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Heat Pump vs Condenser Tumble Dryer Running Costs Comparison

power cost to run tumble dryer

It’s no surprise to hear that tumble dryers are one of the most expensive electrical appliances to run in the home, with vented and condenser models burning through roughly 4.70 kWh. 

Around 97% of households have a washing machine, while 62% of households have a dryer, that’s more than half of the homes in the UK now use a tumble dryer to dry clothes.

Of course, tumble dryers don’t get used as much during the summer months, but during autumn and winter, these power guzzlers are running at least once or twice per week. And with energy prices skyrocketing, you want to make sure your next tumble dryer purchase is a cost-effective one.

Before we start calculating and crunching tumblers, we can confirm that heat pump tumble dryers are far more energy efficient and cost less to run than condenser tumble dryers. At today’s energy rates, the typical 2,500-watt condenser tumble dryer costs around £1.62 to dry a full load for 60 minutes, at 4.75kWh, while the same washing load in an 800-watt heat pump dryer costs just £0.70p at 2.05kWh.

Generally, condenser tumble dryers operate in the 2,300 – 2,700 watt range, and heat pumps run at 800 – 900 watts. As you can see, heat pump dryers need far less electrical wattage to operate right out of the box, as they’re able to dry clothes more efficiently and with less heat, therefore, cost much less to run.  

In fact, almost all heat pump tumble dryers have an energy efficiency rating of A  through A+++, while condenser tumble dryers are almost always B rated. 

Let’s talk about how these calculations are made. 

On your electricity bill, the kWh (kilowatt-hour) will be listed as “units.” Calculating a tumble dryer’s operating costs involves multiplying its wattage by the duration of its use and then by the price of energy.

For example, the current price for household electricity in the UK is 34p per kWh. That means, for every hour that an appliance uses 1,000 watts of electricity, it will cost 34p.

The amount of power a tumble dryer uses will depend on the laundry load, how wet the clothes are, the weight capacity of the machine, and in the case of vented a condenser dryer, the external temperature can affect performance. When all load conditions and fuel tariffs are equal, heat pump dryers are far cheaper to use when compared to condenser dryers. 

Heat Pump Dryer Price kWh

We’ll use a popular Bosch heat pump tumble dryer for this calculation, and then compare costs to the same model of Bosch dryer, but with a condenser system, calculated at the current electricity rate of £0.34 per kWh.

Bosch heat pump dryer
Bosch Series 6 Heat Pump / Condenser Tumble Dryer
  • Bosch Series 6 
  • Model: WQG245S9GB
  • Capacity: 9kg
  • Type: Heat Pump
  • Energy class: A++
  • Full-load typical cotton programme energy consumption: 2.05kWh 
  • Cost for 110 minutes cycle: £1.28

Condenser Dryer Price kWh

  • Bosch Series 6
  • Model:  WPG23108GB 
  • Capacity: 9kg
  • Type: Condenser
  • Energy class: B
  • Full-load typical cotton programme energy consumption: 4.71kWh
  • Cost for 110 minutes cycle: £2.94

The heat pump dryer comes out on top, with a saving of £1.66 per dry cycle, or 56% less expensive compared to the condenser dryer.

Sust-it has a very handy energy cost calculator that you can use to accurately gauge the running expense of your type of tumble dryer, or any appliance. All you need is some wattage or kWh details that should be in your appliance manual or energy rating label. Alternatively, your Smart Meter can give you an overview of how much value you’re getting out of your tumble dryer in a week, month, or year. 

Ways to Save on Tumble Dryer Costs

  1. Not Overly Wet: Make sure the washing you’re putting into the tumble dryer is not soaking wet. Only damp or moderately wet loads should be dried using a tumble dryer. Set your washing machine to a high rpm spin to thoroughly rinse as much water out of the fabrics as possible before tumble drying. This will means your drying cycle ends quicker. 
  2. Keep it Clean: The accumulation of lint in a tumble dryer may not appear dangerous, but it actually restricts the free movement of hot air inside the machine. You’ll waste more energy trying to get the machine to work properly.
  3. Leave out the heavy stuff: Try and hang larger items out to dry in the house, over a central heating radiator (not electric) or drying rack. Things like big towels and bedding can take longer to dry in a tumble dryer, meaning all the items of clothing that would dry quickly, will be running inside the drum because there’s a large item that is taking longer to dry.
  4. Stick to the Dryer Load: Only use your tumble dryer when necessary and stick to the load capacity. 6 – 7kg machines can’t handle the same load as a 9 – 10kg dryer.