When it's cold and wet outside, a heated 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 airers on the market in 2023 and here are our top 8 (scroll down for reviews!).
Last update on 2023-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Which Airer Is The Best?
If we had to pick the best electric airer from our shortlist, we'd go with Lakeland's 3-Tier Mini Airer
Last update on 2023-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
We like this one because it's ideal if you have a flat or a small apartment. As it's a tower airer it can hold 15kg of wet clothes despite it's small size. And it only costs around 6p an hour to run. Perfect for leaving on overnight and waking up to dry clothes.
There's a cover that goes with it to get your clothes dry faster. But you can avoid paying extra by using a dry bed sheet instead.
How Do Electric Airers Work?
Electric airers are a relatively simple concept. They usually consist of a frame that you hang your clothes on and a heating element underneath.
Some of the more expensive models have fans to help circulate the warm air upwards. And there are heated airers with covers which helps create a greenhouse effect to dry your clothes quicker.
They are all 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 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 indoor airer helps reduce this moisture content quickly.
Finally, many people are using them in conjunction with tumble dryers to reduce costs, too.
How Much Does A Heated Airer Cost To Run?
Heated airers are much more economical to run tumble dryers.
To give you an idea, 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?
How big your washing machine is will greatly affect your ideal airer 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.
Airer 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 Airers With Covers
Some of the electric airers on our list come with a come with a cover. These help keep the heat in and dry your clothes quicker. A bit like creating a mini-sauna for your laundry.
With some of the models, the cover is included. Sometimes, you have to pay a bit extra for them. This cost could be offset by the electricity you'd save from faster drying.
You can also drape a large bedsheet over the airer to get the same effect and save some money!
When considering the best clothes airers of 2023, 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.
Let's start with the obvious...The Foxy Dry 150 is an eye-wateringly expensive drying rack.
But to put it in perspective, it costs about the same as some tumble dryers and is much cheaper to run.
It also has a lot to offer if you lack space, hate clutter and folding a wooden clothes horse drives you mad!
It's a 4-bolt install, but you (or an electrician) also need to hook up the electrics.
But when you do, you'll have a drying rack that can hold 35kg of clothes. It also has space for 24 hangars - that's a lot of laundry!
Here's a video from Foxy Dry, the Italian manufacturers. It is in Italian, but you can see first-hand how it works.
As you can see, the rack telescopes down 6-feet from the ceiling.
It measures W120xD34xH8cm.
There are 10 drying rails 120cm long and 2 more extendable poles that are 122cm long but extend to 2 metres in length.
This makes it perfect to hang in a utility room, conservatory, or over a bath tub.
The total energy expenditure is 190 watts - which is around 3.5p an hour. This makes it 10x cheaper than some vented tumble dryers. It's also much cheaper than the other heated airers on our list.
Of course, the downside is the Foxy Dry 150 is very expensive. But they do include a 2-year warranty and from reading reviews have been excellent in honouring that.
All in all, this could be the best way to dry clothes without a dryer - but it might not be for you.
The Dry Soon heated tower airer has a powerful 300w motor and costs 6p an hour to run.
It comes with shelves that you can position in various places for added versatility.
When fully constructed it can provide as much as 21m of drying area.
This is plenty for a family, and equates to 15kg – far more than your average machine can wash in one go.
It weighs around 7 kg, so is not the lightest but still movable, and folds down to a length and width of 137 cm x 75 cm and under 9 cm 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 75 cm area to stand within.
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 tower design and want to dry your clothes quickly, the Dry Soon has got you (and your clothes) covered.
This one comes with a cover and this is really helpful for a couple of reasons.
It helps contain the heat so your clothes will dry quicker.
And it stops moisture from your damp clothes causing condensation and mould in your home.
To give you an idea of the drying time, a pair of jeans takes about 3 - 4 hours which is pretty good.
The aluminium bars get about as hot as a radiator so they won't burn children if they accidentally touch them. There's 21 meters of space and that's enough to handle around 30 t-shirts!
The great thing about these tower designs is the can save quite a bit of space. This one measures 134.5 cm x 78 cm x 71.5 cm.
It's foldable so you can store it away easily. And you can even fold the bars that are not in use to make your clothes hang better.
The only downside with this one is it doesn't have a timer. But it seems the Dry Soon model above is one of the few that has one.
However, we love how this one has a free cover and that it's easy to fold and store.
This design is similar to the one above with one real difference...a more powerful 1300KW drier.
There are pros and cons to this. It means your clothes will dry quicker.
As a rule of thumb, you're looking at 2 hours for things like duvets, sheets and pillow cases.
With something like towels expect 2.5 - 3 hours.
Of course, the downside is it will cost slightly more to run.
This model uses 1.3KW per hour. So that works out about 20p an hour. This is more than 3 times the cost of the "Dry:Soon" model listed above.
However, it's usually available much cheaper and 20p an hour is still less than using a tumble dryer.
The sturdy frame is made of metal with a plastic cover. It is foldable - but it's slightly tricky.
What you need to do is remove the heater/fan element from the base. Then it simply pulls up from the middle and collapses. You don't need to remove any of the bars inside.
All in all, this is a good tower airer for the price. And it comes with a free cover and a 1-years warranty.
Our next choice is another tower airer design that dries a lot of laundry and costs under 6p an hour to run.
All three tiers are heated with the exception of the vertical rails and the cross-rail at the top
The electric clothes drying rack has 3-layers with 24 drying rails that provide up to 24 meters of space.
Of course, that's a tad misleading...It can dry larger items like sheets, duvets and towels, but you'd have to drape them from the top.
Where this heated clothes airer excels is with smaller items like shirts, t-shirts, and briefs.
You can expect these to take around 12 - 24 hours to dry. So perfect to leave on overnight if you have an electricity tariff like Economy 7.
Unfortunately, jeans can take up to 36-hours to get dry. That might be o.k if you get them started on a washing line and bring them inside when the weather turns (especially if you don't have a tumble dryer).
Something that would also cut down the drying time is a cover. Unfortunately, this one doesn't have one of those. You can use a fitted bed sheet as a workaround though.
On the plus side, this model is considerably cheaper than other tower airers on our list. If you're mainly drying smaller items it might be perfect.
This is another economical heated drying rack from Homefront, but as you can see from below the design is slightly different.
Costing just 2p an hour to run, this airer has 6 rungs that can handle up to 2 meters of clothes.
It's made of tough aluminium and ABS plastic so it won't rust or mark your wet laundry.
The thing I like about this design is it weighs just 2.4 KG. This makes it perfect to pick up and carry - which is essential if you have limited space in a flat or a caravan.
It also means you can get it quickly set up and stash it in a cupboard or under a bed when done.
For those wondering if it will fit in a utility cupboard, it stands 91cm with the legs, and 86cm without. That's about waist height for most people.
There are a few drawbacks with this Homefront drying rack as you'd expect for the lower price. The first is that it can't handle a full-load of washing due to its size.
The second is you'll struggle to dry larger items like duvets and sheets unless you are a master of orgami and can fold them over the rails. This might help if they're *slightly* damp but obviously it's not idea.
But if you're looking for a cheap, economical electric area for a small space like a flat or a caravan, this Homefront airer fits the bill.
The Status Portable Clothes airer costs just 4p per hour to run.
But how does it compare to the tower airers listed above?
Well, given it's low price - very well indeed!
It has 18 heated bars that can hold up to 15 Kg of clothes. That's 2 whole loads for the average family.
Unlike the tower designs, this one will take up more space when it's drying clothes.
Including the wings this one is 148 cm in length (just under 5ft) and it comes up to about waist height. So you won't need to bend over too much to load it up.
This one is foldable so you can put it against a wall or in a cupboard. The folded depth is just 50cm, so it's easy to store away.
However, unlike the more expensive heated airers, it doesn't have a timer.
But if you want a foldable heated airer that's portable and cheaper to run than a tumble dryer - this is a good pick.
Is a heated airer worth it?
Yes, they are definitely worth it if you don't have access to a tumble dryer or the UK weather is being true-to-form!
Is it safe to leave a heated airer on overnight?
It is safe to leave most of these airers on overnight. To protect yourself, try to buy one from a reputable brand or check that it has the BSI kite mark or CE marking.
Do heated airers cause damp?
The short answer is "Yes". They can cause damp, just as drying clothes on a radiator causes damp. Wherever possible, open a window and ensure your home or caravan is well ventilated.
How long does it take for clothes to dry on a heated airer?
The length of time clothes take to dry depends on how powerful the design is. Premium models like the Dry Soon Tower Airer can dry jeans and jumpers in 10-12 hours. Using a heated airer with a cover reduces the drying time, too.
Does a heated airer use much electricity?
The amount of electricity used depends on how powerful your airer is. At the top end, they use 300w - 230w - a lot less than a tumble dryer.
How much does a heated airer cost to run?
The best heated airers cost between 4p to 6p and hour to run. This is much cheaper than a tumble dryer that costs around 67p per cycle!