The 9 best tumble dryers for 2020 - as chosen by Mumsnet users
Scour our Talk threads on tumble dryers and you'll find the full gamut of reviews and experiences. From Mumsnetters dreamily eulogising machines that have reliably dried their clothes for more than a decade to others who are furious at having shelled out for something that conked out six months down the line. It's a fraught topic, which is why you need to read this guide to choosing the best tumble dryer for you.
Things to consider before buying a tumble dryer
Where will you put it?
You could put it in the kitchen, a cupboard, in the garage or anywhere else that makes sense in your home, but this is the first thing you need to decide before you start looking at machines. If you've got a particualr spot in mind, this might influence your choice of machine:
- Freestanding machine – gives you the option to move it from one location to another
- Integrated – installed within a kitchen unit and can be more expensive
- Semi-integrated – also installed within the unit but the dryer drum is hidden behind a door, while the control panel at the top is on display and easily accessible
- Small tumble dryer – a good option if you're short of space, as they tend to weigh 3-4kg, with dimension h67 x w50 x d47cm, and can sit on a worktop
What are the different types of tumble dryers?
There are several types of tumble dryer and Mumsnetters have contrasting views on which is best. But here's a brief rundown of some of the main options:
- Vented tumble dryer – the cheaper, and traditional, type, they pump out the hot and damp air from the drum through a hose. The machine can be permanently vented through an outside wall using a venting kit, which should come with it, or you could hang a hose out of the window when in use, although that's not ideal in winter
- Condenser tumble dryer – works by turning the steam into water which collects in a removable container. Most condenser dryers have an indicator light to let you know when the container needs emptying. With no need for hoses, you can put them anywhere you like
- Heat pump tumble dryer – often expensive to buy but cheaper to run than regular electric dryers. The dryers reheat the air that's sucked out of the laundry then cool it so it condenses back into water. Engineering, eh?
What is sensor technology and do you need it?
We've all heard the horror stories about tumble dryers tripling electricity bills (as well as shrinking clothes). Sensors are manufacturers attempt at solving this problem and making their machines more efficient. They monitor the load and stop the dryer when the laundry is dry – at least that's the idea. Tumble dryers with sensors are often more expensive, but they're designed to save on running costs in the long run.
What other features should you look out for?
- Drum size – the larger the drum, the more clothes you can dry at once, so the more energy-efficient your dryer will be
- Energy efficiency – as well as the above, make sure to check the energy efficiency rating (A+++ marks the most efficient)
- Delay start – this means you can get your dryer to start at a later time to suit you
- Range of programs – this will allow you to choose the best settings to keep your clothes in the best possible condition
If you have small children you'll want to put child locks on your tumble dryer to stop your little ones from fiddling. They are considered a fire risk, due to their high wattage, so don't leave them running unattended (when you go out or overnight).
Here they are, the best tumble dryers according to Mumsnet users
We've rounded up the recommendations from the Talk forums, done some research into what each dryer has to offer, and compiled the list below to make it easier for you to compare. We chose tumble dryers at a variety of price points and with all sorts of bells and whistles. After considering all of the above, here are Mumsnetters' favourite tumble dryers:
1. Bosch Series 4 WTN85200GB condenser tumble dryer
Mumsnetters speak highly of Bosch tumble dryers. One of the great things about them is their self-cleaning condenser which uses condensation to clean itself while in use. This one has a 7kg capacity and easy-to-use LED display controls that include start delay and remaining time. It has AutoDry that should mean you don't get shrinkage and a unique drum structure that will protect your delicates while still delivering fast drying without creases. The 'drainset' system automatically drains condensation water so you won't need to empty it manually.
Energy efficiency: B
“I have the super big Bosch one and I love it! It has a sensor so almost never takes the full drying time (eg for a full load of cotton to “cupboard dry” it says will take 1:58 but it almost never takes that long).”
“I have a Bosch condenser and I love, love, love it. It's been used frequently – at least daily – for two years and so far no probs.”
“I have a Bosch condenser, on occasions it has been on all day. It has the sensor dry function so it stops when the clothes are dry rather than boiling everything to a crisp.”Buy it now from AO.com
Related: Make doing laundry that bit easier with this list of Mumsnetter-approved washing machines.
2. AEG T6DBG822N 6000 series ProSense condenser tumble dryer
At 8kg capacity, and with 10 programmes, this condenser tumble dryer suits medium-sized families (Mumsnetters also recommend AEG vented models too, see below). The sensor should give you excellent results and let you control how long you dry for and at what temperature. It has a reverse tumble action which loosens the clothes, preventing tangling and creasing, as well as child safety features. Noise level is 65 decibels which is about average (the quietest start at around 40db and the really rumbly ones go above 80).
Energy efficiency: B
“We've had an AEG vented sensor one for nearly 10 years and it's brilliant. It's got lots of different settings, and you can override the sensor for stuff that's nearly dry (eg washing that hasn't quite dried on the line). Nothing shrinks so long as you use the right settings.”
“Ours is an AEG and its sensor settings work really well. The only time they don't is if something is only slightly damp when it goes in, eg stuff you've taken off the line when it starts raining after it was nearly dry, but it has 20 and 40 min settings which deal with those perfectly.”
“I've got an AEG condenser, its brilliant.”Buy it now from Amazon
3. John Lewis & Partners JLTDH23 heat pump tumble dryer
“Never had a problem” is what Mumsnetters tend to say about John Lewis own brand tumble dryers. Well, there's nothing wrong with that. Reliable and economical (they tend to have A ratings for efficiency), this one comes with a three year guarantee which you probably won't need but is still nice to have. It boasts 12 programmes, which is more than some of the flashier affairs here, including a separate wool program, a 6kg synthetics program and a mixed XL setting that means you'll no longer need to separate different fabric types.
Type: heat pump
Energy efficiency: A++
“I have no complaints about our John Lewis condenser dryer. Bit pricier than other condensers because it is A rated which makes it very cheap to run – I haven't noticed any big impact on our electricity bill.”
“John Lewis own brand; fast, big and has various settings from crispy dry to damp. With sensors. Been going strong for years.”
“I’ve had my John Lewis tumble dryer for about five years now and never had a problem. It's a condenser drier and adjusts length of time required as it dries.”Buy it now
4. Miele Tumble Dryers
Now, they're probably the most expensive tumble dryers out there, but Miele is a brand that Mumsnetters recommend highly if your budget can stretch to it. With models showing off nifty tech such as heat-pump technology, which offers the same convenience as a condenser but using up to 50% less electricity, it's easy to see why. The heat pump system also means less moisture so you can install it anywhere. It promises the perfect dry and has been tested for the equivalent of 20 years' use (five dries a week).
“Go for a Miele, we have a condensing Miele which is now 10-years-old and as good as the day we brought it!”
“Buy a Miele tumble dryer and a Miele washing machine, hoover, dishwasher and fridge.”
“Miele is the one to get if your budget allows.”Buy now from John Lewis
Related: Fancy whipping up barista-style coffees at home? See which brands came out on top in our round-up of the best coffee machines.
5. Beko DRVS62 Tumble Dryer
Here's another vented tumble dryer under £200, about which Mumsnetters have positive things to say. This 7kg machine allows you to keep track of the cycle with an LED progress indicator. It can also prevent the over-drying of your clothes, thanks to sensor programmes that stop when the optimal dryness level is achieved, and it has an automatic cool down phase, which blows cool air into the drum just before the cycle ends.
Type: freestanding vented
Energy efficiency: C
“We got a cheap Beko because it was the only size that would fit in the cupboard with a maximum depth of 54cm. We've had it for two years and never had a problem. It is 7kg and vented. It does have a sensor, but you can bypass that by just selecting 40 minutes, 1 hour, etc. I found a couple of the programmes left the clothes just a bit damp for me so I chuck everything on the Extra Dry programme now which delivers warm dry clothes every time. A full load of bedding probably takes about an hour. We bought it thinking that it might not be up to much, but it’s been very good.”
“I'm happy with a Beko DRVS62 – one of the cheapest vented ones. It has sensor and timer, is quiet, and I have no issues with it.”
“I've just bought a condenser – a Beko – and I have no complaints with it at all. I simply plugged it in and it was good to go.”Buy it now from Very
6. Samsung DV90M50003X condenser tumble dryer
Woah, check out this stylish graphite Samsung tumble dryer. But is it all surface and no substance? Not at all. It gets top marks for efficiency, it has 14 drying programmes and an 8kg capacity. It recycles hot air to dry your clothes effectively and conserve energy. The smart technology uses moisture and temperature sensors to adjust the drying time and protect loads, and two alarms remind you when the filter and heat exchanger need cleaning (which is not often).
Type: heat pump
Energy efficiency: A++
“I bought a Samsung in 2001 and it lasted until 2014. I want another Samsung and will definitely get another when I move.”
“Bought a top of the range Samsung and love it – it sings me a song when the washing is done. And it cleans at least as well as the Miele.”Buy it now from Currys
7. Zanussi ZDP7208PZ condenser tumble dryer
Another reasonably-priced tumble dryer that Mumsnetters find covers their family's needs. There's plenty that's pleasing here, including 7kg capacity, timed drying options and a reversible door which allows four different handle positions. The humidity sensor stops the dryer damaging your fabrics. It doesn't guarantee your clothes will come out crease-free, but it does feature an easy-iron programme which reduces wrinkles and should make ironing a doddle (or, if you're in a hurry/can't bothered, makes creases more likely to drop out of your clothes if you just throw them on).
Energy efficiency: B
“I tried a Zanussi where staying this summer it was really fab and, when the clothes came out, they really were ready to wear.”
“I have the 7kg tumble dryer from Zanussi, it's six-years-old and never had a single problem with it.”
“Zanussi is my favourite every time. If you’re considering getting one then go for it, I'm sure you will be pleased.”Buy it now from Amazon
8. Indesit IDV75 Vented Tumble Dryer
At under £200, this 7kg capacity vented tumble dryer must be one of the best value machines out there – especially as it comes from a manufacturer that Mumsnetters enthuse about. It features timed drying, refresh cycle and a reverse action drum, as well as different programmes. It has easy to use knob control (no need for smart tech here) and can be trusted to deliver on time, every time. Energy rating is a respectable B and noise level is 69db.
Energy efficiency: B
“We just bought an Indesit. I specifically looked for one that didn't have a sensor as all the bad reviews for sensor ones were due to the sensor not working, or the sensor parts breaking down. I’m very pleased with the Indesit and everything is getting dry."
“I got a basic vented Indesit for about £150 three years ago. I use it all the time and have had no issues.”Buy it now from John Lewis