Best Dryers in NZ: Full Buying Guide. In this article we cover:
- Dryer capacity
- What kinds of dryers are there?
- Dryer options to consider
- How do I know if a dryer is energy efficient?
A clothes dryer is a pretty straightforward proposition for most Kiwis – it’s a metal box that takes wet clothes and makes them nice and dry, so we can wear them. Unlike other whitegoods, such as refrigerators and washing machines, clothes dryers aren’t afforded a whole lot of consideration in terms of variety or differences between models.
The attitude seems to be that if a dryer can dry clothes faster than the sun can, then it’s good enough. But as with any appliance, there’s quite a bit of variety to be found among different clothes dryers, whether it’s how they dry, how big they are, or how much power they use. So here’s a guide to the different kinds of clothes dryers, and the differences you might find between models.
The first thing you’ve got to figure out when it comes to a clothes dryer is how big you need it to be. Are you living by yourself in a little flat, or part of a big family? How much clothing do you and your family wear (and subsequently wash) on a weekly basis? The answers to these questions should give you a reasonably good idea of what size dryer you need. Capacity tends to range from 4-10kg, but if you’ve got no clue about your capacity needs, consider these two tips:
- When a dryer states its capacity in kg, that refers to the weight of the clothes once dry, not while they’re sopping wet and straight out of the washing machine
- There’s a reasonably useful rule of thumb that states the capacity of your dryer should be double that of your washing machine. While you don’t need to aim for exactly double, just remember that your dryer needs to be quite a bit larger than your washing machine
As a rough guide to dryer sizing, consider the following:
- 1 to 2 people: <5kg
- 3 to 4 people: 5-7kg
- 4-plus people: >7kg
What kinds of dryers are there?
Vented dryers heat up air and pass it into the drum. Once the hot air has become too moist to dry any further, it’s vented out of the drum and replaced with new, dry air. Most vented dryers range from 3kg to 9kg of capacity.
- Most common type of clothes dryer and also the most basic kind
- Generally cheaper to buy, but more expensive to run
- Deals with moist air in a relatively inefficient way, which can lead to a muggy laundry room
Prices start from as little as $500 and max out at around $3600.
Heat pump dryer
A heat pump dryer is a type of condenser dryer, which recycles heat in the process of extracting moisture. It’s an old form of dryer that appears to be making a comeback, due to a desire for more energy-efficient appliances.
- Purchase price is higher than vented or condenser dryers
- Makes up for the higher purchase price by being extremely energy efficient. However, it’s worth noting that it’ll take years for that cheaper running cost to offset the higher price tag
- Doesn’t vent heated air or water vapour, so no heat and no humidity for your laundry room
Expect prices from around $950, going all the way up to $5000.
Condenser clothes dryers recycle hot air by extracting the water vapour from it. The dry air is then sent back through the clothes in the dryer. While this method of dealing with moist air means no humidity in your laundry room, it doesn’t do anything for the heat itself, meaning your laundry will be just as warm as if you were using a vented dryer.
- Generally more expensive to purchase than a vented dryer
- Don’t require as much ventilation as tumble dryers, thus you’re not restricted to where you position the dryer, which is ideal for apartment living
- Too heavy to be wall mounted, but can be stacked on a front-loading washing machine
Condenser clothes dryers cost from around $650 for a basic machine, up to $4000 for more advanced models.
You can also get a washer dryer combo that combines a front loader washer and a sensor dryer in one compact machine.
- Choose a washer dryer combo for a compact design, great for those with limited space
- They’re pretty water efficient
- Handy to be able to wash and dry clothes all in one cycle
Prices range from around $900 to over $2500.
Some dryer options to consider
This Fisher & Paykel vented dryer has a large 7kg capacity making it perfect for family sized loads. It comes with wall brackets and a control panel that can be inverted, so it can be hung on the wall or placed on the floor. Option to vent out the front or the back.
- Auto-sensing detects moisture level to prevent under or over drying
- 10 different fabric care cycles
- Drying rack for items that are too precious to tumble
Samsung 8kg Heat Pump Dryer: $2299*
Samsung’s most energy efficient dryer. Heat pump technology offers a more efficient, cost-effective and gentle way to dry clothes.
- 35-minute quick dry
- Reversible door
- Smart check troubleshooting
Miele 7kg Heat Pump Dryer: $1699*
This 7kg heat-pump dryer includes a HoneycombPlus drum for gentle garment care, and PerfectDry for precise drying.
- Convenience of 12 drying programs
- DirectSensor controls
- An 8 Star energy rating
LG Condenser dryers remove the need to fit venting kits in your laundry. This makes installation easier. The condenser drying process removes moisture from the clothes without raising the humidity in your laundry.
- 8kg capacity
- Condenser dryer: no venting required
- 3 sensors for optimal drying
*Further information on pricing can be found at individual retailer websites. This should be used as a starter guide and not considered an actual quote.
How do I know if a dryer is energy efficient?
Look for the stars on The Energy Rating Label. This shows which dryers run on less energy, generating fewer emissions. An appliance with more stars on the label is more energy efficient – meaning you can save money on running costs, and New Zealand can save energy and emissions. Basically, just use the stars on the Energy Rating Label to compare appliances of the same size and type, such as two 8kg clothes dryers.
Know that clothes dryers use a lot of electricity, so choosing an energy efficient model with a high Energy Rating can have a significant impact on running cost. An average dryer costs about $1 per load. Look for models with auto-sensors to avoid over-drying and wasted energy. If you want to be energy-conscious, avoid vented dryers that cannot be ducted to the outside – you will be pumping moisture from wet washing into your house, making it damp. Heat pump and condensing dryers don’t need to be ducted.
Want a cheaper power bill?
Dryers burn through power, especially when you’re using one regularly through the winter. Where electricity use is concerned, it always pays to check whether you’re getting the best deal. If you can switch to using your washing machine at a certain time of the day, why not swap to a provider that offers a free hour of power each day? Your savings could be considerable.
Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2021, published in June 2021.
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