This article was originally written when this specific Panasonic dryer first came out. Since then it has most likely become discontinued. However, it is still relevant to remind us that when it comes to white goods appliances, being energy efficient, and cheaper than any other to run can be pretty pointless if it is also considerably more expensive to buy.
I saw a small article claiming that the Panasonic NH-P80G1 was the most energy efficient tumble dryer at only £37 a year to run. That’s pretty remarkable, (presumably for an “average” user doing an unspecified amount of mostly full 8Kg loads).
On the face of it that sounds like very useful news, and a great dryer to recommend, but it’s a very expensive tumble dryer (about 3 times more expensive than many other dryers – originally around £729). So it would take most people many years to start seeing any savings. The maths at the time of writing were that if the energy efficient Panasonic dryer didn’t last at least 8 years it would be pointless buying it in order to save money.
These estimates were based on specific energy prices, which inevitably keep going up. As energy prices increase it will reduce the time needed to start saving money. But the point to bear in mind is not to be beguiled by promises of saving money on running costs. Look at the big picture. If you have to invest so much money upfront in order to get the lower running costs it may take many years before you see any of those savings. Many people may never see any savings.
If the dryer lasted a lot longer than 8 years though it could prove a good long term investment, but sadly there’s no guarantee of that – especially these days when so many appliances turn out to be too expensive to repair a just a few years down the line.
Should we be so keen on energy efficient appliances?
My attitude to buying appliances based on energy efficiency figures, which many people (for laudable reasons) take very seriously, has always been on the sceptical side. Energy efficiency should only be a part of the overall considerations. I would never favour one appliance over another simply because it uses less electricity. It may be far less reliable, or a much less repairable brand, which could easily decimate any of those relatively small savings.
Do you use your tumble dryer a lot?
If you are a heavy user of tumble dryers then you should expect the lower running costs of a more expensive to buy – but cheaper to run dryer – to kick in quicker. However, if you’re a real heavy user then reliability under heavy working conditions might be more important.
For very heavy users, such as a hairdressers or a pub running a tumble dryer every day, I would recommend a Miele. You may want to look into the running cost figures if this is highly important, but don’t forget that an appliance running for many years, with none, or few breakdowns can work out a lot cheaper than one with lower energy costs that doesn’t last as long and breaks down more often. For me, reliability and longevity are far more important than running costs.