Best tumble dryer 2020: our top 5 buys to quick-dry laundry

We've reviewed the best tumble dryers out there so you can get the freshest, driest laundry in a flash

best tumble dryer - Miele TDA140 C Freestanding Condenser Tumble Dryer - Real Homes
(Image credit: Miele)

Enjoying drying the laundry outside? Us too. But the best tumble dryer is always good to have ready and waiting, just in case the sun does a disappearing act on us (again) or you need to dry your washing, fast.

We know they are really not the most glamorous of appliances, or the easiest to buy, which is why we've put together this expert guide of our tumble dryer reviews to show you five of the best vented, heat-pump and condenser tumble dryers for summer 2020. Each make and model has been carefully selected from the top brands around, taking into consideration the price, programmes and usability so you can be confident you're getting the best tumble dryer for you.

If you're kitting out a new home or upgrading your laundry, you might want to see our best washing machines so you have the complete washing and drying set-up.

Our pick of the best tumble dryers for summer 2020

Best tumble dryer: Miele TDA140C Classic

(Image credit: Appliances Direct)

1. Miele TDA 140C Condenser Dryer

Best tumble dryer (overall): it's a handy condenser tumble dryer, quick-drying and sweet-smelling

Specifications
Best for: Condenser type
Dimensions: H85, W59.5, D58cm
Energy rating: B
Load capacity: 7kg
Reasons to buy
+ Protective honeycomb drum design + FragranceDos for amazing smelling laundry 
Reasons to avoid
- Can’t see through door 

This tumble dryer from Miele has got our vote for the best tumble drier on the market right now, and for good reason too.

Quick drying

Condenser tumble dryer reviews indicate how users loved how quickly it dried loads with which previous dryers had struggled. We particularly like the sound of the honeycomb drum, which is designed to form a film of air around the fabric to protect and extend the life of your clothes.

Scent boost

By far the most glamorous feature is FragranceDos, whereby you can add one of Miele’s five specially formulated scents to the load for great-smelling laundry.

Simple but effective

Users found it simple to operate despite ample settings to meet most drying needs, helping to make it our top pick of the best tumble dryers if you're after a condenser.

  • Buy the Buy the Miele TDA 140C Condenser Dryer

Best value tumble dryer for busy homes: Zanussi ZDC8203WZ Condenser Tumble Dryer

2. Zanussi ZDC8203WZ Condenser Tumble Dryer

Best tumble dryer for value and busy homes: it's very reasonably priced and has a large door for family-sized laundry loads

Specifications
Best for: Value
Dimensions: H85 x W60 x D60cm
Energy rating: B
Load capacity: 8kg
Reasons to buy
+XXL, reversible door+Easy iron programme
Reasons to avoid
-Some found the range of options too much 

Combining a reasonable price with a decent energy rating and a decidedly above-decent load capacity, this tumble dryer by Zanussi is our best tumble dryer for value. 

Behind the door

The larger sized door makes loading, and unloading quicker and easier, especially if you're drying large items such as bedding. 

The door is even reversible with a choice of four positions for the handle, so you can place the tumble dryer wherever you need in the home.

Great for busy homes

This machine is more suitable for bigger households thanks to its ability to dry up to 8kg of laundry in one go. 

And, the condenser tumble dryer reviews display positive comments on the ease of use and cleaning (once used to the settings), as well as its ability to dry lots of clothes in the large drum, quietly too.

  • Buy the Zanussi ZDC8203WZ Condenser Tumble Dryer

best tumble dryer: bosch WTW85231GB

(Image credit: Bosch)

3. Bosch WTW85231GB Heat Pump Condenser Tumble Dryer

Best tumble dryer with a heat pump: this model is an investment but, it's mega energy efficient and self-cleaning so you'll definitely get your money's worth

Specifications
Best for: Large volume
Dimensions: H84.2 x W59.8 x D59.9cm
Energy rating: A++
Load capacity: 8kg
Reasons to buy
+Good for small loads+Self-cleaning condenser system+Auto damp protector 
Reasons to avoid
- Instruction manual reportedly not the best 

If you’re undecided as to which type of dryer is right for you, this tumble dryer from Bosch looks to be an ideal middle ground, so long as there’s room in the budget. 

Heat pump and condenser

Its heat pump makes it far more economical than a conventional condenser dryer, as attested to by its A++ energy rating, but it may also be economical in terms of saving you time, as its condenser system is self-cleaning, automatically rinsing away fluff for a very clean and efficient machine. 

Great for a big household

But it really earns our top spot with its large load capacity, up to 8kg, a great insurance policy for particularly heavy laundry days or bigger households. 

Value for money

In our opinion, this is the best tumble dryer you can buy for the convenience factor. The price tag may be a little higher, but as this model has heat pump and condensing functionality it is a good long term investment as it can be placed anywhere. So no need to worry if you move to a home where it won't have access to an external wall to be vented.

  • Buy the Bosch WTW85231GB Heat Pump Condenser Tumble Dryer

best tumble dryer: samsung DV90N8289AW/EU

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

4. Samsung DV90N8289AW/EU Freestanding Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

Best tumble dryer for energy efficiency: it will save you time and money, and will help to look after the planet

Specifications
Best for: Energy-conscious homes
Dimensions: H85 x W60 x D60cm
Energy rating: A+++
Load capacity: 9kg
Reasons to buy
+Enhanced filtering+Easy trouble shooting+Incredibly efficient+Good for delicates 
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for placing in the garage, shed or outbuildings (needs an ambient operating temperature to dry laundry)

This machine will save you both time and energy which is why we rate the Samsung DV90N8289AW/EU as one of the best tumble dryers your money can buy. You certainly get your money's worth if you live in a household that does a lot of washing.

Efficiency

With an impressive A+++ energy rating, and heat pump technology to constantly recycle air inside the drum, this Samsung model is one of the most efficient tumble dryer on our list. 

This tumble dryer will also quickly dry your favourite outfits for those times when you really need them. And if you have a matching Samsung QuickDrive washing machine, you can wash AND dry a 5kg load in just two hours.

Smart capabilities

Perhaps its biggest value, and the one that sets it apart from our Bosch pick, lies in its talents as a 'smart' appliance. Using the Samsung Smart Washer app from an Android or Apple device, you'll be able to tap in to the automatic error-monitoring system which detects and diagnoses problems at an early stage, saving you money on potentially expensive repair bills. Check out our guide to smart washing machines too.

  • Buy the Samsung DV90N8289AW/EU Freestanding Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

Best small tumble dryer: Hotpoint Aquarius TVFS73BGP Vented Tumble Dryer

5. Hotpoint Aquarius TVFS73BGP Vented Tumble Dryer

Best tumble dryer for small spaces: if you don't have much space or you don't think the machine will be used frequently, then this is the tumble dryer for you

Specifications
Best for: Vented type
Dimensions: H85 x W59.5 x D55 cm
Energy rating: B
Load capacity: 7kg
Reasons to buy
+ Excellent value + Quiet to run 
Reasons to avoid
- Requires an air vent 

If your household is small and your dryer is not in frequent use, then this tumble dryer from Hotpoint gets our vote for the best small tumble dryer.

Big impact on small loads

As a vented model, it’s not as efficient as a heat pump or even a condenser tumble dryer, but if you tend to dry smaller loads, or only dry less high-maintenance items like bedding or towels, it shouldn’t make too much of a dent.

Settings

Some tumble dryer reviews found the pre-programmed modes took a little getting used to, but you can set your own temperatures for a custom wash. Overall though, they found it simple to use and, crucially, very quiet. 

Value for small homes

Its high praise and small price make it our best pick for first-time buyers, or anyone who’d like a great value dryer for occasional use. 

  • Buy the Hotpoint Aquarius TVFS73BGP Vented Tumble Dryer

How to choose the best tumble dryer

Before you buy, you’ll need to know a little of the lingo, and that includes what type of tumble dryer you should buy for your particular needs.

Energy efficiency

It used to be that tumble dryers were hugely frowned upon for being outrageous energy guzzlers but things have improved greatly and the latest designs are energy efficient and super effective. 

Vented vs condenser vs heat-pump dryers

First, there are vented dryers, which take damp air from the drum and pump it out of the machine, and can either attach to a wall vent or be used in a room with the window open. These are usually on the cheaper end of the scale. Then, there are condenser tumble dryers, which remove the water vapour from the drum and deposit it as liquid into a separate tank, meaning they can be installed anywhere, but will usually cost more in the first instance. 

Finally, there are heat pump dryers, which recycle and reuse the warm air to dry clothes, and while they’ll cost more again to buy, they can cut down immensely on running costs. Vented models are pretty outdated now, so most dryers on the market are condensers, with a drawer that collects the water and simply needs to be emptied when it’s full. This is great, as it means you can site the dryer anywhere there’s a plug, without having to hang a ducting hose out the window.

For lower energy consumption, a condenser with heat pump technology passes hot, humid air through a heat pump and re-uses it, resulting in 50 per cent less energy use. 

Heat pump technology 

This tech is available in condensing tumble dryers and some washer dryers, helps contribute to an A energy rating; the hot air produced in the drying process is reused, making the it much more efficient.

Capacity

Check out the capacity and make sure it has at least the same kg drum as your washing machine. The larger the drum, the better the air flow and the faster the drying time. There’s less creasing, too. 

Additional features

It’s worth paying more for added benefits such as sensor drying, which reduces the need for ironing, crease care, cool air settings and final cool tumble. Reverse tumble is a handy feature too which separates clothes better and speeds up the drying process.

Energy efficiency

This contributes greatly to running costs (as does the time the machine is left running and how full you've loaded it). Since tumble dryers cost more to run than washing machines, it makes sense to invest in an A-rated one: heat pump condenser models or ones with sensor drying (see below) being the most energy efficient).

Dimensions

Measure up the space you’ve allocated for the new machine and check dimensions of the product you’re interested in carefully. A few mm can make all the difference.

Which size tumble dryer should I buy?

Tumble dryers come in a range of sizes but, generally, a good guide for which drum size to opt for is the following:

  • 7kg: 35 t-shirts / double duvet – small / medium households 
  • 8kg: 40 t-shirts / queen duvet – medium-sized households 
  • 9kg: 45 t-shirts / king duvet – large households 
  • 10kg: 50 t-shirts / king duvet – large households

What is the best tumble dryer?

To recap...when it comes to the best tumble dryer, we wouldn't hesitate to buy the Miele TDA 140C Condenser Dryer, which has everything you need to get your laundry dried quickly and smelling great. It's a sturdy machine, as you would expect from a Miele appliance, and is one which has been designed to make it easier to iron your clothes whilst reducing energy bills simultaneously. 

Not sure whether you're looking for a stand alone tumble dryer, or an all-in-one washer dryer? A standalone tumble dryer is always best if you have the space as they tend to have a larger capacity for drying (and tend to do it faster and more efficiently). However, a combi or washer-dryer is definitely better than no dryer at all and is the only choice if you don't have room for both. Our top pick? The Haier HWD120-B14979 Freestanding Washer Dryer – it scored 4.5 stars in testing, too.

Do you want a washer-dryer instead?

Washer-dryers do not mean a compromise on the washing or drying function, but handily create a means to fit the functionality of both into a small home. This might sound very appealing if you have no outdoor space, but no room for a tumble dryer and a washing machine. Starting prices used to be higher than for a standard washing machine or tumble dryer, but that is shifting – plus when you only have to buy one machine it works out much cheaper overall. See the best washer-dryers.

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