How much does it cost to run a tumble dryer?

woman looking into tumble dryer
(Image credit: Getty)

The cost of running a tumble dryer can be a real concern, particularly for those with young families or busy households where hanging out mounds of washing around the house is just not feasible.  

With energy-saving tips at the forefront of everyone's minds right now, how often we use home appliances is something we all need to think about if we don't want to be hit with eye-watering bills. While certain appliances, such as cookers and washing machines, are integral to everyday life, others, such as tumble dryers, are more convenient than essential. 

That said, finding space to hang large loads of wet washing, particularly harder to dry items such as duvet covers and towels, indoors can be tricky, not to mention the fact that having damp washing hanging around can cause annoying condensation. In busy family households and houses with little space for draping damp clothes and bedding around, a tumble dryer can be a godsend.

So, if you are wondering what it will cost to run a tumble dryer, our guide should be just what you are after. 

What will the cost of running a tumble dryer be in 2023?

Although energy prices vary, particularly with energy price rises, our guide is here to give you an idea of the kind of costs you can expect to pay to run your tumble dryer right now.

If you have a smart meter, you will obviously be able to see how much energy you are using and what it is costing you, but if not, hearing the hum of the tumble dryer can definitely cause a sense of anxiety to creep in about how much it might be adding to your monthly energy bills.

As you are probably aware, the ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ scheme, announced in October 2022, gave a figure of £2,500 as the average that a typical household in England, Scotland and Wales will pay for their dual fuel energy bills until 2024. 

If you are on a standard variable tariff and pay your bills by direct debit, the average unit price of electricity will be frozen at 34p/kWh for electricity.

We can work out how much your tumble dryer will cost to run based on this figure, although the amount of energy used will vary depending on the type of tumble dryer, the model you have and how you use it.

What tumble dryer running costs can you expect?

The type of tumble dryer you have will have a big impact on what it costs to run. There are several types of tumble dryer and each of these uses a different amount of energy per cycle and therefore costs a different amount to run — making it hard to give an exact figure on the running costs of this kind of appliance. 

However, to give you an idea, we have broken them down into type and given an indication of what they can cost:

  • Vented tumble dryers: Vented tumble dryers came out as being the most expensive type to run. To give you an idea of running costs, the HOOVER H-Dry 300 HLE V9LF NFC 9 kg Vented Tumble Dryer has an energy consumption of 5.34kWh per cycle at full load — meaning a cost of £1.82 per cycle
  • Condenser tumble dryers: To give you an idea of what this type of dryer costs to run, BEKO's DTKCE90021W 9 kg Condenser Tumble Dryer has an average consumption of 5.21kWh per cycle at full load. This would mean running costs of £1.77 per cycle
  • Heat pump tumble dryers: Definitely the cheapest type of tumble dryer to run, energy consumption per average cycle really does vary here, with a quick browse showing figures from as low as 1.21kWh up to 2.59kWh. To give a fairly standard example, LG's FDV1109B Freestanding Heat Pump Tumble Dryer is A+++ rated, has a 9kg capacity and an energy consumption per cycle of 1.94kWh meaning costs of just 0.69p per cycle at full load. 

What is the cheapest type of tumble dryer to run?

Vented tumble dryers are the most expensive type to run, while heat pump tumble dryers are by far the cheapest — although they are more expensive to purchase. 

So, what is a heat pump tumble dryer? In short, while vented and condenser tumble dryers generate heat and release it into the drum to dry the clothes in it, heat pump tumble dryers recycle heat continuously. "A heat pump dryer separates water from the warm air it generates, then pushes the air back into the drum," explains Caple's product manager Luke Shipway  

They commonly run at a maximum temperature of 50˚C which is considerably lower than vented and condenser models which tend to operate at between 70-75˚C.

How can cut my tumble dryer running costs?

There are a few things you can do to use your tumble dryer more economically. Make sure you get the most out of your appliance by considering employing the following tips:

  • Don't fill it with sopping wet washing: Ensure you use the spin cycle on your washing machine to extract as much moisture as possible before loading your dryer. 
  • Don't overload the drum: Stuffing the tumble dryer will mean its contents take ages to dry — Beko suggest filling the drum just over halfway. Under-filling it doesn't make sense either.
  • Group fabrics together: Aim to dry items made from similar fabrics together as they will dry at the same rate.
  • Clean filters regularly: Check evaporator and lint filters and clean them out to prevent build up that could hinder performance. 
  • When the load is dry, fill the drum again: If you have more wet washing to get dry, put it on straight after the first load is dry as you will be making use of the hot air still in the drum. 
  • Make use of the sensor programme: Rather than just sticking your dryer on for a set time, use the sensor programme instead — most models will have one. This mode uses sensors to detect when the load is at the dryness level selected and turns the machine off.
  • Use tumble dryer balls: These are really handy little devices that you pop into the drum along with your wet washing. They help air circulate and reduce drying time. 
Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.