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 Tumble Dryer Drum Sizes

Should you care about the rated capacity or not?

Tumble dryer drum from insideAs with washing machines almost invariably all you will see the it comes to load capacity on a tumble dryer is the old kilogram rating which, in our opinion at least, isn’t really all that much use to most people. Here we explain why we think that and why you shouldn’t get too hung up on having the biggest one.

The rating you’ll most probably see is a theoretical maximum with the drum absolutely packed to the gunnels full. Out here in the real world there is not a chance you would even get close to that measurement nor would most people even try to.

You see in order to get the laundry you put in your dryer to actually dry (which is sorta the point of the thing!) there has to be room and plenty of it, for the laundry to be moved about and air to flow through it freely. If you pack it too full, either it will not dry correctly, will eat more electricity trying to do that or simply abort as it overheats.

So, there’s good and sound reasons why you should pay attention to this advice as, regardless of how you slice it, overloading your tumble dryer is not a good idea and it will cost you money.

  Litres & Kilos

Manufacturers will publish a load capacity that is measured in kilograms and that is what you will see on the energy labels also.

But most people will realise very quickly the simple fact that, you cannot measure the space in the drum using a measurement of weight. Instead, you would measure that in volume, usually that would be litres just as you see for fridges and freezers.

Okay so, why do we use kilos and not litres?

Well, there are a number of theories that get banded about of this the most common one being that most people can understand weight but a lot of people don’t understand volume but there are others. Our favourite is that, it allows manufacturers to be a little “inaccurate” when giving capacities as you can often see drums that are different sizes with the same load capacity rating.

The point being that, for us knowing this, we don’t put too much stock in the *claimed* load capacity.

Keep in mind it is claimed, not verified. And, it a rough guideline, not cast in tablets of stone.

It can also confuse some people as, some may think that you can indeed put 7 or 8 kilos of laundry in their dryer and it will work and, it won’t.

  Arms Race

Keep in mind that the manufacturers are in an arms race over energy use, load capacity and price while they jostle for your attention so, having a bigger capacity or a lower energy rating is a big deal. It can be the difference between a reasonable sales performance and a terrible one so, a lot can be riding on these ratings.

With no real scrutiny as they are self-certified there’s a lot of scope for things to be not quite as they are claimed to be and, there’s not really any way for an owner to verify these claims either.

Some might even say that there’s a lot of reasons to be untruthful.

  Space To Move

A tumble dryer can only be half to perhaps two thirds full.

Don’t pack stuff in, don’t try to flatten and don’t try to squeeze more in as your laundry needs space to freely move about, the air has to be able to freely flow around the tumble dryer.

If you overload it that can’t happen and the stuff won’t dry or you’ll have the problems we mentioned above.

You will also see overloading mentioned in the tumble dryer safety tips as an issue.

  Huge Big Drum

Most tumble dryers will have a much larger drum that a matching washing machine as it doesn’t need the tank about it to hold water in and, for the most part you should be able to dry most sensible wash loads straight from the washing machine. Of course assuming that you haven’t overloaded the washing machine in the first place.

Most full sized tumble dryers you will come across these days will be rated for at least 6kg but they can be claimed to be rated for up to about 9kg in a standard EU 600mm deep and wide machine but, that isn’t to say that the actual drum volume has that same 30% difference.

Remember it’s a claimed rating.

Which is why we don’t stress to much over this rating as often times people will hardly notice much, if any difference between them. Sure there is some difference but, the difference between say a 6kg load capacity and a 7kg one is often marginal, if even noticeable to the naked eye.

  Choosing a Tumble Dryer

If you are looking at a list of dryers and, as many people do, simply reading off the specification as we mentioned above, the seemingly most common way which is to look at the energy rating, price and capacity in whatever order is more important to you, we’d suggest you might be looking at this the wrong way.

All the important stuff goes on where you can’t really see it in regard to how long it will last, if you can get parts and so on.

And, those ratings will not tell you how well the tumble dryer will perform either.

They’ll all get your stuff dry. Some fast, some not so much.

How much you can pack into them may be important to some people wanting to dry large loads of family laundry but for a great many people washing the UK average wash of about 2.5-3kg of laundry at a time, it’s really not going to make much of a difference most of the time.

If you do need a really large capacity tumble dryer we’d suggest that your needs may be beyond what is regarded as normal use and you might be better off looking at a larger, non-standard sized dryer instead that will better cope with that sort of use and perform better. Yes we know they cost more but, if that’s what you need, that’s what you need.

What we don’t want to see is people getting hung up on the (claimed!) capacity and using that as a key indicator when choosing a tumble dryer as, for most people, it’s really not that relevant in the end.

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