Full tumble dryer

Does a Tumble Dryer’s Capacity Refer to Wet or Dry Washing?

When buying a tumble dryer, capacity is one of the first factors most people will consider. The most popular tumble dryers have a capacity of 8 or 9 kg.

Compact machines are also available with a reduced capacity for those struggling for space, and those with a larger family might prefer a machine with a much bigger capacity.

However, before purchasing a new tumble dryer it’s important to understand exactly what the stated capacity of a tumble dryer actually means.

Does a tumble dryer’s capacity refer to wet washing that’s been taken straight from the washing machine, or does it refer to the weight of dry clothes?


Does a Tumble Dryer’s Capacity Refer to Wet or Dry Washing?

The capacity of a tumble dryer refers to the dry weight of laundry. That is, the weight before we put clothes into the washing machine, or after we take them out of the tumble dryer (once they’ve dried).

It might seem counterintuitive, but this is the way tumble dryer manufacturers measure capacity, as you can see in this Beko user manual (PDF) and in this dryer buying guide from LG.

The laundry we put into a tumble dryer from a washing machine is always wet, and we all know that wet clothes are much heavier than dry ones.

So five wet towels, for example, will weigh more than five dry towels. For this reason it might seem logical to expect that tumble dryer capacity would be based on the weight of wet clothes. However, this isn’t actually the case.

If you look online or in a store and see ‘7 kg capacity’ on a dryer for example, this is always referring to the weight of dry clothes. Tumble dryers are built to handle the increase in weight once the dry clothes are wet from a wash.

Washing machine capacities are also based on the weight of dry laundry, so if you fill a 7 kg capacity washing machine with clothes, wash them and then take them out wet, a 7 kg dryer will be able to cope with drying that load.

This means you can simply transfer your laundry from your washing machine to your dryer and be confident that it will fit and be dried efficiently.

Does a Tumble Dryer’s Capacity Refer to Wet or Dry Washing?


How Much Does Dry Laundry Actually Weigh?

In reality, most of us don’t really know how much our dry dirty clothes actually weigh, so it’s worth knowing that 1 kg of dry laundry is roughly the equivalent of 5 shirts or 2 bath towels, or an outfit such as trousers, top, underwear and socks.