The Best Compact Ventless Dryers of 2018By Jonathan Chan
It's safe to say that more Americans than ever are living in RVs, tiny homes, and urban apartments. Living spaces that stray from the traditional often lack the duct work to support a regular dryer, but that doesn't mean you're stuck with a laundromat or clothes line.
If you're among the two percent of Americans who needs a ventless dryer, your options are relatively slim. Fewer than ten models are available, and they can be hard to find in stores. If you're looking for the best ventless dryer, we'd recommend the Miele TWI180 (available at Appliances Connection for $1,799.00). But if you need something a little more affordable, the LG DLEC888W (available at Home Depot) is an excellent choice, as well.
We spent the better part of a month testing five top-selling ventless dryers in our labs in Cambridge, MA. We dried nearly 50 loads of sheets, towels, shirts, and comforters—all to see which ventless dryer will give you the best performance, value, and features for your money. Here are our picks.
Updated September 22, 2018
Miele TWI180 WP
Where To Buy$1,799.00 Appliances Connection Buy
Miele TWI180 WP
When it comes to space-saving dryers, the Miele T1 tops the list. Unlike most compacts, the T1 can plug into any regular 120V outlet and work just fine. It doesn’t even need vent or drain. Instead, all the excess water gets pumped into a drawer in the upper-left corner of the unit. While it does require you to empty it out after every cycle, it means this dryer needs no extra infrastructure to run. However, there is an option to bypass the drawer, and have the collected water go down the drain.
Once placed in the desired location, the T1 outshines the competition. Going through the menus, we found specialized cycles for everything from tablecloths to denim. During testing, the T1 got laundry 99.5 percent dry, while keeping its internal temperature under 150°F–the point which fabric starts to degrade. And it didn’t matter if we put in thin pillow cases or bulky comforters, the T1 got it all dry. As well as drying, the T1 has steam options to eliminate wrinkles and a system called FragranceDos to keep your clothes smelling fresh, without overwhelming scents.
While the T1’s German engineering wowed us with its performance, you will need to adjust your American sensibilities (and your budget) to this dryer. You’ll be waiting a lot longer for cycles to finish, between an hour and an hour and a half per load. Also, while the cycle list is very extensive, we found navigating the menus to get to them way more complicated than turning a dial and pressing start.
Even considering its faults, the Miele T1 is one helluva dryer, compact or otherwise.
The LG DLEC888W condenser dryer (MSRP $999) is our top choice for a ventless dryer. Not only did it dry well, but it was more spacious and easier to use than the other models we tested. Retailing for around $900, its 4.2-cu.-ft. drum offers the most space for the money, while remaining just 24 inches wide. On the usability front, this LG simultaneously offers the most features and the easiest-to-use controls.
All the standard cycles on this dryer are easy to read and understand, and it had the most responsive buttons of any of the ventless dryers we tested. You can create custom cycles or even download new ones from an NFC-equipped phone.
When it actually came to our drying tests, which involved weighing standard loads of laundry before and after drying, the 888 hit the mark on every cycle. Sensor Dry got our test laundry into a wearable state in a little over two hours. While it wasn't the fastest dryer on the list, it did have consistent cycle times. Our philosophy is that we'd rather have consistently moderate drying times than a roll of the dice.
But one cycle—Bulky Item—pleasantly surprised us. In an hour and 15 minutes, it got a comforter 99.7% dry. That's hard for a standard dryer, let alone a condenser model!
Before you buy: What you should know about ventless dryers
No matter which ventless dryer you buy, you should know a few things first. All the models we tested were compact—a standard width of 24 inches wide. That means they can fit about half the amount of clothes as a traditional dryer. This is one of the reasons why ventless dyers are great for mobile and tiny homes.
However, they're not fast. A normal dryer typically takes about an hour to dry clothes, but a ventless dryer can take anywhere from two to four times as long. That's because they can't vent moisture outside. Instead, moisture is either drained out or collected in a tank. They also get hot enough to warm a room, so remember that if you live in a small space.
If you're willing to tolerate the idiosyncrasies of these space-saving dehumidifiers on steroids, read on. Those still on the fence can read our comprehensive guide on how ventless dryers work to find out more.
One more note: All the models we tested also require a traditional 240V dryer outlet. Models that plug into a standard outlet exist, but just aren't powerful enough to get clothes dry.
Other ventless dryers to check out
Where To Buy$893.00 AppliancesConnection Buy
The GE GFT14ESSLWW (MSRP $999) is the Boy Scout of our roundup, as it's prepared for just about anything. First of all, it has a drying rack, which opens up a whole new world of items that can go into the dryer—ranging from stuffed animals to soaked boots. As for cycles, the GFT14ESSLWW has 13 of them, so you'll be sure to find the one that suits the situation.
Unlike most other ventless dryers, which must send excess water into a drain pipe, the GE offers the choice of a tank and a drain hose. If a drain isn't handy, its tank empties just like a dehumidifier. Just remember to empty it out after every cycle.
Performance wise, though, the GFT14ESSLWW didn't have what it takes to claim the top spot. While everything from comforters to towels came out perfectly dry, the cycle times tended to vary. The widest gap happened on the Heavy Duty cycle: Drying the same standard loads, one took an hour and six minutes, but another finished after an hour and 43 minutes. A Normal cycle kept us waiting, on average, for an hour and 45 minutes.
Still, we think the GFT14ESSLWW is a great solution for families who live in small spaces, but enjoy a long list of activities.
Worldwide, Bosch has long been the king of ventless dryers, so the Bosch WTG86401UC (MSRP $1,199) arrives with a distinguished pedigree. This dryer impressed us with a typically German precision on its Delicate and Quick cycles. Both lasted forty minutes and both got our test laundry 99% dry.
But—Quick and Delicate cycles aside—the 86401 had two issues that kept it from claiming the top spot. First, this dryer took the longest by far to dry our comforter–three hours and 45 minutes. That's almost worth a trip to the laundromat. We also found the touch controls to require a few button presses to respond, especially when our fingers were wet.
While the Bosch's idiosyncrasies might be a positive for some users—those who have the option to line dry comforters, for example—the machine's negatives were strong enough to keep it from our #1 spot.
Where To Buy$1,399.00 AppliancesConnection Buy
The Blomberg DHP24412W (MSRP $1,599) uses a heat pump to get clothes dry. To learn more about how it works, you can read our full review of the product. It is also sold at P.C. Richard under the Beko brand name.
Basically, heat pump dryers use a lot less energy than their condenser counterparts, which makes the DHP244112W a good choice for those looking to save electricity. But heat pump dryers also cost a lot more up front. Even on sale, this Blomberg costs almost $400 more than our top-rated LG.
It also stumbled twice during our testing: The Quick 30 Min Cycle only got our test laundry 76% dry, leaving it sopping wet to the touch. The Bulky cycle lasted two hours, but only achieved 82% dryness. That means it's a tough sell for all but the most environmentally conscious consumer.
This product has been discontinued but you may still be able to find it in places on discount.
The Electrolux EIED200QSW (MSRP $1,099) is a good day-to-day dryer, but still might require occasional trips to the laundromat. This dryer did a fine job drying everything except our test comforters. After two hours and 19 minutes, the comforter was only 54% dry. We had to take it out, flip it around, and put it through another cycle before it was usable. That means it needs more time—and labor—than any other compact model to get bedding ready.
The rest of the test results were fine. The Normal cycle took an hour and 45 minutes to get our test laundry 98% dry. The Fast Dry took 40 minutes to remove 95% of moisture from a small load. Other than that, there's nothing to make this Electrolux stand out. It has no rack or special features to make it more attractive to consumers.
If you're shopping for laundry appliances, check out our guide The Best Compact Washers.