The present study proposes a rationally based heat pump clothes dryer model which is capable of handling transient behaviors of both air-side and refrigerant side. The model can take into account the geometrical variation of the heat exchangers. Yet the proposed model is free from extra constraints that were normally imposed by previous studies. The simulation shows that there exist three stages in a typical drying process, including a preheat stage, followed by a constant evaporation stage, and finally a falling drying rate period. The calculation indicates that the variation of the clothes temperature and the system suction/discharge pressure show an appreciable rise in the first stage, remain nearly unchanged at the second stage, and increase again at the final stage of drying process. Also, the corresponding maximum specific moisture extraction rate (SMER) peaks at the end of the second stage while the corresponding coefficient of performance (COP) drops continuously. The simulation also indicates that increasing the air volumetric flowrate yields a lower discharge/suction pressure, a higher COP value, and a shorter drying time. The results also suggested that a good strategy to maximize COP is initiated by a low volumetric rate during the preheat stage, increasing it during the second stage and lowering it to an intermediate flowrate at the end of the drying period. Increasing heat exchanger size, either by increasing heat exchanger width or the number of tube row, results in a lower suction/discharge pressure and a shorter drying time. Although both approaches adopt larger surface area to promote overall performance, it is found that increasing the width of heat exchanger yields more effective results.