Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Choosing a tumble dryer

Types of tumble dryer

  • Air vented driers expel the damp air from your laundry through a flexible hose. This can be put through a window or permanently installed to a vent through the wall.
  • Condenser driers extract the damp from the air and collected in a water container. The container will then either drain automatically or be emptied out manually each time.

Checklist

Opening and closing the door

  • Can the door be hinged on either side?
  • If there's an opening button, is it non-slip and easy to push?
  • Does the shape and size of the door handle make it easy to grip?
  • Can the door be opened and closed with little force?

Loading and unloading laundry

  • Does the drier have wheels or castors?
  • Can you reach the drum without bending down or stretching?
  • Does it have a wide door to make loading and unloading easy?

Clearing the filter

  • The filter collects lint that has been shed by the washing. Most sit behind or near the door.
  • Can you get to the filter without bending down too far?
  • Can you take out the filter to clean it easily – without force or fiddly actions?

Air vented driers: fitting the vent hose

  • Are multiple venting positions available?
  • Can you fit and disconnect the vent hose easily?
  • Condenser driers: emptying the water
  • Can water be piped down the drain?
  • If not, can you get to the container without bending down too far?
  • Can you remove and replace the container easily?
  • Are there any sharp edges?

Controls

  • Are labels and markings large and do they contrast well with their background?
  • Are buttons easy to press? Large buttons that stick out are better.
  • Are dials large and easy to grip and turn?
  • Are positions on the dial well-spaced? Cramped settings need more precise control.
  • Are the controls well-spaced, so that you don’t press the wrong one accidentally?

More to consider

If you have poor sight…

  • Some manufacturers provide tactile controls for free. They will either send an engineer to your home to fit them or send you a kit.