When it's cold and wet outside, an electric clothes airer can help get your clothes dry quickly.
Sure, quite a few people prefer automatic tumble dryers, but don't like the high running costs.
Some people also like to pile clothes on radiators, but this causes your boiler to work harder to heat the rest of your home.
We took a look at the best electric airers on the market in 2018 and here are our top 5 (scroll down for reviews!).
The Best Heated Airers For 2018
Last update on 2018-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
How Do Electric Airers Work?
Electric airers are a relatively simple concept. They usually consist of a metal frame (which used to be called "Clothes horses" 🙂 )upon which you hang your laundry, which is heated by an element.
They are mains electric powered, so you can plug them in anywhere, and are safe to use around the home.
The Benefits Of Heated Airers
Using a heated clothes drying rack has many advantages, particularly when it's too cold to hang clothes out on the line (or if you don't have one).
They are much cheaper to buy than tumble dryers and a fraction of the cost to run.
As we wrote in out blog, drying clothes indoors is actually really unhealthy due to the extra moisture in the air causing mould. An airer helps reduce this moisture content quickly.
Finally, many people are using them in conjunction with tumble dryers to reduce costs, too.
How Much Do They Cost To Run?
Electric dryers are much more economical to run tumble dryers.
To give you an idea of the difference, the average running cost of a tumble dryer works out at 35.7p per hour.
The least efficient electric airer on our list is 13.75p per hour - that's over 60% energy and cost savings.
When choosing your new appliance, this online electricity cost calculator comes in really handy.
Finding The Right Airer For Your Home
There a couple of key things to consider before you buy a heated airer.
Firstly, how much washing do you usually do per load?
This will greatly affect your ideal size. Sure, bigger is always better but you might be able to get away with a smaller heater and save some money.
The second main consideration is how much space do you have at your disposal?
Any clothes airer is going to take up some space – the ones we have picked for this review have been to for a variety of situations.
Perhaps you have a dedicated utility room, or really need something that can be folded away so the kids won't trip over it.
Features To Watch Out For
Heated airers are essentially very simple appliances that consist of a frame and a heater, but let us just remind you of the important features you need to look for:
Size – important both when upright and retracted, you need to make sure you have enough space for the airer, and that it can be folded down to a sensible and compact package for storage.
Those we have featured here are all capable of being stored in a tall cupboard or under a bed, and do not take up much room when in use.
Cost per Hour - You'll find that the cost per hour to run these appliances can vary greatly.
Whilst they are much cheaper to run that tumble dryers, some airers are 50% more efficient than others - but twice the price.
You'll need to balance out the purchase price with running costs when deciding which one to buy.
Timer - Having a timer is a great feature to have. The best airers will usually have a 3-hour timer, but some models don't have them.
Collapsible - Many people prefer clothes dryers which are collapsible so they can be stored easily when not in use.
Thermostat – some of these have a thermostat, others a timer, and a couple are manual.
We like the idea of a thermostat for safety, although it is not essential, so the choice is yours.
Build Quality – you are looking at an item that will have to carry some weight during its useful hours, so you need one that is going to last.
There have been consumer comments on some of these about a lack of sturdiness, so bear them in mind.
Heated Clothes Airer Reviews
When considering the best clothes airers of 2018, we kept in mind three main components - capacity, energy-efficiency and value for money.
We're confident you'll find something on our list that fits with your budget and home.
This Fine Elements airer is a clever design with several stages of set-up.
It comes with a flat basic ‘table’ of tubular metal construction through which you can hang a sensible amount of laundry, and two ‘wings’ for use when needed that extend from either side.
It folds flat when not in use, and will easily slot away in a small space, and it weighs just over 4kg which is light enough to move around without much effort.
This model is fitted with non-slip feet – they are non-scratch too so will not damage wooden or tiled floors – and is simple to erect and take down.
It comes with a 1.4m cable so you can put it where you want, and is surprisingly energy efficient.
Overall, it’s an effective airer that will do the job you want, and it's low price makes it great value for money.
Rather than the usual drying rack design, this Dry Soon heated airer takes the form of a tower, and is very neat indeed.
It weighs around 7kg, so is not the lightest but still movable, and folds down to a length and width of 137cm x 75cm and under 9cm in depth, so is perfect for storing in a tall cupboard or under a bed when not in use.
It’s also thermostatically controlled, so is perfectly safe, and when in use requires a 75cm area to stand within.
The Dry:Soon Deluxe is very efficient and costs just a few pence per hour to run, and comes with a lengthy warranty from certain suppliers, and while it is not the cheapest, is a good choice for anyone with limited space.
There is a cover for this model - but you do need to purchase it separately.
In theory this should further reduce the drying time so the cost savings might balance out. You can also use the cover to store the airer when not in use.
If you like the heated tower airer design, this looks to be the one to get in 2018.
The winged-shape of this design offers great versatility, and makes it very easy to use.
Bear in mind that, like other wing designs, you need a decent space to use this one fully extended; make sure that you have a well-ventilated, clear room for drying clothes, and a power point within 1.4m, the length of the cable.
There are some concerns from users about the plastic parts on this model, which some have complained break easily.
Apart from that, it’s a lightweight, compact and easy to use clothes dryer that won't break the bank.
Our next choice is another simple yet effective design, and comes with a cover like that described above for added speed and efficiency.
Despite its portable size – this one measures just 142cm x 63cm when upright and folds down to a very small size for storage – it can handle a 10kg load, which is enough for a sensible wash.
It’s easy to use and simple to set up and take down, and comes with a three-hour timer so all you need to do is hang your laundry on it, set it away and it will dry your clothes efficiently and quickly.
Furthermore, as it weighs less than 3kg, so is easy to move around ad out of the way.
Users have reported it as being quick and effective, and the only negative we can really see is that it is somewhat flimsy in build quality in some areas, but so are a few of the others.
For someone looking for a budget clothes dryer, this is a good product at a sensible price.
The Concise Electric Dryer might be last on our list, but its by no means least.
This dryer works like an electric steam iron, but it has a lot more going for it apart from it's excellent drying power.
The manufacturer states that it can dry jeans in just 3 hours and shirts and t-shirts in under 2 hours.
Customer reviews seem to bear these stats out.
It's stainless steel frame makes it one of the strongest frames on our list, and it can hold 15 kg of clothes comfortably. This allows you to hang a couple of loads of laundry (or one big family's load) and dry it quickly.
This electric clothes dryer is rated at 1000 watts and that works out at 13.75 p per hour. This is more than double the price of the Dry Soon Deluxe model, but that one costs more than double the price.
Given the price, it's surprising that you do get a cover, a 3-hour timer and even a remote control thrown in. Another bonus with this design is that it can be used as a wardrobe when not heating clothes.
The two main downsides with this particular dryer are it doesn't collapse and the build quality is not the best.
Still, if you're in the market for something to use for a few months this would be a great choice.
Which Airer Is The Best?
Each of the fiver models we have reviewed makes a solid claim as the one you should buy. All do the job they are designed to, are cheap to run, and they all take up little space when in use or when stored.
For a budget model the Portable Airer will do the job; it’s inexpensive, easy to use and comes with a wrap-around ‘tent’ that makes it more efficient.
However, we can’t help coming back to the Dry:Soon 3-Tier model, which when accompanied by its own cover, is a very efficient and effective device that will dry your clothes cheaply and quickly.
The choice is yours, but remember: make sure you have adequate ventilation or a dehumidifier, as that can make all the difference!