Vented Tumble Dryer vs Condenser Tumble Dryer

Time to pick a new tumble dryer for your home – decisions, decisions. You’ve already done the homework to narrow down your options based on what works for your configuration if you’re at a point where it’s time to choose between vented tumble dryers and condenser tumble dryers. Let’s dig in to see how they compare and get you to your final decision.

What’s a Vented Tumble Dryer?

A vented tumble dryer is a dryer that vents water outside your home. The mechanism is pretty simple. However, some factors need to be in play in order for a vented tumble dryer to be an option for your home. The obvious requirement is a spot with good ventilation.

That’s because a vented tumble dryer needs to be fitted to an external wall in order to expel moisture away from your living area in a safe, regulated way. The moisture that exits the vented tumble dryer does not take the form of liquid. You’ll actually observe steam. Here’s the blueprint for how each cycle works:

The vented tumble dryer draws heat and air from the room.
That warm air blows around in the dryer’s drum during the load cycle.
The warm air then passes through the clothing and fabrics in the load to cause the moisture within the materials to evaporate.
The air is vented outside.

There is the potential for a workaround if you simply don’t have a space in your home that fits the requirement. It’s possible to use a hose to allow moisture to travel to a remote external “venting” spot. However, there’s still a requirement if you decide to go with this option. You’ll need to have a window where a hose can be placed if you don’t have direct access to an external wall.

The Benefits of a Vented Tumble Dryer

Choosing a vented tumble dryer is sometimes simply a matter of economics. Generally, a vented tumble dryer is going to save you money in the long run due to the fact that this dryer does not actually use energy to convert moisture. All it’s doing is carrying that moisture out of your home using a very simple venting mechanism.

You’ll also generally find that the best vented tumble dryers requires very little maintenance. They are also famously reliable. The reason for both is simply that the “basic” design of a vented tumble dryer means that there’s not a ton that can “go wrong.”

Another major perk to a vented tumble dryer is that there’s no water reservoir to empty. That’s because all of the moisture that’s collected in the drum converts to vapor during the drying process.

Related: Best Vented Tumble Dryer Picks

Condenser Tumble Dryer

A condenser tumble dryer can be thought of as a dryer for people who didn’t think they could actually have dryers in their homes. That’s because you can essentially put a condenser dryer anywhere. No, you don’t need access to an external venting wall or window to be able to enjoy a variety of quick-dry options. Does that mean this is the best dryer option out there? Let’s explore!

A condenser tumble dryer works by moving hot air to a condensing chamber. Next, that air is condensed to water. That water is then stored in a collection container. You’ll note that the process is a bit more complicated that what happens with a vented tumble dryer. The big drawback is that you’ll need to manually empty the water container.

There are some hose options on certain models that may allow you to work around that. However, the standard is simply to manually empty the water container between drying loads.

The big perk to a condenser tumble dryer is that almost anyone can have one. There’s no need for a fancy venting setup. Many people who don’t have designated laundry areas appreciate the fact that they can instantly and simply install condenser dryers in bathrooms or kitchens. Installation is as simple as plugging the dryer in for most cases!

A condenser tumble dryer does have some drawbacks. This dryer style is generally less efficient than a vented version. The main reason is that it takes more energy to convert air to water. Manufacturers do generally add as many efficiency features as possible. The other potential drawback is that condenser dryers are typically a little more expensive.

Related: Best Condenser Tumble Dryer Picks

Should You Pick a Vented or Condenser Tumble Dryer?

The bottom line is that you’ll find vented tumble dryers and condenser dryers available that do some pretty amazing things without taking up much space at all. In fact, manufacturers have really refined the “portable” dryer industry significantly in recent years.

Of course, you may still be wondering which option is the best choice for your household. Here are the big factors to put the lens on when making your decision:

  • Sticker price.
  • Lifetime price based on energy efficiency, maintenance needs and reliability ratings.
  • Noise ratings.
  • Special features.
  • Drum capacity.
  • Machine size in relation to available space.

A condenser dryer may be your default choice if you don’t have a venting outlet available in your home. However, you may choose this option even if you do have the ability to set up a vented tumble dryer. Both dryer styles bring a lot to the table. What it’s really going to come down to if you have the option to fit either a vented or condensed dryer is what you want in terms of features.

Condenser dryers notoriously require more energy than vented tumble dryers. However, many manufacturers of individual models have put in the work to make some condenser models very close to vented models. That means that you’ll really need to do your homework to make apples-to-apples comparisons between individual models instead of pitting vented against condenser.