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 entire 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.
To make matters worse, since the air originated from inside your home, it has to be replaced, which means either your furnace (in wintertime) or your air conditioner (in summertime) have to work overtime to replace that “lost” air.
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 dryer 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.
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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.
What Advantages Does a Heat Pump Dryer Offer?
The number one advantage to heat pump over conventional electric dryers 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.
Read About Other Carbon Free Appliances:
- Induction Stoves vs Gas – Which is Better?
- Heat Pump Dryer Pros and Cons
- GE’s One and Done Heat Pump Dryer Combo
- The Best Two-Burner Induction Cooktops
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 2023?
Samsung Heat Pump Dryer DV25B6900HW/A2
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.
The moisture sensor automatically ends the drying cycle once the clothes are dry to protect them from heat damage and save energy. 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
- Express Cycle can dry a 2 lb load in just 40 minutes
- Smart Care with Wi-Fi compatibility
Summit Appliance SLD242W
Summit Appliance’s ENERGY STAR certified SLD242W heat pump dryer is our choice for most user friendly. Designed and manufactured in Europe, it can dry up to 17.6 pounds of fabric inside the 3.88 cubic foot stainless steel drum.
It has both a drying cycle selector knob and a digital touchscreen display – one for easily choosing the right drying program and the other for managing the various specialty programs.
One cool feature is a dryer basket that is located on the door and allows you to dry small items slippers or sneakers without having them noisily bounce around inside the drum. And a start time delay feature allows you to program the drying cycle to start-time up to 24 hours ahead so you can take advantage of off-peak electricity rates.
- Dryer basket located on the door for smaller items
- Half sized glass window for convenient viewing
- Half load option for smaller drying needs
- Touchscreen controls for easy operation of speciality programs
- Pull-out tank for easy disposal of collected moisture after drying
The Bosch WTW87NH1UC Heat Pump Dryer 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
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 technology for more energy efficient drying.
The Whirlpool WHD560CHW heat pump dryer 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
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 connection to the Miele@home app
- Reverse tumble
- Multiple Drying Cycles
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.