A ventless dryer opens up a world of laundry options for people who don’t have the space or vent access to install a traditional type of dryer. They’re ideal for urban apartments and condo spaces, or as a second laundry pair in larger homes.
Ventless dryers step in when a vented gas or electric dryer isn’t an option for you. They require no ventilation to the outdoors, so they can go anywhere you have an electrical outlet. They’re stackable with a washer to save you space, and they’ll fit in a closet.
You can choose from two types of ventless dryers: a heat pump dryer or a condenser dryer.
In this article, we’ll walk you through how a ventless dryer works and explain the differences between popular models. We’ll also give you a practical, real-world take on the pros and cons, comparing them with the best washer and dryer models out there. And finally, we’ll share our expert recommendations to help narrow your search. Let’s dive in.
The Top 6 Ventless Dryer PicksWatch our exclusive video review of ventless dryers.Bosch ventless dryer (at right).Vented Dryer vs Ventless Dryer Technology
The main difference is right there in the name. Vented dryers, the type of clothes dryer most Americans are used to, release hot, moist air from the laundry to the outside of the house. (That’s why you sometimes get a whiff of detergent or fabric softener when you’re out for a walk.) By contrast, ventless dryers recirculate that air and release the water into your plumbing or an interior tank instead.
That’s just the first distinction. Here are a few others:
Vented dryers use more energy than ventless dryers. That’s because the drying process is less efficient. They draw in ambient air and heat it up. During warm weather with high humidity, or when you have colder air in your house, the furnace or HVAC system has to work harder to replace and cool the air that’s been taken in by the vented dryer. At the end of the cycle, the hot, moist air goes out through a hose, so again, you’re losing heat that the dryer could be recycling. By contrast, a ventless dryer uses a closed-loop system to dry clothes, which consumes much less energy.
A vented dryer takes up more space than a ventless dryer does. Vented dryers typically are much bigger in size. They also require more clearance in your laundry area for the vent to be attached.
Vented dryers are tougher on your clothes. That’s because they get hotter than ventless dryers do. As a result, your clothes and towels will last longer when you use a ventless dryer.
Vented dryers require more maintenance than ventless dryers do. In addition to cleaning out the lint filter and hose after every cycle, you need to have your vent inspected regularly by a pro to ensure there aren’t any clogs since clogs can be a fire hazard. With a ventless dryer, you just need to clean the lint trap daily and, if you choose a condenser unit, clean the condenser about four times a year. However, some condenser dryers are self-cleaning; for ease of maintenance, keep that in mind when shopping.
Condenser vs heat pump dryerHow Do Ventless Dryers Work?
Did you know that most Europeans use ventless dryers? That’s because homes there tend to be smaller and older. The EU also has stricter energy efficiency rules than we do here in the United States. In Switzerland, for example, conventional vented dryers are banned.
On the other hand, ventless dryers make up only 2 percent of the dryer market in America. That’s one reason why most Americans don’t know a ton about how they work—or how well they work.
For starters, ventless dryers come equipped with one of two drying technologies: heat pump and condenser.
A heat pump dryer works something like this:
- Heated air goes into the drum.
- The warm vapor and humidity, which is generated as the clothes dry, is compressed and goes through the evaporator or heat exchanger.
- The evaporated water then goes into the tank or drain pipe, if you use one.
- The heated air is recycled and reused. This is a continuous cycle that ends when the clothes are dry.
A condenser dryer works a little differently:
- A heating coil heats the air that goes into the drum to dry the clothes.
- The moist air goes into a condenser chamber.
- The condenser extracts the water, and the air is again heated and sent into the drum. This cycle continues till the clothes are dry.
Whether you choose a heat pump or condenser model, you may find that it takes longer to dry your clothes compared with a traditional vented dryer. You’ll also find that the clothes don’t come out hot—they’ll be dry and cool.
Watch our exclusive video review of Miele washers and ventless dryers.Which Is Better? Heat Pump vs Condenser Dryer
Are ventless dryers better? It comes down to what’s most important to you.
Speed of Drying: Condenser dryers win, though they’re still slower than a traditional vented dryer. However, if you like to do your laundry in a closed room or like to close the doors of your closet you need to get a heat pump dryer.
Energy Efficiency: How efficient are ventless dryers? Though strides have been made to improve the efficiency of ventless dryers, most heat pump dryers win—they cost less to run.
Are ventless dryers worth it? Well, you need to decide whether time or energy is more important to you before you hit buy.
A Miele ventless dryer stacked on top of a matching washer.5 Reasons You’ll Love a Ventless Dryer
Between the flexibility you get from the compact size and the energy efficiency, there’s lots to love. Let’s check off a few pros.
1. It’s ideal for a small space.
You can put a compact washer and dryer in a closet, under a counter, in a hallway—anywhere that there’s space. You can also put it side by side with a washing machine or stack it on top.
2. It takes less maintenance than a traditional vented dryer.
As we mentioned earlier, no annual inspections are required—you just need to clean the lint filter on a regular basis.
3. Installation and setup are a breeze.
You just need an electrical outlet. Machines may use the standard 120V or 220V. Be sure to check that your model lines up with what you have in your home, or you’ll need to bring in an electrician.
4. It’ll last longer than a traditional vented dryer.
Ventless dryers have a lifespan of up to 20 years or more, in the case of a Miele washer and dryer.
5. Long term, it costs less than a traditional dryer.
Because ventless dryers are more energy-efficient than vented dryers, you’ll save more on your monthly expenses over time. Expect to save up to 30 percent on your energy costs compared with a vented dryer.
Ventless dryer in a closet5 Reasons You Might Not Love a Ventless Dryer
Ventless dryers have tons of benefits, but they’re still not the best choice for some people. Are you one of them? Check out these potential cons so you can make an informed decision.
1. It can’t dry as many clothes at once as a traditional vented dryer can.
If you run big loads of laundry in a full-size washing machine, a ventless dryer may not be the best option for you. The drum is smaller than those of its vented cousins. You might prefer a bigger vented dryer.
2. It can’t fit lots of bedding at one time.
If you need to wash and dry heavy comforters and duvets or lots of sheet sets often, you might prefer a traditional vented dryer. Larger items may not dry evenly in a ventless dryer and may even get tangled. If you’re set on a ventless dryer, look for one with a bidirectional drum or special bedding or bulky cycle to help with tangling.
3. It costs more upfront.
A ventless dryer can cost double the price of the cheapest vented dryer. You’ll recoup your investment in terms of reduced energy costs over time, but you may find it difficult to make the outlay.
4. It may not help you “iron” out wrinkles.
Lots of us like to toss clothes back into the dryer to smooth out wrinkles. But because ventless dryers don’t get as hot, they won’t necessarily get rid of them. A steam setting can help, though.
5. You won’t get that hot-from-the-dryer feeling.
As we explained above, that heat isn’t exactly great for clothes and fabric. But it feels nice, and most of us have gotten used to it. It’s something we expect from a dryer. If you’re not ready to give that up, you might want to stick with a vented dryer. A ventless dryer might disappoint you.
How to Shop for a Ventless Dryer
What is the best ventless dryer? "Best" is subjective at the end of the day, but we judge all clothes dryers by these criteria. Let’s see how ventless dryers stack up.
While ventless dryers use less space and require no ducting, you still have to check that the dryer you buy will fit the space you have. Measure the space where you plan to install it carefully—the width (most are 24 inches wide), height, and (crucially) depth. We find that people often make mistakes when it comes to the depth.
Check for adequate clearance in every direction. You don’t want a door to bump your laundry machines and leave marks on the front—or not be able to open or close a door all the way because they stick out.
Do you want your machines to go side by side or be stacked? With a ventless dryer, you have the flexibility to choose either setup.
Check out our full guide to learn more about the best stackable washer and dryer sets.
If you plan to place your front load washer and dryer side by side, you can choose to set your machines atop pedestals so they’re a bit easier to reach. That’s one thing people love about top load washers (—they’re more convenient to unload since you don’t have to bend down. Pedestals can help save your back; they also give you two drawers for storage.
Just note: You can’t stack machines on top of a pedestal.
The only configuration option that’s not open to you? You really can’t get a matching top-load washing machine for your ventless dryer.
Typically, we ask customers to consider if a vented or ventless dryer is best for their space and whether they have an electrical or gas connection. When you have the option, gas has some advantages over electric. You can get more details in our gas vs electric dryer overview.
If you’ve decided on a ventless dryer, however, you won’t be making use of a gas connection. Gas isn’t an option for a ventless dryer; they run only on electricity.
You should make sure there’s an electrical outlet of the same voltage where you plan to install your clothes dryer. If there’s not, you might need to buy an adapter or call in an electrician.
To gauge this crucial factor, we usually start by looking at the matching washing machine. The speed of the spin cycle determines how wet your clothes come out, and therefore how long they’ll take to dry. Anything from 1,200 to 1,300 RPMs (revolutions per minute) is good.
For the dryer itself, you want to look for options that make it faster and easier to get clothes fully dry. We recommend checking the specs to see if there’s a quick dry cycle. Ideally, this would let you get a load (or at least a few items) dry in a 30 minutes or less. Sensor dry settings automatically keep the dryer running if clothes are still damp—very convenient. You might also want steam to help remove wrinkles and sanitize clothes.
Noise and Vibration
This is something that will really matter to you if your laundry isn’t in the basement or another remote part of the house but in a second-floor laundry room or near a bedroom or living room where you hang out. All dryers make noise—you can’t get rid of it entirely. But don’t want to hear the clothes going in the drum.
Brands like Bosch and Asko tell you how loud their dryers run, which we appreciate.
For other dryers, we recommend checking online reviews to see if other people have complained about a particular model being noisy.
You can also opt to have a carpenter build an insulated platform for your appliances to sit on to help tamp down the noise.
We’re not proponents of Wi-Fi for every appliance—for instance, we don’t think best dishwashers need it. But it can be helpful for a washer and dryer, where the timing is a bit more sensitive. (You don’t want to forget and leave wet clothes in the wash to get musty smelling, or dry ones sitting in a clump to get wrinkled.)
In addition to alerts that tell you when a cycle is finished, Wi-Fi connectivity can enable you to troubleshoot any issues with the manufacturer’s support team remotely. You may also be able to add downloadable cycles that you find useful.
Many ventless dryers don’t have Wi-Fi, but there are plenty that do. If you want to be able to tell when your dryer’s done from anywhere in your house (or, really, anywhere), be sure to check the specs for Wi-Fi.
As we mentioned above, a ventless dryer uses less energy overall than a traditional vented dryer. For details on a specific model, you can check to see if it’s Energy Star rated and what its score is. (The Energy Star program rates appliances on a scale of 1 to 1,000 in terms of kilowatt-hours; the lower, the better.) The very best ones are rated Energy Star Most Efficient.
Durability and Service
It’s important that any brand you’re considering offer quick service in your area in case you need any repairs during the warranty period. If you find out that you’re going to have to wait endlessly for repairs, consider that a strike against a particular dryer.
While ventless dryers can last a long time—up to 20 years or more—you might consider getting an extended warranty, since appliance repairs can be very expensive.
Also, do your research regarding spare parts availability. Some brands have easy availability and you may even get original or compatible parts, whereas for some brands you may have a long wait time for replacements to become available. Keep in mind that if your machine requires any kind of repairs, you’re going to be without this convenience till it gets fixed. So a shorter wait time is always preferable.
The Top 6 Ventless Dryers
1. Best Overall Ventless Dryer: Miele TXi680WP
Why You Should Buy This: Miele is a tried and trusted brand with durability, considering its appliances may last for 20 years.
Who It’s For: People looking for a well rounded appliance that they can squeeze longetivity out of.
Why We Chose It:
This particular model is a ventless heat pump dryer with a large number of programs, making it easier for you to use different settings with the press of a button. We love that it plugs into a standard 120V outlet, making it accessible for most homes.
Miele also usees a patented PerfectDry moisture sensor technology that ensures you will get dry clothes with every cycle. This dryer also has SteamFinish to iron out wrinkles from your clothes; with this model, they’ll require little or no ironing. You can also get a matching washer to go with it.
Besides the moisture sensor, FragranceDose 2 is another unique-to-Miele feature that comes with this dryer. It gently scents your clothes with one of two fragrances you can choose from via reloadable pods.
While this ventless heat pump dryer doesn’t have WiFi, Miele does offer it on another model, the TXD160WP. Consider upgrading to it if Wi-Fi is important to you.
For an in-depth look at the entire Miele laundry lineup, check out our full Miele washer and dryer review.
2. Best Ventless Condenser Dryer: Bosch WTG86403UC
Why You Should Buy It: It’s versatility makes it an impeaccable pick for a ventless dryer.
Who It’s For: Those who want a truly ventless dryer with a wide range of cycling options.
Why We Chose It:
When you want a ventless condenser dryer, consider this Bosch model. It comes with 15 drying cycles—enough to meet all needs. Additionally, it has six options (including a wrinkle-block one) to choose from. This Energy Star certified model will save energy and electricity costs. It also has an extra-fine lint filter.
We like this unit because it’s ultra compact. At 4 cu. ft. capacity, it occupies little more than 2 sq. ft. of floor space. You can also buy a matching washer to go with it.
It’s quiet thanks to its rounded chamber that reduces vibration, and also has a child lock. Both of these are key features if you have small kids around.
While it isn’t Wi-Fi enabled, you could upgrade to the Bosch 800 Series Condensate Dryer WTG865H4UC for a bit more if connectivity matters to you. This model offers remote monitoring via a mobile app and more advanced features, including a very short 15-minute drying cycle for when you are in a real hurry.
For an in-depth look at the entire Bosch laundry lineup, check out our full Bosch washer and dryer review.
Our exclusive video review of LG Wash Tower stackable laundry3. Best Budget Ventless Dryer: LG DLHC1455W
Why You Should Buy It: This heat pump dryer offers an affordable, energy efficient cycle.
Who It’s For: Those who want a reliable heat pump dryer option that’s conscious of the environment and their bank account.
Why We Chose It:
Looking for a clothes dryer that doesn’t cost much more than $1,000? Consider this $1,200 LG heat pump dryer. It actually uses dual heat pump technology, so it’s even more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. As a bonus, it has an auto-cleaning condenser, saving you some work and making the machine more efficient to run.
You’ll find cycles for delicates, wool, and bulky items on here, as well as an option for heated dry cycles, among others.
We like this model because it uses LG ThinQ technology, which auto senses your clothes’ dryness levels and reduces drying times when it can. It’s a smart appliance that is Wi-Fi enabled, so you can operate it via your mobile app or a smart speaker (like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa).
It has excellent reviews regarding its drying efficiency and its relatively quiet operation.
LG also offers smart diagnosis and remote monitoring, which will come in handy in case you experience any problems with your dryer. With all these positives and its comparably low price point, we think it’s a solid choice.
For a comprehensive look at the entire LG washer and dryer lineup, including the popular LG WashTower, check out our exclusive video reviews below.
Our exclusive video review of LG front load washer and dryer4. Another Great Budget Option: Beko HPD24412W
Why You Should Buy It: Like our previous listing, this appliance offers buyers big, energy efficient versatility without a big, budget-inefficient price tag.
Who It’s For: Those interested in a budget friendly, energy efficient dryer with more technological bells-and-whistles than the prior listing.
Why We Chose It:
At just over $1,000, this Beko heat pump ventless dryer is relatively affordable. It’s also energy efficient, since it uses the closed-loop heat exchange system characteristic of some ventless dryers.
You get 16 programs, including one for jeans and a sanitizing option for baby clothes. There are 30 minutes and 45 minutes quick-dry cycles too.
The baffles inside the drum help separate clothes, so you get fewer wrinkles and ensure they dry evenly.
The dryer is also equipped with Beko’s Optisense technology, which lets you select the level of dryness of clothes that works for you. It will automatically stop drying when its sensors detect that this level has been reached.
This compact dryer also has a low-noise motor, and you can stack it with a matching Beko washing machine to save even more space.
5. Best Capacity Ventless Dryer: Whirlpool WHD862CHC
Why You Should Buy It: Besides having the widest selection of drying cycle options on this list, this dryer also touts the widest storage storage space out of any appliance on this list.
Who It’s For: Buyers looking for a lot of options and a lot of storage capacity out of their next dryer.
Why We Chose It:
Concerned about capacity? Be sure to check out this Whirlpool ventless heat pump dryer. It’s one of the biggest ventless dryers available on the market, with a 7.4 cu. ft. capacity compared with the average of 4 cu. ft. for other ventless dryers.
It comes with a whopping 36 drying cycles. There’s also a steam option, so your clothes can stay wrinkle-free, and a steam fresh option, which deodorizes them as well. The controls are remarkably easy to navigate too.
All in all, we think this dryer a great pick for large families, people who simply do a lot of laundry, or anybody who isn’t totally sure about making the switch to ventless, but wants a appliance with .
For a thorough look at a more traditional option, be sure to check out our Whirlpool top load washer and dryer review.
6. Most Compact Ventless Dryer: Asko T208CW
Why You Should Buy It: This dryer is one of the most ergonomic ventless options on the market right now, capable of being fit into even the tiniest of areas.
Who It’s For: Buyers living in an apartment, condo, or smaller residence who need to make the most of their space.
Why We Chose It:
This Asko condenser dryer has a unique 22 1/2-inch depth, making it considerably more shallow than any other model on the market. This means that the T208CW is capable of being fit into even the smallest of spaces. It might be the only machine that works in your closet or pantry.
But that doesn’t mean it compromises on features. It has nine cycles and a convenient delayed start option for when you want clothes dried by a specific time or when you are not at home. The airing option’s also helpful. It freshens up clothes you don’t want to rewash, getting rid of smells and even pet hair.
We like that it has paddles inside to push the clothes in a figure-eight so that they dry evenly and get fewer wrinkles.
It has a reversible door and comes with a two-year warranty.
Apart from this model, Asko also makes a heat pump dryer and a vented compact dryer. For an in-depth look at the entire Asko laundry lineup, check out our full Asko washer and dryer review.
Bonus: LG WashTower
We love the LG WashTower for its innovative design. It combines a full-size washer and dryer into a single sleek unit. Unlike other stacked laundry pairs, all the controls are at the center, where they’re easy to reach, and the overall height is a bit shorter, so it can fit in more spaces.
The only drawback? It came with only a vented gas or electric dryer. Until now, that is. LG recently announced a ventless heat pump version of its WashTower. We expect it’ll make this product even more attractive to people who want to fit tons of laundry into a small space in their home, and want to run that large load through a brisk, energy efficient cycle.
It’s called the WashTower for good. Two is better than one, which is why the WashTower pairs its two components in a tall, sleek, and sublimely stackable design. The 2022 model of the WashTower dries at 50% more efficiency than competing models, and uses intuitive, AI-powered sensor technology to ensure optimal washing and drying cycles for your load. From fabric sensor, to load size, to wash motions, to temperatures, the WashTower leaves no element unaccounted for.
Pro Tip: Be Prepared for Delivery Day
You don’t want to have your new ventless dryer arrive only to discover there’s an issue that keeps it from being installed. This happens all the time. Maybe the dimensions are off—or there’s a door we can’t get through. Or maybe the electrical connections aren’t properly set up.
We’re here to help you avoid all the hassle. Prepare ahead of time with our washer dryer installation checklist.
A ventless dryer is a great option that can more than cover your drying needs if you live in an apartment or small house. It can also enable you do laundry at home if you’re in a rental and can’t vent to the exterior of your building or house. It’s a compact appliance that can fit most spaces, looks attractive, and can be stacked or put side by side with your washing machine. Since it uses less energy, you can look forward to reduced electricity bills that will help offset its initial cost. You’ll be doing your bit for the environment, you’ll have dry clothes that last longer, and there are plenty of great models to choose from.