Tumble dryer speed

How Fast Does a Tumble Dryer Spin? (RPM and MPH)

Unlike washing machines, tumble dryer products descriptions don’t normally list the spin speed, so it takes a bit of research to find out exactly how fast they spin in revolutions per minute (rpm).

Just by looking at a tumble dryer, you can see that it spins much slower than a washing machine on a spin cycle. Your tumble dryer won’t shake like a washing machine does on a spin cycle.

Washing machines can reach speeds of 1800 revolutions per minute (rpm) or more, but tumble dryers don’t spin anywhere near this fast.

So, we know that a tumble dryer’s spin speed is slower than that of a washing machine, but how much? Read on to find out.


How Fast Does a Tumble Dryer Spin in RPM?

After scouring the internet for information and observing several tumble dryers in operation, we’ve concluded that the typical home tumble dryer spins at around 50 revolutions per minute (rpm).

This is the speed at which the drum spins, rather than the motor powering it.

Here are a few sources that helped us arrive at this figure:

  • This patent suggests tumble drying clothes at speeds of 45-54 rpm for maximum efficiency.
  • This research paper says that a “drum rotational speed of 45 – 50 rpm was found to be optimal to minimize energy consumption and drying time due to the fabric movement patterns”.
  • This research paper states that drum speeds from 38 to 58 rpm were used in experiments on the evenness of fabric drying in a heat pump dryer.
  • The Midea MDG09EC80 has a maximum rotational speed of 55 rpm.
  • The Haier HD90-A636 has a maximum rotational speed of 60 rpm.
  • The Samsung Series 5+ DV90T5240AW/S1 has a maximum rotational speed of 50 rpm.
  • We watched several tumble dryers during a cycle and counted how many times the drum rotated in a minute. We found the figure ranged from 54 to 60 rpm.

Based on these sources, we think it’s safe to assume the typical tumble dryer spins at around 50 rpm, but can range from 38 to 60 rpm.

Of course, the exact speed will depend on which drying program you are using as well as your particular model of tumble dryer.


How Fast Does a Tumble Dryer Spin in MPH?

We can work out how fast a tumble dryer spins in miles per hour (mph) using the spin speed in rpm and information about the size of the drum.

If we assume the radius of a domestic tumble dryer is 24 cm, then the circumference will be:

Circumference = π * 24 = 75.4 cm

If we assume that the spin speed is 50 rpm, then there will be 50 * 60 = 3,000 revolutions per hour.

If the circumference is 75.4 cm, it will spin (75.4/100) * 50 = 37.7 metres per minute, or 37.7 * 60 = 2,262 metres per hour. This is the equivalent of 1.4 miles.

Therefore, a tumble dryer with a drum rotation speed of 50 rpm would be spinning at around 1.4 miles per hour.

This is the speed a single point on the edge of the tumble dryer drum would move.

The formula for converting a tumble dryer’s rpm to mph is as follows:

Mph = (circumference in metres * rpm * 60)/1609.34


How Fast a Tumble Dryer Spins Compared to a Washing Machine

spin speed washing machine

Washing machines usually spin around 1200 rpm on the spin cycle, but this can be as fast as 1800 rpm. This is much faster than the typical 50-60 rpm of a domestic tumble dryer.

In miles per hour, 1200 rpm works out 33.73 miles per hour for a washing machine with a 24 cm-diameter drum. A tumble dryer of the same size only spins 1.4 miles per hour.

Based on our research, a washing machine on the spin cycle will be spinning about 24 times faster than a tumble dryer.