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 2020 and here are our top 6 (scroll down for reviews!).
Last update on 2020-01-23 / 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 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 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?
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.
Electric Airer Reviews
When considering the best clothes airers of 2020, 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.
The Dry Soon heated tower airer has a powerful 300w motor and costs 6p an hour to run.
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.
To give you an idea of the drying time, a pair of jeans takes about 3 - 4 hours which is pretty good.
The aluminum 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.
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 has a different design and is perfect if you're single, a couple or have a newborn.
The "Dalek Dryer" stands just over 4 ft tall and weighs 3 KG. That means you can easily stash it out of sight. It doesn't fold but can be dismantled easily for storage.
What I also like about this one is there is a long 168 cm (about 5.5 feet) cord so that gives you more placement options.
And this design is very much "Self contained". That helps the moisture stay inside and means it won't make your room damp or cause a lot of condensation.
The downside with this model is there are arms to hand things on - but it doesn't come with hangars.
If you're looking for a budget electric airer with a small capacity, the "Dalek" is a good product at a sensible price.
It also comes with 2-years warranty - which is double the 1-year period than similar designs have.
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.
The Status Portable Clothes airer costs just 4p per hour to run.
But how does it compare to the tower airers listed above?
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.
The downside in comparison to more expensive models is it doesn't have a timer.
However, if you want a foldable heated airer that's portable and cheaper to run than a tumble dryer - this is a good pick.
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.
- 21m of drying space - folds to just 9cm wide to pop in your understairs cupboard or behind a door.
- Flexible drying space - use folded for smaller areas. The airer easily holds up to 15kg of laundry
- Cheap to run & with a clever timer feature giving you greater control over drying times.
Last update on 2020-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The choice is yours, but remember: make sure you have adequate ventilation or a dehumidifier, as that can make all the difference!