condenser dryers side by side. The machines are silver and have large front-loading doors

Condenser dryers use moisture and heat to dry clothes. They don’t need vents, which is one of the many reasons countless people consider getting them. 

However, they’re not without fault. If you’re in the market for a new clothes dryer, it’s essential to know its advantages and disadvantages.

There are plenty of reasons to consider installing a condenser dryer. They’re quite diverse, making them the top choice for countless homeowners.

Nevertheless, a handful of features steer potential buyers in another direction. 

If you’re considering getting one of these unique laundry machines, it’s time to consider what they can offer you.

Throughout this post, we’ll break down the pros and cons of a condenser clothes dryer, whether or not they’re suitable for your home, and a couple of comparisons to other types of dryers.

What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Condenser Dryers?

The pros of condenser dryers include that they don’t get clogged as easily, take up less space, and produce reusable gray water.

The cons include they’re not energy-efficient, they can leave a bit of moisture on your clothes, and you need to empty the water.

Now, let’s look at each of these benefits and drawbacks more in-depth.

The table below summarizes the pros and cons of condenser dryers.

They don’t require ventingThey use more electricity
They generate gray water for irrigationMore costly than their vented counterparts
Compact and easy to installRequires frequent emptying and cleaning of the tank
Are not prone to cloggingCan leave moisture on clothes
Can be installed virtually anywhereCan leave condensation on nearby walls and mirrors
Table 1: Pros and cons of condenser dryers

Now, let’s look at each of these benefits and drawbacks more in-depth.

Pros of Condenser Clothes Dryers

  • Condenser clothes dryers don’t need to be vented – they don’t put out exhaust or excess gasses, which means they’re sealed units. Instead, all of the escaped heat is recycled through the condenser coils, allowing the heater to dry your clothes faster. In addition, without a vent, you can save money on HVAC installations.
  • You can reuse the greywater for plants and soil around your yard – HVAC Buzz recommends using the leftover water from your condenser dryer for your garden. While the water isn’t safe for consumption, it’ll help your plants grow exponentially. Thus, you’ll save money on your water bill in the long run.
  • They’re quite compact, thanks to their lack of needed parts – dryers are often measured by their height, width, and length. However, manufacturers typically don’t include the space required for hoses, vents, etc. Since a condenser dryer doesn’t need vents and large hoses, you can fit it into tiny places without a problem.
  • Not having a vent means you rarely have to worry about clogs – vents are essential for all vented dryers but also increase the risk of fire hazards. If you don’t clean the ducting often enough, you’ll have tons of flammable lint trapped in the pipes. Furthermore, you’ll have more maintenance and repairs on your hands.
A dryer vent grate full of lint on the exterior wall of a home
  • You can install condenser clothes dryers virtually anywhere with an appropriate outlet – whether you live in a big house or a small apartment, these plug-and-play dryers are as easy as it gets. You don’t need to worry about finding the perfect place with vents and anything other than an electrical outlet.

Cons of Condenser Clothes Dryers

  • These dryers aren’t the best choice for the environment – they use a lot of electricity compared to most other dryers. They also use more energy than gas-powered laundry machines. For this reason, condenser clothes dryers rarely get Energy Star’s approval since they’re not great for your carbon footprint.
  • Condenser dryers are more expensive than vented dryers – not only are their upfront costs a few hundred more than the average vented dryer, but condenser dryers use enough energy to increase their monthly costs. It’s up to you to choose if the expenses are worth the conveniences.
  • You must empty the water and clean the water tank frequently – condenser dryers create a lot of condensation, which means there’s a lot of moisture in the pan. Fortunately, all you have to do is remove the tank, dump it, and scrub it with a sponge using white vinegar every so often (some use drains instead).
  • They can leave moisture on your clothes if it’s humid in the laundry room. Condenser dryers use condensation for heat, but they also pull water out of the clothes. The clothes won’t get dry enough if there’s too much moisture in the heat. So you might have to hang them after the long-term drying cycle.
  • These dryers can leave condensation on nearby walls and mirrors. If you keep the doors closed in the laundry room, you might have to deal with a lot of moisture. Make sure you remove the condensation when the dryer cycle completes; otherwise, you’ll have to deal with mold, mildew, and bacterial growth.

Are Condenser Dryers Better Than Normal Dryers?

Condenser dryers exceed standard dryers if you prefer convenience, but they’re not as good regarding dry time, ventilation, and cost.

Condenser dryers use condenser coils that recycle the heat rather than requiring a steady gas or electricity supply. That said, their maintenance energy usage is higher.

Several reasons condenser dryers are and aren’t better than traditional dryers include:

  • Vented dryers get rid of water and debris much more efficiently – since they send all the moisture from the clothes out of the room, you won’t have to deal with water tanks, condensation, and drains. These vents also limit the chances of mold developing, reducing health risks down the road.
  • Condenser dryers are the most convenient laundry machine for many people – they’re compact, lightweight (compared to vented dryers), and can be placed anywhere with a suitable plug outlet. Their complete convenience is enough for many buyers to go with them rather than a vented model.
A stylish, modern condenser dryer with a digital display and glass door.
  • Most vented dryers dry your clothes faster than condenser clothes dryers – one disadvantage of condenser dryers is that they can take over two hours to dry your clothes. On the other hand, most vented dryers only take around an hour to get rid of the moisture in each load of laundry.
  • Condenser dryers get pretty hot when they’re drying clothes – Canstar Blue claims condenser dryers can make the laundry room feel humid and muggy. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also damage the paint in the room if you don’t take care of it. So make sure your laundry room has waterproof paint.
  • You can get a condenser dryer with numerous advanced settings. Although condenser dryers are technologically behind in terms of energy usage, they’re quite advanced when it comes to user settings. For example, you can choose how delicate you want the spin cycle, how much moisture is left in the clothes to prevent them from burning, and more.

When it comes down to it, vented dryers are typically the better option. If you have vents already or enough space to install them, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

Those who prefer convenience or don’t have vents can opt for condenser clothes dryers, though.

Which Is Better, a Condenser Dryer or a Heat Pump Dryer?

Overall, heat pump dryers are better than condenser dryers because they’re more energy-efficient, meaning you’ll save more money in the long run while reducing your carbon footprint.

Furthermore, they have a slightly lower drying temperature than condenser dryers, reducing wear and tear.

Consider these comparisons between the two dryers:

  • Heat pump dryers use coolant to reduce their drying temperature – coolant needs to be refilled occasionally, but it prevents your clothes from falling apart. It’s one of the best features of heat pump dryers because you can keep the soft fabrics and vibrant colors for many months.
A homeowner inspects a piece of clothing as she removes it from the heat pump dryer in her kitchen
  • Condenser drying machines can take about half an hour less to dry than heat pump dryers – if you’re always pressed for time, condenser dryers will be the better choice. Cool Blue states they take about 2-2.5 hours, whereas heat pump units take up to three hours per load.
  • Both dryers require draining hoses or water tanks – it’s important to note that you can’t escape the draining and emptying process with heat pump dryers. They work very similarly to condenser dryers because they pull moisture from the clothes rather than venting it out. Find one that has a drain if you don’t want to empty a water tank.

The table below compares condenser with vented and heat pump dryers in terms of cost and energy use:

FactorVented CondenserHeat Pump
Cost (RRP)$645$1226.8$2115.70
Cycle Duration (for a 3.5 kg load)123 minutes115 minutes138 minutes
Energy Consumption (for 3.5 kg load)2.85kWh3.35 kWh1.14 kWh
Table 1: Comparison between condenser, vented, and heat pump dryers. Source: Choice.

How Long Does a Condenser Dryer Take to Dry Clothes?

Condenser dryers take about two hours and 15 minutes to two hours and 30 minutes to dry clothes. This timeframe is quite a bit longer than vented dryers but shorter than heat pump dryers.

You can speed up the process by putting fewer clothes into the dryer.

Another way to ensure your condenser dryer dries clothes quicker is to check the manual settings. Most condenser clothes dryers let you decide how long you want the drying cycle to run.

Remember that you might have to deal with damp clothes if you don’t run the cycle long enough. Emptying the lint trap after every load will also help.

A worker in white T-shirt and blue dungarees carrying out maintenance on a condenser or a heat pump dryer.

Are Condenser Clothes Dryers Worth It?

Condenser clothes dryers are worth it for many people because they’re easy to use and quite portable. You can plug them into a 220v outlet and use them in any room around your house or apartment.

Furthermore, they’re great for semi-outdoor laundry machines or people who don’t have vents in their laundry rooms.

Some questions to ask yourself if you’re considering a condenser clothes dryer include:

  • Do you have vents in your laundry room? If you do, you can choose almost any dryer you want. Just because there are vents in the laundry room doesn’t mean you have to use them. That said, laundry rooms without vents are better for condenser dryers because you don’t need to make any modifications.
  • Are there windows in the space? While you don’t need windows with condenser clothes dryers, they can make the room quite humid without them. We suggest opening the windows and letting the humidity out of the room whenever you run the dryer. This measure could drastically reduce the chances of dealing with mold and mildew.
  • How much room do you have for your dryer? If you don’t have a lot of space, you can use a condenser dryer. They’re pretty small, even if you choose a bigger model. People with large laundry rooms don’t have to worry about this consideration, but they’re more than suitable for small spaces.
  • Do you prefer gas-powered dryers or electric dryers? All condenser clothes dryers are electric, so they’re not for you if you prefer gas-powered models. While they use electricity, their overall energy usage is higher. If your current laundry machines require gas, you’ll need to cap off your gas line.
  • Are your clothes made of fragile, loose fabric? Condenser clothes dryers are known to be quite gentle. They won’t throw your clothes around and overheat them. Since they heat at lower temperatures compared to most dryers, you don’t have to worry about burning your clothes or getting too many wrinkles.

Getting a new condenser dryer is a big decision. When well-maintained, they can last up to a decade or more.

If you’re okay with the energy loss, you might enjoy some of the many benefits they have to offer.

Go through each of the questions mentioned above to determine if you should install one when upgrading.

Final Thoughts

While condenser dryers aren’t the best choice for everyone, they’re helpful for many households.

But unfortunately, their lack of eco-friendly energy consumption and high price points tend to drive people away. 

That said, they’re easy to maintain, and you don’t have to worry about installing a vent.

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