Laundry

The Canadian guide to picking a compact ventless dryer

No dryer vents? No problem!

An unused exhaust duct pipe in front of a compact ventless dryer. Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan

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If you live in a smaller living space, a compact ventless dryer can be an absolute godsend. These appliances make use of condensers or heat pumps to dry clothes without the need for costly ventilation systems. Ventless dryers also have a smaller footprint than standard dryers. Which makes it easier to find a place for one in a closet, stacked with a compact washer, or even under a kitchen counter.

While the idea of a compact dryer sounds appealing it's worth keeping in mind that ventless dryers do come with some trade-offs. These small wonders do not have room for as much wet laundry as a standard dryer. You have to be prepared for a longer laundry day—or to run smaller loads several days a week. They also run slower than full-size dryers—in our labs we found that several of them met their match with comforters, taking hours to dry them. Condenser dryers can also warm up the room—not so bad in the winter, but not so great in the summer. A compact condenser dryer can also be pricey. Still, you might find those to be minor annoyances, not deal breakers.

If you're willing to tolerate the idiosyncrasies of these space-saving dryers here are the three that did best in our tests:

1. Miele TWI180

Miele T1 Dryer
Credit: Miele

When it comes to space-saving dryers, the Miele T1 tops the list. Unlike most compacts, it doesn’t even need a 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 more than 96 percent dry on the Normal, Express, and Delicates cycles, all while keeping its internal temperature under 150°F (65°C)—the point which fabric starts to degrade. From thin pillowcases to bulky comforters, the T1 did a great job of drying everything. As well as drying, the T1 has steam options to eliminate wrinkles and a system called FragranceDos to always keep your clothes smelling fresh, without adding overwhelming scents.

While the T1’s engineering wowed us with its performance, if you're used to a standard dryer, you will need to adjust your sensibilities (and your budget). 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 an excellent dryer, compact or otherwise.

Get the Miele TWI180 from Best Buy Canada for $2999

2. LG DLEC888W

LG DLEC888W
Credit: LG Electronics

The LG DLEC888W condenser dryer 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. On the usability front, this LG simultaneously offers the most features and the easiest-to-use controls.

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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 percent dry. That's hard for a standard dryer, let alone a condenser model.

Get the LG DLEC888W at Best Buy Canada for $999

3. Bosch WTG86401UC

Bosch WTG86401UC
Credit: Bosch

Worldwide, Bosch has long been the king of ventless dryers, so the Bosch WTG86401UC 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 percent 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 number one spot.

Get the Bosch WTG86401UC from Best Buy Canada for $1349.97

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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