Clothes dryers

Close-up of a towel being removed from a clothes dryer

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Clothes dryers can consume a lot of electricity when used regularly, but an energy efficient model with a high star rating can reduce running costs and save the environment.

Just over half of Victorian households own a clothes dryer and approximately 74,000 new dryers are purchased in Victoria each year. An average load of washing costs around 44 cents to dry, so choosing an energy efficient model can reduce your running costs.

Types of clothes dryers

There are two basic types of electric dryers – heat pump dryers and conventional clothes dryers.

Heat pump clothes dryers

Heat pump clothes dryers operate in a similar way to a reverse-cycle air conditioner – they use a heat pump to heat the air. They also recover heat from the warm, moist air from clothes and condense out the moisture.

Heat pump clothes dryers are the most efficient dryers and have high efficiency ratings.

Conventional clothes dryers

Conventional vented dryers use an electric element to heat air to dry clothes and are the least efficient kind of dryer.

Conventional auto-sensing dryers that are condensing are preferred to vented dryers, however they’re still significantly less efficient than heat pump dryers.

Running costs for clothes dryers

Most clothes dryers have a low star rating of 2 stars or less, but efficient heat pump models and gas clothes dryers are available at a lower running cost. The table below provides estimated running costs for different types of clothes dryers, based on star rating and capacity.

Clothes dryer type Energy star rating Average times used per week Annual energy cost* Annual GHG emissions (kg)*
4kg load capacity**
Standard electric 1.5 star rating 1 $27 101
1.5 $41 150
3 $80 295
5 $132 489
Standard electric 3 star rating 1 $22 81
1.5 $32 119
3 $58 215
5 $104 384
6kg load capacity**
Standard electric 1.5 star rating 1 $41 150
1.5 $60 223
3 $119 440
5 $197 730
Heat pump 8 star rating 1 $18 65
1.5 $26 94
3 $49 183
5 $82 302
8kg load capacity**
Standard electric 1.5 star rating 1 $54 198
1.5 $80 295
3 $158 585
5 $263 972
Heat pump 6 star rating 1 $19 72
1.5 $29 106
3 $56 207
5 $92 341

* Calculations assume and electricity tariff of 31.9c/kWh, based on typical Melbourne tariff. This does not include any pay-on-time discount, which would reduce the amount paid. GHG = Greenhouse Gas emissions in kg of carbon dioxide equivalent. The greenhouse coefficient used is 1.18 kilograms per kilowatt hour of electricity used.
** Studies of clothes dryer usage show that the actual average load of washing dried is much less than the rated capacity of the dryers. We have assumed the actual load is 3% of the rated load capacity. The annual energy consumption and running costs based on assumed load of 1.4kg for 4kg dryers, 2.1kg for 6kg dryers and 2.8kg for 8kg dryers.

Energy rating label

 The Energy rating label makes it easy for you to consider the energy efficiency of appliances. The more stars, the more energy efficient the appliance is. All new appliances available for sale in Australia must display the Energy rating label.

If you're comparing appliances for energy efficiency, they must be of the same type, that is, similar in capacity and features.

When choosing an appliance, you should compare annual energy consumption figures (kWh per year). The model with the lowest annual energy use will be the cheapest to run.

The Energy rating label is administered by the Equipment Energy Efficiency program, which is a cross-jurisdictional program through which the Australian Government, states and territories and the New Zealand government collaborate to deliver a single, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for equipment and appliances.

Energy rating calculator

Water rating label

 For a combined washer-dryer, check the Water rating label to confirm the water efficiency rating of the appliance, and to ensure the product is registered for sale in Australia.

Read more about water rating labels

Using your dryer efficiently

Dry your clothes outside when possible. Fresh air and sunshine can help kill bacteria and dust mites, and may even help fade stains.

If you’re going to use your dryer regularly, look for a model with an auto-sensing feature. Auto-sensing prevents over-drying, which saves electricity and is also better for your clothes. Make sure your dryer is vented to the outside so the moisture doesn't make the house damp, and clean the lint filter after each load.

Thoroughly spin-dry the clothes in your washing machine first. It takes a lot less electricity to spin water out of clothes than it does to heat it out.

Disposing of your old clothes dryer

Whitegoods are generally made of valuable metals and plastics. These can be recycled to conserve resources, prevent toxic materials such as heavy metals from contaminating the environment and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases created in the production of new materials.

Learn more about recycling whitegoods

Examples of energy and water rating labels

Energy rating labels

Energy rating labels help you compare appliances so you can and choose the most energy and water efficient, and save money on running costs.

Read more

Energy rating label

Energy rating calculator

The Energy Rating Calculator and app allows you to calculate the energy consumption and running costs for an appliance before you buy it.

Read more