Best Drying Racks

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

22 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
321 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best drying racks

Last Updated September 2019

If you don’t have a clothes dryer or if you can’t line-dry clothing outside because it’s the dead of winter, a drying rack is the perfect solution! Or perhaps you have a dryer but still prefer to air-dry delicate clothing items. Overloading your dryer is inefficient and can cause premature wear and tear of your appliance. A drying rack is a space-saving alternative that you can grab and unfold when you need it. Instead of leaving a basket of damp laundry sitting around waiting for its turn to tumble, use a drying rack to dry clothes wrinkle-free.

Drying racks are available in multiple sizes and shapes, including apartment-friendly folding models and larger racks designed to hold heavier items. They’re also inexpensive, so picking one up won’t put a massive dent in your budget. We have all the information you need to pick the right drying rack for your situation. And when you’re ready to buy, check out our top recommended models.

Opting for a pop-up rack? You’ll likely need hangers to air-dry clothing properly.

Key considerations


Types of drying racks

Drying racks don’t all look the same, but there’s no need for confusion. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types of racks available:

Freestanding racks: These racks may or may not fold up for easy storage. You can pick up a freestanding rack and move it anywhere inside your home. Place it on your porch to air-dry your clothes or keep it in your laundry room so you can use it to hang delicate garments. Freestanding racks vary in size, and one can be a great option if you have piles of clothing to hang. A gullwing rack is a type of freestanding model that folds out to provide a wider hanging space.

Over-the-door racks: These are good solutions for laundry rooms or homes that are tight on space. Pop the hanger over the door, and you’ll have a little extra room to hang your clothes to dry.

Pop-up racks: These drying racks look a lot like hat racks and fold down easily for storage. A simple push and click and your tripod hanger is ready to go. These are best for those who have a few items that require air-drying but aren’t recommended for families dealing with loads of laundry.

Mounted racks: Mounted racks can be attached to the wall or ceiling. Some are foldable, too. These are permanent, so be sure to pick the right size for your needs. Choose a mounted rack with a shelf that doubles as a storage space for extra convenience. You can also use a mounted rack to hang bath or hand towels.


​​​​​​​Size

If you’re picking a freestanding or pop-up rack that folds away for storage, the size doesn’t matter too much. For over-the-door or mounted options, it’s crucial that you carefully measure your space to ensure a proper fit. How far does that shelf rack jut out? If it protrudes quite a bit, it’s not a likely candidate for that space behind your laundry room door. Consider the length of your garments, too.  When hung, your clothes shouldn’t drag on the floor.


​​​​​​​Your needs

When making your selection, consider the amount of laundry you air-dry on a regular basis. Do you need a wide, sturdy rack to handle heavy-duty items like sweaters or jackets? Pick a unit with a strong frame. Are you merely hanging a few bras? A compact pop-up unit is your best bet.

Out-of-the-way convenience

For those not eager to sacrifice floor space for their drying needs, the Aero-W drying rack is an attractive wall-mounted option. The collapsible stainless-steel frame can hold various items, including heavy fabric like denim.

Drying rack features

Here are a few features you can expect to find when browsing for your newest laundry room accessory.

Foldability: Most drying racks are foldable since they don’t take up a permanent place in the laundry room. Even a wall-mounted unit can be folded back onto itself. When not in use, a foldable drying rack can be stored away so that you’re left with an uncluttered laundry room.

Durability and rustproofing: Drying racks are built to withstand exposure to moisture, but some materials do this better than others. For hanging heavy items like blankets or coats, opt for a sturdy, rustproof metal frame. Plastic is another durable option that won’t degrade over time. Wood is probably the most attractive option, but if the wood is unsealed, it might be susceptible to mold growth and moisture damage. And the frame of a drying rack should not wobble.

Adjustability: The items you hang on your rack will likely vary. If your wardrobe includes maxi dresses as well as T-shirts, you might want a rack with adjustable height to prevent fabric from dragging on the floor.

Number of racks: How many pieces of clothing do you need to hang at one time? If you tend to hang one or two garments at once, a model with a single rack should be suitable. If you need to hang multiple items, choose a rack with multiple levels and spaces for hanging. Some models even feature pull-out bars that provide extra lateral hanging space.

Indoor/outdoor: If you don’t have access to a spacious laundry room, you might prefer to dry items outdoors. If so, opt for a unit that’s designed for outdoor use. Avoid unsealed wood, which is susceptible to moisture damage. And stay clear of flimsy metal racks that could blow over in the wind.

Portability: Most drying racks can be folded for easy transport. If you want to be able to quickly move your rack around a room, pick a model with wheels.

EXPERT TIP

Look for a rack with a low shelf if you need to air-dry shoes.


Staff  | BestReviews

Drying rack prices

Inexpensive: Basic plastic drying racks that cost under $20 are best for occasional use.

Mid-range: For something a little more durable that’s both sturdy and rustproof, you’ll need to spend more than $30. A wall-mounted unit will set you back at least $50.

Expensive: Professional, high-capacity drying racks designed to handle big, bulky items cost over $80.

CAUTION

Be careful not to place your drying rack too close to a baseboard heater. Draped items might come in contact with the heater and pose a fire hazard.

Tips

  • Don’t place garments on top of one another on the rack. They’ll dry more slowly and could get wrinkled.
  • Keep your laundry room or drying area well ventilated. If your laundry room has a built-in fan, turn it on when air-drying items on a rack.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will help your items dry even more quickly.
  • Hang items outside early in the day. If you’re air-drying clothing outside, hang it early in the day to maximize sun exposure.

If you have lots of clothes to air-dry, choose a wide drying rack over one that’s very tall.

Quick storage

This low-cost chrome drying rack is a lightweight, foldable laundry room accessory best for handling light clothing items. It has a small footprint and low-profile design that won’t clutter up the room, and it folds up in a few seconds once you’re done air-drying your clothing.

Other products we considered

We wanted to include a few more drying rack recommendations to give you a full picture of what’s available. Whether you’re looking for a second rack for your laundry room or simply want to see more of what’s out there, we’ve got you covered. First up, the BonBon 3-Tier Clothes Drying Rack features multiple levels and a stainless steel frame. We love that it also has wheels for easy transport. Next, we want to suggest the Whitmor Garment and Drying Rack, which is a compact, pop-up tripod unit. It’s an excellent choice for those with limited space since it’s easy to store and requires no setup. The stainless steel GENE Drying Rack is perfect for hanging large items like blankets and sheets, and it’s easy to assemble, too. Finally, for the budget-conscious consumer, the Honey-Can-Do Folding Drying Rack folds down flat and is ideal for hanging a few delicate pieces of clothing.

Don’t overload your dryer. Use a rack to air-dry some items and ease the stress on your expensive appliance.

FAQ

Q. Where is the best place to use a drying rack?
A.
You can use a drying rack anywhere but avoid rooms or outdoor conditions where the air is particularly humid. This will slow down the drying process and may encourage mildew growth.

Q. Can’t I just hang my clothes on chairs or something else instead of a drying rack?
A.
People often joke that they use their treadmills for hanging laundry more than they do for exercising. However, it’s not a great idea to drape wet clothes over exercise equipment or furniture. The moisture can potentially damage electrical components or other surfaces such as hardwood.

Q. Can’t I just use my perfectly good dryer to dry my clothing?
A.
Of course! But some clothing and fabrics shouldn’t be run through the dryer. Delicate items like silk blouses and lacy lingerie should not be exposed to heat. Likewise, athletic apparel should be air-dried to avoid damaging the high-tech moisture-wicking fabrics. Always check clothing labels to prevent tearing, shrinking, and warping of garments.

Q. My clothes are wrinkled after air-drying. What’s the best way to get out stubborn wrinkles?
A.
You could use an iron to remove creases and wrinkles, but ironing isn’t recommended for delicate fabrics and it requires an ironing board. We recommend a clothes steamer to quickly sanitize clothing and get rid of wrinkles.

The team that worked on this review
  • Amy
    Amy
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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