Vented vs Condenser Tumble Dryers – What’s The Difference?

In the world of tumble dryers, there is often confusion about condenser and vented tumble dryers. What are they, and what’s the difference?

With so many models on the market (all with varying technology and specifications), figuring out what type of tumble dryer is best for your particular circumstances can be a bit of a minefield.

In this post, I’ll explain the difference between a vented and a condenser tumble dryer as well as outline the pros and cons of each.

Let’s get into it!

In a hurry? Here’s the key takeaway:

💨 Vented dryers are faster, more economical, and better for quick drying with external venting access.

💧Condenser dryers offer placement versatility and modern features but are costlier and less efficient.

Consider your space, budget, and desired features to make the right choice.

Read on to learn more…

What Is A Vented Tumble Dryer?

A vented tumble dryer is a dryer that physically vents out the water/moisture from the machine to the outside of a property.

The machines do this by using a long, flexible hose that connects to the tumble dryer and vents the moisture to the outside of your home. This usually happens through a small vent or grill.

Think of it like the extractor fan in your kitchen or bathroom, with moisture being pumped outside.

Since a vented tumble dryer removes water and moisture via a hose, it must be installed close enough to an external wall or window for the hose to reach outside.

Diagram of a Vented Tumble Dryer
Vented tumble dryer with hose venting externally

Advantages Of Vented Tumble Dryers

Vented tumble dryers have been around longer than condenser dryers and are sometimes seen to be a little old-fashioned. However, they still have their benefits.

  • The biggest pro for vented tumble dryers is that they will dry your clothes quicker than a condenser dryer.

  • Also, as the name suggests, vented tumble dryers will remove all the water/moisture out of the room to the outside of a property. This means there is no damp buildup or moisture trapped inside the machine, which can cause smells and mildew.

  • Vented tumble dryers are also often simpler machines in terms of their settings and how they are built. This means that (usually) there is less that can go wrong, so any repair work is typically quicker and easier.

  • Vented tumble dryers are also usually much cheaper and more economical to run than standard condenser tumble dryers. But as with every rule, there is an exception – in this case, it’s the heat pump condenser dryer.

Disadvantages Of Vented Tumble Dryers

There are a few drawbacks to take into account with vented tumble dryers.

  • Firstly, vented tumble dryers are typically more susceptible to breaking. This is not necessarily the machine itself, but things like the vent hose and fixtures are very delicate and can easily be damaged or come loose.

  • You are also limited as to where you can situate a vented tumble dryer. It has to be on or near an outside wall or window for the venting hose to reach the outside.

  • Finally, although their simplicity does have its benefits, it also means you are missing out on some useful features and functions that the newer condenser models may have.

What Is A Condenser Tumble Dryer?

A condenser tumble dryer condenses the warm air from the wet clothes and collects the water/moisture in a water tank (sometimes called a reservoir), which is located within the machine itself.

Rather than venting the moisture/water to the outside, the tank simply collects the water. It operates much like a dehumidifier in that regard.

When the tank is full, you just have to empty it. Most current condenser tumble dryer models will alert you when the tank is full and needs emptying. Best practice dictates that you empty it after every wash.

Top Tip: Use the water from your reservoir to water your plants and save on water waste!

Although there is the task of emptying the water tank, condenser tumble dryers can be beneficial for many people as it means you have more freedom to place the machine wherever you like – it doesn’t have to be placed by an external wall or window.

Diagram of a Condenser Tumble Dryer
Condenser tumble dryer with water collection tank

Advantages Of Condenser Tumble Dryers

Condenser tumble dryers are the newer of the two machines, but they still have their pros and cons.

  • The biggest and most obvious pro is that condenser tumble dryers can be placed anywhere. They do not need to be situated next to an outside wall or window, which allows for greater design flexibility and location options within a home.

  • Also, because of how condenser tumble dryers circulate hot air around inside the machine, there is much less condensation to worry about. This means it’s safe to put condenser dryers inside airing cupboards or cabinetry. That’s not necessarily the case with vented tumble dryers.

  • Condenser tumble dryers also come with more features and settings, like special drying modes for different fabric types or variable drying speeds. Manufacturers are focusing on developing them more than vented dryers, as this is the latest technology.

Disadvantages Of Condenser Tumble Dryers

  • The biggest drawback to condenser dryers is time. Simply put, they take longer to dry your clothes than vented tumble dryers.

  • Condenser tumble dryers are also less energy-efficient to run. This means it costs you more money and takes a longer time to get your clothes dry.

  • On top of this, because condenser dryers are more modern machines with more technology inside, they are usually the more expensive option.

Vented vs Condenser Tumble Dryer Comparison Table

FeatureVented Tumble DryerCondenser Tumble Dryer
How it worksUses a hose to vent moisture outside the property.Collects moisture in a water tank/reservoir within the machine.
Installation RequirementsMust be installed near an external wall or window for the hose to vent outside.It is more economical except when compared to heat pump condenser models.
Advantages– Dries clothes quicker.
– Less moisture buildup, preventing smells and mildew.
– Simpler mechanics, potentially fewer repairs.
– Generally cheaper and more economical (except heat pump models).
Can be placed anywhere in the home, with no need for proximity to an external wall or window.
Disadvantages– More prone to mechanical issues with vents/hoses.
– Limited placement options.
– Fewer modern features and functions.
– Longer to dry clothes.
– Less energy-efficient, costlier to run.
– Usually more expensive upfront.
MaintenanceMay require checking the vent hose and fixtures regularly.The water tank needs to be emptied after every cycle.
Ideal ForThose who need quick drying and have space near an external venting point.People who need flexibility in dryer placement and desire more modern features.
Energy EfficiencyMore economical except when compared to heat pump condenser models.Generally less energy-efficient, leading to higher running costs.
PriceTypically less expensive than condenser models.More expensive due to newer technology and added features.

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Vented or Condenser Tumble Dryer – Which Should You Buy?

When deciding between a vented or condenser tumble dryer, consider your laundry habits, space, and budget.

If rapid drying and economical running costs are priorities and you have the space to vent externally, a vented dryer is ideal.

However, if you require the flexibility to place your dryer anywhere, a condenser model is the better option, despite its higher initial cost and running expenses.

Assess your specific needs against the pros and cons of each to determine the best fit for you and your household.

Final Thoughts…

There is more choice now than ever before when it comes to tumble dryers. So, picking the right one can seem a little daunting.

However, if you narrow your choice down by looking at the pros and cons of each type, you will soon be able to figure out which tumble dryer will be right for you and your family.

Once you’ve figured out the type you need, you can then look at which machine best fits your budget and specifications.

If you are also looking at buying a washing machine be sure to check out my post on the pros and cons of integrated and freestanding washing machines.



Michael from

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.