Clothes dryers

Clothes dryers use a lot of electricity - an average load costs around a dollar to dry. By using your dryer sensibly, and choosing to dry clothes outside on the clothesline, you could save around $130 a year.

Types of clothes dryers

Vented dryers

Vented dryers heat air and blow it through tumbling clothes. Warm, damp air is then blown out of the dryer - ideally outside your house through a duct.

Condensing dryers

Condensing dryers use a heat exchanger to remove humidity from warm air. The water is stored in a tank, or drained away, and the heat (but no moisture) is dumped into the room where your dryer is.

Heat pump dryers

Heat pump dryers work in a closed loop - air is heated and blown through damp clothes, air is cooled and water drained off, then air is reheated again. A small built-in heat pump handles the heating and cooling. 

Condensing and heat pump dryers are generally more expensive to buy than basic vented dryers, and are not always cheaper to run.

Choosing a clothes dryer

  • Choose the right size dryer - to minimise running costs and get the best results for your clothes.
  • Look for a model with an auto-sensing feature - if you use your dryer regularly, to prevent over-drying. This saves electricity and protects your clothes.
  • Simple timer models - are great if you only use your dryer occasionally. They tend to be cheaper and should still do the job.
  • Vented dryers are often the cheapest option - with low purchase price and moderate running costs.
  • Condensing and heat pump models - are best if you don't have the option of venting warm damp air outside.

Clothes dryer energy rating labels

All dryers have energy rating labels so you can see how efficient they are and roughly how much electricity they use in a year. If you are comparing similar sizes and types of dryers, the model with the most stars will be the cheapest to run.

 Energy rating labels

Clothes dryer running costs – Consumer NZ website

Smart use of clothes dryers

  • Try to dry clothes outside - the fresh air helps to kill bacteria and dust mites, and the sunlight even fades stains.
  • Avoid drying clothes inside on racks - moisture will be released into the house. A covered outside area is better.
  • Dryers should be vented to the outside - so moisture doesn't make your house damp.
  • Avoid overloading and over-drying.
  • Dry clothes in loads of similar weight items - jeans need a lot longer than lightweight items.
  • Thoroughly spin dry clothes in your washing machine first - it takes a lot less electricity to spin water out than to heat it out.
  • Clean the lint filter on your dryer - after each load.