DriBuddi hot air clothes dryer review: Is It Any Good and Should I Get One?

by Marius Jacobs

I've seen so many people asking online if they should buy one of those clothes drying units that you hang the clothes on hangers inside, when I was looking for reviews myself before I bought one.  So, I thought I'd do my own thorough review of the "DriBuddi".  Following is my experience of having bought a DriBuddi and how and if it works.

How to dry our washed clothes effectively without harming them?  There's a question for the ages you've also probably pondered. 

About six months ago, I realized I needed to bring a change to the way I dry my laundry.

You're probably familiar with similar circumstances such as these:  My clothes usually dried outside on the washline.  However, various circumstances drove me to use a tumble dryer instead.  Usually I would simply take the laundry from the washing machine to the tumble dryer.  Certainly was the easiest and quickest way. 

However, every time I took the clothes out of the tumble dryer, I would remove a whole handful of fluff that had accumulated from my clothes being tumbled around, in the dryer's filter.  I didn't care at first, but after some months of this, many articles of clothing had become so thin that they simply tore when I was wearing them and moved around. 

It was then that I was looking for other alternatives.  Hanging them on a dry rack worked as long as there was a lot of ventilation around, but, not being able to watch the dry rack all the time, I sometimes had to keep the rack with clothes on it inside.  This would sometimes cause the dried clothes to smell bad. 

Meanwhile I've been eyeing this "DriBuddi" device I've been seeing at supermarkets.  One of those "As seen on TV" products.  The "As seen on TV" thing is usually a red flag to stay away for the stuff is cheap unethically overpriced rubbish hyped through extended TV marketing without any substance in the product itself;  however this time I was really looking for something to dry my clothes.  

And so it happened that I bought my first DriBuddi.  I took it home;  it assembled quite easily and after hanging clothes on it and zipping up the cover, I plugged it in and switched it on.  Very silent.  So I went to bed and checked the next morning.  The clothes were still completely wet.  I suspected everything wasn't right.  I felt slight heat coming from the heater of the device, but I was wondering if it shouldn't be blowing hot air.   

I took it back to the store and there the saleslady showed me on their demo unit that the device is supposed to be blowing hot air indeed.  The one I had was faulty.  So, exchanged it was.

Ok, so I finally had my DriBuddi, one that's working that is.  It's been a few months and so far I have this to say for it: 

I like the idea.  My clothes now really do dry without getting all that damage from tumbling.  The idea of letting clothes hang still while a stream of hot air around them "blow-dry" them is simple yet genius.  I'm mostly happy with my purchase.   

However, as I see it various factors that the designers probably had to deal with has caused it to be less satisfying than it could have been.

For one thing, the size.  Now I've read online that people simply aren't happy with the size, as most say it takes up too much space.  I on the other hand believe it's too small and I'll tell you why - Whenever clothes' sleeves or other parts of it touch the cover of the unit, or clothes touch each other, they remain wet at the point of contact.  So, if they had made the unit slightly wider it would have been much better.  I suppose the only reason others might say it takes up too much space as is is because they live in a very small place with very limited space.

As it is, the unit is advertised as having the capability of drying 18 pieces of clothing at a time.  This simply is not so.  More accurately, it does not take much more than five or six items, for there simply isn't enough space for more.  Any more items crammed in there and they'll touch each other and as stated above, clothes touching each other or the cover cause them to remain wet.  They need proper air flow around them.

The first few times you use it, the dried clothes smell like some kind of chemicals. Probably from the new plastic cover or the plastic used in the unit being heated up, though I'm not sure. This however gets less with time.

One more thing I always hear being said when looking at the DriBuddi is that the clothes that go in will not need ironing. I will say that should you make sure all the pocket flaps are flat when you hang the clothes into the unit, they do dry better than they would in a tumble dryer. Will they not need ironing at all? It depends on how neat you want it. T-shirts may be ok, but other things like thicker dress shirts and cargo pants may simply still be too wrinkled to use right out of the unit.

Also as can be seen above, it would appear that this type of unit under the name DriBuddi needs to have the cover going over the timer - this is where I was instructed by the saleslady to affix the bottom part of the cover.  Not a very smart design then if the timer (which also acts as the power on switch on the unit) is difficult to reach when the unit is in operation.  

Two other aspects I believe the designers had to deal with that gummed up the works, is energy sufficiency and time. The unit has a maximum 3 hour timer on it. I simply don't know why this is, because for a load containing normal clothes (not just the thinnest, lightest women's tops or panties), it simply needs a lot more time. Honestly, to have clothes dried completely, in my experience the unit requires a minimum of 8 hours (assuming the clothes are hung spread out well and you don't have items made from extremely thick material having many layers pressing on top of each other when hung, for example really thick pants hung over a hanger where at the hanging bar of the hanger you have four layers or more meeting tightly).

Fortunately the timer dial can be turned the other way to have it on permanently, so that's good if you're not forgetful of which household items you left on. Best is to hang about 4 to 6 items of clothing loosely on hangers on the unit and let the unit dry them overnight (the manual leaflet states that the unit should not work for longer than 6 hours at a time, so I'm not sure how long mine is going to last working overnight.)

This I suppose kills the advertised claim of it being more energy sufficient than a conventional tumble dryer, which as you may know can dry a whole heavy load in one and a half to three hours. So don't really buy this unit for its "energy sufficiency" if you wear normal clothes like jeans, pants, shirts etc.

Personally I believe the DriBuddi is unfortunately sold for over three times the price it should be. They might be more popular if they were sold as fairly priced ordinary household equipment instead of being sold under the "TV products" banner. It's not bad, but I know a few people who bought it and nobody's really wowedly happy. The DriBuddi is very useful and you will indeed use it a lot if you're single and haven't that much clothes to wash at one time and you haven't a safe spot outside like a balcony or somewhere you can place a clothes rack and have the wind dry your clothes (for free!).

Some versions of this concept, like this Genesis Dryfast, also has small little bars to hang your socks and small items. The owner of this unit in the photo below however was also not really in much awe of the product. She claims the clothes stink from being too shut in under the cover, and advises that the cover be opened a bit to get better ventilation when in use.

In conclusion, though many will differ with me, I think these types of units will be better if they're bigger and actually have space inside them to hang a whole laundry load.  That might change the reviews you see online from people who bought a DriBuddi but still use their conventional tumble dryers anyway.  But of course many people simply don't have the space for such a large unit in their homes, so it's probably not going to happen on a consumer level.

Another thing: If you only ever use the Dri-buddi to dry your clothes, and you wear those clothes mostly indoors, you may find that after some wash & dry cycles your clothes start to stink.

I'm no expert but I believe it's because the clothes never see much sunlight, and never get freshened up by the wind, like it would if you were to hang them outside on the washline where the sun and wind will keep them fresh. I've read somewhere that sunlight kills bacteria. I think if your clothes never get much sunlight, the bacteria thrive on them and produce smells, and no wind ventilation means they never get freshened out, so they start to smell.

So I would advise that you not just only ever use the Dri-Buddi. After every 5 or 10 or so wash & dry cycles, hang them on the clothesline outside in the sun and wind for a change, just to freshen them up.

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