A tumble dryer is a special type of clothes dryer that continuously draws in air from the outside and heats it before sending it into the tumbler. Rather than re-using the hot air, it exhausts it through the vent while simultaneously creating more hot air.
Tumble dryers are popular in the U.K., where approximately 60% of homes uses them. While they may not see quite as much use in the U.S., some families still prefer their simple and effective design. Before you invest in a tumble dryer, however, you should weigh the pros and cons.
Advantages of Tumble Dryer
One of the greatest advantages of tumble dryers is their fast drying times. When you’re in a bind and need a single garment or full load dried, you can toss them in the tumbler. In just 10-15 minutes, the clothes should be completely dry and ready to wear. This is particularly beneficial for parents who are constantly washing and drying their kid’s clothes.
Tumble dryers are relatively cheap when compared to other types of the clothes dryers. Their large capacity and low price tag makes them an attractive choice for many budget-conscious families.
Disadvantages of Tumble Dryer
Of course, there are some disadvantages to tumble dryers as well, including their energy-hungry design. Since tumble dryers continuously exhaust their hot air, they must use electricity or gas to constantly heat up new air. This design results in a significant loss of energy, which subsequently increases the utility bills for consumers.
One study found that if every house in the U.K. dried one less load of clothes per week, it would save roughly a million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, which is due in part to the energy-hungry design of tumble dryers.
If you read the care label on your clothes and garments, you’ll probably find that some (not all) specifically state “DO NOT TUMBLE DRY.” The heat generates by these units may shrink, fray, or otherwise damage certain types of fabrics. Granted, wool, silk, cashmere, and other “fine” fabrics are more susceptible to damage from tumble drying, but the fact is that you must check your care labels each time before starting a load.
Tumble dryers may offer a fast and effective way to dry clothes, but their energy-hungry design is ultimately a deal breaker for many individuals and families. With all of the ENERGY STAR-approved models currently on the market, it really doesn’t make sense to choose a tumble dryer.