* Prices may differ from that shown
Hotpoint Ultima TCD980
You might think of owning a Tumble dryer as being rather a luxury, but this is the United Kingdom after all, and with our inclement climate, I feel it's rather a necessity. After our trusty old tumble dryer bit the dust, this time last year, it was time to get a replacement, and having been a member of Dooyoo for a while, I decided my best option was to read reviews, and do some research beforehand.
I searched many different brands and models, and decided upon one from the Hotpoint Ultima range. Searching Dooyoo there were no reviews on my chosen model, TDC 980 (and funnily enough, this is the second one today), and even the renowned Which (www.which.co.uk) couldn't give me any details, yet it had very good reviews on Comet's website, which is where I intended it to purchase it from.
There were several reasons I chose this model, but the main one was that it was Hotpoint, a brand I knew and trusted, as opposed to choosing the matching Hoover model to my washing machine; I have had so much trouble in its five years, I fully intend never to purchase Hoover (or Candy, being part of the same company) products again. My previous tumble dryers had always been of the White Knight brand, but they never seemed to cope with the demands of my heavy, and multiple loads of washing.
Another reason was that it had a massive 8kg drum capacity. We all know that if you overload a tumble drier, there's no room for the items to tumble, and therefore do not dry as well. I own an 8kg washing machine, and so owning anything less, in a tumble drier would mean multiple tumble drying sessions per wash load. Add it to this that when I strip the beds for a wash, not only do the sheets and duvet covers go in, but so do the quilts themselves. Therefore the drum size had to be able to cope with a heavy, water sodden, king sized quilt, all down to my irrational fear of bed bugs and creepy crawlies.
Being a family of four (three adults and a child), we get through an awful lot of washing. My youngest daughter can go through several changes of clothes per day - all in the name of fashion, nothing to do with them being dirty, and so instead of being hung up to wear again (for 10 minutes) at a later date, she will put them back in the laundry. I needed something that was economical to run, as well as being kinder to the environment. This being in the Energy Efficiency class of C, was so much better and easier on the pocket of my old G rated one.
The fourth and final reason, was because this was a condenser model. This means I wouldn't have to carefully site my appliance, so it would be on an outside wall, and drill holes through the wall to let the steam out. I wouldn't also have to have hoses attatched to vents in my window, or the simplest version, just hanging the hose out of the window. Due to the layout of my kitchen none of these solutions were available to me, and so a condenser version was my only option.
With the model chosen, all I had to do was find a supplier. Like I mentioned earlier in this review, I bought it from Comet, at a cost of £268. I purchased this appliance in silver which not only co-ordinated with my appliances better, it also was on promotion at £50 off at the time. This also comes in Polar (white) and Graphite (silver with almost black detailing). The prices have not dropped much, if any, in the time I've owned it, and a quick check on Pricerunner confirms that this can be purchased from anything between £244 - and £399. The higher end of the price range does seem a little steep, but I'll explain further in this review, why I would happily pay that price.
Upon delivery, I am very happy to note, that Comet took my old appliance, and all the packaging supplied with my new one, away them and at no extra charge. All I had to worry about now, was where the appliance was going to go. This is a large dryer, of similar dimensions to a standard washing machine - Height 85cm, Width 59.5cm and Depth 58.4cm, so you see, you definitely need to measure up, and see if it will fit its intended position before purchase.
Mine is set against an internal wall on the opposite site to the kitchen units, and underneath the stairs, out of the way, all I needed to consider is the electric socket, and luckily there is one. Problem sorted.
You must also consider if there is enough ventilation on either side, above and behind the appliance, and that it's not too close to ranges, stoves, heaters or hobs. You need to make sure that the appliance is in an environment where it is not damp and air can circulate freely. Airflow around the drier is essential to condense the water produced by washing; therefore this dryer should never be used in an enclosed space, such as a cupboard.
On previous tumble dryers I've owned, there has been a glass window set into the door, rather like a washing machine, and you can see how your drying is progressing. This door is solid, and if it was fitted along a row of units, wouldn't look out of place. It opens wide to a full 180 degrees, for easy access. You are able to reverse the way it opens, if needed be, and simple instructions are supplied in the manual.
The control panel is really self explanatory on this model. Its LCD display is really informative, and even when you power it up, this machine says 'Hello' or rather it is written in the display. You do however, when you power up for the first time, select which language you need it be. This is easily done, and takes a matter of a couple of seconds. That's the installation done and dusted, and now on to other matters.
Along to top of the machine, from left to right, the first thing you see is a drawer. This is the water reservoir where all the condensed water collects. It holds a very large capacity, but even so it should be emptied after EVERY cycle. The LCD display even reminds you to do so.
Further along, you come to buttons arranged in a circular design. The centre button is the on/off button. The other buttons are to select certain programmes. To use these, you need to select what type of material you are drying - selections include, cottons for a high heat such as denims, cottons on a low heat, synthetics, bath towels and bedding, wool, delicates and easy ironing (I love this one).
The LCD display (in quite a nice orange colour) will display your chosen setting, and length of time of cycle. Once the machine is set, and the start/pause button is pressed, it will then countdown how long is left of drying time.
The display is surrounded by further buttons, and with these you are allowed to choose between differing dryness levels such as Iron dry - still slightly damp, ready for getting those stubborn creases out more easily, hanger dry, ready for hanging in a wardrobe, if your clothing is non iron, as many materials are nowadays - nearly all school uniform is marked as non iron, so this is a great feature, and also cupboard dry, really dry, for ironing at a later date without them becoming smelling all musty.
You are also able to select a timed dry setting - to dry clothes at the times in the night when electricity is at a lower cost, and thereby making this more economical to run.
To maintain upmost performance from the drier, and to prevent lint from bursting into flame, it is highly combustible after all; you are asked and once again reminded via the display, to remove all the lint from the filter after every use. This is very easy to do - simply open the door, remove the filter from just inside the machine, dispose of the fluff, and place the filter back into the recess. Once a month though, I try and vacuum the excess out with a long, thin, nozzle on the end of the vacuum hose.
You must also remove fluff and lint from the condenser unit too, and this is recommended to be done once a month too. The condenser is accessed via a front panel, underneath the door. This is simply lifted off, and you remove the condenser unit by undoing three clips. Some water may come out at the same time, but not a lot, and it's nothing to worry about. The unit needs to be flushed through with water but it's a little large to go under the kitchen tap at the sink, so we take it upstairs and use the shower head. A quick wipe dry and it's ready to go back into the machine.
Easy Iron - this is for dry clothes only, and gives 8 minutes of heat, and two minutes of cool tumble. This is to relax the fibres and creases if dry clothes have stored without ironing. This makes ironing so much easier - I recommend this setting.
Wool program is for up to three items. This will tumble for about 60 minutes, and things are recommended to be turned inside out before drying. I've not used this one, so I can't comment.
Mixed Dry - this is where you make your own settings depending upon what you are drying, for example, the bath towels and bedding mentioned earlier, depending on what dryness setting you opt for, the machine will work out all drying times. It may look a little scary when the display says there is two and a half hours drying time remaining, but if drying is expected to be shorter, the countdown timer will reflect this, and the timer will update with the time remaining. The last ten minutes or so are always a cool tumble to minimise creasing.
Mini load is for cotton high heat and synthetics; this is an automatic program and improves the time to end estimation. With all these programs the machine will beep for two minutes at the end of each program to let you know it is done. You can fold your clothes, or hang them, to prevent further creasing.
As mentioned the maximum load size for natural fibres is 8kg or 18lbs, but this reduces for synthetics to 3kg or 6.6lbs. None of this bothers me, a wash load is a wash load and as long as my coloureds are separated from my whites during a wash cycle, the drying cycle is of no consequence, it all gets thrown in.
Although the tumbling action is quite noisy on all machines, this is the quietest I've ever heard on a machine of this sort. I used to have to shut the door between the kitchen, and the living room, in order to hear the TV, but the quietness of this appliance, alliviates the need for that.
This all may sound rather confusing. This tumble dryer has more programs than you can shake a stick at, and after my old appliance only having one knob to twiddle (oo err) I was initially daunted by having such a vast selection. The machine display is very intuitive, and easy to use. There is no running backwards and forwards checking to see if the washing is dry, because the settings take all that hassle away for you. It even says hello and beeps when it's done. This is a great tumble dryer, and I've never had an ounce of trouble from it (unlike my washing machine). I really and truly recommend this machine. It can't be beaten.
Many thanks for reading my review. I do hope it has been of some use.
This review may be posted on other sites under the same username
Thanks to the wonderful English weather, drying clothes can be a nightmare, especially in the winter months when it is too cold to hang washing outside. Around 6 months ago I bought a tumble dryer to help make the process of drying clothes easier. The perfect companion for the washing machine is the tumble dryer. When choosing a tumble dryer I looked at a wide range of vented and condenser models and this product was the one that stood out the most for me.
I chose this model because it was a condenser model. This means you have the complete freedom to position the appliance as it does not have venting requirements. Therefore there is no need to place it near a window or outlet pipe. I wanted to keep my tumble dryer in the cellar so this is an important factor is deciding which machine to go for.
*Price and availability*
I paid £299 from online retailer and I got free delivery. I have seen the model in stores but wanted it in black. This was quite hard to come across though and I had to trail the internet searching for it!
The dimensions of the machine are; Height=85.0cm Depth=58.4cm Width=59.5cm. The freestanding construction allows the machine to be installed in any space you have. The black colour housing is very sexy and can be either matched or contrasted with the other appliances. With 31 kilograms in weight, the machine is sturdy and firm on the ground. Furthermore, it has non slippery and adjustable feet that ensure sound leveling of the appliance. The door is large and solid with an integrated handle. It opens at the left or the right, ensuring it is easy to remove the clothes from any angle. The controls are electronic and are present in the front top on the right side. The soft touch button and the display screen make the appliance look very modern. Next to the buttons is the LCD screen that displays the remaining drying time and the cycle status.
The drum is made of galvanised steel making it a heavy duty piece of kit and can hold 8 kg, making it perfect for bedding and linen. The water tank holds a capacity of 5 litres which ensures that the load can be properly dried without a hitch. There is a water tank indicator so you know when you need to empty it. This is really simple to do and the water can be simply drained off and poured away. The water tank is located at the front of the machine so it is easy for you to get to
The main downside to the machine is that it uses 5.12kW of energy. This is really high and explains the rating of C in the energy efficiency rating. A condenser machine has to work harder than a vented machine and will always use a higher amount of kilowatts; however this machine is particularly high. With the rising costs of electricity, this machine is becoming very expensive to run. As I work shifts, I use the 24 hour timer and set the machine to come on whenever I want. I can have the machine running during the night taking advantage of cheap electricity.
The longest the machine will run for is 160 minutes. Luckily the machine is in the cellar and I can sleep peacefully while it runs, however if the machine was closer to my bedroom I would struggle to sleep, it is a very noisy machine. The noise comes from the drum moving round. After the cycle has finished, the machine delightfully gives a little audible noise to let you know it has finished. This is slightly annoying and not really necessary.
This model is comes with 31 programmes, which is an outrageous amount of programmes! The main ones that I use the most often are:
Sensor drying - In other words the sensor drying is known as the 'set and forget drying system' in which the appliance automatically senses the moisture level and stops functioning once the required dryness is achieved. I use this the most if I am setting the machine over night as it will carry on until my clothes are dry and I do not have to guess at how long it will take to dry them.
Crease care - This is another important feature as it helps prevent the formation of heavy creases that makes ironing difficult. This system of preventing the formation of crease is done pre and post drying to give utmost care to the fabrics. The drum rotates every minute for about a maximum of 2 hours if the laundry is not unloaded. The main problem tumble dryers bring is the care that clothes get whilst drying. Sometimes, with previous machines they have come out still and so creased I needed to moisten the clothes to be able to manipulate some of the creases out! I like this setting as it really does help clothes to have fewer creases.
Wool care - This is one of the delicate programmes that are gentle on the woolen clothes by maintaining the freshness. I have used this while tumble drying a pair of wool trousers that I desperately needed for the next day. They came out fine when I was expecting them to be shrunk. This is a reliable setting and a programme I have not often seen tumble dryers to have.
The machine does more than I would ever ask for it and think that it is perfect for a family. There is only two people in my home so perhaps the machine is little too big for us but hopefully soon if my family grows, this machine will be there to pick up the slack!
I wish the machine was more economical though and I do try to avoid using it, if at all possible. However when I do it cares for my clothes and the anti-crease system works at the beginning and the end of every programme to avoid the formation of creases and makes ironing easier. I'd recommend this machine as it is very reliable; however I would probably look at a more economical appliance.
Hotpoint Freestanding Ultima Condensor Tumble Dryer 8KG / Short name: Hotpoint TCD980G