Even with all the will in the world, it may not always be possible to hang your washing outside to dry.  Long cold British winters and typically rainy summers mean that we often end up with loads of wet washing hanging around the house instead of blowing blissfully in the breeze.  Radiators, fires and clothes horses are regularly put to good use and help us dry our washing when the weather isn’t being so kind.

There are some items that are notoriously more difficult to dry than others such as large bath towels, king-sized duvet covers and blankets. These can often cause problems, sometimes becoming damp and smelly due to the lack of space and heat required to dry them quickly enough.

Tumble dryers are the unsung heroes in many households, allowing us to keep up with the every day demands of running a busy household. They help speed up the drying process and leaves fabrics soft, fragrant and fluffy in the process.

Far from being the energy sapping beasts of the past, new models are more energy efficient than ever, with improved features such as sensor drying, meaning your laundry is never dried for longer than it needs to be, saving both time and money.

However, with so many tumble dryers on the market, picking the best one for your needs can be a daunting process.  This handy guide will talk you through the most common models available, allowing you to make an informed decision about what is sure to become your new best household friend.

What do you need?

Before even starting to look at makes and models, you firstly need to know what sort of dryer you need.  Are you a large family who will be using it regularly and where in the house will it live?  These questions should help you determine the size of drum required and the type of dryer.

Condenser Dryer

These popular models can be simply plugged into any wall of your house and used immediately, without the need to connect a hose to a vent or window.  They work by condensing the warm air from your laundry and moving it into a removable container, which must be regularly emptied.

These are perfect for anyone with limited space, as they can be placed into cupboards or garages.  They do, however, tend to be slightly more expensive than their traditional alternatives.

Vented Dryers

Vented dryers are the traditional dryers and are generally the cheapest to purchase.  Vented dryers pump the warm air from your laundry out of the drum through a hose, which must be connected to a wall, window or vent.

Gas Dryers

Gas dryers work in pretty much the same way as electric vented tumble dryers, but they use gas to power them rather than electricity.  They must be installed by a gas safe registered engineer and are on the pricey side to purchase, but the cost of running them is significantly less then electric dryers.

Automatic Tumble Dryers

With a sensor in the drum, the automatic dryer will be able to tell when your laundry is perfectly dried and will stop the machine accordingly.  There’s no need to set a timer, or keep checking to see whether it’s still damp as the clever machine does it all for you.

Manual/Timed Tumble Dryers

This more traditional dryer doesn’t have a sensor and therefore relies on you guessing how long your laundry will take to dry, and setting a timer accordingly.

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