What Is A Heat Pump Tumble Dryer? Pros, Cons & Everything Explained

Your mate’s new flat came with a full laundry setup! Except that it’s in a closet in the utility room, and you didn’t see any kind of vent for the tumble dryer. How does that work? It could be a new heat pump tumble dryer. This technology used for years to heat and cool homes is now available to further lower your utility bill while still getting the wash done.

In this post, I’ll explain what a heat pump tumble dryer is, how it works as well as answer some popular questions on the topic.

Let’s get into it!

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What Is A Heat Pump Tumble Dryer?

A heat pump tumble dryer uses a closed system to circulate air that dries clothing while reducing your energy usage between 25 to 50% compared to a traditional vented dryer.

It does not need a vent, so you are not constantly sending hot air outside your home and spending more energy to heat more cool air. You can install a heat pump tumble dryer in any room where you have an adequate power supply.

What Is A Heat Pump Tumble Dryer?

How does a heat pump dryer work?

The heat pump first heats up the air and introduces it into the tumble dry chamber. The hot air absorbs the moisture from the wet clothing. The damp warm air enters a cold condensing coil–which operates much like the one on your refrigerator.

As the warm air cools, the moisture collects on the coil and drips into a collection tray. The now cool dry air then circulates back to the original heating chamber to repeat the process.

The water removed from the wet clothes is either pumped into a holding chamber or sent down a nearby drain via a hose. Most heat pump dryers can store up to two loads worth of water. If you don’t have a hose set up for drainage, you simply empty the holding chamber into the sink or tub after each load.

Yes, the heat pump tumble dryer still collects lint from your clothing. You will need to empty the lint filter after every use. You will also need to regularly hoover out and wash the area around the condenser coil in order to maintain peak efficiency.

Traditional tumble dryers constantly send hot damp air outside your home via the vent, wasting the energy generated by the heating process. The only waste generated by the heat pump system is the water. It takes much less energy to cool and condense the warm damp air than it does to constantly heat new air drawn into the traditional tumble dryer system.

Heat pump dryers only heat the air up to about 50 to 55 C, which is comparable to your traditional vented tumble dryer. Older condenser tumble dryers operate between 70 and 75 C.

The heat pump is much gentler on your clothing, extending your wardrobe budget while saving on the utility bill, too.

Source: beko

How Long does a heat pump tumble dyer take?

A heat pump tumble dryer can take up to two hours and 45 minutes to dry a supersized load. As heat pump tumble dryers operate at a lower temperature it means that they take longer to dry a load of laundry.

Compare that to as little as an hour on your traditional dryer, and it makes you think twice. However, if you are always leaving the laundry to dry overnight, how long it takes to dry really won’t matter.

Every heat pump dryer includes a moisture sensor, so it automatically turns off when it determines the clothes are dry.

The Cost to Install a Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

Using heat pumps for tumbler dryers is the latest in laundry technology, so you are currently paying a premium for the appliance.

A traditional vented dryer runs from £200 to £800.  A heat pump tumble dryer ranges in price from £400 to £1000.

However, you won’t need to cut into holes in your walls to add a heat pump dryer as it has no vent. You may, however, need an electrician to add a power outlet.

You get back the added cost of the heat pump dryer over time as you save at least 25% on energy costs with every load.

Pros of a Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

  • Saves up to 50% on energy usage for each load of laundry.
  • Can be installed anywhere in the home where you have power.
  • Lower heat is gentler on clothes
  • Connect to a drain and never worry about emptying the water tray
  • Ventless design wastes less hot air during the drying cycle

Cons of a Heat Pump Tumble Dryer

  • Much higher purchase price compared to vented dryers
  • Must also clean out the condenser coils along with the lint filter
  • Mould may grow under the dryer where the condensation coil is located
  • Takes longer to dry a load of clothes

What is the difference between a heat pump dryer and a condenser dryer?

Condenser dryers were the first technology used for ventless dryers. While the concept is similar to heat pump technology, condenser models use a much hotter heating element.

The air is dryer, which allows it to wick away moisture faster. However, condenser dryers are not nearly as efficient as heat pumps.

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Do heat pump tumble dryers need to be plumbed in?

You do not need to hire a plumber for your heat pump dryer. The water collects in an enclosed tray which can be dumped down the sink after each load.

However, to improve ease of use, most models also come with a drain hose that can either be left in a nearby sink or plumbed to join the waste pipe for the washing machine. An internal pump sends the water out of the hose or to the tray.

Do heat pump dryers need a vent?

No, heat pump dryers do not need a vent. There is a grill on the front of the machine where it draws in room-temperature air from your home to improve the efficiency of the heating cycle.

Because there is no vent, you are not wasting the energy generated to dry the clothes.

Do heat pump dryers cause condensation and mould?

They are designed to contain as much water as possible reducing the likelihood of condensation and mould.

However, if you live in a humid area like on the seaside or during the summer, there is a greater chance that you may notice water droplets collecting on the outside of the unit near the condensing coils.

Just like your dishwasher, a weekly wipe down will keep the unit free of mould.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about heat pump tumble dryers.

Although they are more expensive to initially purchase and a little slower to get the job done. Heat pump tumble dryers are far more efficient in the long run. Saving you money on your energy and being kinder to your clothes.



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.