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The clothes dryers that are cheapest to run

The models that won't dry up your bank balance along with your clothes.

illustration of clothes dryers with dollar symbols
Last updated: 12 May 2023

With the cost of living biting, we're all looking for ways to rein in household spending. Clothes dryers can seem like a luxury to those living in sunnier climes, but if you're slogging through a wet winter they might be a necessity. 

Unless you shop smart, your dryer could cost you many more times the purchase price in electricity bills

But tumble dryers can really push your energy costs up – and unless you shop smart, your dryer could cost you many more times the purchase price in electricity bills. 

We'll explain how to keep your dryer running costs down and which type of dryer is best for energy efficiency.  

Plus, exclusively for our members, we'll reveal the clothes dryers that cost the least per load and are recommended by our experts. 

If you're not yet a member, join CHOICE to get instant access to all our expert, independent reviews.

How to reduce your dryer running costs

Air drying is always the cheapest way to dry your clothes, but if that's not an option for you, here are some other ways to use your dryer more efficiently.

  • Air dry clothes as much as you can before putting them in the dryer.
  • Keep the lint filter clean.
  • Use your washing machine's highest spin speed to get as much water out as possible.
  • Keep a window open near your vented dryer.
  • Choose an energy-efficient dryer.
person taking dry towels out of dryer

Vented dryers are generally the cheapest to buy, but the most expensive to run.

Which type of clothes dryer is cheapest to buy?

Vented dryers are far less complicated than other dryer types, meaning they're by far the cheapest to buy. The average price of the vented dryers in our test is about $512. 

By comparison, the average heat pump dryer will set you back more than $2195, and you can spend as much as $3199 for a high-end heat pump dryer. 

Which type of clothes dryer is cheapest to run?

A vented clothes dryer will be one of the most energy-intensive appliances in your home, burning through up to 9.25kWh per load. In fact, vented dryers use around three times as much energy as heat pump dryers.

When we calculated average dryer running costs over 10 years, here's how they stacked up:

Average clothes dryer running costs

Dryer type


Average Retail Price


10-year running costs


Total cost over 10 years


















Heat pump







These figures are based on just one load per week, so if you're tumble drying more often, the difference will be much bigger. This means a heat pump dryer could end up being cheaper in the long run, even though it has a much higher purchase price.

But if you won't use a dryer regularly, it may not be worth spending extra on a heat pump dryer, even if they are cheaper to run. All those energy savings won't amount to much if the initial purchase price left a gaping hole in your bank account. 

Our expert reviews let you filter by brand, price, running costs and more to help you find the best clothes dryers for your needs. 

If you use your dryer regularly, consider buying a heat pump dryer as their running costs are much lower

Ashley Iredale, CHOICE dryer expert

"If you use your dryer regularly, consider buying a heat pump dryer as their running costs are much lower," says CHOICE dryer expert Ashley Iredale

"However, if you only use your dryer occasionally, a cheaper vented dryer might be a better option as it'll likely cost you less overall."

The clothes dryers that are the cheapest to run

CHOICE's laundry experts have tested more than 20 dryers, assessing them for things like energy efficiency, drying time, cost per load and noise. Join CHOICE to access our detailed clothes dryers testing data. Only CHOICE members have access to all our expert, independent reviews. 

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