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How we test tumble dryers

Expert Reviews Staff
5 Jun 2014
How we test tumble dryers intro
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All of our tests and methodology, this is how we test and compare tumble dryers

For all of our tumble dryer reviews we adhere to a strict set of tests. They're designed to help us work out how good each tumble dryer is and how much it will cost.

Drying performance

Of course, one of the most important things you need to know is, how dry does this tumble dryer get my clothes? To test this we take a mixed load of washing including, t-shirts, towels, sheets and underwear. We weigh each item individually, so we know how much it and the entire load weighed when it was dry. Next we put the whole load through a 30C wash on our reference washing machine.

Once the clothes are nice and wet, we take them out and put them through the tumble dryer, weighing them at the end of the defined programme to find out how dry they are and how much water they retained. The close to the dry weight each item is, the better the drying.

We run the same tests using the Iron Dry and Cupboard Dry cycles. If the Cupboard Dry cycle didn't get our clothes very dry, we also test the Extra Dry cycle.

Running costs

Running costs are one of the most important things. During our tests we use an electricity meter to measure how much power the tumble dryer consumed. This lets us work out our own cost-per-cycle, letting us compare the difference in each drying mode.

However, we also like to have a yearly-cost figure that we can use to compare the running costs between different machines and manufacturers. For this we use the EU Energy Label, which has a yearly energy consumption figure for 220 full loads, run at a variety of different cycles.

Using these two figures we can work out the average energy consumption per cycle, which we use to work out a cost-per-cycle figure, based on the average UK price per kW of electricity.

Next, we need to create a level playing field for all tumble dryers. We do this by working out the total yearly weight of washing, by multiplying the UK average number of drying loads (160) by our high, medium and low individual wash loads of 6kg, 4.5kg and 3kg respectively. This gives us a yearly high usage of 888kg, medium usage of 666kg and low usage of 444kg. By dividing these weights by the tumble dryer’s drum size, we can calculate how many loads it would require to fulfil each. For example, a dryer with an 8kg drum means that it requires 111 cycles for a year’s high use drying.

Ease of use

No review would be complete without detailed information on how easy the machine was to use. We explain how easy it is to configure, how many drying modes there are, how easy the filter is to change and how simple it is to empty the waste water.

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