parts are readily available and simpler to fit etc.
  • Simple to use
  • Available to buy in multiple drum capacities

Cons

  • Can be difficult to find a suitable place for easy venting
  • May require putting a vent hole into the wall
  • If using an open window or door for venting it would be cold in the winter
  • The hose can be prone to wearing or splitting
  • The filter needs to be cleaned regularly or built up fluff/dust can become a fire hazard

Condenser Tumble Dryers

A condenser tumble dryer doesn’t need a hose to remove condensation. Instead, it condenses the liquid into a removable container which can be emptied relatively easily.

Some dryers can be plumbed in so that the water is removed automatically without the need to empty the chamber.

Pros

  • The collected water can be used to water plants so it isn’t wasted
  • Can be placed anywhere
  • More features than a vented dryer
  • Some machines stop when the sensor picks up that the load is dry; saving energy
  • Great if you end up moving to a house which could not have a vented model
  • Available to buy in multiple drum capacities

Cons

  • The condenser chamber is heavy when full of water
  • Should be emptied after each load
  • Costs more than vented
  • Costly to fix
  • Replacement parts aren’t as readily available (for repairs)
  • Multiple filters to clean regularly, with some harder to find than others
  • Cheaper models may still let moisture out into the air, causing damp or mould in your home

Energy Efficiency

If energy efficiency is something that is important to you, then there are some very energy-efficient tumble dryers which are in fact condensers.

They recycle any heat that might normally get lost during a drying cycle making it more efficient and cheaper to run than normal condensers.

They can save you up to £40 per year off your energy bills with typical condensers (of 7 kg capacity) on average cost £71 per year to run whereas an energy-efficient model only sets you back around £34 per year.

Making the Decision

Now you know the pros and cons of vented and condenser tumble dryers, you should be able to choose which will suit your lifestyle, home layout and budget the best.

Even though vented tumble dryers show no signs of being phased out any time soon, if you can invest in a condenser dryer it may be a good option if you plan to keep it long term.

Of course, an energy-efficient condenser tumble dryer would be the best option to save money in the long run, but they are definitely investment appliances. There are no hard and fast rules really about which type is best, as there are reasons for different people to prefer vented over condenser or vice-versa, so the choice is yours!

 

Conclusion

If we had to pick just one condenser tumble dryer to recommend to most people in the UK it would be the Beko DTLCE70051W.

While it isn’t the most advanced product, it’s well priced, easy to use and has a good drum size. It gets the job done and dries clothes well while being easy to clean and maintain.