Which clothes drying rack is best?

While hand-washing your clothes may feel old-fashioned, many delicate fabrics require it. Other materials, like your high-end yoga pants, may tolerate the washing machine but need to be air-dried. Enter the clothes drying rack. 

A clothes drying rack can be set up in any room, which eliminates the need for outdoor space and warm weather to set up a clothesline. These apartment-friendly items come in different designs. If you’re looking for one to mount to your wall, the Aero-W Stainless Steel Wall-Mounted Drying Rack is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a clothes drying rack 

Types

There are different types of drying racks.

  • Freestanding racks stand alone and can be moved around your home or placed on a porch. Many but not all fold down for storage. Freestanding racks are affordably priced and come in different sizes. They do take up floor space, so consider their footprint when buying. 
  • Over-the-door racks are ideal for a cramped laundry room. They are designed to hang over a door and feature foldable tiers to air-dry your laundry. 
  • Tripod racks, also called pop-up racks, look like hat racks and require hangers to dry your clothes properly. These collapsible, standalone racks don’t take as much floor space as freestanding racks and are easy to open and close.  
  • Mounted racks attach to a wall or ceiling. They are foldable but their position can’t be moved once wall-mounted. Some come with hooks in addition to bars, and you can also use this item in the bathroom to hang up towels and loofahs

Materials

Racks are made of a variety of materials: wood, plastic and metal. 

  • Wood racks are often made from bamboo, a sustainable material, and offer a natural and attractive appearance. They also don’t rust, but it’s wise to choose sealed wood to avoid moisture damage. Only freestanding designs come in this material.
  • Metal racks are ubiquitous and come in freestanding, over-the-door, tripod and mounted designs. Aluminum, alloy steel and stainless steel are popular metals and be sure that they are rustproof. While these materials are durable, the sturdiness of a metal rack can vary from brand to brand.
  • Plastic racks are often combined with steel, mostly in tripod designs. Plastic is a durable and rustproof material, though not the best-looking option. Specialty racks designed for drying sweaters are made of plastic with mesh tiers for items that need to be laid flat to dry.

Sizes

Size isn’t an overly important consideration for freestanding and tripod racks that fold for storage. However, do consider your household size when buying; you may not need an extra-large rack if you live alone unless you air-dry all your clothing.  

Over-the-door and wall-mounted racks require extra consideration as these designs jut out into air space. With wall-mounted designs, be sure to mount the rack high enough so that clothing doesn’t drag on the floor.  

What to look for in a quality clothes drying rack

Foldability

Most users want a rack that can fold down and be easily stored when not in use. All wall-mounted and over-the-door models fold back on themselves. When buying a rack, be sure to check that it is collapsible and consider its dimensions when folded to ensure that it’ll fit in your closet or under a bed or couch. 

Bar count

Many drying racks feature bars that you fold your clothing item over to dry. The more bars, the more items you can hang to dry. For larger households, select a rack with a higher bar count. Select freestanding racks feature only a few bars, which you can optimize by using hangers. Tripod racks are the only design that doesn’t utilize bars. 

Tier count

Some drying racks feature multiple levels or tiers where you can hang your laundry. Pop-up designs typically have two tiers. Stackable sweater-drying racks can feature as many as four levels. Freestanding racks typically feature one to three tiers.  

Pull-out bars

Some racks feature pull-out bars that offer increased lateral hanging space. These typically come on wall-mounted racks, and the swing-out arms are designed to hang heavy items, such as towels. 

Shelves

Select racks come with shelves, which can be a tier of closely placed bars to lay flat clothing items or a mesh shelf. If you own clothing that instructs you to “lay flat to dry,” such as wool sweaters or lingerie, this feature may be for you. 

How much you can expect to spend on a clothes drying rack

Cheap plastic and metal drying racks cost $15-$20. For a durable rack that won’t rust or get moisture damage, plan to spend between $35-$90. 

Clothes drying rack FAQ

Do drying racks come with a weight capacity? 

A. Many do, and the manufacturer may offer models in two different weight capacities. If you know you’ll be air-drying heavier items, such as coats or wool sweaters, look for a rack that can bear more weight so it won’t topple over or collapse. 

What are the advantages of air-drying clothing?

A. Air-drying your garments will increase their lifetime as the dryer can add wear and tear to your clothing. The dryer can also shrink some fabrics and fade dark colors. Lastly, a dryer also uses a lot of energy, so cutting down on its usage is good for your pocketbook and the environment. 

What’s the best clothes drying rack to buy?

Top clothes drying rack

Aero-W Stainless Steel Wall-Mounted Drying Rack

Aero-W Stainless Steel Wall-Mounted Drying Rack

What you need to know: This well-constructed mounted rack stands out for its heavy-duty design that’ll last a lifetime. 

What you’ll love: The space-saving rack is sturdy with a high weight capacity of 60 pounds. It’s attractive and won’t be an eyesore in its permanent position on your wall.

What you should consider: Users rave that the rack stands up to everyday use. Although it’s marketed for indoor/outdoor use, some reviewers found it didn’t last long outdoors. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top clothes drying rack for the money

Amazon Basics Foldable Drying Rack

Amazon Basics Foldable Drying Rack

What you need to know: A great value for the price, this sturdy but lightweight drying rack is quick to assemble and easy to store. 

What you’ll love: The low-profile design and chrome or white finish work in any room. This freestanding rack is foldable and easy to stow away. The multi-tier rack allows for ample drying space. 

What you should consider: This rack has a limited weight capacity of 32 pounds and may collapse under heavier items, such as towels. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Honey-Can-Do Heavy Duty Gullwing Drying Rack

Honey-Can-Do Heavy Duty Gullwing Drying Rack

What you need to know: Featuring a gullwing design, this freestanding rack provides a wider hanging space. 

What you’ll love: This rack is adjustable to hang just a few items or expand to hang more. Its lower level features a mesh shelf for laying flat delicates or woolen items. It’s a perfect size for drying longer garments or for larger households.

What you should consider: A few users reported the rack developed rust. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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