The idea of purchasing a heated clothes airer might not exactly thrill you initially, but take it from us: this will be one of those buys you’ll end up working into almost every conversation – a tip you hand out to friends and family with a wink, a smile and the benevolence of a messiah.
The truth is, a heated clothes airer is a brilliant investment for a number of reasons. As much as we don’t want to admit it, a rather tedious Christmas-less, lockdown-filled winter looks to be on the way and will bring with it a stream of cold and wet weather that makes leaving your clothes outside on a line to dry something of a distant dream.
It’s also far gentler on your garments (hello clothes longevity and lower fashion consumption), is much kinder to the environment and cheaper to run and purchase than a tumble dryer.
You don't need to walk around in stale smelling clothes that have been hanging forlornly on a radiator for three days straight. A heated clothes airer is an investment you won’t regret making - whether you've not got a tumble-dryer or are just looking for a way to consume less energy.
How do heated clothes airers work?
They are electric, so all you need to do is plug it into your mains, switch on – and away you go.
How much do heated clothes airers cost to run?
You needn’t worry about spiralling costs either; they are far cheaper than a tumble dryer to run, and as they’ll dry your clothes quickly, they won’t be on for very long either. Most models costa round 4p per hour to run, larger options tend to only cost about 6p per hour.
Which heated clothes dryer is right for me?
These things are all about function rather than style so there’s little point in choosing a electric clothes airer based on looks. Instead, think about the combined length of the drying area and where you’ll set up and store the rack.
Now you’re armed with all the information you need, scroll on to discover the best heated drying racks for your home, big or small.
Lakeland Dry:Soon Deluxe 3-Tier Heated Airer and Cover
A great choice for a large household, the Dry:Soon Deluxe 3 holds up to 15kg of washing to be hung over 21 metres of drying space. Fitted with a timer, it gives you the option to set a drying cycle for between one and 12 hours and will automatically switch itself off when it’s done – great if you’re not going to be in the house much during the day. It runs at 300 watts, which costs under 6p an hour and takes around four hours to dry delicates and thinner clothes; 10 to 12 hours for heavier items such as jeans and jumpers. What we particularly like about this one is that it comes with a cover, which not only helps keep the heat in but can act as a storage bag for when the rack isn’t in use.
BLACK+DECKER 3-Tier Heated Clothes Airer with Cover
Five hours. That’s all it takes. Five hours for an entire load of laundry to go from sopping wet to bone dry in the midst of winter.
My first foray into the heated clothes airer arena and I am seriously impressed by Black + Decker’s model. Without any heat, it could take up to three days for my clothes load to dry in my London flat - a compact space where an oversized dryer acts as an unwelcome focal point in my living room. But no more.
The clothes airer itself has a thin but tall design which makes it ideal for aforementioned smaller areas. It can house up to 15kg of washing over the three tiers (and sheets over the top) with 21m of drying space. Each tier has a swivel function that is a godsend for longer items.
With the addition of the cover, it traps the heat inside, speeding up the drying time and making it far more cost effective than a tumble drier. It also has a sturdy construction.
The product is also on wheels which is hugely handy - with the ability to pump the breaks if need be. There is also a 1.6m power cable so it’s long enough to reach the power socket.
While it couldn't be easier to assemble and fold flat, it is not particularly small to store.
It begins to heat up in a matter of seconds and in only a couple of minutes it is toasty and ready to go.
You can also buy without the cover (£109.99).
Also available at Robert Dyas
Argos Home Indoor Heated Electric Clothes Airer
At the more budget end of the spectrum, this clothes rack packs the heating filaments inside the bars themselves. It doesn’t come with a bag so you won’t get the quick air circulation and drying time that you see with some of the other models, but it will give that extra speedy boost that you won’t get in a typical non-heated airer. This one comes with 11.5 metres of drying space and is particularly great for flat drying. As the only parts that heat up are the parts of the clothes that come into contact with the bars, the brand recommends moving the clothes around a bit whilst drying (so you don’t end up with bar-like creases) – slightly inconvenient but given the price, it doesn’t feel like too much of a trade off.
Dunelm Heated Clothes Airer
Though this is a similar design to the Argos model in that the heating element runs through the bars, it does have a couple of upgrades – hence the higher price tag. This one has three tiers as opposed to a fold-out design and can take up to 15kg of washing in one go. What we like about this one is that it dries clothes quickly (the fact that clothes are drying on top of each other might help with the circulation of the heat) but only costs around 3 pence an hour to run. The bars don’t get too hot to touch (great if you have small children running around) and it folds down neatly when not in use. Pro tip: if you want to create that pod-like effect of the other airers, pop a sheet over the top of the clothes as they dry. This will help to keep the heat in.
Lakeland Dry:Soon Drying Pod Airer
Smaller than the Deluxe, this Dry:Soon model is great for those living in smaller spaces or those who mostly wash shirts and other items that need to be hung. Rather than the racks that typical airers use, this model is composed of a rail that coat hangers can be hooked on, so you can dry up to 12 shirts at a time. After testing, we found that this one takes about an hour and a half to get a full set of shirts dry but thanks to the fact that the garments are hung and the air is blown through the pod-style bag. They also required very little ironing time after – a winner if ironing shirts is usually the death knell that signals the end of the weekend for you.
John Lewis 3-Tier Heated Indoor Clothes Airer
This one is much like the Dunelm model in that it comes with three tiers and the aluminium bars heat up but with some added bonuses: there’s an extra heating filament at the bottom which gives the temperature a boost and also makes an excellent drying spot for any shoes or slippers you might have given a wash. With a 300w output that can climb to temperatures of 40-50 degrees Celsius, the John Lewis model works quickly and efficiently. We found that a load of washing could reach cupboard-dryness within about four hours and that clothes definitely had less creases than those left on a non-heated airer.
Everett Bathroom Floor Mounted Electric Heated Towel Rail
More for the bathroom than for standard clothes drying use, this nifty little model by Everett is a great option for those in desperate need of a heated towel rail in the bathroom but don’t have the energy, means or enthusiasm to have one installed (renters, we’re talking particularly to you). Cheap and cheerful, it heats up to 70 watts and offers the perfect extra warmth and comfort to your shower and bath routine in the depths of winter.
Minky Wing 12m Heated Clothes Airer with Cover
âRobust, sturdy and costing less than 4p an hour to run. When you consider the unheated version of this airer is around £30 the extra £20 seems more than fair for what you get in return.
The 230 wattage Minky heated clothes airer can accommodate 12m of drying space, holding 10kg of laundryâ. When fully open, dimensions are H114 x W55 x D6cm yet thanks to the clever design, it can fold down flat and be easily stored behind doors, under sofas and beds and in slim cupboards. Compared to other stacked models the Minky does take up more room but overall its robust design means you can get more on it — especially heavier or wide items that you might find difficult to scrunch onto a more narrow bar.
Compared to other leading models the Minky is also half the cost and comes with a cover to help speed up drying time. Pro tip: get it delivered. This product requires no assembly and is lightweight, but lugging a large flat rectangle on the tube is a chore and can easily be avoided by selecting the delivery option.
If you’re serious about finding a decent alternative to a tumble dryer, it’s absolutely worth investing in the Lakeland Dry:Soon Deluxe 3-Tier Heated Airer and Cover. Those not looking to spend so much will find the Dunelm Heated Clothes Airer does the job well enough too.