What is a heat pump tumble dryer?

What is a heat pump tumble dryer?
Tumble dryers are an essential appliance in many homes across the UK, and are one of the top purchased appliances, along with refrigerators, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and microwaves. 

They’re great for getting our clothes dry without having to rely on good weather, and they eliminate the need to race outside in the rain to collect the laundry so it doesn’t get wetter than when it started.

There are three main types of tumble dryers: condenser tumble dryers, vented tumble dryers, and heat pump tumble dryers. The main difference between these types of appliances is the way they extract the hot air used. Condenser dryers cool the extract hot air to remove the water vapour, which is collected as water, ready to be removed by the user. Vented dryers simply expel the hot air through an external vent. Heat pump dryers differ as they reuse the hot air, thus keeping energy consumption to a minimum.

What is a heat pump tumble dryer?

Conventional vented dryers use resistance heating elements to heat up the air. They then dump moisture, and heat, out through a duct to the outside. A heat pump tumble dryer works in a similar way to a condenser tumble dryer, just with a slight difference. In a condenser dryer, the hot air that passes through the wet clothing in the drum is then passed through a condenser, which takes out the moisture, storing it in a water reservoir. A condenser dryer then expels the leftover hot air.

In a heat pump tumble dryer, hot air passes through the drum of the machine, absorbing moisture from the wet clothing. After this, it passes through several filters where it is partially cooled in order to remove the moisture it collected, the water is then deposited into a water tank (using the same process as a condenser dryer). During this process, the warm air is then heated up again and sent back to the machine drum to start the cycle again until all the moisture has been collected and the clothing has been fully dried. As the hot air is being reused, the energy is kept within the machine, instead of being allowed to escape. This drastically reduces the energy required to operate the machine, making it by far the most efficient type of tumble dryer available in the market and thus reducing operating and energy costs.

Many models of heat pump dryers offer two methods of removing the collected moisture. First, water can be pumped through a drain hose into the washer drain, a nearby sink, or a floor drain. Second, a built-in collection tray can easily be pulled out and emptied after each load.

Heat pump tumble dryers are a relatively new type of machine that is different from the traditional vented type. Widely used for the past thirteen or more years in Switzerland and Germany, the technology used in heat pump dryers was produced to help conserve energy. Instead of releasing hot air after use like most conventional models of tumble dryers, heat pump technology works to conserve and reuse it, thereby saving energy. 

The cost of heat pump tumble dryers

Heat pump tumble dryers generally have a higher initial outlay cost with the average purchase price of around £350, although cheaper models have begun to emerge, as well as some models over £1700.

Why are they a good idea?

There are a few main reasons why this type of tumble dryer is a good idea for use in your home. Not only are they cheaper to run but also have a lower energy consumption rate, making them better for the environment and your wallet. They also only use half of the energy of a conventional tumble dryer to run, making them incredibly efficient, despite the slightly longer running time. They are generally quieter than a regular dryer as it is a predominantly sealed unit. Furthermore, your clothes receive better protection as the temperature inside the drum is lower than that of conventional machines. 

The Pros and Cons of Heat Pump Tumble Dryers

Here are some of the advantages of heat pump dryers:

  • They’re cost effective – Heat pump technology reuses warm air, so you can expect your electricity bills to be about half of those of vented or condenser dryers. 

  • They’re environmentally friendly – In some cases, these dryers use as much as 50% less energy than vented or condenser models, meaning the reduced energy consumption also has a positive effect on the environment.

  • It’s convenient and sometimes faster – If you have a large household or no outdoor space, then this type of dryer is often ideal to get through considerable amounts of laundry as fast as possible. 

  • You can always dry your clothes – You don’t need to rely on good weather in order to get your clothing dry. With a good and efficient dryer, you don’t need to wait for it to stop raining.

  • It’s better for your health and hygiene – Leaving your laundry to dry indoors adds extra moisture inside the home. This can have negative effects on people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Additionally, this can also lead to the growth of bacteria or dust mites in your house. So having a good tumble dryer can help you avoid all of this. 

  • It protects your clothes – Heat pump dryers don’t need to reach a massively high temperature in order to dry your clothes, which keeps them looking fresh for even longer.

  • You can install it anywhere – You don’t need to plumb this dryer into your drains, because all the moisture can be stored in a water reservoir tank that can be manually emptied. This means you can install anywhere in your home. 

Here are some disadvantages of heat pump dryers:

  • They’re more expensive to buy – You can expect an average of £350 for a new one, which is around double the price of a conventional one.

  • They are slower during the drying process – They tend to take an additional 5-15 minutes to dry clothes, depending on the model you buy. This is due to the lower temperature.

  • They need regular emptying – You will need to empty the water reservoir, ideally after each load, unless you plumb them into your drains. 


In conclusion, heat pump tumble dryers are a useful and efficient addition to your home appliances, reducing the amount of space needed to dry your clothing when the weather is bad or if you do not have any outdoor space available, as well as reducing energy consumption and running costs. 

You can also protect your home appliances using Smart Cover’s appliance insurance policy in case of accidental or electrical breakdown. Having this insurance will safeguard your electrical, domestic, and household appliances, including; your cooker, dishwasher, washing machine, oven, fridge freezer, and many more.

With this cover, if your appliance stops working as the result of an unforeseen event, a trusted engineer will be sent to you. If the appliance is deemed beyond economical repair, you will be provided with a like for like replacement. 

Your household appliances assist you in carrying out your day to day essential functions, thus being protected by a reliable insurance policy will mean that you don’t have to go without them for long periods of time.