Types of Tumble Dryers: Vented, Condenser, and Heat Pump

So, you’ve decided to get your hands on a new tumble dryer. Congratz! These devices can save so much time. However, after a little bit of research, you might have just found out that there are several types of tumble dryers. You might have also found out that the three main types are vented, condenser, and heat pump.

types of tumble dryers

But don’t worry, to save you time and precious energy, I’ve taken the liberty to compare these three types, so you don’t have to. Here you can check the features and pros and cons of each individual type. You are welcome.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the first type.

The Vented Dryer: Old Faithful

Vented dryers, the granddaddies of the dryer world, have been around since your granny was knee-high to a grasshopper. These dinosaurs don’t mess around. They pull in air from your laundry room, heat it up, and send it on a whirlwind tour of your clothes.


  • Simplicity: It’s like the grilled cheese sandwich of dryers – simple, but it gets the job done.
  • Affordability: Vented dryers typically cost less than their highfalutin cousins, which is great if you’re saving for that Tahiti vacation.


  • Energy guzzler: They are not exactly environmentally friendly. If there were a dryer party, they’d be the ones double-dipping in the energy bowl.
  • Installation: They require external venting. This means either you need a big old hole in your wall or you’re running a pipe out a window. Classy.

The Condenser Dryer: A Step Up from The Stone Age

Then we have the condenser dryers. These guys are the middle child of the dryer family. They’re not as ancient as vented dryers but not as flashy as heat pump dryers. They also work quite differently than vented dryers.


  • No Vent, No Problem: Unlike their older sibling, they don’t need a vent. This makes them popular for folks living in condos, apartments, or those without the option to install a vent.
  • Flexibility: With no need for a vent, you can place them anywhere. Bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, you name it. They’re like the tumble dryer version of a house cat.


  • Needs frequent care: You need to empty the water tank regularly unless you’re angling for an indoor swimming pool.
  • Not so green: They’re more energy-efficient than vented dryers but still have a taste for energy. Not as bad as their older brother, but not great either.

The Heat Pump Dryer: The Future is Now

Lastly, we have the heat pump dryers – the flash new kids on the block, These smart cookies recycle heat instead of producing it, saving energy and giving Mother Nature a much-needed break.


  • Energy efficient: If there were an award for “Most Likely to Save the Planet”, it would go to heat pump dryers.
  • Gentle on clothes: They use lower temperatures which is great news for your delicates.
  • Ventless: Same as condensers, no external vent is needed.


  • Pricey: All these features come with a price tag that might make you gulp.
  • Slow as molasses: A heat pump dryer’s cycle is slower than a tortoise doing tai chi, but remember – it’s not a race!

Quick Comparison Table

Vented Dryers
  • Simplicity
  • Affordability
  • Energy guzzler
  • Installation – external venting required
Condenser Dryers
  • No external vent needed
  • Portable
  • Needs frequent care
  • Not so green
Heat Pump Dryers
    • Energy efficient
    • Gentle on clothes
    • Ventless
  • Pricey
  • Slow as molasses


Now these are the features and main differences between the three main types of tumble dryers. As you can see, one is not like the other and there are a lot of factors to consider.

If eco-friendliness is your major factor, you are about and you do not mind paying a little extra, then a heat pump dryer might be the right choice for you.

If you can’t have a vent that goes outside, for example, because you live in an apartment, then a condenser tumble dryer is the choice to go.

Lastly, if you are old school, you don’t mind a not-so-energy-efficient unit, but if you want clothes to dry quickly and you can have an outside vent, then a vented dryer is the best choice here. They also tend to be a little quieter than other types because of their build.