Finding the best heated clothes airer may not sound like the most exciting of pursuits. But as a means of drying your clothes in winter, these gadgets are hard to beat. Not only is a heated airer far kinder to your treasured garments than tumble drying (it adds years to the lifespan of your clothes), it’s also better for the environment, and arguably less expensive to run: around 15p per hour, as opposed to around £2.80 per load in a tumble dryer based on current electricity prices.
But which is the best heated clothes airer? If you're pressed for time, here are my top three, followed by a more detailed guide .
The three best heated clothes airers for 2022, at a glance
- Best for large families – Lakeland Dry:Soon Deluxe 3-Tier heated airer and cover
- Best value for money – Argos Home indoor heated electric clothes airer
- Best for easy storage – Black and Decker 3-tier heated airer
- Best quick dryer –Lakeland Dry:Soon Drying Pod
Before I reviewed the below electric clothes airers, every winter I used to drive myself mad wrapping delicates in towels and balancing them precariously on the bathroom radiator, or hanging dresses up in the shower to drip-dry. (As a hand-washing fan, I would only ever use a tumble dryer for towels or bedding.) An electric airer means I can soak my woollens and silks in a tub, wring them out gently and lay them flat to dry, good as new.
Heated airers are also a good way of minimising crinkles, so you might not need to invest in an iron or a steamer (although if you do require an iron, do check out our tried and tested Recommended guide to the best steam irons).
How I tested the best clothes airers
I tested each airer on a variety of clothes from lighter shirts and dresses to heavier jumpers and jeans. I took into account how long each took to dry, as well as how easy it was to pack away and store.
Best heated clothes airers
1. Lakeland Dry:Soon Deluxe 3-Tier heated airer and cover
Best for large families, 9/10
We liked: the addition of a ventilated cover speeds up the drying process
- Draws 300W (estimated 15p per hour of use)
- Holds 15kg of wet washing on 21m of drying space
- Three year guarantee
This is the ultimate heated airer for a large family or someone with a sizeable wardrobe. It holds up to 15kg of wet washing on 21m of drying space and dries the fastest of all those I’ve tested, thanks to a clever heat-retaining cover which can be bought separately or as a bundle with the dryer for a £15 saving.
Running at 300w, it costs 15p an hour to use at current prices. It’s tall enough for hanging long items like trousers and towels, and the adaptable rungs mean you can lay up to six jumpers flat for speedy drying. My colleague Debora Robertson swears by it as the best way of drying bras and Sally Hughes of laundry experts Kair recommends it to make delicates last longer.
I found the Dry:Soon took around four to five hours to dry lighter materials; and closer to 10-12 for heavier jumpers and the like. In the world of heated clothes airers, that's really pretty good – the cover certainly does its job.
I also appreciated the overall design. Yes, I know we're talking about a clothes rack here – but the Dry:Soon felt like it had been well thought through. It's pretty light (7.7kg) and the carry handle is helpful if you need to move the unit into another room. And, despite being fairly large once deployed, it folds flat and compact, down to 8cm deep, so it's a neat thing to store.
If this one is still too big for the space you have (when fully open, it measures 70x74x132.5cm), Lakeland also have a mini version. The Dry:Soon Mini standard 3-tier heater measures 60x63x113.5cm fully open, and has 13m drying space, running at 198w (£119.99, Lakeland).
Personally, I favour the larger version – if you’re using it anyway, you might as well dry two loads at once and then put it away until next time. Both come with Lakeland's standard three-year guarantee.
2. Lakeland Dry:Soon Drying Pod
Best for quick-drying clothes, 9/10
We liked: massively reduces ironing time on shirts and blouses
- Draws 1,000W (estimated 50p per hour of use)
- Holds 10kg of washing on 12 hangers
- Three year guarantee
- Reduces ironing time
Rather than heated rungs, this variation on the heated airer features a 70C fan. It circulates hot air around your clothes, which are encased in a tent-like, ventilated outer cover. This means it dries clothes faster than other airers.
It’s effectively a fan on detachable tripod feet with a pole, at the top of which there are six spokes designed to hold up to 12 hangers of spin-dried or well-wrung damp clothing (up to 10kg). It’s particularly useful for shirts and blouses, since being able to hang T-shirts in this way means they dry straight with minimal creases, meaning less ironing. But it’s less useful for drying, say, towels.
I found it easy enough to slot the contraption together the first time I took it out of the surprisingly small box it arrived in, with no tools required. It packs right down back into it, which is handy for those short of utility space. When in use, it’s a compact means to dry almost two weeks’ worth of shirts (measuring 62cm x 146cm). It’s lighter than many other airers, too, weighing just 3.54kg.
I was concerned the fan would be noisy, but unlike a tumble dryer, it’s very quiet at less than 52dB. It states that it takes around one to three hours to dry your laundry. Delicates were perfectly dry after even less, but shirts took around an hour and denim a little longer. A timer can be set to either a minimum of 30 minutes or a maximum of 180 minutes.
As with all heated airers, it consumes less energy than a conventional tumble dryer. Of course, it still uses more electricity than hanging shirts to dry naturally. Running at 1,000 Watts,, it also uses more energy than some other airers featured here, but it makes up for it in efficiency (and it’s very useful in the event that you’ve run out of emergency shirts).
3. Argos Home indoor heated electric clothes airer
Best value for money, 7/10
We liked: it's the most compact of the lot; easily hidden away in between use.
- Draws 200W (estimated 10p per hour of use)
- Holds 10kg of washing on 11.5m of drying space
- One year guarantee
This winged design works well for hanging shirts and for laying a few things flat, but doesn’t carry as many items as either the Lakeland or the Dunelm. It's one for a single person or a couple rather than a family.
And because it opens flat and horizontal (it measures 93x84x54cm), it may not work so well in the space you have. Plus, I found it isn’t tall enough for some of the dresses and longer items I own.
That said, there’s something aesthetically pleasing about it compared to the models above – and it is still able to hold 10kg of clothing, with a total drying space of 11.5m. When closed down, it's the easiest and slimmest to store.
It comes with a one year manufacturer’s guarantee, but you can also purchase Argos Replacement Care (£14.49), which lasts for three years, and you can get same day delivery. Don’t send your children off to university without one.
4. Black and Decker 3-tier heated airer
Best for easy storage, 8/10
We liked: that it folds flat and has a small footprint
- Draws 300W (estimated 15p per hour in use)
- Holds 15kg of washing on 21m of drying space
- Two year warranty
Black & Decker are renowned for making power tools, and structurally, I rather like this tower-shaped airer. It boasts three tiers on which to either drape clothes flat to dry, or on which to hang them. The tiers can be rearranged (by unfolding one half of the rung down), making way to dry longer items such as trousers, dresses, towels or bedding.
Because it’s vertical, I think it’s an efficient shape in terms of how much space it takes up (handy if you only have a small space) and more pleasing to the eye than more horizontal designs. It also folds flat, for nifty storage. In lightweight aluminium, it’s light (5.5kg, to be precise) and easy to lug about.
It holds a decent weight of clothes and feels incredibly sturdy. As with all of these airers, it arrives assembled - so all you need to do is simply fold it out, plug it in and switch it on. Ta da!
5. Aerative Heated Clothes Airer Hanger
Best portable heated clothes airer, 7/10
We like: a quick one-garment dryer for use in hotels
- Plugs into the mains
- Dries clothes or shoes very quickly
Completely different from all the others, this is no good at all for domestic laundry drying but we can't resist a quirky gadget. If you prefer to do a quick garment wash in a hotel sink rather than send it down for cleaning, the hot air vents in this chunky clothes hanger's extendable arms will quick-dry shirts, socks or undies in the time it takes to drink a minibar beer.
The drawbacks are that it uses a 230V British plug and would be much less effective on a 110V American power supply, and it is a little noisy (think hair dryer on low setting). The advantages are that, since it doesn't use a lithium battery, you can pack it in your carry-on luggage.
The killer app is that the arms can be rotated around to fit inside shoes as well as clothes. This makes the Aerative a super-fast fix if you get caught in a downpour and need to be bone dry in time for an appointment. For that reason, we'll be keeping one in the desk at Telegraph towers.
6. Minky winged 12m heated clothes airer with cover
Recommended by Mrs Hinch, 6/10
We liked: not so keen on this one, but it does come with a cover to speed airing
- Draws 300W (estimated 15p per hour in use)
- Holds 10kg of washing on 12m of drying space
- One-year guarantee
- Comes with cover
Famously, Instagram cleaning influencer Mrs Hinch (as anyone who identifies as a “Hincher” will know) is a proponent of the M Cloth Anti-Bacterial Cleaning Pad (£2.00, Asda). But did you know that Sophie Hinch’s favourite washcloth brand also does a heated clothes airer?
The Minky Wing offers 12m of drying space and holds up to 10kg of laundry (one generous wash load, pretty much). It has a one year-guarantee.
Personally, I’m not so keen on it, since it's wide and low and takes up an unnecessary amount of space when folded out. But I’ll concede it’s good if you’re drying wool jumpers flat and then dangling socks and shorts from the “wings”, and it does come with a cover to speed drying, which not all airers do.
How hot do heated clothes dryers get?
Around 60C. A cover (supplied with some) helps to keep the temperature constant. Clothes on uncovered rack dryers should be moved around, since the areas in contact with the heated rails will dry faster.
Can you leave heated clothes airers on overnight?
Manufacturers don't recommend leaving any electric heated products unattended but in practice, this is how most people use them. Most come with timers and thermostats to choose lower temperatures for longer drying periods.
How long does it take clothes to dry?
Four or five hours for cotton and linen and over ten hours for jumpers and thick materials. You should always squeeze as much moisture as possible out of your clothes before putting them on a heated airer. Again, the covers help to speed the drying process.
Another option for speeding the clothes-drying process is to run a portable dehumidfier in the same room. Dehumidifiers can shorten drying time by 25 percent, while also reducing damp and mould in the home.
How much do heated air dryers cost to run?
10p per hour for 200W dryers and 15p per hour for 300W dryers, approximately. This is based on the energy price cap of 52p per kW/h for October 1 to December 31 2022, although prices will vary according to your tariff.