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Vented vs. Ventless Dryer: Which to Buy?

Buying a major appliance should be a well-considered decision. When considering buying a clothes dryer for your home, there are two basic models: vented and ventless (condenser and heat pump). Before we look at the pros and cons of each, let's understand how they work.

All tumble dryers work by transferring moisture from the laundry to the air in the drum.

So the moisture in that saturated air has to go somewhere else. In vented dryers, it simply exits as water vapor, either through a vent built into an exterior wall or through a pipe connected to the dryer and led through a window. In a condenser dryer, this air goes to a separate chamber in the drying unit where it is cooled to convert the moisture back into water which then collects in a reservoir, usually under the machine. The newer type of condenser dryer uses a heat pump that draws in air from the surrounding environment like its counterparts, but uses a different method to complete the drying process. It is sent through a heat pump where the cold side condenses the vapor in an exhaust pipe or tank and the hot side heats the remaining air for later use.

Space Considerations

The first (and perhaps only) consideration should be the layout already in place in your home. If your home doesn't have a vent or your potential laundry location isn't near an exterior wall or window, you'll need to consider ventless dryers. Their placement is more flexible, although normal condenser dryers still need plenty of airflow around them to work properly. If you already have a dryer vent in an exterior wall, a conventional vented dryer may be the best choice. Or not.

There are other factors to consider.


Because vented dryers are so common, they are also the least expensive to buy. You can get a vented dryer for around $300 to $1500. A condenser dryer can cost between $600 and $2,000. Heat pump dryers were only introduced in the United States.

S market in 2015 and are the most expensive. They can cost $1300 and up. However, these are only initial costs. Over time, condenser dryers can save you money, especially heat pump dryers.

When there is no venting to the outdoors, your home's energy efficiency naturally increases. Plus, the ventless dryer recycles the air it uses, creating potential savings (especially during Milwaukee winters).

Drying Time

The vented dryer has the longest drying time, with typical loads going through a 60-minute cycle. Condenser dryers typically have drying times around 75 minutes and heat pump dryers take 105 minutes and more. The reason ventilated dryers work so quickly is the air temperature in the drying drum.

It is extremely hot and blowing vigorously. With ventless dryers, the temperature can be lower, increasing the drying time. And also by reducing the wear and tear on your clothes.

Fabric Condition

Due to the differences described, ventless dryers are gentler on clothes. You may also find that you can dry some items that you had to hang first.

With condenser dryers, your clothes can last longer.

Energy Efficiency

Heat pump dryers use 40% to 50% more electricity than a traditional electric dryer. In fact, some sources claim they are five times more efficient than vented dryers and dual condenser efficiency. Whatever the specific numbers for your family, there's no doubt that this is the most energy-efficient option.

With all of these factors in play, only you can decide which type of dryer is best for your needs.

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