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Do Ventless Dryers Take Longer to Dry

Unlike air drying, which would take hours to dry fabrics, tumble dryers dry clothes in a matter of minutes. However, many of us have our eyes on the more energy-efficient ventless dryers. Unfortunately, there is one drawback to ventless dryers – their drying times.

Are you also hesitant to switch to ventless dryers because you are worried they will take extremely long to dry the clothes and might overall end up costing you more money to run? In this article, I explain how ventless dryers work and why they take longer to dry clothes. But most importantly, we are going to look at how much longer it takes them!

Ventless dryers have longer drying times due to their lower temperatures. Heat pump dryers take around 30-50 minutes longer than vented units, while condenser dryers take only about 15-30 minutes longer. However, drying times are also affected by the dryer’s settings, model, capacity, and condition.

Ventless Dryers Operate on Lower Heat

Clothes dryers function by rotating clothes in a heated drum. Thus, every tumble dryer features a mechanism for heating the drum.

tumble dryers

Vented dryers feature a blower that draws ambient air into the drum and expels humid air through the exhaust. They use either gas or electricity to heat the drum. Electric dryers feature an electric heating element, and gas dryers use a gas burner

Every dryer model has an established method of airflow. Vented dryers expel humid air outdoor, and ventless units do not. 

Their operational temperature would vary based on the type and model of the dryer, as well as the setting at which the unit is running. 

However, as a result of the two-way airflow and the lack of any cooling mechanism in the vented dryers, the high-heat setting in ventless models is comparable to the low heat setting in vented dryers which is around 125 °F.

Furthermore, the two types of ventless dryers – heat pump and condenser dryers – are slightly different in their manner of operation, and so their temperature differs as well.

Heat Pump Dryers Are Slower Than Other Dryers

Heat pump dryers are the most energy-efficient dryer models. This is because they operate at a relatively low temperature compared to both condenser and vented dryers.

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Since drying time is largely influenced by the temperature in the drum, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that vented dryers do not take up as much time as ventless units to dry clothes.

Heat pump units do not have a heating element. Instead, they operate in a manner similar to refrigerators and air-conditioning units.

illustration of heat pump

Firstly, the air drawn from the room is heated with the help of compressed refrigerant inside the condenser coils. Then it passes to the drum to dry the clothes.

Later, an uncompressed refrigerant in an evaporator cools the hot, moisture-filled air in order to relieve the air of its moisture. The air then again passes over condenser coils, where it’s reheated before it can be sent back into the dryer drum.

Replacing the heating element with heat pump technology makes for a reduced internal temperature in the drum and high energy efficiency. However, drying clothes at a lower temperature means that the clothes would take longer to dry.

Heat pump dryers are actually the slowest of all the dryer types. They typically take 15-20 minutes more than condenser units to dry identical laundry loads.

They usually take about 30-50 more minutes longer compared to vented dryers, and in some situations, they could even take double the drying time of a vented dryer. 

Condenser Dryers’ Speed Is Slightly Higher

Although condenser dryers are similar to heat pump dryers in that they do not feature a vent, there are slight differences in their operation.

Like vented models, condenser dryers feature a heating element. This implies that the dryer temperature, although slightly lower than vented units, is still relatively high compared to the temperature of heat pump dryers, which do not use an electric heating element.

In fact, while condenser dryers feature a heating element and tend to run at around 158 °F (70 °C), heat pumps utilize the heat pump technology that allows them to run at only around 122 °F (50 °C).

This makes condenser dryers a preferred middle ground between the energy efficiency of heat pump dryers and the swift operations of vented dryers. However, it also means that condenser dryers are not as gentle on clothes as heat pump dryers.

Drying Speed Ultimately Depends on Various Factors

Different Materials and Setting

Dryers feature different settings to suit various laundry needs. Thus, the temperature and speed of the unit would be determined by the selected settings. 

The common dryer settings include: 

  • Regular/heavy setting: This runs on the highest heat and dries clothes the fastest. An extension of this setting is the automatic or time-dried setting.
  • Automatic setting: A dryer set on automatic uses a moisture sensor to dry clothes. Therefore, it would stop running when the sensor no longer detects moisture in the fabrics. This setting ensures that the dryer doesn’t keep drying the clothes longer than necessary. 
  • Time-dried setting: This allows you to set the drying time manually. Once the time is set up, the dryer would stop running even if the clothes weren’t dry, and the dryer would still run even if the clothes were dry before the time was up. 
  • Permanent press or wrinkle-resistant setting: This setting runs on medium heat and takes longer to dry clothes than the regular setting. 
  • Delicate or gentle setting: This setting runs on low heat and doesn’t dry clothes as fast as the permanent press or regular setting. 

The type of dryer would also affect the drying time. For instance, steam dryers provide added features that could prolong the duration of the cycle.

Additionally, the material being dried influences the drying time. The bulkier the fabric, the longer it would take to dry and vice versa. 

Dryer’s Capacity

Although there are ventless dryers that are the same size as conventional units, many ventless dryers come in compact sizes. The size of the dryer influences the size of the drum and, ultimately, the drum capacity. 

A smaller capacity equals smaller loads. Depending on the drum’s capacity, you might have to split your clothes into smaller batches, which means the drying process will ultimately cost you more time. 

Even if you’re used to drying a particular quantity of clothes in your vented unit, you shouldn’t force the same quantity into your ventless unit when it’s obvious that the drum isn’t big enough for that amount of clothes. 

Overloading your dryer upsets the airflow, causing it to take longer to dry your clothes. It can also cause damage to the drum and other dryer components and even burn your clothes

burn clothes

The Condition of the Dryer

A dryer that is in perfect condition would dry clothes faster than one with irregular components.

Here are some of the common reasons dryers take longer to dry clothes:

  • Overloaded dryer.
  • Clogged lint screen. Ventless dryers feature two lint filters: the primary lint filter, which should be emptied after every load, and the secondary lint trap, which should be cleaned at least once a month. 
  • Clogged dryer vent.
  • Washer leaves clothes very wet.
  • Air leaks in and out of the dryer.
  • Dirty heating element.
  • Faulty dryer parts like the motor, heating element, moisture sensor, or blower wheel.

Ventless Dryers Are Energy-Efficient Regardless

Cloth dryers are one of the biggest energy consumers when it comes to home appliances. So, it’s always a great idea to seek out ways to reduce the energy consumption of the dryer. 

At face value, one would assume that ventless dryers use up more energy than vented units since they take longer to dry clothes. 

However, ventless dryers are more energy-efficient than ventless units. They owe it to their lower operating temperature and air recycling mechanism.

Their lower temperature requirement implies that they do not use up as much energy to heat the drum

Furthermore, their lack of a vent is another feature that plays a significant role in their energy efficiency. 

Dryers use air to rid clothes of moisture. Both vented and ventless dryers draw in ambient air from the room. However, while vented dryers exhaust heated air throughout the cycle, ventless units recycle and reuse the air to dry the clothes.

So, if the dryer is located in a room with conditioned air, the vented dryer would cause the HVAC system to work extra hard to bring the room to your desired temperature. 

Heat pump dryers can reduce dryer energy consumption by 40% to 50%, while condenser dryers reduce energy usage by about 25% to 35% compared to conventional vented models.

In fact, heat pump units are currently the most energy-efficient dryer option in the market. 


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