And if you thought they were just power-hungry, noisy beasts that blow hot air through clothes, read on.
The right dryer can add time to your days without emptying your wallet. Check out these different types of clothes dryers that will keep your laundry under control this winter.
Drying clothes indoors might be your only option during the colder months. Picture: Getty
This basic dryer is the cheapest to buy but often the most expensive to run because they handle moist air less efficiently.
Unless you have a well-ventilated space, they leave your laundry hot and dripping with condensation because they blow the warm, moist air out the vent on the front.
Condenser dryers are more expensive to buy because they use a heat-exchange system to extract moisture from the exhaust air and collect it or drain it away. The dry air is sent back through the clothes.
The vented exhaust air is warm, but not moist, so it won’t leave your laundry walls wet. This makes condenser dryers a good choice for poorly ventilated spaces.
Condenser dryers are a good choice for poorly ventilated spaces. Picture: Getty
Heat pump condenser dryers
Due to their energy efficiency, this older style of dryer is making a comeback.
Heat pump dryers use the same type of technology as reverse-cycle air-conditioners – they trap and recirculate the heated air while removing moisture from it, meaning no heat or moisture is vented into your laundry.
This makes them ideal for small spaces, European-style laundries and for people wanting to minimise their energy consumption.
They are more expensive to buy but use around 63% less energy than equivalent-sized vented dryers, saving power and the environment.
Gas dryers work the same way as conventional dryers, except that they use natural gas as a heat source. They are more expensive to buy but cost-effective to run.
Gas dryers use 60% less energy overall, so may suit environmentally conscious buyers.
Gas dryers need a gas outlet and a duct to the outside, so you will probably need to modify your laundry to install one.
A drying cabinet circulates warm air around hanging or standing clothes. They can be used alone, or in combination with a tumble dryer.
Drying cabinets can be used for items too delicate or impractical for a conventional dryer, like formal wear, suits, shoes and bags. They also reduce creasing of clothes, a bonus if you dislike ironing.
Other features to be aware of are capacity, mounting systems, door orientation, drying racks, reverse tumbling, and program options.
To choose a dryer that’s right for you, weigh up features, purchase price, running costs, frequency and type of use, the environmental footprint, and the size and ventilation of your laundry.