What dryer settings should you use?

Woman wearing a pink top loading laundry into a front load tumble dryer.
(Image credit: Getty)

Dryers are probably one of the most used appliances in your home, so it's only right that you spend some time figuring out exactly what dryer settings work best for you. They're a highly convenient and efficient way of drying laundry, especially in winter months when air-drying is out of the question. Dryers can save you plenty of time which is essential for those of us who live busy lives with limited time for chores. 

The best dryers will make ironing your clothes easier too, as the heat will prevent deep creases from forming. However, getting to the point where your dryer is benefitting your routine can sometimes be tricky. There are often many different logos and obscurely named functions that can make it difficult to know exactly what dryer setting is best for you, which is why we've spoken to the appliance experts at Fisher & Paykel

Whether you want to learn how to dry tennis shoes in the dryer or you're focused on giving the right care to your bed linen, each garment will need to be washed and dried in specialized settings. So, Jo Jackson, Product Market Manager, has helped to debunk each of the different dryer settings to pay attention to help you get the best out of every feature your machine has to offer. 

Jo Jackson
Jo Jackson

Jo Jackson is the Market Product Manager at Fisher & Paykel where she focuses on bringing new and unique innovations to the UK and Ireland markets. Jo has been working within the luxury kitchens and bathrooms industry since 2015. Fisher & Paykel, New Zealand’s award-winning appliance brand, has been selling products globally to change the way people live since 1934. They believe that good design is all about making life better and making appliances do just that.

Which dryer settings should you pay attention to?

1. Heat Settings

You wouldn't be wrong to assume that a dryer works as simply as heating your clothes, but there are actually a variety of heat settings that allow you to choose the exact temperature to dry your clothes. There are usually high, medium, and low options, but some modern models allow you to be more specific. 

Jo Jackson, Market Product Manager at Fisher & Paykel, advised that "high heat is generally advised for use on cotton and other heavy fabrics, while low heat is ideal for delicate fabrics such as silk or wool. Medium heat is a good option for most clothing types, including synthetics and blends."

2. Time Settings

Another great feature that a lot of modern dryers have is a time setting. Sometimes, the shirt you need for work might still be damp, in which case all you want is a quick blast in the dryer to make it ready to wear. 

Jo also noted that it's important to remember that "it may seem counterintuitive to choose a longer time setting when trying to reduce drying time, but not every fabric can handle high heat, meaning low and slow is preferable."

3. Dryness Level Autosensing 

Some dryers have a built-in sensor that detects when the load has reached the desired dryness level, alerting the user and shutting off the machine. It's always important to check the manufacturer's instructions to ensure you're using the sensor dry setting correctly, but once you have, it's a great way to save energy and prevent damage to your clothes by over-drying.

4. Steam Refresh

You might want to sell clothes on a resale platform or even refresh items bought in a thrift store - in either, steam refresh settings are handy. This setting will deodorize and de-wrinkle clothes so that you don't need to put them in a full wash. 

This is great for reducing energy consumption and the time you spend on large loads of washing, as most clothes simply don't need to be frequently washed. These cycles are usually only 20 minutes long, too, so it's great if you're in a rush.

5. Cool Air Settings 

Not only are cool air settings much better for your energy bills (and the planet), but they'll benefit your delicate garments too. This setting is ideal for clothing that might shrink in high heat, such as dresses or knitwear. 

Tips for using dryer settings correctly

Always check the washing care labels of your clothes before you put them in the dryer. Avoid putting items such as wool, linen, or silk in a dryer, as this could cause damage.

Don't overload the dryer. This can reduce the effectiveness of the settings and cause damage to the machine.

Learn how to clean a lint dryer trap to ensure proper airflow and prevent fire hazards.

Holly Cockburn
Former Features Editor

Holly is the former Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focused on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from