What Is a Heat Pump Dryer? Pros and cons (You Didn’t EXPECT This!)

Dryers have become an integral part of our lives. They rely on such a simple concept but save us so much time and effort.

However, many aren’t as energy-efficient as we’d like. Plus, they usually come with a hefty electricity bill each month.


This is where heat pump dryers come in. These condenser-type dryers are designed with savvy technologies and high-quality components. It’s a great appliance that helps save energy while providing a practical, low-cost drying system.

Because we know how much you care about saving the environment, as well as saving money, we dedicated this post to help you do just that with the help of a heat pump dryer.

Yet, what is a heat pump dryer, and how does it work exactly? Scroll down, and you’ll find all the answers you’re looking for.

What Is a Heat Pump Dryer?

When you’re shopping for a dryer, you’ll notice there are three types available: vented, condenser, and heat pump. Each one has a different setup and relies on a different drying technique.

The most streamlined and economical are heat pump dryers. They’re becoming more and more popular that manufacturers are now offering products that are nine and even an impressive 10 stars on the ENERGY STAR rating system.

In fact, most models use only a third of the energy that a standard dryer uses. That could explain why heat pump dryers are the most expensive of all three.

How Does a Heat Pump Dryer Work?

The way any dryer works is by removing moisture from wet clothes to make them dry. For that to work, that moisture has to go somewhere.

Just to put things in perspective: a vented dryer is a stainless steel box with a motor and a fan. They blow hot air directly into the drum with built-in ventilation that allows for optimal airflow.

On the other hand, heat pump dryers work a bit like condenser dryers. Both collect moisture from clothes and store it in an onboard water tank.

Keep in mind that every once in a while, you have to remove the tank and empty it out every couple of cycles. Another option is to hire a plumber and have the tank empty out into a drain.

However, heat pump dryers take it a step further in that the heat inside them is recycled within the system itself. They do this with the help of a refrigerant.

The idea is similar to that found in your air conditioner and refrigerator, which also use refrigerants that circulate cold air rather than hot. Nevertheless, all refrigerants have one job: to transfer heat from one section of the appliance and move it to another.

There’s a specific type of refrigerant found in heat pump dryers known as R134A or Tetrafluoroethane. This material is non-flammable and poses no risk of harming the ozone, making it 100% safe for the environment.

That said, you have to be careful during repairs or when you decide to dispose of it. It’s during these times that the refrigerant can be a potential threat.

Still, putting all that aside, heat pump dryers usually last for decades. They’re designed to last longer and are more resourceful than other types.

Combining these two factors, you also benefit from reducing the cost of your electricity bills. So, while they may initially come with a hefty price tag, their running costs more than make up for it in the long run.

Features of a Heat Pump Dryer: pros and cons

Check out the most notable features of using a heat pump dryer.

Drying Time

Compared with the 170 minutes an average vented dryer takes to dry a full load, heat pump dryers aren’t as quick. On average, it can take about 240 minutes, which isn’t that long considering you’re working with a whole load of laundry.

Regardless, it’s something to consider if you typically dry several loads each day.

More Programs

You’ve seen how heat pump dryers are more tech-savvy than their traditional counterparts. This means that what they lack in speed, they more than make up for in variety.

In other words, a heat pump dryer will offer options, such as sportswear, woolens, or iron dry. Then, you choose the program that best fits the category of clothing you need to be dried.

It’s worth noting that ‘iron dry’ means that clothes items will come out of the dryer feeling slightly damp. Yet, it also makes them easier to dry, hence the name ‘iron dry.’

Low Temperatures

One of the main features of a heat pump dryer is that it never reaches the high temperatures that a vented dryer, for example, can. This is one reason it takes longer to dry your clothes.

However, the silver lining is that lower temperatures are actually better for your clothes. Combine that with the sensor drying technology available in heat pump dryers, and you get perfect results every time, no more singed socks or crisp shirts.

Reverse Tumbling

Heat pump dryers use one motor for both the fan and the drum. Unfortunately, this means that it can’t reverse the direction of the drum rotation, or it’ll just mean pushing moisture and cold air back into the unit.

If this were to happen, it would make it quite tricky for the clothes to dry at all. Plus, it could likely damage the dryer.

On the other hand, not having reverse tumbling means that items just roll up into a big ball, especially large items, like towels, sheets, and blankets.

Many manufacturers have caught on to this problem. So, they added several short reverse times during the drying cycle, with each lasting between 30 to 90 seconds.


When it comes to picking out the perfect dryer, it comes down to budget and personal preference. In this post, we were keen to answer one question: what is a heat pump dryer?

Yet, we didn’t stop there. We also covered how it works and several of its main features. You now have all the information you need when choosing a dryer for your home.