Clothes Dryers

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Compare clothes dryers in New Zealand with Canstar Blue.  Simpson, Bosch, Fisher & Paykel, Haier and LG were compared on value for money, performance and reliability, time taken to dry clothes, quietness, design, warranty, feel of clothes after drying and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2018 award for clothes dryers

Most Satisfied Customers | Simpson

Part of the Electrolux family, Simpson pride themselves on their reputation for durability, reliability and efficiency.

Simpson, New Zealand’s No. 1 clothes dryer in Canstar Blue survey

Although we all know we should probably hang our clothes outside and save power, there’s always a part of us that is secretly glad to have a rainy-day excuse to put our garments in the dryer.  Drying clothes in New Zealand’s unpredictable weather is not always easy, so, having a dryer can also be a bit of life saver when you need clean, dry clothes in a hurry. On top of that, there’s something that feels quite indulgent about that warm fluffy feeling your clothes have when they come out of the dryer. Clothes dryers have revolutionised the way we do our laundry and significantly shortened the whole process and it’s because of this lots of homes have them.

It is widely known that drying your clothes outside is the best option, both for the environment and your power bill.  Although, our recent survey (July 2018) revealed that 33% of people find the convenience of drying clothes quickly more important than saving energy, it was good to see that 56% of users remove the lint from their dryer after every use (this simple trick can help make your dryer cheaper to run).  However, what the other 44% might not know, is that (on top of the potential energy savings) dryer lint build-up causes thousands of residential house fires every year. So, removing the lint after every load probably shouldn’t be skipped for your convenience.

This year’s Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction Award has been given to Simpson.  2018’s favourite clothes dryer brand received five stars in value for money, performance and reliability, time taken to dry clothes and feel of clothes after drying.  A respectable four stars for design and warranty, and three for quietness.

How to get the most out of your dryer

Unfortunately, clothes dryers are up there with your fridge freezer and electric hob when it comes to power efficiency, but maintaining your dryer can help prevent it from becoming less efficient.

One of the best things you can do to maintain your dryer is to remove the lint after every single load.  In most cases, there is a mesh compartment you can pull out and removing the lint is usually a quick and easy process.  When you don’t remove the lint (fluffy fibre that comes off your clothes in the drying process), the motor on your dryer has to work harder to push the hot air through your clothes.  The motor working harder will, in the short term, push up your energy bills and, in the long term, wear out the motor.

It is more efficient to dry similar weighted clothes together.  Because it takes longer to dry heavy items like jeans than it does to dry a cotton t-shirt, it makes sense to dry heavy items together, and lighter items in a separate load.  This ensures that you are not wasting power drying items which have already dried while the sensor waits for you jeans to dry.

Another tip, if your dryer does not have a sensor to tell you when your washing is dry, it pays to under rather than over estimate the drying time, you can always put it on for another few minutes if they’re not quite done.

History of the dryer

The earliest known clothes dryers were less than perfect.  Known as ‘ventilators’ these clothes dryers were large metal drums with ventilation holes, used over an open fire and powered by hand cranks.  Far from convenient, the clothes always smelled of smoke, often covered in soot and sometimes caught fire.

Clothes dryers are in nearly every home and we take them for granted.  However, the modern clothes dryer is a fairly recent invention. Back in 1955, only about 10% of family homes in the western world had a clothes dryer.  This is most likely because only 10% could afford one! The average price for a dryer was $230, converted into today’s money, this basic-needs laundry appliance would have cost you a cool $1,600.  It now makes more sense that not everyone had one.

What to think about when buying a clothes dryer

Drying outside is always the best (and cheapest) option, but as we said before, this can often be challenging in a climate like ours so a clothes dryer can be a great alternative.  When we asked, 40% of people said they like to read reviews and ratings before deciding on their clothes dryer purchase and research is something we can’t recommend enough. By spending your time researching before spending your money, you’re much more likely to get better value for money and the machine that is right for you.

A great place to start is thinking about what kind of dryer will suit your needs and your home:

  • Condenser dryers work by extracting the moisture from the clothes and sending the remaining hot air back through the load. The resulting water is collected in a tray which needs to be emptied frequently otherwise the dryer will not work.  The big advantage with a condenser dryer is that you do not need to have a hose running to an outside vent in order to remove the moist air from your home. The disadvantage is that there’s often a bigger initial outlay as they tend to be pricier than traditional vented dryers.
  • Heat-Pump dryers are similar to condenser dryers in that they do not need an outside vent to dispose of the hot air. They work by heating up air using a heat-pump, pushing the air through the clothes, cooling the air to release the collected moisture and then starting the whole cycle again.  Water can either be collected in a tank or reservoir or, if convenient, straight down a drain. Again, these dryers tend to be more expensive to buy but their running costs are noticeably lower, making them popular with people who are looking for maximum energy efficiency.
  • Sensor dryers offer the latest technology and will stop once it senses the clothes are dry. Alternatively, you can programme it to stop drying early, leaving enough moisture in your clothes to make ironing easier.  As you’d imagine, this sort of technology doesn’t come cheap but again the energy efficiencies of sensor dryers mean it’s a short-term pain on your wallet for a long-term gain on your finances and carbon footprint.
  • Vented dryers are perhaps the most common and budget friendly type of dryer on the market. They work by simply pushing warm air through your wet clothes and blowing the resulting, moist hot air, out of the other side.  It’s essential to have a hose leading to an outside vent that will remove this moist air from your home otherwise you’ll very quickly find you’re living in a damp, mouldy house. Vented dryers tend to be the cheapest on the market but running costs are higher.  Perfect for if you don’t use a dryer all that often.
  • Washer/Dryer. As you’ve probably guessed, this is a washing machine and clothes dryer all in one.  Perfect if you are pushed for space. Reviews are often mixed for these machines, and where it’s true that technology has made the latest machines far better than earlier models, energy and water consumption still remains relatively high.

We hope our reviews, hints and tips have given you a few more ideas on what kind of dryer is right for you?

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers who have purchased a brand-new clothes dryer in the last 3 years, in this case, 620 New Zealanders.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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