Cost of Running a Tumble Dryer – Cheaper than you thought when using a heat pump vs condenser or vented

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With the cost of living spiralling out of control and huge jumps in the cost of energy, I have been looking for ways to reduce costs as we approach both winter and the October price cap increase.

I probably don't need to remind any readers, but the current price cap is £1,971, this was due to an increase of 80% up to £3,549, but with Government intervention, this has been reduced to £2,500.

This means that if you are on a standard varial tariff, then your costs are going to increase by about 26% this October. Let's hope it is not a cold winter.

Last October, I locked in a 2-year fixed, which saw my electricity jump up to 18.36p/kWh. I was furious at the time, but I am now relieved, the current price is about 28p/kWh. This would have then jumped to around 52p/kWh but instead will be roughly 35p/kWh. What a bargain.

With the UK being cold and rainy, one of the big costs we incur is the cost of drying our clothes.

Many people in the UK don't have a tumble dryer, and they have a bit of a bad reputation for using a lot of electricity.

I started this post to prove that point and suggest cheap alternatives to dry your clothes. But, it appears that not all tumble dryers deserve the reputation they have. They might be cheaper to run than popular alternatives.  

I was surprised at how much electricity a heated clothes rack uses. I used mine to dry some items I needed quickly, and it will draw about 220W. It is not a lot of electricity, but I find that they don't hold that many clothes and they are very easy to forget about and leave on (I left mine running for over 24 hours!).

Heat Pump vs Condenser vs Vented Tumble Dryers

The type of tumble dryer you buy is very important. You have three types of tumble dryers, but vented and condenser are almost the same.

A vented dryer blows air over a heating coil into the tumble drum, and the hot, damp air is then expelled through a vent outside. This is normally quite a large flexible tube similar to portable air conditioning units, so the installation can be difficult, unless you manually dangle the tube out of a window each time you use it.

A condenser does exactly the same thing, but it takes the hot, damp air and condenses it into a container which needs emptying.

Neither of these dryers is energy efficient, and this is where the bad reputation comes from.

A heat pump dryer is much more expensive to buy up front but cheaper to run. These also condense the damp air, but they will reuse the heat generated. They also don't have a heating coil but instead work similarly to an air-con (but opposite).

With these, the hot air gets reused rather than dumped outside.

Cost of running a tumble dryer

I don't have a tumble dryer, so I have taken information from Currys. We have to assume they are all telling the truth and coming up with these figures in the same way.

Interestingly, these all seem to use the old energy rating standard with A++ style ratings. My best guess is that all the examples were launched before the new standard came into place.

Heat Pump Tumble Dryers

LOGIK LHP8W18 8 kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

  • Cheapest heat pump tumble dryer on Currys
  • Price: £289.97
  • Type: Heat Pump
  • Energy consumption per cycle
    • Full load: 1.88 kWh
    • Half load: 1.1 kWh
  • Annual energy consumption: 235 kWh
  • Cost to run per load:
    • September: £0.52
    • Original October price cap: £0.98
    • Government-backed price cap: £0.66
  • Cost to run annually:
    • September: £65.80
    • Original October price cap: £122.20
    • Government-backed price cap: £82.25

Samsung Series 5 DV80TA020TH/EU 8 kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

Preview Product Rating Price
Samsung Series 5 DV80TA020TH/EU with OptimalDry™,... Samsung Series 5 DV80TA020TH/EU with OptimalDry™,... No ratings yet £629.00
  • Best rated heat pump drying on Currys
  • Price: £629
  • Type: Heat Pump
  • Energy efficiency class: A++
  • Energy consumption per cycle
    • Full load: 1.85 kWh
    • Half load: 1.1 kWh
  • Annual energy consumption: 235 kWh
  • Cost to run per load:
    • September: £0.52
    • Original October price cap: £0.96
    • Government-backed price cap: £0.65
  • Cost to run annually:
    • September: £65.80
    • Original October price cap: £122.20
    • Government-backed price cap: £82.25

Grundig GT56824CW WiFi-enabled 8 kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

  • Highest energy efficiency heat pump dryer with good reviews in order of low to high price.
  • Price: £499
  • Type: Heat Pump
  • Energy efficiency class: A+++
  • Energy consumption per cycle:
    • Full load: 1.44 kWh
    • Half load: 0.81 kWh
  • Annual energy consumption: 176.8 kWh
  • Cost to run per load:
    • September: £0.40
    • Original October price cap: £0.75
    • Government-backed price cap: £0.50
  • Cost to run annually:
    • September: £49.50
    • Original October price cap: £91.93
    • Government-backed price cap: £61.88

Condenser Tumble Dryers

LOGIK LCD7W18 7 kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

  • Cheapest
  • Price: £209
  • Type: Condenser
  • Energy efficiency class: B
  • Energy consumption per cycle:
    • Full load: 4.18  kWh
    • Half load:  2.31 kWh
  • Annual energy consumption: 504 kWh
  • Cost to run per load:
    • September: £1.17
    • Original October price cap: £2.17
    • Government-backed price cap: £1.46
  • Cost to run annually:
    • September: £141
    • Original October price cap: £262
    • Government-backed price cap: £176

Beko DTBC10001W 10 kg Condenser Tumble Dryer

Preview Product Rating Price
Beko DTLCE80051W Freestanding 8kg Condenser Tumble Dryer -... Beko DTLCE80051W Freestanding 8kg Condenser Tumble Dryer -... 228 Reviews £328.99
  • Best Reviewed
  • Price: £269
  • Type: Condenser
  • Energy efficiency class: B
  • Energy consumption per cycle:
    • Full load: 5.73 kWh
    • Half load:  2.99 kWh
  • Annual energy consumption: 670 kWh
  • Cost to run per load:
    • September: £1.60
    • Original October price cap: £2.98
    • Government-backed price cap: £2.51
  • Cost to run annually:
    • September: £188
    • Original October price cap: £348
    • Government-backed price cap: £235

Vented Tumble Dryers

Logik LVD7W18 7 kg Vented Tumble Dryer

  • Best reviewed & cheapest
  • Price: £189
  • Type: Vented
  • Energy efficiency class: C
  • Energy consumption per cycle:
    • Full load: 4.49 kWh
    • Half load:  2.27 kWh
  • Annual energy consumption: 520 kWh
  • Cost to run per load:
    • September: £1.26
    • Original October price cap: £2.33
    • Government-backed price cap: £157
  • Cost to run annually:
    • September: £145.60
    • Original October price cap: £270.4
    • Government-backed price cap: £182

Return on investment time when buying a heat pump vs condensing tumble dryer?

Boris Johnson may be an utterly out-of-touch moron to suggest we buy a new kettle and save £10 per year on our electricity. But the logic is sound if you are planning on buying a new appliance anyway.

A lot of the very high energy-efficient appliances come with a premium price tag, and in the past, I have suggested that it is not always worth it because you'd unlikely see a return on investment, or it would take years.

This is, or was, also true when it comes to replacing appliances. Spending £500 on a new fridge to save 30 kWh/year is probably not worth it when it only saves £10 or so in electricity.

However, if you want to buy a tumble dryer, it appears wise to spend a little extra on a heat pump dryer vs either a condenser or vented.

The cheapest heat pump tumble dryer is about £300, whereas the cheapest vent is about £190, or £209 for a condenser. So there is a price difference between £90 and £110.

The cheapest heat pump dryer costs £82.25 annually to run (approximately), while the vented is £145.60, based on the new government-backed price cap. That's a £63.35 difference, and you would have a positive return on investment at the end of year two.

For the condensing tumble dryer, that is £176 to run annually, a £93.75 difference. This means you would see a positive return on investment within a year.

Last update on 2023-01-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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