Reduce clothes dryer costs at home

Last updated: 21 February 2021

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.

4kg load capacity

Clothes dyer type Energy star rating Average times used per week Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Standard electric 1.5 stars 1 $27 101
Standard electric 1.5 stars 1.5 $41 150
Standard electric 1.5 stars 3 $80 295
Standard electric 1.5 stars 5 $132 489
Standard electric 3 stars 1 $22 81
Standard electric 3 stars 1.5 $32 119
Standard electric 3 stars 3 $58 215
Standard electric 3 stars 5 $104 384

6kg load capacity

Clothes dyer type Energy star rating Average times used per week Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Standard electric 1.5 stars 1 $41 150
Standard electric 1.5 stars 1.5 $60 223
Standard electric 1.5 stars 3 $119 440
Standard electric 1.5 stars 5 $197 730
Heat pump 8 stars 1 $18 65
Heat pump 8 stars 1.5 $26 94
Heat pump 8 stars 3 $49 183
Heat pump 8 stars 5 $82 302

8kg load capacity

Clothes dyer type Energy star rating Average times used per week Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Standard electric 1.5 stars 1 $54 198
Standard electric 1.5 stars 1.5 $80 295
Standard electric 1.5 stars 3 $158 585
Standard electric 1.5 stars 5 $263 972
Heat pump 6 stars 1 $19 72
Heat pump 6 stars 1.5 $29 106
Heat pump 6 stars 3 $56 270
Heat pump 6 stars 5 $92 341

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.

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.

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