Clothes drying racks are very useful if you don’t have a garden or if it’s too cold and wet to dry your clothes outside. Even if you normally dry your clothes outside, you will need something to dry them indoors in the winter months.
Many people choose to dry their clothes using a tumble dryer, but drying racks have a few advantages. Here are a few of the reasons to use a drying rack rather than a tumble dryer:
- Uses less electricity (or no electricity at all if you choose a non-heated clothes airer)
- Silent, unlike tumble dryers which can be very noisy
- Can usually be folded up when not in use
Below are 10 of the best clothes drying racks available in the UK. We’ve picked out 5 heated and 5 non-heated clothes airers for you to consider.
Best Heated Electric Clothes Airers in the UK
The drying racks reviewed below are heated using electricity, and offer a more practical alternative to drying your clothes on a radiator. They work quicker than unheated clothes airers, but tend to be more expensive and will increase your energy bill.
1. ABIS Heated Clothes Airer
- 12m drying space
- Dimensions: 180L x 111H x 54W cm
- Capacity: 10 kg
- Energy saving radiator at 4p per hour
- Clothes dry up to 5 times faster than a normal dryer
- You need to move the items around occasionally to ensure fully dried
Despite being slightly more high maintenance than other products, it’s exactly what you need to dry your clothes, and can be easily folded away when not in use.
2. Dry:Soon 3-Tier Heated Tower Airer
The Dry-Soon clothes airer from Lakeland is an electric drying rack that is useful for drying your clothes quicker in the winter months or if you don’t have a garden. Running it costs less than 6p an hour, which offers good value for money.
- Dimensions: 145 x 79.2 x 8.6 cm
- Supports 15 kg of washing
- Clothes dry quicker than on a regular drying rack
- Large amount of drying space (21 metres)
- Heat is gentle
- Helps prevent mould and condensation
- The manufacturer doesn’t deliver it to the Scottish islands and other places off the UK mainland due to its large size
- Doesn’t work so well if you put too many clothes on it
- Works best with a cover, which costs extra
The Dry:Soon 3-Tier Heated Tower Airer isn’t for everyone. If you live in a flat it’s a good way to dry your clothes quicker and prevent condensation accumulating. It might take a while to find the best way to arrange your clothes to get them to dry quickly and evenly—if you use it incorrectly you will be disappointed with the results.
3. Dry:Soon Deluxe 3-Tier Heated Airer
This is the model up from the Dry:Soon 3-Tier Heated Tower Airer reviewed above. It’s very similar to the regular Dry:Soon but with some added features including a timer.
- Timer function
- Hold 15 kg of washing across 21 metres of drying space
- Dimensions: 70 x 74 x 132.5 cm
- The timer lets you choose when the dryer turns on and off, which is good if you have an Economy 7 electricity meter
- Easy to set up
- Light and easy to store
- Reduces the amount of ironing you need to do
- Not delivered to the Isle of Man or other locations off the UK mainland
- Seems a bit wobbly if you put too much washing on it
The Dry:Soon Deluxe 3-Tier Heated Airer is more expensive than the regular Dry:Soon, but it’s worth paying a bit more for the timer feature.
4. BLACK+DECKER BXAR0005GB 3-Tier Heated Clothes Airer
Constructed from sturdy aluminium, the Black + Decker Airer is the best space-saving solution for smaller households.
- 21m drying space spread across 3 tiers
- Dimensions: 68L x 73H x 144W cm
- Capacity: 15 kg
- Strong weight capacity to hold larger quantities of wet clothes
- Feels a lot stronger than most alternatives
- Takes up less space whilst in use, and folds away flat for storage
- The catches aren’t very tight, and so the rack is prone to collapsing if you try to move it whilst in use
Overall, this is one of the best electric airers for functionality. It warms up very quickly, and doesn’t require much space to get the job done.
5. Fine Elements Foldable Heated Airer
- 4 m cable
- Dimensions: 98 x 56.2 x 6.4 cm
- Weight: 4 kg
- Quickly heats up
- Good value for money
- Stores away easily
- Lots of bars for drying smaller items of clothing
- Energy efficient
- Good for drying sheets
- Doesn’t feel very sturdy
- Doesn’t dry clothes very evenly
This product feels quite cheap, but it’s a good solution if you need something to dry your clothes over the winter, especially if you’re short on space.
Heated Clothes Airer FAQs
Drying clothes indoors can be problematic, especially in the winter months. Heated clothes airers are a super handy way of getting laundry dry quickly so you don’t get a musty or mildew smell on your clothes when they dry too slowly. They’re also perfect for people who live in flats and don’t have the outside space to get clothes dry.
Are heated airers safe?
Heated airers are safe as long as they are used in accordance to the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you plan to run the airer overnight to make use of cheaper rate electricity, then it may be best to set it on a timer.
When hanging your laundry on the airer, keep it evenly weighted either side as overfilling one side could cause the heated airer to become lopsided and be at more of a risk of tipping over. It is best to keep the clothes airers out of the way of young children as much as possible.
If clothes are too wet, there could be a risk of electric shock if moisture were to get into the wrong parts of the airer, so do be really careful when hanging up your washing.
Are heated airers expensive to run?
Heated airers run on your electricity supply, so the cost to run will vary, depending upon your supplier. On average they cost about 5p per hour to run which is pretty great in comparison to a tumble dryer, which can cost around 35p every cycle. If you normally tumble dry your clothes, you can save a fair amount of money by using a heated clothes airer instead.
Depending on how wet the washing comes out of the machine, it can take anywhere from 3-8 hours to dry clothing on a heated airer, so at the longest time of 8 hours, it would cost less to run some A++ rated tumble dryers. Although this may be the case, the purchase cost for a heated airer is a lot lower than an eco-friendly tumble dryer and you will save money over time to make up for the initial cost of this handy laundry accessory!
Time can be decreased if there is sunlight/heat through the windows or if you have your heating on additionally to the airer. Overall though, a heated airer can be a cheap and very handy option for getting your laundry dried.
Do heated airers cause damp?
Heated airers alone do not cause damp, but if you regularly use them for laundry and do not ventilate the space you are using them in, it will increase humidity in that room which could lead to damp.
Best practice is to keep a window open, even just a crack, as you use your heated clothes rack and ventilate your home as normal to avoid damp. If you have an extractor fan in your home, it could be a good idea to use the airer in that room.
If you struggle with damp already, you might have a dehumidifier, which will help with any excess moisture in the air – perfect for when you need to run the heated clothes airer. A way to keep some of the humidity at bay is to cover the drier with a sheet, but you will still need to ventilate the room you are drying clothes in as an extra measure.
Can you leave heated airers on overnight?
Airers are slightly cheaper to run overnight as energy rates are reduced between certain hours, so if you set a timer on your clothes airer, you could have it running for a few hours while you sleep. However, it is best to not leave any appliance running overnight as with any electricals, there could be a risk of fire. To be completely safe, switching the airer off overnight is usually the best practice.
Check the manufacturer’s guidelines to find out about the airer to see if it is fitted with a fuse or switch which would stop power if anything bad or dangerous were to happen – always read the safety instructions and cautions.
Best Non-Heated Clothes Airers in the UK
The clothes airers reviewed below aren’t heated. They won’t dry your clothes as quickly as the airers reviewed above, but they’re generally cheaper and don’t cost anything to use.
1. Minky Trio Concertina Tubular Airer
The Minky Trio Concertina Tubular Airer is a sturdy concertina-style dryer made from high-grade steel. It gives you 15 metres of drying space and can be folded flat to save space. The airer can hold as much as two washing loads and has special corner hangers for hanging shirts.
- Can hold 20 kg of wet clothes, or two washing machine loads worth
- Auto-lock mechanism
- Strong and sturdy; it won’t break under the weight of wet towels
- 15 metres of drying space
- Dimensions when open: 141cm high x 59 cm wide x 55 cm deep
- Folds up to 77 x 61 x 6 cm
- No complicated assembly procedure. You can use it straight out of the box.
- Can be used inside or outside
- Quite large even when folded up
The Minky Trio Concertina Tubular Airer is a tough and stable drying rack that you can put a whole load of washing on. It’s attractively priced and should last you years.
2. Brabantia Indoor Clothes Airer
This indoor clothes airer from Brabantia isn’t cheap, but you can buy it with a 5-year guarantee, which gives you peace of mind. It’s built to last, and could be a better investment than a cheaper airer.
- 20 metres of drying space
- Made from corrosion-resistant metal
- Adjustable wings
- 5-year manufacturer’s guarantee
- Sturdy and can hold wet washing well
- Good quality
- Large drying space
- Takes up a lot of space when fully unfolded (this helps it dry better though)
The Brabantia Indoor Clothes Airer is sturdy and well made, and is great for families who have a lot of washing to dry. You’ll need plenty of space to use it though, as it’s bigger than the average airer.
3. Addis Superdry Airer
The Addis Superdry Airer has an interesting expandable design that you can adjust depending on how much washing you’re drying and how much space you have. When you’re not using it you can easily fold it up and store it.
- Holder for drying footwear
- Wheels for easy maneuverability
- Can be expanded to fit drying space
- Can be folded away for storage
- 11 metres of drying space
- Closed dimensions: 110 x 62 x 8 cm
- Easy to assemble
- Clever space-saving design
- Wheels make it easy to move
- Feels well made for the price
- Wheels can’t be locked
This airer is very well designed. It’s light and easy to move around, and you can expand or collapse it to suit the amount of space you have. It’s also easy to fold up and store when you’re not using it.
4. Wilko Deluxe Clothes Airer
As you’d expect from a Wilko product, this clothes airer offers great value for money. It’s one of the cheapest airers on this list, and could be a good choice if you want something that’s inexpensive but effective.
- 14 metres of drying space
- Foldable design
- Holds up to 20 kg of wet washing
- Corner hooks for hanging long items
- Automatic safety locking
- Sock dryer
- Good quality for the price
- Small footprint
This clothes airer is very good for the price. It’s sturdy and well designed, and lets you dry a decent amount of clothes without taking up too much space.
5. Minky Automatic Multidry Airer
The Minky Multidry is a large airer that can be used inside or out. It uses tubular steel to make it strong and sturdy, and also has wheels so you can easily move it around.
- 25 metres of drying space for up to two washloads
- Flat section for delicate items
- Has wheels
- Can be used outside
- Folds flat for storage
- Dimensions: 64.8 x 127 x 121.9 cm
- Weight: 2.5 Kg
- Good capacity
- Light given its size
- Feels durable and sturdy
- Easy to move thanks to the wheels
- Wires are close together
The Minky Multidry is a very good clothes dryer for the price. This drying rack is very large, so you need to check you have enough space before buying it.
Alternatives to using a drying rack
While drying your clothes on a drying rack is cheap and convenient, it isn’t particularly healthy as it raises the humidity level in your home and damp washing can release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Here are a few of the alternatives:
- Tumble dryer: Using a tumble dryer is probably the easiest and quickest way to dry clothes indoors, but they can be expensive to buy and run. See the top 10 best tumble dryers in the UK here.
- Dehumidifier: A less obvious but very effective way to dry clothes is to use a dehumidifier. This will suck moisture out of the air, helping dry your clothes and preventing the humidity level in your home from getting too high. See the best dehumidifiers for drying clothes here.
- Drying clothes outside: If you’re reading this article, this probably isn’t an option. Drying clothes outside in the winter isn’t really practical in the UK as the air is usually too cold and damp. If you’re reading this in the summer and have some outside space, consider one of these washing lines for small gardens.