Investing in a tumble dryer for your family is a big commitment, especially with so many brands out there and at such a range of prices. Every tumble dryer model will have slightly different features and it’s often hard to work out which is right for your family’s needs.
To help you make the best decision, we surveyed 933 family households about the tumble dryers they use in their daily lives to find out exactly what was important to them.
We asked them which brand they owned, what they looked for when choosing a new machine, how much they spent on the dryer, what features they needed and much more.
Building on the insight we learned from our survey of households, we then spoke to 2 professional home appliance experts from AO.com and John Lewis to provide detailed advice on exactly what you should be looking for when choosing a tumble dryer.
Combining all of this information and expert insight, we have put together a clear buyers’ guide to help you choose which tumble dryer is best for your family. Below this guide, we have compiled a suggested list of 10 tumble dryers available to buy now which are suitable for families.
We asked the respondents to our survey what the 3 most important features of a family tumble dryer were. Price, fitting into the available space in their home and energy rating came out as the top considerations. Sensor drying technology (we explain what this means in our guide) and special features were the next most important things valued, followed by the product guarantee.
We took these into consideration when selecting the models for our recommended list. We also made selections based on the advice gained from our AO and John Lewis experts, and have additionally ensured that all the chosen dryers were highly rated by their previous buyers.
MadeForMums Buyer’s Guide: how to choose the best tumble dryer for your family
Through our detailed survey of nearly 1,000 households, we found that there were 2 common reasons as to why respondents chose their current tumble dryer.
One was due to price or being good value for money and the other was being the correct type of machine they needed for their space. (You can get vented, condenser or heat-pump tumble dryers and we explain the differences between these below.).
Hotpoint, Beko and then Indesit were the most commonly owned brands by households, followed by Bosch and, closely, Hoover.
However, 71% Hoover owners rated their tumble dryer 8 out of 10 or more, making them the highest-scoring make in our survey (of brands used by at least 10 households).
Although only 8 households identified their tumble dryer as being made by Miele, 100% of users scored these machines 8 out of 10 or higher, making them another popular contender.
Which is best: a heat-pump, condenser or vented tumble dryer?
Here we’ll be discussing the 3 different types of tumble dryers (which only dry and do not wash your clothes), although combined washer-dryers, which do both, are available.
If you’re interested in combined washer dryers, we have discussed these as part of our washing machine buyers’ guide and recommended list, which you can read here.
What is a vented tumble dryer?
Lauren Clark is AO.com’s large appliance expert and she explains what distinguishes a vented tumble dryer from other types.
“Vented tumble dryers work by removing moisture from your clothes and expelling it outside of your home through a vent,” says Lauren. “They come with a long hose to help you do this, but you may need to install it if you want to vent the moisture out through a wall.”
What is a condenser tumble dryer?
A condenser style tumble dryer stores the moisture from your clothes in a tank within the machine. The tank will be removable, meaning you simply empty it out at the end of each drying cycle.
This means you don’t need a hose for the moisture to escape through. A condenser dryer is therefore useful if your machine won’t be next to an existing vent or you aren’t able to make a hole in your wall, for instance if you are renting.
What is a heat-pump tumble dryer?
The third and newest type is the heat pump tumble dryer.
According to Lauren Clark, these machines function by recycling hot air which is created inside the drum as it spins.
“This saves a lot more energy and is the more eco-friendly option but programmes may take a little longer to dry your laundry, so bear this in mind when you’re shopping,” she advises.
Simon Bentley is a Partner & Assistant Buyer of Large Electrical good at John Lewis and an expert in home appliances.
“A heat pump is kinder to clothes when drying as it doesn’t direct heat on the fabrics, but instead heats the ambient air that surrounds it,” he adds.
What size tumble dryer do I need?
Tumble dryers are available in a variety of drum sizes, which indicate how much washing you can fit into your machine at one time. This is referred to by the weight of the load in kilograms.
Machines range from 6kg capacity to 10kg and above. For a family, you’d most likely be looking at a minimum of 7kg.
As an idea, a 7kg tumble dryer can fit around 35 t-shirts and is best for a small family. An 8kg tumble dryer should be good for a medium sized family and should fit about 40 t-shirts as a guide.
Which tumble dryer is best for a big family?
Big families doing frequent large loads will need a large capacity tumble dryer. If that sounds like your household, you might want to consider a 9kg tumble dryer or even a 10kg tumble dryer, which should fit around 50 t shirts into the drum for a single load.
However, it is worth keeping in mind that it’s only worth getting an extra large machine if you’ll be doing big loads very often. If you’ll only be filling the machine on occasion and using it regularly for smaller loads in between, this is less efficient and could cost more to run in the long term.
How much does a washing machine cost to run?
Every tumble dryer will be given an energy rating which lets you know how efficient the machine is to run. The more energy efficient a machine is, the less it will cost you to keep using over time.
Tumble dryers are scored alphabetically, with the best being A+++. An A+++ tumble dryer should be the cheapest machine to run as it wastes the least electricity during each cycle.
“The more economical your machine is, the kinder it will be to the environment and your utility bills,” explains AO’s expert, Lauren Clark. “The annual energy cost for one of our A+++ rated machines (based on at 15.40p/unit) is £27.10.”
£27.10 is an average guide to how much one of the most energy efficient tumble dryers (and therefore cheapest to run) should cost your family in utility bills each year.
Which is better, a sensor tumble dryer or a manual dryer?
If you’ve got your load timing down to a T, a machine where you manually select the dry time on it might be all you need. This is what is known as a manual dryer.
Sensor technology, however, monitors the humidity inside the tumble dryer and stops automatically when the load is dry. This is often available on newer, more advanced models (which may end up being pricier).
However this feature prevents unnecessary energy waste by mistakenly running cycles for too long and could therefore save money on bills in the long run.
How long do tumble dryers last?
How long a machine will last can depend on many things, including how well you care for it. Cleaning out filters and remembering to always empty the drawer of your condenser machine can make a big difference.
It’s also worth checking the warranty provided by the manufacturer when you buy the machine, as one which is guaranteed for longer gives you more protection if anything does go wrong.
In our survey of just under 1,000 households, we found that the warranty provided on a new tumble dryer was the fifth most common feature respondents looked for when buying a new appliance.
How do you know when it’s time to replace a tumble dryer?
There are a number of reasons why it might be best to replace your family’s tumble dryer, as large appliance expert Lauren Clark explains.
“Your tumble dryer may still be functioning but you may feel that your clothes aren’t coming out as dry as they used to or that you need a bigger capacity for your family’s requirements,” she says.
If you are experiencing issues with your machine and you believe it is broken, the first thing to do is check if it’s still within it’s warranty period before you spend money on a new machine. Lauren recommends contacting the manufacturer to see if they can do anything to repair it.
If it isn’t possible to get your old machine up to scratch or if it isn’t suiting your family’s needs, it may be time to look at investing in a new one.
10 of the best large capacity tumble dryers for 7kg, 8kg, 9kg and 10kg loads
We’ve put together a range of tumble dryers in the list below divided into heat pump, condenser and vented machines. We chose these models based on reviews from previous buyers, those which offer features the 933 family households we surveyed told us were important to them and their suitability for families based on our expert advice and research.
For instance, we have only included large capacity tumble dryers which can hold a 7kg load or more, as anything smaller is unlikely to be big enough to cope with family use.
Last year, Whirlpool issued a mass recall on certain models of their Indesit and Hotpoint washing machines, as they were faulty and could potentially pose a risk to households who owned them. Prior to this incident, the company had to do the same to many of their tumble dryers, which were found to be a fire danger.
While Hotpoint tumble dryers were generally popular with those who owned them (67% scored them 8 out of 10 or higher overall), Indesit and Whirlpool owners were less satisfied with their machines than the majority of the other brands discussed in our survey (54% scored them 8 out of 10 or above for both brands).
Although only certain models have been affected by the Whirlpool recall, for the above reasons we have decided to exclude these brands from our suggested list below.
Heat pump tumble dryers
Samsung DV90N8289AW, £869.99
Best for: high-end for big families
Load Size: 9kg | Energy rating: A+++ | Warranty: 5 years (registration required)
This machine from Samsung is a 9kg tumble dryer, making it perfect for larger families. It has a handy sensor drying function (something respondents of our survey were interested in) and can even connect to a smartphone app so you can program it remotely from your devices.
There’s an anti-crease function to help lessen the ironing load and a delay timer for up to 19 hours. That means you can schedule the load to finish once you’re back from the school run or can have it going overnight to be ready for when you wake up.
Previous buyers of the tumble dryer seemed impressed with one reviewer, who was categorised as a busy parent, saying, “Absolutely love this dryer, it dries clothes really quickly…It has a fantastic range of settings so one for every load no matter what you’re drying. Was a little costly but you get what you pay for and it really is worth paying extra.”
- Top energy efficiency
- Large load size
- Connects to an app
- Pricier than other models
Candy Smart CSH8A2LE, £369
Best for: all round suitability
Load Size: 8kg | Energy rating: A++ | Warranty: 1 year
This Candy model has the handy sensor dry technology and is the highest rated in terms of energy efficiency, something discussed by households in our survey.
It is also rated 4.6 out of 5 with 235 reviews on the AO website. Lauren Clark, the company’s large appliance expert, recommends this tumble dryer as one of AO’s best sellers.
“With its 8kg capacity, it’s perfect for any medium-sized household and the efficient heat pump technology recycles hot air inside the drum, making it really economical to run,” she says. “Meanwhile, as it’s a smart appliance, you can control it from your compatible Android smartphone and you can even download new cycles.”
- Energy efficient
- Best seller
- Connects to an app
- Shorter warranty than other brands
Bosch Serie 6 WTWH7660GB, £749
Best for: high-tech functions
Load Size: 9kg | Energy rating: A++ | Warranty: 5 years
Bosch was the 4th highest rated brand in our survey of 933 family households, with 63% of owners rating their machine at least 8 out of 10 overall.
This high-tech Bosch model comes with a full touch LED display and light up controls. There are plenty of functions to choose from like the Easy Start option which allows you to customise the drying cycle from a compatible smartphone app.
The machine even self-cleans the condenser up to 4 times during a single cycle to keep dryer running more efficiently for longer, while anti-vibration technology helps keep the noise levels down while it spins. There’s also a hygiene feature which blasts clothes with additional heat to kill bacteria, without damaging the clothes.
Due to all these additional features, a couple of reviews from previous buyers mentioned the model might require reading the instructions carefully to understand how to make the most of the different functions.
Overall, previous buyers were pleased with the machine. One reviewer said, “We particularly like the home connect notifications you can get on your phone or Apple Watch to let you know when your programme has finished because our dryer is not in the kitchen / utility area. The machine gets things properly dry and remarkably crease free.”
- Long warranty
- Connects to an app
- Self-cleaning machine
- Can be confusing to use
Condenser tumble dryers
Grundig GTN27110GW, £429.99
Best for: small spaces
Load Size: 7kg | Energy rating: B | Warranty: 5 years
This Grundig tumble dryer has a useful sensor drying function and should be a good capacity for a small to medium family household. It’s also not as deep as other models (54cm in depth) meaning it should be able to fit into tighter spaces in your home.
The machine scored an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars from 230 reviewers who seemed pleased with the performance of their machine overall.
One reviewer commented, “Loads of different cycles, plus a choice of setting a time span instead if required. Things actually come out dry unlike previous machines I’ve owned. Light inside the drum is useful [and it’s] easy to clean the filters and empty the water reservoir. Slightly less deep than standard machines so it fits under the worktop nicely. Looks really sleek and modern.”
- Long warranty
- Less deep for smaller spaces
- Light inside the drum
- Slightly lower energy efficiency than other models
Beko DTGC7000W, £199
Best for: value performance (condenser)
Load Size: 7kg | Energy rating: B | Warranty: 1 year
Beko were a close 3rd for overall performance in our survey, with 66% of Beko tumble dryer owners rating them at least 8 out of 10 or above overall. This model includes the sensor drying feature as well as an anti-crease program to help reduce your ironing pile. There’s also a child lock on the machine and it’s one of the lowest price big brand choices.
This model is extremely popular with consumers and received a very impressive 1,126 customer reviews averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars on the AO website.
One previous buyer commented, “I needed a tumble dryer on a budget. This one exceeded my expectations. The drum is big enough for a family, it’s rather quiet and I love all the drying options. I do a family wash and…it’s all washed and cupboard dry in a few hours.”
- Great value
- Highly rated, popular machine
- Child lock
- Short warranty
Miele TDA150C, £749
Best for: high end performance
Load Size: 7kg | Energy rating: B | Warranty: 2 years
Although only 8 households identified their tumble dryer as being made by Miele, 100% of those who owned a Miele machine scored it 8 out of 10 or higher (4 respondents awarded theirs 8 out of 10, 2 scored 9 out of 10 and 2 gave full marks with 10 out of 10).
The brand promise that its machines are all vigorously tested for the equivalent of 20 years’ use, meaning it could be a long-term family investment.
This 7kg model should suit a small or medium sized family and has lots of handy extra features, such as sensor drying plus anti-crease and minimum iron settings. That should mean clothes are ready to wear faster after drying. The honeycomb designed drum is also supposed to better protect your clothes from damage during a cycle.
This Miele tumble dryer received an average of 4.8 stars out of 5 from 105 reviews on the John Lewis website.
One previous buyer said, “It’s very quiet and much quicker than my previous one. It gives a count down to how long the programme will take, it has a lot more programs to choose from and I find the hand iron settings brilliant; perfect for sheets, linens etc which makes the ironing so much quicker too. It’s very straightforward to operate with easy to clean filters. A really excellent product I would definitely recommend it.”
- Sensor drying
- Lots of extra settings
- Well tested machine
- Pricier than other models
Zanussi ZDC8203WZ, £329
Best for: tricky spaces
Load Size: 8kg | Energy rating: B | Warranty: 2 years
This model has a reversible door including 4 options on where you would like the handle to be place, making it a useful choice if you have space confinements in your home. There’s a delay start and easy iron program to help work your laundry into your busy family schedule and a child lock to help keep little ones safer.
In our survey, the majority of families who owned Zanuissi tumble dryers told us they would score theirs 8 out of 10 or more for overall performance (56%). This Zanussi model in particular is a bestseller at John Lewis, where it averages 4.4 out of 5 stars from 244 reviews.
Although some reviewers mentioned it could take a bit of time to figure out the different functions available on the machine, overall buyers seemed satisfied with their purchase.
One reviewer said, “My last Zanussi dryer lasted 28 years, I’m hoping this does the same. This is a well-built machine with a large, seriously vast, capacity. All of which gets dry. It has many functions though no doubt we will only use a few to cater for our needs. I like the large filter which is easy to clean…Delay start is a great feature.”
- Reversible door and multiple handle positions
- Easy iron setting
- Child lock
- Could be complicated to operate
Vented tumble dryers
Hoover Link HLV10LG, £249
Best for: very big families
Load Size: 10kg | Energy rating: C | Warranty: 1 year
In our survey of 933 households, Hoover was the third most commonly owned. Some 71% of these users rated their Hoover tumble dryer 8 out of 10 or more. This made Hoover the highest-scoring brand (used by 10 or more households) in our survey.
This Hoover model is very reasonably priced considering its capacity as a 10kg tumble dryer and should easily cope with the laundry demands of a large family household. The machine also connects to an app, so you can even control your appliance from your smartphone during the school run..
The dryer also has sensor drying capabilities and will end its cycle once clothes are dry, meaning one less thing to keep an eye on. This model also scored highly in the 272 customer reviews on the AO website, with an average of 4.8 stars out of 5 overall.
- Huge capacity
- Connects to an app
- Low energy efficiency
Beko DTGV7000W, £180
Best for: budget buy
Load Size: 7kg | Energy rating: C | Warranty: 1 year
This Beko machine is one of the lowest priced machines on the market and still scores well with previous buyers, averaging 4 out of 5 stars in reviews on the Currys website and 4.5 out of 5 stars through buyers at AO.
The dryer claims to tumble washing loads gently to prevent deep creasing and has sensor drying to leave clothes “cupboard dry,” so they’re ready to be put away as soon as the cycle has finished.
One reviewer of the model commented, “There are lots of settings…once it’s finished it does the occasional 5 second spin to remind you it’s done. Lovely big drum so it’s easy to get the clothes in and out and the lint collector is quick and easy to clean. Would definitely recommend this tumble dryer.”
- Very reasonable price
- Sensor drying
- Not very energy efficient
Candy Grand’O Vita CSVV9LG, £199
Best for: big families on a budget
Load Size: 9kg | Energy rating: C | Warranty: 1 year
Candy’s vented tumble dryer has a 9kg capacity which should suit large families. The mixed drying programme means you don’t have to separate different fabrics and can throw everything in together to save time. It also sensor dries and connects to an app which you can download on your smartphone.
In our survey, 62% of family households that owned Candy tumble dryers rated them at least 8 out of 10 or more. This meant the brand came a close 5th out of best preferred brands.
This model is Amazon’s number 1 bestseller for vented dryers and 385 previous buyers rated the Candy tumble dryer an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on AO.
One reviewer commented, “Very happy with the ease of use and the quality of the drying. Gives options to ‘iron dry’ or full cotton dry for example. Very good. Also gives 3, 6, 9 hours to start options which is very helpful as we will never leave a dryer working if not at home.”
- Large load size
- Compatible with an app
- Value price
- Low energy efficiency