Clothes dryers are not commonly seen in Singapore households. Many families stick to the traditional method of line-drying their laundry.
However, with smaller HDB BTOs, that also means that line drying your wet clothes can clutter your kitchen… and potentially your living room space too (I’m not the only one who hangs damp clothes all over the living room windows, right?).
Now that we’re all back in the office, some of us are just never home in the day. We end up doing our laundry at night, and hanging them all over the house to dry over the next few days.
If you’d like a clutter-free laundry yard, or if you just don’t have enough time, the clothes dryer might be a handy appliance to have.
Let me tell you, clothes dryers really do work. I personally have a condenser clothes dryer stacked above my washing machine. When family and friends visit my place, it’s always a conversation starter. At the end the day, everyone is always pleasantly surprised at how convenient a clothes dryer can be – especially for households with pets and children.
How do clothes dryers work?
Clothes dryers basically draw air from its surroundings, and into the dryer machine. The air is then heated via electricity and circulated through the wet clothes to remove its moisture. Since heat is used as the primary drying element, the hotter the air going around in the clothes dryer machine, the faster your clothes will dry.
Do dryers completely dry the clothes?
Often you will find complaints from existing clothes dryer users that their dryer machines did not completely dry the clothes. However, when used appropriately, clothes dryers are supposed to completely dry your clothes.
There are several reasons why: clothes are dripping wet when placed into the clothes dryer (yes, you shouldn’t put soaking wet clothes in!), lint and dust filters not cleaned, air vent not cleaned, or too much clothes were stuffed into the drying cycle.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, here are eight common types of clothes dryers in Singapore.
1. Tumble Dryer
Perhaps one of the most common terms you will see on your clothes’ care tags include “Tumble Dry On Low Heat” or “Do Not Tumble Dry”.
Tumble dryers are often the cheapest types of clothes dryers in Singapore. However, these days, tumble dryers have been replaced by newer technologies such as the condenser and Heat Pump dryers in stores since tumble dryers are often low on the Energy Efficiency Rating (usually just one tick).
There are just a couple of plain old tumble dryers left on retail shelves, and prices range around $400 to $500. Examples include the Europace Tumble Dryer 7kg ($499 from Courts) and the Tecno Clothes Dryer 7kg ($458 from Courts).
Most of the other tumble dryers are now fitted with newer technology, such as Heat Pump (read below).
However, if you’re on a budget, older secondhand dryers you’ll find on peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Olio or Carousell are tumble dryers. You can nab one for a nifty $100 or so easily – just ensure that the vents, filters, and machine in general is still in good working condition.
2. Vented Dryer
The vented dryer is named after the way water and moisture is expelled from the machine. In a vented clothes dryer, there is an actual vent (or pipe) where the warm, damp air – extracted from your clothes during the drying process – can be expelled.
Most commonly, this vent or pipe is routed to an open window or outdoor space. If you live in a condominium, check if the building’s developer has built any dedicated vents or ducted hose for you to plug your dryer vents into. For this reason, vented dryers usually have to be placed near the window or in your BTO’s outdoor kitchen yard.
You won’t find many new vented dryers available for sale these days. However, when you do find them, they are often pretty affordable, such as this Elba Air Vented Dryer 7kg ($429 from Harvey Norman).
Vented dryers are effective, can run up to 90°C to completely dry your towels and blankets, but tend to be very noisy.
3. Condenser Dryer
The Condenser Dryer is, too, named after the way it removes water from your wet clothes and the dryer machine. Instead of venting and routing the warm and damp air out of your window, a condenser dryer turns the warm, damp air into water (condensation) and collects the water in a small tank.
This is the type of clothes dryer that requires you to remove the water tank (usually at the bottom, in a little drawer) after every use to dispose of the collected water.
After condensing the moisture, the air is then recirculated internally, reheated, and sent back into the drum to dry the clothes.
As there is no hot air released out of the dryer, the condenser dryer suits a contained kitchen or bathroom with little access to windows and ventilation.
Condenser dryers range around $800 to $900, and often come with a one tick Energy Efficiency Rating. Although still affordable (under $1,000), cons of the condenser dryer include a longer drying time and regular emptying of the water tank.
Condenser vs Vented Dryer
Which is better, a vented or condenser tumble dryer? A vented clothes dryer will be better for you if you have an outdoor laundry yard and have heavier laundry such as blankets, duvets, rugs, and towels. However, if you live in a smaller condominium with limited access to windows and ventilation, a condenser clothes dryer will be more suitable for your space.
4. Dehumidifier Dryer
If you don’t like the idea of a clothes dryer – perhaps the low Energy Efficiency Rating and high electricity consumption, or due to space and interior design aesthetic reasons – you might want to opt for a laundry room dehumidifier to dry your wet clothes instead.
This is a great add-on if you already have an indoor drying rack installed in your HDB BTO’s yard area. If you have a regular retractable drying rack, you might realise that on rainy days, your clothes can’t seem to dry. With the retractable clothes rack in the way, there’s no space to add another dryer either. What to do?
Get a dehumidifier and place is under your retractable drying clothes rack. However, they don’t come cheap.
A 15-litre dehumidifier from Deerma, for example, costs $219 (from Lazada), while a 12-litre Sterra Sun Dehumidifier will set you back by $349.
If you have lots of children’s and workwear laundry, you might want to consider the 30-litre LG Dehumidifier with Ionizer ($658 from Lazada), or the 25-litre Philips Air Dehumidifier 5000 Series ($839 from Lazada).
After using it for the laundry, you can move it into your bedroom to remove the hot humidity for a restful night’s sleep. And… most of these dehumidifiers come with air purification functions, too. You do get a lot more out of these multi-purpose devices.
5. Heat Pump Dryer
The most popular class of clothes dryers in Singapore is the Heat Pump dryer. Just walk into any electronics and home appliances store like Courts, Harvey Norman, or Best Denki, and you’ll find that 90 per cent of all clothes dryers you see are labelled with “Heat Pump”.
What does “Heat Pump” mean? The Heat Pump clothes dryer is basically an upgraded version of the condenser dryer. The way a Heat Pump dryer works is very similar to that of a condenser dryer – hot air is pumped into the drum to evaporate moisture from your wet clothes. Then, the hot and damp air passes through an condenser where moisture is removed and stored as water in a water tank.
The difference between a Heat Pump vs condenser dryer is the recirculated air that goes back into the drum. In a condenser dryer, the recirculated air is cooled in the condensation process and needs to be reheated before it is reintroduced to dry your clothes.
However, the Heat Pump clothes dryer’s process is more energy efficient – recirculated air remains hot and is reused to continue drying clothes. This closed circuit and the recycling of air allows energy savings of about 50 per cent.
Heat Pump dryers cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. They’re also the most efficient type of dryer on the market right now. For example, the Midea Heat Pump Dryer 8kg costs $1,069 (from Courts), while a Fisher & Paykel Heat Pump Dryer 8kg costs $1,449 (from Courts).
Like the condenser dryer, a Heat Pump dryer is also suitable for windowless rooms or bathrooms with lower ventilation.
6. Spin Dryer
You will most commonly find the spin dryer built into your washing machine as an additional drying function. Most of these spin dryers do not completely dry your clothes.
Spin dryers work by literally salad-spinning your soaking wet laundry at high speeds to remove excess water. At the end of the day, you get damp clothes that are ready to be sunned out on the laundry line, hung out on your drying racks, or placed into a Heat Pump dryer.
You’ll seldom find dedicated spin dryer machines. However, you will be able to find small, portable spin dryers on budget websites such as Lazada – such as this CrystaWash Foldable Mini Washer with Spin Dryer 2kg ($59) and 2-in-1 Washing Machine and Spin Dryer ($124).
7. Radiator Dryer
Radiator dryers are not that common in Singapore, but they are pretty common abroad and can come in handy when you’re travelling abroad to winter countries especially.
Unlike the tumble dryer, condenser, or Heat Pump dryers, radiator dryers are not standalone clothes dryer machines. They are actually just a simple metal wire rack that is often hung over an indoor radiator heater (the white ones that look like coils). Using the heat emitted from the radiator, damp clothes are then dried over time.
These heat radiators are common in hotel rooms in countries with winter. And thanks to the high concentration of heat emitting from these radiators, your clothes can actually dry pretty quickly – overnight or within the day.
If you are travelling, you can purchase a simple foldable Houze Wall-Hanging Radiator Drying Airer ($7.20 from Amazon). Stow it in your luggage, and assemble it when you’ve checked into your hotel. You can keep your clothes on the rack to make them nice and warm for wear.
8. Automatic Drying Racks (Steigen Drying Racks)
Steigen is actually a relatively new company, founded in 2011 by a group of German engineers. Their very first product was a pretty simple clothes drying rack with UV rays to eliminate germs and bacteria.
Over the years, Steigen has included more functions such as 60°C heat, air, ions, ultrasonic waves, and removed any UV rays to help speed up indoor clothes drying.
There are seven Steigen models available in Singapore, namely the:
- Solar Pro
- Solar Sonic
- Solar Alpha
- Solar Ultra
- Solar Mini
Prices of Steigen clothes drying racks range from $1,000 and upwards to $1,400. A Steigen Solar Pro set, for instance, will set you back by $1,299.
What other considerations are there when buying a clothes dryer? We asked a brand representative from Miele some burning questions we have around clothes dryers:
Which clothes dryer size should I get?
5-9kg is the load most tumble dryers can accommodate, and refers to the weight of dry laundry. When choosing a dryer, pick one that is of the same capacity or higher than your washing machine.
Is an expensive dryer necessarily better?
Condenser dryers with heat pumps top the price chart while vented dryers are the most budget-friendly. But the trade-off is that condenser dryers are generally more energy efficient and use less electricity than vented ones.
Features like a delicate drying programme, child lock, and tumble-dry and sensor-dry options are the norm in most dryers. But expect to pay extra for features like a steam function to reduce creases or a drying rack for woollens.
“For Miele tumble dryers, the hardware, like the material of the drum, is the same (for both premium and entry-level models). It’s just the software that varies,” says Grainne Styles, marketing director of Miele.
So, before shelling out money for a dryer, decide if the features of the more expensive ones are necessary for your needs.