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A drying rack can be as much of a workhorse as your dryer if it's durable and spacious. To help you find the best clothes-drying rack for your drying needs, we tested 13 racks in our tester's home for 20 hours. Our tester evaluated each drying rack's ease of assembly, design, quality, and value.
The type of drying rack you need comes down to your personal style, the layout of your space, and your individual needs. The Honey-Can-Do Wooden Laundry Drying Rack is our top pick, because it's lightweight, sturdy, and easy to move around, even when full of wet clothes.
Here are the best clothes-drying racks for your laundry, backed by our testing.
Best Overall: Honey-Can-Do Wooden Laundry Drying Rack
Sets up in seconds
Lightweight yet sturdy
Easy to store
Can't hold large items like sheets
Wood is not sealed
What do buyers say? 79% of 2,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
This easy-to-use drying rack won perfect scores for every category during our testing. Although it has a small footprint, you can really cram quite a few items onto the rack. Our tester fit a full load of delicate laundry items on the rack, including face masks, tights, tees, and sports bras. The accordion-style rack is not the best option for large sheets, but the dowels are wide enough to fit a standard-sized bath towel folded over them. (This is not the case with many other drying racks.)
"I like this style because I prefer to lay something across every single one of those bars, rather than drape something over the top," says textile expert Patric Richardson, the author of "Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore" and host of The Laundry Guy on HGTV. This particular option has wooden dowels with a vinyl coating. They're grippy enough that small, light items (like face masks) didn't fall off when our tester shook the drying rack. Although the weight capacity is 15 pounds, which is roughly 10 bath towels, the rack didn't feel like it would buckle either, even when given a hard push from the top.
The rack itself only weighs three pounds, so it's easy to move around, even when it's full of clothing. It doesn't tilt from side to side when it has several items on it, which can be a concern with other racks of this style. For the number of times you'll use it, it's also a great value and can be folded up and put in a closet or corner of a room with ease. That makes it a great fit for apartments, RVs, and large homes alike, and a real standout in our eyes.
Best Budget: Whitmor Over-The-Door Metal Clothing Drying Rack
Takes up very little space
Opens and closes easily
Doesn't require mounting hardware
Rattles when you move the door
Not as spacious as other picks
Anyone who's sticking to a budget or working with a smaller space can benefit from this drying rack that gets mounted over a door. It takes just a few minutes to set up. While it's not especially portable, since it's made to sit on a single door and not be transported while in use, you could move it if you needed to. For that reason, it earned a low, 1-star rating for portability from our tester.
For design, our tester gave it 4 stars, as it folds down at a 90-degree angle (unlike other wall-mounted styles that don't extend as much) so longer items can hang freely. When you aren't using the rack for drying, you can use the hooks to hold tote bags and the bars to hold accessories like scarves if the product's in the folded position.
You can't put much on at once. Our tester fit five kids' T-shirts and four pairs of underwear on the included hooks. (You could purchase additional hooks to add a few more items.) On our tester's door, the rack rattled slightly when the door opened and closed, but this issue could likely be solved by either permanently attaching the brackets to the top of the door or using spongey adhesive strips.
They noted it could be hard to reach if you're on the shorter side, but it's ultimately a great product for the low price and gave it a 5-star rating for overall value.
Best Leaning: Honey-Can-Do Leaning Steel Clothes Drying Rack
Good use of vertical space
Easy to store
Assembly process is tedious
Towels get a little scrunched
This drying rack has a simple, streamlined look and is incredibly lightweight, making it easy to move around the house. It has 10 bars that provide 18 linear feet of drying space. However, because they are only set four inches apart, if you have longer or bulkier items, they may need to be spaced out on the rack.
It received high marks from our tester for design, quality, and portability but was difficult to assemble. Our tester had to reach for a screwdriver, and getting the screws and bars to align properly felt trickier than it should have been. It took a total of 30 minutes to assemble the rack. (Luckily, you only need to assemble it once!)
Although this seems like it would be great to keep in a bathroom as an extra towel rack, note that our tester's bath towels (that are 23 inches wide) couldn't fit on the bars without being scrunched up. However, the rack comes with four plastic grips (two at the top and two at the bottom) to provide traction where it meets both the wall and the floor. It feels very sturdy and can be folded down to half of its size for easy storage, It could be a great option for a small living space since you can easily pack it in a closet when your laundry is complete.
Best for Hanging Items: Mainstays Space-Saving 2-Tier Tripod Hanging Clothes Drying Rack
Utilizes vertical space
Great for long items
Could be more attractive
Hangers needed for ideal use
Our tester gave this steel, tripod-style rack perfect scores across the board. It resembles a coat rack and can be snapped together in less than five minutes without tools. It can hold up to 65 garments at one time, which is impressive.
The only real downside is that it works best with items on hangers, though you could loop individual items like bras or tights over the bars. If you're using hangers to dry items like full-length dresses or long coats, you can collapse the lower set of bars so they hang freely.
Our tester filled it with sweatshirts and a fall coat, using a mix of huggable and wooden hangers, and the rack seemed quite durable. It's best to place heavier items towards the inside (closest to the post), which will help keep it stable. When you aren't using it, it can be quickly broken down into three pieces and tucked away in its original box or another storage bin. While it could be more attractive to look at, it really gets the job done.
Best for Outdoors: Brabantia Lift-O-Matic Rotary Dryer
Spins easily in the breeze to help dry clothes
Height can be adjusted
Requires ground spike
Not very portable
If you have the space, consider the Brabantia Lift-O-Matic Rotary Dryer, our top pick for drying your clothes outside in the fresh air. Although it doesn't come with written instructions (except for the ground spike), the assembly is intuitive. It's similar to a patio umbrella, and the open-close mechanism is buttery smooth.
The rotary-style dryer is designed to spin gently in the breeze to help clothes dry quickly. Our tester appreciated the adjustability of the product. The pole's height can be adjusted from approximately six to four feet, so shorter users won't get neck strain as they're trying to adjust their items on the line. During testing, the lowest height setting was great for drying bulky items such as bedding or cushions. The bars have individual holes for inserting hangers. This feature is ideal for delicate items that you don't want to snag.
The Brabantia can't stand on its own but does come with a metal ground spike. If you need to store it during the winter, you can easily remove the dryer, place it in the waterproof zippered storage bag, and hang it from the top loop. The spike has a cap that's to be used once the dryer has been pulled off. It prevents the spike from becoming a tripping hazard or filling with rainwater, so you don't need to dig it up each time.
Best Heavy-Duty: Minky Homecare Multi Dryer Indoor Drying Rack
Wheels make it easy to move
Easy to store
A little expensive
Ends of metal bars are slightly sharp in places
The Minky is a joy to use and received high scores across the board. It has the top weight capacity of all the racks we tested, and the assembly takes just a few minutes. No tools are needed, as you simply need to pop the four wheels onto the bottom of the rack. It folds up to less than three inches thick and can be very easily stashed in a closet or tucked next to the washer.
When it's time to use it, you just pop it open using the fast-action mechanism. Closing it back up is the same process in reverse. The steel material is notably strong and lightweight, and it moves easily, thanks to the pretty blue wheels at the bottom.
Although it received perfect scores in every other category, our tester gave it 4 stars for its design. The bars were quite close together (just two inches apart), so you're a bit limited if you want to hang several large or bulky items. A women's medium-sized T-shirt, for example, took up six bars when hung off one end. They also noticed that the ends of some of the bars were rough. One snagged a towel. And while they appreciated the mesh shelf at the bottom for drying delicates like sweaters, they wondered how it would hold up over time, as it can't be removed and washed.
That said, the rack is quite large: It has 82 feet of drying space, and Minky estimates it can hold two loads of laundry. Just keep in mind, this will depend on the sizes of the individual items you decide to add to the rack.
Best for Small Items: IKEA Pressa Hanging Dryer
Thoughtful and unique design
Needs a spot to hang
Hanging hook is on the smaller side
Clothing hooks may leave marks in delicate fabrics
What's not to love about this adorable drying rack, which can hold 16 different items and costs less than a fancy coffee? With its eight arms, turquoise hue, and smiling face, it's designed to look like an octopus. It's best for small, lightweight items such as socks, face masks, or lingerie. (One caveat: The clothes hooks may leave indentations in very delicate fabrics.)
The only area the Pressa received less than 5 stars was design. During testing, the rack wouldn't fit over our tester's shower head, shower curtain rod, or walk-in closet rod. (Although, they noted others might have more luck!)
The Pressa would fit well on either a ceiling or wall hook that extends a few inches out to allow all eight arms to extend from the middle. Our tester was able to hang the Pressa from a gull-wing of another drying rack and otherwise found it to be lightweight and a great value.
Best for Sweaters: OXO Good Grips Folding Sweater Drying Rack with Fold-Flat Legs
Taut mesh allows sweaters to dry quickly
Fabric can be removed and washed separately
Plastic could be better quality
Assembly is not intuitive
This featherweight rack weighs just one pound, and is worth getting if you frequently dry items that need to lay flat, such as sweaters. It can be placed on the floor, a table, or on top of the washer or dryer. (Some like the dryer's added warmth.) When our tester used it on top of their front-loading dryer, they needed to hook two of the legs over the back for it to fit, but it stayed stable and a chunky knit sweater dried in about 14 hours.
Since the mesh is stretched quite tautly over the plastic, it didn't sag during testing—even with a wet, heavy sweater on it. However, this feature makes the assembly process a bit tricky. The plastic bars will need to be slid into the mesh sleeves and then forced together.
Luckily, it only needs to be put together once, and then it can simply be folded in half when not in use. Though, it is also worth noting that it did earn 4 stars for quality, as the plastic seemed a little flimsy. Our tester pinched their finger when popping it open the first time they tried it.
Our top pick for a clothes-drying rack is the Honey-Can-Do Wooden Laundry Drying Rack, a lightweight, accordion-style drying rack that will work for a variety of people and homes. It's well-constructed, sturdy, and folds up so it can be stored easily. If you need something small and more affordable, consider the Whitmor Over-The-Door Metal Clothing Drying Rack. It folds down to a 90-degree angle and is ideal for drying a small number of lightweight items.
How We Tested the Clothes-Drying Racks
We purchased and sent 13 clothes-drying racks to our at-home tester, who put each option to work in their home for 20 hours. First, they completed the assembly of the rack, following instructions, if any were provided, and noting how clear or intuitive the process was. Then, they filled the rack with a variety of wet items, including sweatshirts, towels, socks, shirts, jeans, and more. As they navigated the design features of the rack, they noted if the features were practical and useful, if the rack was spacious and allowed for items to efficiently dry, and if the rack was aesthetic in actuality.
They also rated the quality of the rack's materials and noted whether it was stable and durable throughout its use. Our tester then tried moving the rack from one room to another, both while it was empty and all full, to test its portability. They considered their experience when looking at the price of the rack and rating its overall value. Lastly, they boiled down their ratings and insights to compile a list of the clothes-drying racks we believe are the very best.
What to Look for in a Clothes-Drying Rack
There are advantages and disadvantages to nearly every type of clothes-drying rack. These are the top types you can pick from. However, there are other, more niche options like a leaning drying rack or rack with clips that's suitable for small items.
Winged Drying 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, these drying 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.
Accordion Drying Racks
The most classic drying rack—often found in a college dorm room—is the accordion rack. This style has multiple tiers and a small footprint. Accordion racks are lightweight, collapsible, and hold a good amount of laundry. However, they might not be suitable for a large load of heavy items.
There are also tiered 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 small, lightweight items that should be air-dried.
Wall-Mounted Drying Racks
Attached to a wall or hung over a door, each type of clothes-drying 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 Drying Racks
Some of the other types of clothes racks are made from materials that can be used outside on a patio or balcony. If you’d like to have a more permanent outdoor dryer, there are numerous clotheslines, like freestanding 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 a great option for locations with good weather conditions.
Make sure that your drying rack is made of something that will not harm wet fabrics. Always look for materials that will not rust, transfer color, or snag fabrics.
Plastic will not rust, but stainless steel is much more durable and will support more weight. If you believe metal rods will be too slippery for your fabrics, look for models that offer a coating on their dowels or rods. If you opt for wood, check that the finish is sealed to prevent snags on delicate items.
The weight capacity of a clothes-drying rack is determined by how much wet laundry it can hold at one time. Today’s large-capacity washers can produce loads weighing up to 40 pounds. If you tend to wash several loads in a single day and want to hang dry all of these items, you may want a larger drying rack (or multiple). If you do only one load per day, then a smaller rack will usually meet your needs.
Is a clothes-drying rack better than a clothes dryer?
Air-drying clothing is typically more gentle on fabrics, embellishments, and structural components like elastic waistbands. This style of drying prevents some stains from becoming permanently “baked” into a fabric, too. Putting your clothes on a drying rack also saves money on utility bills. If you're looking to make your laundry room more eco-friendly, this is a great place to start.
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. Be sure to follow any specific instructions in your rack's user manual for assembly.
How do you use a clothes-drying rack?
Each type of clothes-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 so that the fabrics don't stretch or become warped. Small items, like baby clothes or socks, can be secured to the rods with pinch-style clothes pins.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Lexi Dwyer has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019 and has written about laundry hampers, clotheslines, and clothes detergents, among other home-related topics. For this roundup, she interviewed textile expert Patric Richardson, author of "Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore" and host of The Laundry Guy on HGTV. She then personally tested 13 different drying racks, evaluating their ease of assembly, design, quality, portability, and value, before making final recommendations.