How much does it cost to run a tumble dryer? Plus, how to keep costs down

Experts advise on the exact price of dry laundry – and offer their top tips for drying at a minimum cost

large laundry room with dramatic light fixture and blue cabinets
(Image credit: Obelisk Home / Global Image Creation)

How much does it cost to run a tumble dryer? With energy prices on the rise, this question is increasingly prominent on both sides of the Atlantic. 

However, while some queries are easy to answer (for example, what is the delicate setting on a tumble dryer – the cost of running can be harder to explain. Unlike a tumble dryer temperature guide that remains the same in many cases, the price of dry laundry is slightly less predictive.  

Here, the experts discuss how much you may need to pay every time you use your tumble dryer – while sharing the laundry room ideas that may help you limit costs where possible. 

How much does it cost to run a tumble dryer?

'Costs of running a tumble dryer in the US will largely depend on the state you currently live in,' says Damian Serwin, an investment banking analyst and co-founder of Why Budgeting. 'However, taking an average number, tumble dryers are usually between about two to six kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is a measure you can then calculate your energy consumption on.'

laundry room with butcher block countertop

(Image credit: Rebecca Hay)

'Taking a national average of 15 cents per kilowatt (kWh), you are looking at 30 to 90 cents per hour of running a tumble dryer, depending on energy consumption. With one weekly load, which most of us do as a standard, we are looking at around $15.6 to $46.8 on running the tumble dryer alone.'

And Damian is not alone in his observations. Jason Porter, a senior investment manager at Scottish Heritage, predicts that the annual operating cost of an 8 kg tumble dryer will range from around $104 to $224. However, the actual figure will depend on your tumble dryer's model, energy efficiency, and how frequently you use it.

'Large families who wash three loads of laundry weekly could spend about $118 on tumble drying their garments annually,' he says. 'According to my current research, using a tumble dryer for two hours per week starting in October will cost about $104 per year.'

Gray laundry room with built ins

(Image credit: Alex James)

How to cut tumble dryer costs

Knowing how to choose energy-efficient appliances is among the best ways to lower your costs.

'You should look for a more electricity-efficient model; there are lots of choices out there,' Damian says. He also suggests using the whole capacity of the dryer rather than running it with a couple of smaller items and keeping on top of services to avoid expensive repair costs.

'You can also shorten your drying cycle if you dry similar clothes together, which means just a little planning ahead when preparing your wash cycles,' he adds. Alternatively, Robert Johnson, the marketing director at Coast Appliances, recommends turning to a high-speed spin to dry your clothes before placing them into your tumble dryer.

House Seven Design Laudry Room with dark cabinetry. terracotta floor and laundry carts under countertop

(Image credit: House Seven Design / photograph)

Is it expensive to use the dryer?

The price of running a tumble dryer depends mainly on your appliance model and lifestyle. However, as Robert Johnson, the marketing director at Coast Appliances, suggests, you can limit these costs by replacing your old appliance with a modern model powered by heat pump technology. 

'These tumble dryers have higher energy efficiency ratings than vented models,' the expert says. 

Jason Porter, a senior investment manager at Scottish Heritage, adds that you should also increase your washing machine's spin speed to encourage your clothes to dry faster before they reach the tumble dryer. 

'Wetter clothing dries more slowly, putting additional strain on your tumble dryer,' he says. 'I'll advise you to use a higher spin setting on your washing machine to remove less water from your clothes before they begin to dry.' Also, if you're on a less expensive off-peak tariff, he urges you to experiment with your delay start function to allow your tumble dryer to run overnight.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.