Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Even though automatic tumble dryers can make laundry day easier and faster, some fabrics don’t belong in a dryer, including silk, suede, and activewear. These materials should be dried on a clothes-drying rack, which is more gentle, helps prevent stretching and shrinking, and reduces pilling. Even if you have an automatic dryer, a clothes-drying rack is an essential tool for the laundry room that you'll want to snag, so you can treat your favorite clothes to the best care.
When you’re ready to shop for a drying rack, first consider the rack's size and shape. Most clothes-drying racks are collapsible since homes don’t typically have a dedicated spot for one. Before you purchase a rack, consider how large it will be when fully opened and loaded with laundry. A wall-mounted rack is perfect for small items and tucks out of the way when not in use, while a rack with wheels is helpful if you need to move a loaded or bulky one around.
Weight capacity is also important to consider. If you couldn't already tell, wet laundry is very heavy, and modern large-capacity washers can hold up to about 30 to 40 pounds of wet clothes. Will you be using the rack for lightweight, delicate items or drying bath towels and king-sized comforters? Ask yourself this question before purchasing to avoid ending up with a toppled rack on your floor.
Last, consider where you're using your clothes drying rack: indoors or outdoors. An outdoor drying rack must be made from durable materials that can withstand the weather, while indoor racks can opt for more decorative finishes. Before you purchase an outdoor rack, be sure your homeowner’s association or local ordinances allow outdoor clothes drying.
To help you find the best type of clothing drying rack for your laundry needs, we’ve done loads and loads of laundry and tested dozens of racks. Here, the best clothes-drying racks for your home.
Best Overall: Brabantia T-Model Drying Rack
Dimensions When Open: N/A | Dimensions When Closed: 1.97 x 24.02 x 40.94 inches | Material: Metal | Installation Type: Freestanding | Overall Weight Capacity: Not listed | Outdoor Use: No | Assembly Required: No
Heavy-duty construction, with nonslip feet to protect floors
Adjustable wings to accommodate longer items
Transport lock for easy moving when loaded with laundry
Large footprint when in use
If you’re looking for a clothes-drying rack on wheels, the Minky Multi Dryer Indoor Drying Rack is a top pick.
This wheeled clothes-drying rack is perfect if you want to load your wet laundry in front of the washer, then move the rack somewhere else with better ventilation for drying. Instead of trying to lift and carry the rack without dropping anything, simply wheel it to a new location.
The rack is made of tubular steel with a white finish. It offers 78 square feet of drying space, which is the most of any clothes drying rack to make our list. Users love how easy it is to set up and put away this lightweight rack, and it folds when not in use. One unique feature of this clothes-drying rack with wheels is the addition of a mesh drying rack for flat drying delicate garments that may lose their shape. The convenience of the Minky Multi Dryer Indoor Drying Rack makes this large capacity wheeled clothes drying rack a great choice.
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Foldable Drying Rack
Dimensions When Open: 14.5 x 29.5 x 41.75 inches | Dimensions When Closed: N/A | Material: Steel alloy | Installation Type: Freestanding | Overall Weight Capacity: 32 pounds | Outdoor Use: No | Assembly Required: No
Easy to set up and collapse
Requires narrow storage space
Limited drying space
Not sturdy enough for drying heavy items like comforters
If space is at a premium in your laundry room or home and you plan to use a clothing drying rack for lightweight, small items, then the Amazon Basics Foldable Laundry Rack is a perfect choice. Weighing nearly 4 pounds, it folds up small enough to tuck behind a door when not in use. The small footprint makes it ideal for really drippy items because you can put it in a bathtub or shower stall with no worries about damage to floors.
While the rack will hold up to 32 pounds of laundry, it is difficult to place more than one or two large items on the rods without causing overlapping fabrics. This means it takes longer for fabrics to dry, but they will happen eventually. However, the non-corrosive materials and price make this clothes-drying rack well worth the buy.
“We liked everything about the Amazon Basics Foldable Laundry Rack, particularly its compact design and sturdy build. Considering its reasonable price tag, you really can’t go wrong with this unit. The only downside is its limited capacity, but it was perfect for our two-person household.”—Sage McHugh, Product Tester
Best Wall-Mounted: Dotted Line Wall-Mounted Folding Drying Rack
Dimensions When Open: 4 x 16 x 42 inches (rack extends 8 inches) | Dimensions When Closed: 2.25 x 23 x 42 inches | Material: Wood | Installation Type: Wall-mounted or over-the-door | Overall Weight Capacity: 20 pounds | Outdoor Use: No | Assembly Required: Yes
Requires no floor space
Can be wall-mounted or hung over a door
Wood can be painted to match decor
Small drying area
Limited weight capacity
Needs additional hardware to secure to wall
To reduce waste, I am a strong proponent of using kitchen towels instead of paper towels for many tasks. So, one of these wall-mounted racks hanging in my pantry is usually filled with damp towels. A second rack hangs on the back of the door in the guest bathroom. I use it for extra towels but tell guests that they are welcome to use it for hanging delicates that they might need to hand-wash during their stay.
Made of wood and painted white (could be easily painted another color), the rack extends from the frame and is held in place with straps. When not in use, the rack is secured in the frame with magnets. The one downside of the rack is that the wall-mounting hardware only secures the top of the rack, and the bottom will slide around. One or two additional screws into the wall at the bottom take care of the problem.
Best Clothesline: Brabantia Rotary Dryer Lift-O-Matic
Dimensions When Open: 4.53 x 4.53 x 78.35 inches | Dimensions When Closed: 4.53 x 4.53 x 78.35 inches | Material: Aluminum and steel | Installation Type: Freestanding | Overall Weight Capacity: Not listed | Outdoor Use: Yes | Assembly Required: Yes
No tools required for assembly
Arms have an opening for clothes hangers
Ground spike can be difficult to install in hard or stone-filled ground
While not offering as much exercise as walking up and down a long rope clothesline, the rotating arms of Brabantia Rotary Dryer Lift-O-Matic do make quicker work of hanging wet clothes. The sides rotate with just a spin to present empty lines without having to move the clothes basket. The easily adjustable height is a must for comfort and for hanging exceptionally long items.
Made of aluminum and steel, the line dryer is sturdy and rust-resistant. The lines are designed to remain taut and provide nearly 164 feet of hanging space. At the ends of each supporting arm are openings for clothes hangers providing even more hanging space. During inclement weather, the arms fold inward, and there is a zip-on covering to protect the dryer until you use it again.
Installation is simple if the ground is not overly rocky. While no tools are required, a rubber mallet helps drive the spike into the soil. Then, the support pole of the dryer just slips right in.
“Hanging clothes to dry in the fresh air is great exercise, gentle on clothes, and helps reduce odors. Tucked in a sunny corner of my garden is the Brabantia Rotary Dryer Lift-O-Matic that helps me take advantage of our abundant southern sunshine.”—Mary Marlowe Leverette
Best Wooden: Home-It Bamboo Clothes Drying Rack
Dimensions When Open: 14.5 x 29.5 x 41.75 inches | Dimensions When Closed: 3.25 x 19.5 x 29 inches | Material: Bamboo | Installation Type: Freestanding | Overall Weight Capacity: Not listed | Outdoor Use: No | Assembly Required: No
Top level has four rods for drying items flat
Made from sustainable material
Has limited drying capacity
Not sturdy enough for heavy wet items
If you like the look of wood and want to purchase a clothing-drying rack made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials, then the Home-it Bamboo Wooden Clothes Rack is a very good choice.
This rack has the same small footprint as other vertical collapsible racks, but instead of two rods on the top, it has four. The four rods make it sturdy enough to support a sweater or other garment that needs to be dried flat. With a total of nine rods, the rack is useful for small loads of laundry. The rack is simple to set up and collapse and can be stored in a very small space.
Best Portable Outdoor: GTOMIPO Camping Travel Clothesline
Dimensions When Open: 189 x 1 inches | Dimensions When Closed: N/A | Material: Nylon | Installation Type: Mounted | Overall Weight Capacity: Not listed | Outdoor Use: Yes | Assembly Required: Yes
Weighs only 8.8 ounces
Comes with carabiners and clothespins
Can be mounted between trees or tent posts
Can leave clothing wrinkled if placed in loops
Perfect for camping, traveling, or a temporary backyard clothesline, this lightweight clothesline is a must-have for drying clothes. Made of durable nylon, the rope can be stretched between two trees, strung across a hotel bathroom, or secured between tent posts.
Sturdy enough to hold wet clothes or camping gear, the clothesline comes with 12 carabiners and six clothespins. You can also hang small items like socks and gloves in the pre-designed loops without using a clothespin. All of the components come in a small pouch and weigh only 8.8 ounces.
Best Heavy Duty: Greenway Folding Drying Rack
Dimensions When Open: 64.6 x 23.6 x 40.2 inches | Dimensions When Closed: 3 x 23.6 x 40.2 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Installation Type: Freestanding | Overall Weight Capacity: 75 pounds | Outdoor Use: Yes | Assembly Required: Yes
Sturdy enough to hold 75 pounds of laundry
Easy to open and collapse
Drying rods are close together
Must balance laundry load to prevent tipping
If you have a large capacity front-loading washer or just wait to do laundry until there are no clean clothes left in your closet, then you need a clothing-drying rack that can hold lots of wet laundry. Weighing nearly 8 pounds, the Greenway Folding Drying Rack holds an impressive 75-pounds of laundry. Made of sturdy, rust-resistant stainless steel, this is a heavy-duty rack that can be used inside or outside.
Featuring a gull-wing shape, the side racks are adjustable to accommodate longer pieces. The lower fixed rack is perfect for shorter items or for drying a garment flat. On the side supports are four permanently affixed shoe-drying forms that can also be used for hats or gloves.
Best Compact: Whitmor Spacesaver Drying Rack
Dimensions When Open: Not listed | Dimensions When Closed: 2.6 x 6.2 x 27.9 inches | Material: Metal | Installation Type: Freestanding | Overall Weight Capacity: 25 pounds | Outdoor Use: No | Assembly Required: Yes
Easy to store
Requires small footprint
Small drying capacity
Not suitable for large or very heavy items
If you are looking for a small, versatile drying rack, the Whitmor Spacesaver Drying Rack can be positioned in a free-standing tent shape or leaned against a wall like a ladder. The 16 rods will hold a surprising amount of wet laundry.
Made of metal, the rack is rust-resistant and perfectly sized to fit in a bathtub or shower stall or even on a countertop. It folds in half for easy storage behind a door or between appliances.
Best for Kid’s Clothes: Rebrilliant Multi-Dryer Freestanding Dryer Rack
Dimensions When Open: 6 x 60 x 125 inches | Dimensions When Closed: 50 x 25.5 x 48 inches | Material: Steel | Installation Type: Freestanding | Overall Weight Capacity: 55 pounds | Outdoor Use: Yes | Assembly Required: Yes
Lots of drying rods
Has wheels for easy moving
Easy to adjust and collapse
Some rods are very close together
The upper racks do not adjust
Kids, especially babies, have tiny clothes. So when you’re looking for a clothes-drying rack, you need one with lots of rods to accommodate all those tiny garments. The Rebrilliant Multi-Dryer Freestanding Drying Rack has more than 44 drying rods and a mesh shelf for items that should be dried flat. Some of the rods are close together, but that works just fine for small sizes and lightweight items.
Weighing only 11 pounds, the drying rack can hold 55 pounds of clothing. The taller height makes this model easy to load. Since having children requires lots of adapting, this rack's wheels enable it to be easily moved to different areas even when loaded with laundry.
The best overall clothing-drying rack is the Brabantia T-Model Drying Rack (view at Home Depot). The heavy-duty construction will hold 45 pounds of laundry. With a five-year guarantee, adjustable wings to accommodate variously-sized laundry, and a bottom rack for laundry that should be dried flat, this collapsible rack will provide a family with years of service.
What to Look for in a Clothes-Drying Rack
There are advantages and disadvantages to nearly every type of clothes-drying rack. Learn which type works best for you.
Winged Dryer Racks
These clothing-dryer racks stand on an A-framed base but most often have wings that form into a fixed T-wing shape or adjustable gull-wing shape. While they take up a larger footprint than other styles of dryers, these dryer racks will hold larger and heavier loads and are good for families. Look for one that has a flat-drying rack between the support legs for more versatility.
Collapsible Tiered-Dryer Racks
The most classic shape found in every college dorm room, most tiered dryers have an accordion shape and a small footprint. They are also lightweight, collapsible, and hold a limited amount of laundry. However, they are not suitable for a large load of heavy items.
There are also tiered-dryer racks that can be formed into a tent or ladder shape. These are small enough to fit over a bathtub or lean against a wall and are most useful for very small, lightweight items that should be air-dried.
Wall-Mounted Dryer Racks
Attached to a wall or hung over a door, each type of clothing-dryer rack saves space and is handy to use in a laundry room or bathroom. Some are designed like a ladder that pulls out of the wall. Others, however, pull out in an accordion design or retract into a clothesline. The drying racks can be made of wood or metal, and most will only handle a small amount of lightweight laundry at one time.
Outdoor Dryer Racks
Some of the aforementioned types of clothing-drying racks are made from materials that can be used outside on a patio or balcony. However, if you’d like to have a more permanent outdoor dryer, there are numerous clotheslines in free-standing umbrella shapes, classic T-shaped support poles and lines, retractable lines, and pulley systems. Perfect for families with lots of laundry, these are eco-friendly and reduce utility costs.
The most important material consideration of a drying rack is that it is made of something that will not harm wet fabrics. Always look for materials that will not rust, transfer color, or snag fabrics. While plastic will not rust, stainless steel is much more durable and will support more weight. If you feel that metal rods are more slippery, look for models that offer rubber coating on the hanging surfaces. If you opt for wood, check that the finish is sealed to prevent snags on delicate items.
The weight capacity of a clothing-drying rack is determined by how much wet laundry it can hold at one time. Today’s commercial and large-capacity washers can produce loads weighing up to 40 pounds in one load. If you tend to wash several loads in a single session, you may want a larger drying rack. If you do only one load per day, then a smaller rack will usually meet your needs.
Is a clothing-drying rack better than a clothes dryer?
The lower temperatures of air-drying clothing are more gentle on fabrics, embellishments, and structural components like elastic waistbands. Fresh air also helps remove strong odors and prevents some stains from becoming permanently “baked” into the fibers. Air-drying saves money on utility bills and reduces your carbon footprint. In the winter months or arid climates, indoor drying improves the humidity level in a home.
How do you install a wall-mounted drying rack?
Wall-mounted racks should always be secured to a wall stud or vertical structural post with sturdy screws. When loaded with wet laundry, the rack will be heavy and can fall or cause damage to the wall if only screwed into drywall. For fold-out wall-mounted drying racks, the drywall can be cut away and the frame installed between two studs, so it flushes with the wall. This is usually done during construction or a remodeling job.
How do you use a clothing-drying rack?
Each type of clothing-drying rack is slightly different and may offer guidelines on the best way to hang clothing. In most cases, the laundry is draped over one of the rods, leaving space between each row so that air can circulate freely. Clothing, like a sweater, that should be dried flat is placed on a horizontal mesh or metal rack. Small items like baby clothes or socks can be secured to the rods with pinch-style clothes pins.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Mary Marlowe Leverette, a leading laundry expert and consultant, researched and wrote this roundup. She has extensive personal and professional experience testing, reviewing, and writing about laundry appliances and products. You can find more of her work on The Spruce.