We can't always rely on the weather in the UK, so a small tumble dryer makes an excellent "Plan B".
Vented tumble dryers are cheap and can do a good job, but you need to place them near a door, window, or have vent put in the wall for the tube.
If you don't have the space, there are a lot of small condenser dryers on the UK market. With these appliances, you don't need an external vent fitted, or need to hang anything out of the window.
On this page, we'll look at five of the best models for 2018.
The Best Small Condenser Dryers
Before we give you details of the top five, lets have a look at what a condenser tumble dryer is, and why it should be your choice.
What is a Condenser Tumble Dryer?
The beauty of a condenser tumble dryer is that it does not need the external venting, so there is no need to find a place where that cumbersome hose can go outside.
This means you can put it in bedrooms or even the living room, but you do need to make sure it is in a well-ventilated room, as there will be excess heat from the machine.
The trick is that the dryer condenses the warm, damp air by certain means – it’s a similar process to that used in a dehumidifier into water, which is then collected in a reservoir or tray.
The tray does need to be emptied quite regularly, yet the benefit of being able to put the machine where you want is very welcome.
Condenser dryers may be more expensive than their vented cousins in some cases. However, only the best priced dryers have made our list.
Features You Need To Consider
We would include size of the machine in this section, but as all of those listed are standard for under the counter use, here’s what you need to think about!
Capacity – the more people in your household, the bigger dryer you will need. There’s a choice of 7 kg and 8 kg models on our list, so choose accordingly to fit your washing machine.
Functions – you need to make sure your chosen machine has all the features and functions that you need and will use, so have a look in depth at the manufacturer specifications for anti-crease features, available programmes and more.
Energy Efficiency – these machines are rated either B or C; the former is better, so for more efficient running choose the best one you can afford.
Noise Level – note that the dB scale is not linear; in other words, 75 dB is a lot louder than, say, 68 dB! None of these are silent machines, but some are quieter than others.
Size - It's likely your after a condenser tumble dryer that can fit into a small space.
These appliances tend to be a but narrower than washing machines, the same depth and just a little bit taller.
To give you some idea, the smallest on our list is sized 54cm wide by 60cm deep by 85cm tall.
Small Condenser Tumble Dryer Reviews
Using the above features as a reference point, here are our reviews of the best small tumble dryers of 2018.
The Hotpoint brand comes with a guarantee of quality and reliability, and their kitchen appliances are in millions of our homes in the UK.
The FETC70BP is small, compact and designed to sit under any counter.
For reference, the dimensions are 59.5 cm wide x 61 cm deep x 85 cm tall.
As it's also just under three feet tall, this allows you to stack it if you wanted to.
With a capacity of 7 kg, it can handle the average washing load for a small family.
An interesting feature this particular model has is "Anti-Tangle Technology", which allows your clothes to come out individually, and not in one big heap!
In terms of energy-efficiency, this appliance is rated at "B", and you'll seldom find a condenser dryer with an "A" rating.
It's great that Hotpoint have installed a warning light to let you know when to empty the water, and also the lint filter. This is really important, as too much lint can cause a fire hazard.
On the noise scale, it puts out 69 db, which is about the sound of a vacuum cleaner. It's not the quietest on our list, but it's about average for a modern dryer.
For further peace of mind, the Hotpoint FETC0BP comes with a 12-month parts and labour guarantee. As a bonus, they also offer free replacement parts for the first 10 years!
Beko is an award-winning brand, and their appliances are finding their way into more UK homes.
The second is that everything about this machine is easy to use. The controls are intuitive (though a lack of a countdown timer has been lamented) and users report both the water and lint filters are easy to clean and change.
Performance wise, you can expect the Beko DC7000W to dry synthetic clothes in around 60 minutes. Cottons and jeans will take a bit longer, and you're best of leaving those for 135 minutes.
Another consideration with this model is it has a 2-meter long power cord. This helps if you're placing it in a bedroom or living room.
There is a one-year manufacturers guarantee included, and this can be extended at an additional cost.
Indesit Eco Time 8kg Dryer
Indesit is one of the most trusted brands for laundry appliances.
This dryer is an 8 kg condenser dryer, so it's perfect if you have a larger washing machine or family.
The first is that it uses "Sensor Technology" to monitor the moisture and temperature levels inside the machine. So they indicate that your clothes are dry the machine automatically shuts off.
This is a great feature to save energy (and it has been awarded level "B" which is above-average for tumble dryers) but also ensure your clothes are not so bone dry they can stand up on their own!
The dual rotation of the drum prevents your clothes tangling together. It's also quiet at 66 db and actually one of the quietest on our list.
There are 15 different drying features which includes "Cool Tumble", a feature designed to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
As well as an array of features, you can also get this one in black or silver.
The Indesit Sensor is a great little condenser dryer, but it is priced slightly higher than others on our list - all be it with a larger capacity.
You also get a 1-year manufacturers warranty and ten years for parts included in the price.
Zanussi is one of the most well-known UK brands, so it’s only right this 8kg capacity condenser dryer is included in our selection.
This dryer promises excellent performance via a series of clever sensors; these monitor humidity, temperature, water level, steam and overall efficiency, so you get the best drying capability possible.
These sensors help the ZDP7205PZ achieve a "B" grade for Energy-Efficiency, and again this is above average for condenser dryers.
This dryer measures 60 cm x 60 cm x 85 cm, so it's perfect for a small space, or to stack on top of a washing machine.
There is a reverse-action spin and this one DOES allow you to dry duvets which many don't. There's also a cool cycle which refreshes clothes you've only worn once.
On the downside, this Zanussi dryer doesn't have the number of programs that others on our list do. There isn't a quick dry feature or sports programs for example.
However, it is super-quiet at just 65 DB and becomes it doesn't have all the bells and whistles it's really easy to use.
White-Knight is a British laundry appliance manufacturer which make tumble dryers that people really love.
Their B96M8WR model has an 8 KG capacity, so it's larger than a lot of other dryers, but it still only measures 61 cm x 59.5 cm x 84.5 cm.
This makes it compact enough to go under a counter, but it is a little big to stack on a washing machine (though some people do!) It can be kept in a cupboard as long as you open the door during use.
What really impresses me about this model is it has features that similar priced dryers don't have.
There are 12 programs in all, including 3 different heat settings, reverse tumbling, an anti-crease function and a child lock (which several on our list don't have).
You do need to know that it collects the moisture in a compartment you need to regularly empty. However, there's an plumb-to-drain option which will avoid having to do this.
While the manufacturer discloses this model has been awarded Energy-Rating "B" and uses 2.4kw per load, they don't reveal how quiet it is 🙁
However, many people are happy with the noise level and say you can hold a conversation with it on (or close the door and not hear it when it's in the kitchen!)
If you're after a large capacity yet compact condenser dryer, this White Knight model is great value for money
Which Condenser Dryer is Best for 2018?
In putting together this list, we tried to provide a good selection from the best brands available in the UK. We also tried to choose models that could fit into different types of budgets, too.
However, if I had to choose just one, I would go with the Beko DTGC7000w.
Well, in addition to doing all the things you'd expect it to do, it also has an alarm to let you know the lint filter is full.
There are many stories of tumble dryers catching fire, so this for me is an ESSENTIAL FEATURE. Why all makes and models don't have it I just don't know!
There's also a child lock (I have kids) - which again some on our list don't have (why?!). There's also an alarm to let you know the cycle has finished.
So for me, these three features set the Beko apart and the price is definitely alright.