Are heat pump tumble dryers worth the money?

The heat pump tumble dryer is known to be energy-saving yet high-priced. But is it worth buying in the name of our laundry? We break down everything you need to know

Heat pump dryer from Samsung
(Image credit: Samsung)

When it comes to doing laundry, there’s no denying that the best tumble dryers have made our lives much easier, and you might have read that heat pump tumble dryers are among the best out there, but they're also the most expensive. So are heat pump dryers worth the cost? We'll explain what you need to know and give you our verdict.

The many different types of tumble dryer are understandably confusing to consider. Most people only know of the vented dryer (where the moisture and hot air vent outside), or a condenser type (collects water in an internal tank.) Heat pump dryers are different to both of these. 

Heat pump dryers are generally more economical to run, making it an eco-friendly alternative, and saving you money in each use. There are more advantages than just that, though – let's take a look at the pros and cons of buying a heat pump dryer, and whether they are really worth the spend.

How does a heat pump tumble dryer work?

The heat pump dryer removes moisture by simply heating air in the drum which is then filtered and partially cooled. Similar to the condenser dryer, the water is collected in an internal tank as it condenses, so you won’t need an external vent or hose outside. 

The difference is that, while the air stays warm and dry, the pump dryer reuses the remaining heat left in the drum. So this essentially recycles the hot air as much as is possible while still actually drying things, making the system more efficient.

What are the advantages of a heat pump tumble dryer?

There are several benefits of buying a heat pump dryer. The main one of course, is energy efficiency. Tumble dryers are notorious for using up a lot of electricity, which is one of the reasons many households don’t use theirs often. However, heat pump dryers can use half the energy (or even less) compared to the other types. This may massively cut down on your energy bills, saving you money in the long-run – especially over winter, when energy costs are already soaring. 

In addition, this energy-saving factor makes drying clothes much more convenient, because you can use it on a more frequent basis without worrying about cost. Moreso, if you have a large family or live in a home that lacks a suitable drying space, this can be the more economical option. 

Another benefit is heat pump dryers are less abrasive on your laundry due to the slightly lower temperatures. Being mostly high-end machines typically use moisture sensors to give your clothes a more consistent dry and treat laundry with care. This means it’s gentler on fabrics and you won’t have to worry about your favourite jumper shrinking to fit a toddler!

What are the disadvantages of a heat pump tumble dryer?

That all said, heat pump dryers do come at a cost. They can be rather expensive, costing up to a few hundred pounds more than their counterparts. Having said that, prices have been dropping recently due to competition. 

Some heat pump dryers tend to dry clothes slower than vent or condenser tumble dryers. Although, the newer ones usually have timer functions and offer a better drying quality. Finally, just like a condenser tumble dryer, you would need to empty the water collector/reservoir once it's full – you'll probably get into the habit of doing it quickly before each wash. This can also be an advantage, though, because it means you can position a heat pump tumble dryer anywhere, with no need to worry about venting.

Heat pump dryers: our verdict

Heat pump tumble dryers are certainly the best option if you want to save energy and slash your electricity bills. They are more economical to run and offer excellent drying performance. 

Having said that, they are more expensive to buy than vented or condenser tumble dryers, so may not be cost -effective for single households, couples or those who will rarely use it. In addition, some heat pump dryers can take a little longer to dry clothes. 

However, the heat pump dryer is ideal for big families and busy households who will certainly benefit from this investment and get their money’s worth. The flexibility to position it wherever you want is really useful, too.

Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence is a freelance lifestyle journalist and digital editor for national publications. She also has a rather unhealthy obsession for Homes & Interiors, and loves a good bargain.