The Five Best Heat Pump DryersMar 16, 2022
By Michael Jones
If you're serious about shrinking your carbon footprint, you may be wondering if a heat pump dryer is one way to do it. A ventless heat pump clothes dryer is a type of electric dryer that has long been popular in Europe and is becoming increasingly popular in the US due to the energy savings it offers and its environmentally friendly operation.
Most suburban homes have a clothes dryer to help out with the laundry. It's something that we all take for granted. The problem with gas-powered dryers is that they rely on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change, as well as adding to local pollution.
Electric models don't have that problem but they're typically less energy efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. But heat pump clothes dryers represent the "goldilocks" option in the electric dryer space. They have been popular for years in Europe but are a relatively new addition to the US market.
Heat pump dryers have four key benefits over conventional dryers:
- They don't require fossil fuels to run.
- They're easy to install, since they don’t require venting.
- They offer 40%-50% in energy savings over traditional electric dryers.
- They're gentle on your laundry since they dry clothes at a lower temperature
How does a Heat Pump Dryer Work?
Before we get into explaining how a heat pump clothes dryer works, it's useful first to understand how conventional dryers do their thing. Conventional dryers use a heating element, much like a giant toaster, to heat up the air inside the drum. That hot air evaporates the water from the wet clothes and then vents to the outside through a vent.
This process is highly inefficient, first because the heating element has to get very hot in order to warm the air enough to dry the clothes (and that element has to stay hot for the entirety of the drying cycle). Secondly, for all the energy it takes to heat it up, the hot air is then "thrown away" through the outside vent having only been used once.
A heat pump dryer, on the other hand, has neither a heating element nor a vent. It doesn't make heat like a conventional dryer does, it just moves heat from one place to another, which is inherently more efficient.
Imagine an air conditioner working in reverse. Room temperature air is pulled into a condenser. But, while the air conditioner emits warm air to the outside, the heat pump drier sends it into the drum instead, where it absorbs moisture from the wet clothes. The warm damp air then passes through an evaporator and, as it cools, the moisture collects on the coil and drips into a collection tray.
Then, rather than being vented to the outside, the still-warm-now-dry air then passes back through the condenser where it is re-heated before it passes back through the drum in a continuous loop.
Check out this video from Energy Star that explains how heat pump dryers work
What Advantages Does a Heat Pump Dryer Offer?
The number one advantage to heat pump over conventional electric driers is that they will lower your carbon footprint. Firstly, they are much more energy efficient, using 40-50% less electricity that traditional electric dryers. In fact, a conventional electric tumble dryer is often the biggest electricity hog in any house that uses one.
Better yet, they are capable of running entirely without the use of fossil fuels (although that, of course, does depend on how the electricity you're using has been generated).
Another advantage is that, because they have no need for an outside vent you can put them anywhere. You don't need to place them close to an outside wall, and you don't need to cut a 4-inch hole in that outside wall either. And, of course, you don't need to connect them to a natural gas line.
Heat pump dryers are also typically smaller than conventional dryers so they're ideal for use in apartments and tiny houses. They can even be hidden away inside a closet or cupboard.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Heat Pump Dryers?
While heat pump dryers don't vent hot air, they do extract water from the clothes, which does have to go somewhere. A drain hose can either be plumbed to flow into the same pipe where the washer drains or the water can collect in a reservoir, which would then need to be emptied periodically (typically, after every second use).
Heat pump dryers also take longer to dry your clothes than traditional dryers, although some models come with an additional heating element that you can turn on if you need to dry your clothes quickly.
The capacity on heat pump clothes dryers is also only about half that of conventional dryers (although the Whirlpool model we review below is one notable exception). So if you're a family with kids, all playing three sports, plus dance classes, a heat pump dryer might not be a welcome addition to your laundry room.
Heat pump dryers are also not great if you wash a lot of big, bulky items like heavy jeans or comforters, although higher end models do offer cycles that are specific to these needs.
Heat pump dryers also work less well in cold temperatures. They usually need a temperature of at least 50°F (10°C) to work well, so the garage will probably be too cold at certain times of year in some parts of the country.
What Are The Best Heat Pump Dryers of 2022?
Miele TWF160 WP
Miele heat pump clothes dryers are some of the highest end dryers on the market, and the TWF860 WP is their top-of-the-line model. With a capacity of 4.0 cubic-feet, this dryer has plenty of room to accommodate decent-sized loads of laundry.
The T1 heat pump technology ensures that your clothes are dried thoroughly and efficiently, while the no-cleaning filtration system keeps maintenance to a minimum. The steam and calcium sensor technologies complete the perfect drying cycle for your clothes, making them look and feel their best.
- Miele time-tested quality
- Wi-Fi connectiion to the [email protected] app
- Reverse tumble
- Multiple Drying Cycles
The Whirlpool WHD560CHW heat pump dryer is the perfect choice for those who need a larger capacity dryer. With its 7.4 cubic feet of space, this dryer can easily accommodate large items like towels and bedspreads. Plus it uses hybrid heat technology to offers a speed cycle that works more like a conventional dryer while the eco-cycle to use the heat pump tecnology for more energy efficient drying.
It features three sensors that track moisture and temperature to ensure precise drying results. And for added convenience, the wrinkle shield option automatically keeps clothes tumbling after the cycle has finished to help prevent wrinkles from forming.
- Extra large 7.4 cu. ft. capacity, 27" wide (not suitable for apartments)
- Sensor dry
- Hybrid heat pump technology
- Advanced moisture sensing
Long popular in Europe, Beko is a Turkish brand that is a relatively new player in the US. And yet it was Beko's sister brand, Bloomberg, that first introduced heat pump dryers to the US market in 2015.
Almost a decade later, the Beko HPD24412W Heat Pump Dryer is one of the most efficient and high-performing dryers on the market. The 16 drying cycles use sensor technology to tell you when items are dry, including a special cycle that sanitizes clothes for babies.
With its durable stainless steel drum and paddles designed to prevent clothes and linens from tangling, your clothes will be evenly dried every time.
- LED display
- Slightly larger capacity (4.1 cu. ft. compared with 4 cu. ft.)
- Steel drum
- Special drum paddles for even drying
The Bosch Heat Pump Dryer WTW87NH1UC is a reliable and efficient machine that is perfect for anyone looking for a smart and stylish dryer. With 14 drying cycles to choose from, this dryer can handle any load, big or small. And because it connects to the Bosch Home Connect app via Wi-Fi, you can operate it from anywhere. Plus, the patented self-cleaning condenser saves you time and makes the dryer more energy efficient.
- Touch screen display
- Plugs into Bosch washer for easy installation
- Less maintenance
Samsung Heat Pump Dryer DV22N6800HW
If you're looking to save money as well as energy, this Samsung heat pump dryer is a great choice. With Sensor Drying, it automatically adjusts drying times for optimal results. Plus, the heat pump technology protects your clothes from damage while ensuring they come out perfectly dry every time. And for added convenience, the Wi-Fi connectivity lets you control your dryer from anywhere.
- 12 dryer cycles
- 4.0 cubic-foot capacity
- Sensor Dry technology
- Smart Care with Wi-Fi compatibility
So there you have it. Heat pump dryers are a great alternative to gas dryers in that they don't burn fossil fuels. They're also a great alternative to traditional electric dryer because of their lower energy use. SO you can save the planet and save money on your utility bills while still getting clothes that are perfectly dry.