We know what you’re thinking. The words eco-friendly and tumble dryer don’t naturally go together, as these major kitchen appliances are renowned for their excessive energy consumption.
Of course, nothing is better for the environment than drying clothes on a line outside but that’s not always a possibility. As well as the temperamental British weather, drying outside can be difficult or even impossible if you have to lots of washing to get through, no outdoor space or need to dry laundry quickly.
There’s a huge difference between old tumble dryers and the latest heat pump models. Previously there were only two types of appliances to choose from – a condenser, which removes the moisture from clothes and collects it in a tank, and a vented tumble dryer, which expels warm air though an external vent or window hose.
A far more eco-friendly option is a heat pump tumble dryer. These use hot air normally lost in the drying process to extract water from clothes which then evaporates in a tank. They don’t need a hose out of a wall or create any hot air within your home, and are gentler on clothes than traditional tumble dryers to avoid the dreaded shrinkage.
However, they will collect water in a container that needs regular emptying, though an exhaust pipe can be fitted to some models to avoid this if preferred. All are vastly more environmentally friendly than other models of dryer, using far less energy than older models and slashing energy bills. But be warned: heat pump tumble dryers are much more expensive to buy in the first place.
Shop the best eco-friendly tumble dryers below.
AEG 8000 AbsoluteCare 8kg T8DEE945R
Call us impatient but we don’t have always have time to wait for every item to dry on a line or airer. Yet tumble dryers have always been a total no-go for delicate items, wreaking havoc on waterproof clothes, fragile silk and delicate wool.
This stylish A++ rated tumble dryer promises you can put everything – everything! – you can wash in to dry too. The AbsoluteCare System has tailored programming to precisely control the movement and temperature of the drying cycle, prevent shrinkage and maintain shape. This means it will keep that precious woollen jumper flat to replicate awkward lay flat drying – in fact, it’s so good it’s even certified by Woolmark so you can rest easy.
Astonishingly, this actually restores water protection for outdoor clothes better than air drying, so you can sling in a raincoat to keep it tip-top. SensiDry technology also means fabrics are never subject to unnecessary heat, while ProSense technology adjusts drying time and energy consumption for every load, so you don’t waste a penny of energy. We found this machine extremely quick and quiet, and very easy to maintain with just one filter to clean and an easily accessible water container.
Best of all, some clothes were so crease-free when they came out, they could go straight back into the wardrobe. Truly a magic machine.
Buy now £999.99, Currys
Beko B5T4923IW 9kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer IronFinish
There’s no question in our mind that life is too short to waste much time ironing. So this reasonably priced dryer from Beko could be a game-changer for anyone who has to look pristine for work but can’t stand sweating over an ironing board.
A++ rated, the machine infuses water and steam into your clothes while drying them to remove creases from garments so you can take them out ready to wear. This is nothing short of revolutionary on a busy morning when you suddenly realise you have nothing to wear to the office. If you can’t unload laundry straight away, it will also rotate the drum periodically for up to two hours after a cycle has finished to minimise further creasing.
It also has sensor drying programmes to automatically stop the cycle when the optimal dryness has been reached – this works better if the machine is not overly full, but protects clothes and saves time and money.
Additional features include dedicated settings for duvets, items made with down and jeans and there’s a useful hygienic refresh when clothes need a freshen up rather than a full wash first. A great buy all round.
Buy now £495.00, AO
Bosch Serie 8 Heat Pump Tumble Dryer 9kg WTX88EH9GB
There’s not much this clever machine from Bosch won’t do, short of gathering clothes from the laundry basket and shouting at your teenager for leaving dirty socks on the floor.
Rated an impressive A+++ for energy efficiency, the dryer has a 24-hour delay timer so you can run it when energy tariffs are lower or when is most convenient. There’s also an extra steam treatment to smooth creased laundry and a unique drum structure to protect delicate clothing.
If even emptying the water container proves too much hassle, you can connect it up to a pipe so there’s zero maintenance and best of all, there’s an AutoClean function to sort the fluff out after every cycle.
It will also connect to WiFi and – if you have a compatible washing machine – select the right drying programme based on the last washing cycle used.
There are all sorts of programmes to tend to every last garment including one for down-filled jackets, shirts and woollens. It’s a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin or allergies too as a dedicated programme kills 99.99 per cent of common germs.
Buy now £899.00, Appliances Direct
Miele TEF765 WP 8kg Eco Speed Green Tumble Dryer
It’s definitely not the cheapest tumble dryer on the market but you’ll be getting top-notch technology if you can make your budget stretch. Plus, with its impressive A+++ energy rating, Miele says this dries garments 20 minutes faster and will last longer than most machines, tested for the equivalent of 20 years use during the development phase to make a truly sustainable dryer.
There are other advanced features to make this an incredibly efficient machine too. PerfectDry detects the mineral quality in the water and adapts the drying cycle accordingly to prevent both under and over drying, while the steam function swiftly neutralises odours from dry clothes that need a quick freshen up.
This is the only tumble dryer on the market that can even infuse laundry with a fresh fragrance to deodorise and leave garments smelling fresh as daisies.
It’s Wi-Fi enabled and has 12 programmes - our favourite is the genius DryCare 40 setting, which allows any fabric that can be washed at 40 degrees to be tumble-dried even if the label says not to. A real laundry lifesaver.
Buy now £999.00, Hughes
Indesit YT M11 82 X UK Heat Pump Tumble Dryer
Heat pump tumble dryers can be serious investments and some are so pricey, it can be years before the low running costs pay off. However, they remain by far the best choice for the planet, so it’s fantastic to see this Indesit model coming in comfortably under £500 to make the technology more accessible for all.
With a A++ energy rating, this dryer does the job quickly and efficiently without a whole load of extra features you’ll probably never use. It has a clear dial operation, a large door for easy operation and a simple Push&Go function that activates the daily cycle to the correct setting if you don’t have time to figure out the best one to use. And if you forget to dry clothes in advance and need that outfit in a hurry, there’s also a genius 45-minute drying cycle that will deliver your clothes in no time.
There are also dedicated programmes for sportswear, baby clothes and even duvets, so you can be absolutely certain it’s bone dry before you put it back on your bed.
Buy now £399.99, Currys
Hotpoint NT M11 9X3E UK Heat Pump Tumble Dryer
If you’ve ever pulled out a favourite top from a tumble dryer only to find it looking like a chewed-up rag, this model should ease your mind. Patented ActiveCare technology promises to reduce fabric wear by up to 40 per cent, minimising stress on your clothes and keeping them looking better for longer.
It’s equally gentle on those prized soft toys, with a dedicated cuddly toy setting that uses low temperatures and a soft mechanical action to maintain the original look and shine of the fabric.
And that’s not all. Rated A+++ for energy consumption, the dryer is also endorsed by the Independent Institute British Allergy Foundation, with a function to remove 99.9 per cent of dust mites for those with sensitive skin.
It will cut down on your ironing too, occasionally turning a load with no heat if it’s not emptied immediately to cut down on creases, or loosening fibres with warm air on the pre-ironing cycle to make garments quicker and easier to iron. It’s a good choice for any busy household, without breaking the bank.
Buy now £494.00, Currys
Samsung Series 6 DV90T6240LN/S1 with OptimalDry Heat Pump Tumble Dryer 9kg
Tumble dryers aren’t the most attractive appliance in the kitchen, but this one is by far the best looking we’ve found. Available in smart granite or white and rated A+++ for energy, this stylish Samsung model would make a statement in any kitchen but has brains as well as beauty.
It uses a special hygienic setting to infuse every load with high temperatures and remove 99 per cent of bacteria, yet is still remarkably gentle on clothes.
The WiFi-connected machine also remembers your family’s laundry habits, suggesting your favourite cycles first and notifying you via the app when drying is done, so you won’t forget to empty the machine once it’s finished. You can even schedule the dryer from the app or connect to a compatible washing machine which will recommend the right setting.
It’s perfect if you’re in a last-minute panic too with functions including Air Wash to deodorise and sanitise dry clothes and a 35-minute Quick Dry cycle for loads up to 1kg.
Buy now £799.00, AO
LG V9 FDV909W Wifi Connected 9kg Heat Pump Tumble Dryer
Worried heat pump dryers might make clothes take longer to dry? This hi-tech LG model has thought of everything. It has innovative EcoHybrid technology that allows you to either choose to reduce the drying time, or switch to Eco Dry, using the heat pump to be kinder to the environment.
There’s no maintenance to worry about either as the condenser uses the water taken from your clothes to clean the machine itself so it won’t get clogged up with fluff, which is downright ingenious.
It’s a great choice for anyone with delicate skin too. The Allergy Care programme has been approved by The British Allergy Foundation and uses high temperatures to remove 99.9 per cent of bacteria and dust mites from fabrics – ideal for children’s bedding or for those that suffer with hayfever.
There’s also a delay timer, a childproof lock and WiFi connection which can sync to a compatible washing machine to make sure the dryer is ready to go with the right programme as soon as you pop the clothes in.
Buy now £869.00, AO
The AEG 8000 AbsoluteCare 8kg T8DEE945R transforms laundry day by gently drying everything you need down to the last cashmere sock – while cutting down on ironing too.
If you want to spend a lot less but still reap the benefits of an efficient heat pump tumble dryer, go straight to the Indesit YT M11 82 X UK Heat Pump Tumble Dryer which proves tumble drying doesn’t have to cost the earth in any sense.