JML DriBUDDI heated clothes airer review: tested by YourHomeStyle
The JML DriBUDDI is one of the most popular heated airers on the market - but how does it perform? We put the DriBUDDI to the test, and here's what we thought...
- Price £75
- Dimensions & weight 160 x 70 x 70 cm (H x W x D), 4.8kg
- Capacity 10kg
- Warranty 1 year
Buy JML DriBUDDI Heated Airer from Argos (£75)
JML DriBUDDI energy efficiency
The JML DriBUDDI operates via a 1200W motor. If run for 4.5 hours, as we did, this equates to a running cost of £1.84 per cycle, using current energy cap rates. To get a more precise estimate for your tariff, you can use SUST-IT’s energy cost calculator.
Comparing this to the cost of running a tumble dryer is tricky – it depends on the energy consumption of the tumble dryer, the type (condenser vs vented vs heat pump) and the length of the drying cycle. However, using a very rough average of a tumble dryer using 4.5kW with a 90 minute cycle time, the cost would be £2.29 per cycle.
This suggests that a heated clothes airer could be around 20% cheaper to run than an tumble dryer, saving you 45p per wash. Assuming two cycles a week, this would equate to a saving of £46.80 over the course of a year.
Plus, if you can’t afford the initial outlay of a tumble dryer or you don’t have the room to install a permanent appliance, the DriBUDDY is a more attractive alternative.
Testing the JML DriBUDDI Indoor Airer
The DriBUDDi can accommodate up to 10kg, the equivalent of 18 items – for our test we used 13 items in a range of thickness and materials, including a bath towel, a light hoody, a pair of jeans, T-shirts and underwear. The load had been washed and then given an additional spin and then hung inside the DriBUDDI using plastic hangers, as suggested in the instructions
Following the manufacturer’s recommendations, we set up the DriBUDDI in a spare room next to an open window for ventilation.
I scored the DriBUDDI on ease of use, performance, value for money and specs.
Short on time? The DriBUDDI in 30 seconds
JML’s DriBUDDI offers great value for money when compared to similar models on the market – it’s easy to set up and use, and has a capacity large enough to accomodate a full load.
However, be aware that our test load required about an hour longer to dry than the manufacturer’s estimate. That said, it still works out cheaper than a tumble dryer in most instances.
Ease of use
The DriBUDDI is a self-assembly airer, composed of three legs, a motor unit with a timer, a support pole and the hanging unit. Looking at the packaging’s sustainability, the cardboard outer box is recyclable, but individual elements are wrapped in soft plastic film which will need to be disposed of in your waste bin.
Overall, set-up was very simple and the instructions laid out in the accompanying booklet were clear and easy to follow.
The trickiest part was fitting the legs into the body of the airer – the light and hollow legs felt too flimsy to exert much force, so it took a couple of minutes of wiggling to attach securely. Nevertheless, the overall set-up time only took around ten minutes.
In an extra compartment, you’ll find two additional components: a zip-up cover and protective disc for the motor unit, to prevent any stray drips from coming into contact with the motor (the manufacturer specifically warns against using the airer for dripping wet clothing).
With one point available for each of the bolded elements above, we score the DriBUDDI 4/5.
The timer allows you to set a dry time up to three hours. After a three-hour dry cycle, the clothing was still damp to the touch. I had imagined the lighter items would dry before the heavier items, however the thickness of the material proved to have a negligible effect on dry time, probably due to the damp air circulating within the airer. We used a mixed load as we wanted to test in real-world conditions, but a load composed entirely of light materials such as cotton T-shirts or underwear would likely dry faster.
After a further hour, the washing was only slightly damp – if I was planning to iron immediately or hang items up in a wardrobe or on a clothes rail, I would have happily removed the load at this point. However, I set the timer for an additional half hour, which left the clothing completely dry and ready to be put away in drawers.
Dry time: 4 hours to iron damp, 4.5 hours to bone dry
While this seems like a reasonable dry time, JML states that an average wash load should take “between 1 and 3 hours”, which was not reflected in our test. For that reason, when it comes to drying performance, we score the DriBUDDI 3.5/5
Turning to the product specs, at 160 x 70 x 70 cm, the DriBUDDI’s dimensions are as compact as can reasonably be expected.
The 10kg/18 item capacity offers sufficient room to dry a realistic average wash load, and compares favourably with other covered heated airers on the market.
After testing, the airer took only a few minutes to disassemble entirely, and simply detaching the bulkier elements like the hanging unit and the legs would make the process even speedier, so this is definitely a model that’s easy to store when not in use if space is at a premium.
Our final criterion was temperature control – unlike some models, the DriBUDDI doesn’t have a variable temperature gauge or remote controlled operation.
On specs, we rate the DriBUDDI 3/4
Value for money
While a clothes airer is never going to be a statement piece, the DriBUDDI is certainly no eyesore when it comes to style. You can choose between a white or blue cover, and while its primary purpose is to speed up dry time, the cover also means that your washing, hangers and the appliance itself are neatly hidden from view – perfect if you want to set it up in communal area of your home without having visitors staring at your knickers!
Looking at the accessories, having the cover included is a nice bonus, as they dramatically improve the machine’s performance. The cover disc for the motor is also a welcome addition for peace of mind. In terms of improvement, it would have been nice to have a few plastic hangers included – although it’s more convenient to use your own for items you will be hanging up afterwards, a few extra would make it easier when drying items that don’t already have their own hanger.
In terms of how the airer’s price compares to its competitors, it’s impossible to compare models exactly like-for-like. But the DriBUDDI’s closest high street rival is probably Lakeland’s Dry:Soon pod airer, which is £20 more expensive at the time of writing and has a smaller capacity than the DriBUDDI (12 items vs 18 items).
As for what warranty, if any, is included, the DriBUDDI comes with a one year manufacturer’s guarantee.
Overall, on value for money, we rate the DriBUDDI 3.5/4
Taking into account all of the criteria described above, we give the JML DriBUDDI an overall score of: 14/18
We also tested The Dry:Soon 3 Tier
Score 4.5 out of 5
- Buy now from Amazon, Lakeland (£159.99) or Argos (£105)
The Dry:Soon 3 Tier is sleek and compact, featuring six identical drying shelves which fold up flat, making it easy to use and store if space is an issue – we also loved that you can fold on just one half, to either hang shirts on the bars, or make it more compact. Unlike the JML DriBUDDI the cover is sold separately, but we found draping a sheet or duvet cover over the top works just as well to shorten the drying time.
Accommodating 15kg of washing across 21m of drying space, it’s a great alternative to more expensive tumble driers. However, it doesn’t come with a timer, which would be a useful feature, but it’s nice and lightweight and looks smart. It dries light items like T-shirts within 4 hours, and heavier items, like jeans, should be dry within 12 hours.
And if you’re looking for something more family-sized on a budget…
Clothes Airer 1500W 1.7 Meters Portable Electric Clothes Dryer
- Buy now from Amazon, (£86.99)
This covered heated airer, is a great option for a larger family-sized wash, with capacity for up to 15kg load. Featuring three tiers, there are 12 towel bars for arranging towels, socks and clothes from hangers, it also comes with a cover to help speed up the drying process. You can also set the temperature anywhere between 50 to 70 degrees, and a safety, overheating shutdown function, and control the unit using a wireless remote control. Easy to assemble, fold away for storage.
To see what else is on the market, check out our pick of the best heated clothes airers.