How much does it cost to run a heated clothes dryer?

Want to work out how much does it cost to run a heated clothes dryer? We've crunched the numbers to find out

Aldi heated airer
(Image credit: Aldi)

Wondering how much does it cost to run a heated clothes dryer now that the weather has turned cooler and drying your laundry outside isn't always possible? You're not alone. 

The introduction of the Energy Price Guarantee (opens in new tab) means bills won’t rise as much as originally feared, at least not while the guarantee is in effect. All households who pay for their energy will also receive a £400 energy rebate (opens in new tab) in six instalments between October 2022 and March 2023. But in spite of that, energy bills are still higher than they were in 2021 and many households are still worried about how much their energy bills will cost (opens in new tab)

Callum Woodstock, energy expert at PropertyRescue (opens in new tab), told us: “Many householders are concerned about how they will meet the cost of heating and lighting their homes, running their fridge freezers, cooking food and more. Drying laundry is also a concern with limited sunshine during the winter months as many people who would normally dry clothes on radiators will no longer be doing so as they’ll be keeping the heating off as much as possible.”

A tumble dryer's high running costs will mean that a tumble dryer is off limits for many. So many people are thinking about using a heated clothes dryer instead. A heated clothes dryer looks similar to a normal clothes airer, but you plug it into a wall socket and use electricity to warm it up and dry you clothes quicker.  

How much does it cost to run a heated clothes dryer?  

It costs around 7.5p an hour to run a typical 220W heated clothes dryer. If you used your heated indoor clothes dryer for eight hours a day, that would cost you 60p per day or £9.60 per month if you used it four times a week. Assuming you used your heated clothes dryer for around five months of the year (factoring in some rainy summer days), your annual cost would be £48. 

That said, the exact cost will depend on the type and size of the heated clothes dryer, how long you use it for and how much you pay for your energy. On 1 October, the price you pay per kWh of electricity changed due to the Energy Price Guarantee coming into effect. This means you now pay 34p per kWh for electricity used, compared to the 28p previously. 

Most heated clothes dryers have a low power output, whether you have a one-tier dryer with fold-out wings with a drying capacity of 10kg, or a larger three-tier heated dryer with a drying capacity of around 15kg. But you can also buy more powerful drying ‘pods’ with an output of around 1,000W. These usually dry clothes faster, so you wouldn’t need it to run it for as long. 

To give you some examples:

  • If you had a 300W three-tier heated clothes dryer, your running costs would be around 10p an hour to run, which equates to 80p per day, £12.80 per month and £64 a year (assuming you run it for five months of the year)
  • If you had a 1,000W drying pod, your running costs would be around 34p an hour. If you only needed to switch it on for three hours rather than eight hours a day, this would cost you £1.02 a day, or £30.60 a month and around £153 a year (assuming you run it for five months of the year).
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Cost per hourCost per monthCost per year
220W heated clothes dryer7.5p£9.60£48
300W heated clothes dryer10p£12.80£64
1,000W heated clothes dryer34p£30.60* £153*

 *Based on use of three hours a day, rather than eight. 

How long do heated clothes dryers take to dry clothes? 

It usually takes between two and five hours for garments to dry using a heated clothes dryer. But ultimately it will depend on the kind of airer you have and the type of clothes you are drying. Lighter garments will dry more quickly, but heavier fabrics will take longer. 

Ryan Collier (opens in new tab), director of Heat Pump Source, says: “For heavier garments, it can take 10 or more hours. However, drying time will vary depending on the clothes type, the load’s size, and the type of heated clothes dryer.” 

Depending on the heated clothes dryer, you can always buy a cover to put over the top while it's in use to help speed up the drying process. But do make sure you buy the correct type of cover if yours doesn't come with one already and make sure you follow the instructions on how to use it. 

Are heated clothes dryers energy efficient and how do they compare to a tumble dryer? 

Yes, heated clothes dryers are energy efficient and use significantly less energy than a tumble dryer, which means they are cheaper to run. But they're not necessarily the cheapest way to dry clothes (opens in new tab).

When it comes to how much a tumble dryer costs to run (opens in new tab), an average 8kg tumble dryer will cost between £91.80 and £198.90 per year to run, based on using it twice a week. That’s significantly more than the £48 to £153 annual cost we’ve calculated for using a heated clothes dryer four times a week. 

Heating expert Ryan Collier adds: “Heated airers are also more gentle on clothes, which means your clothes will last longer. But they take longer to dry clothes, so a tumble dryer might be a better option if you're in a hurry.”

Household appliance running costs Oct 2022

(Image credit: Future)

Find out how much some of your other household appliance cost to run:

 Are heated clothes dryers worth it? 

Heated clothes dryers can certainly be worth it if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to dry clothes indoors. As well as keeping energy costs down and offering the added bonus of keeping the room warm, the initial cost of buying one can be relatively low too. 

Small heated clothes airers can be picked up from as little as £40 to £55 from retailers such as Dunelm (opens in new tab) and Argos (opens in new tab). Larger, three-tiered options will set you back at least double that, but could be more suitable for bigger families who run larger washing loads on a regular basis.  

What should you look for when buying a heated clothes dryer?  

 When buying a heated clothes dryer, there are a number of points to consider: 

Check the size and capacity

Check the exact dimensions of the dryer as well as its drying capacity before buying. If you live alone or with a partner, a smaller heated clothes dryer should be sufficient. But those with larger families might be better off investing in a 3-tiered airer which is designed for larger washing loads. You might also want one with a cover for more intense drying.

“Don't underestimate how large a heated clothes airer can be once unfolded,” warns Amy Lockwood (opens in new tab), Ecommerce editor for our sister site Ideal Home. “Before you choose one, think about where it will live when in operation. Remember this needs to be near a plug socket and away from children and pets. Consider what available floor space you have whilst still being able to open doors and manoeuvre around it safely.” 

Check whether it has a timer and thermostat

Some heated airers will also include a timer which means you can control how long the clothes are drying for, as well as a thermostat to make sure the dryer doesn’t overheat the clothes.  

Check reviews

Finally, check whether your chosen heated clothes dryer comes with a warranty and read the customer reviews to ensure you are buying a high-quality product. After all, the last thing you want is to invest in something that breaks down after a couple of months. 

Where can I buy a heated clothes dryer?

You can buy heated clothes dryers from multiple high street or online retailers including: Argos, Amazon, Dunelm, B&M

Rachel is a freelance personal finance journalist who has been writing about everything from mortgages to car insurance for over a decade. Having previously worked at Shares Magazine, where she specialised in small-cap stocks, Rachel developed a passion for consumer finance and saving money when she moved to lovemoney.com (opens in new tab). She later spent more than 8 years as an editor at price comparison site MoneySuperMarket where she helped support the CRM programme, as well as the SEO and PR teams, often acting as spokesperson. Rachel went freelance in 2020, just as the pandemic hit, and has since written for numerous websites and national newspapers, including The Mail on Sunday, The Observer, The Sun and Forbes. She is passionate about helping consumers become more confident with their finances, giving them the tools they need to take control of their money and make savings. In her spare time, Rachel is a keen traveller and baker.
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