A washing machine and on open-doored, partially-loaded heat pump dryer side-by-side in a laundry room

Heat pump dryers are quite popular for their energy efficiency and simplistic designs. However, they’re not for everyone. 

These portable dryers have quickly become a top choice for many users, but knowing what you’re getting into beforehand is essential. If you’re considering upgrading your dryer or you want to compare a heat pump dryer to other types, you’re in the right place.

This post will explain the pros and cons of heat pump dryers, whether or not they’re worth it, and if they’re better than other dryer types.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Heat Pump Dryers?

The pros of heat pump dryers include their energy efficiency, low maintenance requirements, and no need for vents. The cons of choosing a heat pump dryer are that they take a long time to dry, they’re a bit too pricey for some buyers, and you have to drain the water tank.

Heat pump dryers are some of the best you can get in your laundry room. They’re not too noisy, nor do they require tons of hookups, vents, and hoses. 

If you’re considering getting a heat pump dryer, you’ll be glad to know that they’re widely available and easy to install. Let’s check out the main reasons people do and don’t want heat pump dryers.

Advantages of Heat Pump Tumble Dryers

  • They’re great for the environmentHVAC Buzz shows heat pump dryers don’t require a lot of electricity. Heat pumps are well-known for being low-energy appliances. Combining them with an evaporative dryer makes them much more eco-friendly than most laundry machines.
  • Don’t require vents – vented dryers are incredibly popular and found in most old and modern homes. However, they can be space-consuming and a bit tedious to maintain. They also require HVAC ventilation.
  • They’re gentle on all fabrics – heat pump dryers maintain a lower temperature due to the coolant. As a result, you’ll have dry clothes without scorching the material, so you don’t have to worry about excessive lint, burn marks, or hardened clothes. You’ll also notice the colors stay intact much better.
A homeowner inspects a piece of clothing as she removes it from the heat pump dryer in her kitchen
  • You’ll get around two decades out of your unit – these dryers last much longer than most laundry machines. You’ll have to perform regular maintenance, but the motor and body are built to last. They might cost a bit more, but not having to replace your dryer every five years is quite a perk.
  • You’ll save a lot of money in the long run – not only will your dryer last longer, but it’ll also cost less on your utility bills. So whether you’re in it for the reduced environmental impact or to save money, you’ll enjoy the long-lasting benefits of these high-tech dryers. Furthermore, they recycle the energy to keep the heat within the machine.

Disadvantages of Heat Pump Dryers

  • They must be drained with a drain hose or tank – they pull all the water out of your clothes. Instead of sending it out of a vent, they store all of the water in a tank. Some of these dryers have caps that have room for drain hoses. You can use these hoses to dump the water elsewhere automatically.
  • You might encounter mold if they’re not cleaned properly – anywhere there’s a lot of moisture, there’s bound to be mold or mildew. Clean and dry the water tank or drain it with white vinegar to prevent bacterial growth. You should also avoid letting the tank get full too often.
  • They’re slightly more expensive than the average clothes dryer – it’s not uncommon to find a heat pump dryer that costs well over $1,000. However, there are some budget-friendly models.
  • Heat pump dryers take a while to dry clothes – you’ll notice these dryers take almost three hours to dry your clothes. This timeframe is about an hour or more than the average vented dryer, which is a considerable concern for potential owners. If you’re always on the go, you might not have much time to dry clothes in one of these units. Get a model with enough space for all your clothes; otherwise, it’ll take even longer to dry.
  • They can’t be mounted to the wall – according to Stellisons Electrical, heat pump dryers are far too heavy to hang on the wall. This may or may not be a concern since not everyone mounts their dryers. Mounting a heat pump dryer on your wall will instantly strip the paint and break the drywall.

Is a Heat Pump Dryer Better Than a Condenser Dryer?

A heat pump is better than a condenser dryer because it saves more money down the road. However, condenser dryers often have more settings and dry your clothes faster than heat pump dryers. In addition, there are many other differences, including upfront costs, condensation issues, and longevity.

Here’s a detailed comparison of heat pump and condenser dryers:

  • Heat pump dryers last longer – if you’re searching for longevity, there’s no question that heat pump dryers win the contest. They last longer than any other dryer you’ll come across. These efficient machines recycle energy and heat, which means they don’t need fast-paced motors around the clock.
  • Heat pump dryers are gentler on your clothes – since they don’t use extreme temperatures to remove moisture, these dryers are great for soft fabric. Whether you have hand-made clothes or loose linen, you’ll find they look and feel much better after coming out of a heat pump  dryer.
  • Condenser dryers take up less space – these compact machines are better for apartments and small laundry rooms. They’re some of the most compact dryers because they don’t need anything other than condenser coils, a motor, and a water tank. You’ll notice they’re pretty short, too.
A stylish, modern condenser dryer with a digital display and glass door.
  • Condenser dryers are quicker – you’ll save about 30-45 minutes with a condenser dryer. This differential is because they use higher heat, which means the moisture in your clothes evaporates significantly quicker. Nevertheless, it takes about 2-2.5 hours to dry your clothes on the highest setting.
  • Heat pump dryers are more cost-effective – they’re close to the cost of a condenser dryer, but they use far less energy. As a result, you save more money on utility bills, maintenance costs, and replacing the dryer (since it lasts almost twice as long). So think of a heat pump dryer as a long-term investment.

In the end, heat pump dryers are almost always the better choice. Unless you’re pressed for space or need half an hour of faster drying, a condenser dryer isn’t worth the price hike. That being said, let’s discuss some of the primary things people consider when they want to add a heat pump dryer to their laundry room.

Are Heat Pump Dryers Worth It?

Heat pump dryers are worth it because they’re durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. You can hook a drain hose to a heat pump unit to automatically drain it if you don’t want to handle a water tank. They cost more than most dryers, but you’ll make that money back in energy savings within a couple of years.

Ask yourself these questions if you’re considering getting a heat pump clothes dryer:

  • Do you have vents in your laundry room? If not, you should get a heat pump model. These ventless dryers are great because all you usually need is a plug outlet. Some of them need drain hoses, but most use water tanks with optional drains. 
    Note: Avoid adapters if possible; it’s best to use direct connections.
  • Do you have the budget for a heat pump dryer? These dryers are almost twice the cost of vented models. However, they last longer, cost less down the road, and are better for the environment. If you have the budget, these dryers are more than worth it for most homeowners (or people living in apartments).
  • Would you prefer fast-drying clothes or long-term savings? If you want your clothes to dry in an hour or so, it’s best to choose a vented dryer. However, a heat pump unit is an excellent choice if you’re after long-term savings and don’t mind 2.5-hour drying times.

Heat pump dryers can be the right fit for almost anyone. They’re often seen as better than condenser dryers and don’t take up too much space. That being said, you might be concerned about how long you’ll be able to enjoy your new dryer. Read on for more information regarding a heat pump dryer’s longevity and how you can make it last longer.

How Long Does a Heat Pump Dryer Last?

Heat pump clothes dryers last between 15-20 years. Some owners help their units last longer by emptying the water tank regularly, getting annual maintenance checkups, and removing the lint from the trap after each drying cycle. 

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

You could also space it about one foot from the wall and other appliances to prevent it from overheating.

Attainable Home claims you can make your heat pump dryer last up to 10 years longer than the average gas or electric clothes dryer. Adding extra time to your dryer will save you hundreds to thousands of dollars. That doesn’t include the money saved through energy expenses and lower heating requirements of the dryer.

Here’s a deeper dive into a few of the tips mentioned to get the most out of your heat pump dryer:

  • Empty the water tank – check your manufacturer’s guidelines to know when to empty the tank or drain the water. The good news is that some models automatically drain the water, so you don’t have to do anything. However, if you don’t empty the tank, it’ll overflow and soak the clothes.
  • Annual inspections – you might have to spend a bit upfront on inspections, but you’ll save a lot of money instead of requiring massive repairs when something goes wrong. For example, assessments typically include drain cleaning, water tank replacements, and more.
  • Maintaining the lint trap – remove the lint from the trap after each load of laundry. If you don’t get rid of the lint, it’ll overheat and potentially catch on fire. Additionally, the heated lint could overheat the motor. A damaged motor will make grinding, screeching, or squealing noises because the bearings are rusted.
  • Proper spacing and placement – you should always have a bit of space between your laundry machines. If a dryer is too close to the wall or another appliance, it’ll overheat and vibrate. The same applies to placing a heat pump clothes dryer on unstable or uneven surfaces. Always provide adequate airflow (consider a small fan).

Although heat pump clothes dryers last quite a while, they can easily be ran into the ground if they’re not maintained properly. Failure to clean the water tank and drain hose can cause corrosive mold and rust. 

Furthermore, putting it on an uneven surface can permanently damage the motor. Follow the tips above for the best results.

Final Thoughts

Heat pump dryers might not be the first dryer type that comes to mind, but they’re more than worth considering.

Not only are they great for saving money in the long run, but they also last quite a long time. You’ll enjoy the portability and ease of maintenance, too.

Sources

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