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How we test tumble dryers

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We have a dedicated test lab that we use for all of our tumble dryer reviews. This lets us accurately compare the performance of each model, so you can trust that our reviews are accurate.

We use the same batch of clothes for each test.

Drying performance: We put our clothes into a washing machine and run a short cycle to get them wet. We use a washing machine, as we want our clothes to be spun, so that water is evenly distributed and the clothes are as wet as they’d be from a real wash: you can’t achieve this by simply ducking them in water.

We then run the cupboard and hanging dry options, weighing the clothes before they go in and when they come out, to see how much water is removed. Dryers will remove fibres, so we measure if clothes have lost weight as a result, and how much has gone.

Energy consumption: All tumble dryers are measured for energy consumption to see how efficient they are. We quote this figure as kW/h, which is the standard measure of energy usage.

Running costs: Using the energy label figures, we work out the average cost per full load of tumble drying. This then lets us work out running costs for the year. We do this by working out the average UK drying loads per year, assuming 160 loads and three different load amounts: 6kg (960kg per year), 4.5kg (720kg per year) and 3kg (480kg per year).

We then work out how many full loads each dryer would take to complete the full amount. For example, a 10kg dryer used at full capacity would only need 96 loads to complete the high amount of washing. With larger machines, higher cycle costs are often offset by having to run fewer loads. This then lets us work out yearly running costs on an even ground.

We measure the sound in dB of each tumble dryer. We take measurements during the standard drying cycle.

We explain how easy each machine is to load. We examine how easy it is to empty the machine at the end of cycle and how easy the filters are to clean.

We examine how easy each machine is to programme and how clearly its controls are laid out. We explain the drying options available and what they do, too.

Where we have smart machines, we hook each one up to our internet and use the provided app, and rate how easy that is to use. We also test with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant if there’s compatibility.

After all the tests are complete, we score the machine using the criteria mentioned here. We first check to see if the machine’s performance matches the manufacturer’s claims and that all the features work as expected and advertised.

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