6 of the best rotary washing lines for drying clothes outside
Want your clothes to have that wonderful fresh smell that comes from drying your laundry outside? Take a look at our round-up of the best rotary washing lines, including one that can protect your laundry from rain
Although it's not always possible – thanks to the unpredictable British weather – many people like to dry their laundry outside. In fact, there are many benefits of doing so, particularly in light of rising energy prices.
Tumble drying your clothes, although quick, does use quite a lot of energy, therefore costs a fair bit of money. Another option, the heated airer, is cheaper than using a tumble dryer but still costs more than drying your clothes outside. Obviously, there are free ways to dry your clothes indoors, e.g. on airers but then you run the risk of mould and damp growth. It also takes longer as there's no breeze or sun and with all the family's washing to get through, it can feel like you are constantly surrounded by damp clothes.
Other benefits of drying your clothes outside include stain removal, the sun is a brilliant natural bleach to help remove those food stains you're constantly trying to get out of your kid's clothes. Also, we all know drying your clothes outdoors gives your laundry a lovely fresh smell but did you know that line drying is actually better for your clothes than putting it in the dryer as it is much more gentle and doesn't expose your clothes to extreme heat. Take a look at the best handheld clothes steamers for crease-free laundry.
To help you find the best rotary washing line for your family; whether it's to help combat rain showers or to use both indoors or outdoors, we scoured the market and asked parents in our Top Testers Club for their recommendations. When testing and selecting the best rotary washing lines, we considered, drying space, ease of use, storage, weatherability and value.
If a rotary washing line isn't for you then take a look at our pick of the best retractable washing lines.
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Best rotary washing lines at a glance
- Best rotary washing line for big families: Vileda 60m SupaDry Hoist Rotary Dryer, £129.99
- Best budget rotary washing line: Argos Home 40m 3-Arm Rotary Airer, £25
- Best rotary washing line for indoor and outdoor use: Leifheit LinoPop-Up 140 Portable Airer, £76.99
- Best rotary washing line for small gardens: Argos Home Wall Mounted Airer, £46
- Best rotary washing line for cover and accessories: Brabantia 4-Arm Lift-o-matic Washing Line With Accessories 50m, £80
- Best rotary washing line for the rain: Argos Home 45m 4-Arm Rotary Airer with Shower Cover, £60
What to consider when choosing a rotary washing line
Drying space – All rotary washing lines will tell you their drying space in meters. They tend to range from 30m to 60m but other sizes are available outside of that range. It's estimated that 40m of drying space equates to roughly 4 loads of washing. However, this very much depends on the size of garments and how large your loads are. It's important to ensure your rotary washing line is a suitable size for your family without taking up too much room in your garden or being too difficult to carry and store away.
Height – As you will have to hang the clothes onto the line, it's a good idea to take a look at the height and make sure that you
will be able to reach the line comfortably. Some rotary washing lines have adjustable heights where you can lower it to hang the washing and then hoist it up to dry. If you're on the short side, this may be beneficial.
Number of arms – Most rotary washing lines have 4 arms but some come with 3. A 3-arm rotary washing line can be very useful if you need more space but don't want a larger rotary line. It's also good for hanging large items, such as bedding, sheets, towels and blankets.
Cover/accessories – A cover is a great addition as it protects your washing line from rusting and protects it when not in use. Other useful accessories that can come with rotary washing lines are pegs or a cover to keep the clothes dry during rain showers.
Breeze brake – Although the spinning of the rotary washing line can help speed up the drying time, it can be frustrating if it spins while you're trying to load it. A breeze brake is a useful function that prevents this from happening and keeps the line still while loading and unloading your laundry.
Storage – Most rotary washing lines fold compactly, a bit like an umbrella, and can either be left out with a cover or lifted out of the ground and stored elsewhere when not in use.
Weight – If you're going to be putting the washing line away often, you need one light enough for you to comfortably carry.
Our pick of the best rotary washing lines
1. Vileda 60m SupaDry Hoist Rotary Dryer, £129.99
– Best for big families
Drying space: 60m | Height: 175cm-206cm | Weight: 7.5kg
If you have a big family and have to do endless loads of washing then you need a large enough rotary washing line to hang it all out to dry – when the weather allows it.
The rotary line has 60m drying space and you can adjust the height, meaning you don't have to reach up to load the washing on.
The 4-arm rotary line is made of strong steel and the frame is painted and galvanised to prevent any rusting. When not in use, it can be folded which is great for storing away in the winter.
It can spin round in the wind but the breeze brake stops it spinning during loading.
For heavier items, there are thick outer lines and hanging hooks on the end of the arm. The lines are kept taut with tensioners and the hoist mechanism makes it easy to lower and raise the line.
Pros: Large amount of dying space, adjustable height, rust-resistant, can be folded and stored, breeze brake for loading, hangers on arms, line tensioners
Cons: Heavy to carry, large to store
2. Argos Home 40m 3-Arm Rotary Airer, £25
– Best budget buy
Drying space: 40m | Area of turning circle: 2.5m Weight: 3.2kg
This 40m rotary airer would work well for a medium-sized family and is a great budget option. It can hold about 4 loads of washing and thanks to the 3-arm design, it can hold larger items, such as bedding.
Home tester Natalie was after an affordable rotary washing line and said, "It's a great size for me and my 2 boys".
It opens and folds like an umbrella and has a 4-stage locking mechanism, making it really quick and easy to put up.
For when not in use, it folds and can be easily stored away. It is also quite light to carry.
Pros: Good size, light to carry, 3-arm design for big items, 4-stage locking mechanism, folds away, affordable
Cons: No breeze brake for loading
Available from: Argos
3. Leifheit LinoPop-Up 140 Portable Airer, £76.99
– Best for indoor and outdoor use
Drying space: 14m | Height: 111cm | Weight: 3.6kg
We all know how unpredictable British weather can be. It's incredibly frustrating when you hang your laundry out to dry only to have to take it down again when it starts raining 10 minutes later.
This handy portable rotary washing line can be used indoors and outdoors. Therefore, you can hang your laundry out to dry on it, and then if it starts raining just bring the whole thing in, with no need to unpeg all the clothes.
Although smaller than most rotary dryers with only 14m drying space, it should still carry 1 or 2 loads of washing.
It's easy to open, just push the top handle down and to close just pull the green collar up. It has 4 legs so can stand up on its own which means you don't need to dig a hole in the garden for it.
Pros: Portable, can be used indoors and outdoors, lightweight, easy to open and close, folds down
Cons: As this is freestanding, you need to be careful in the wind. Bigger families may need more space
4. Argos Home Wall Mounted Airer, £46
– Best for small gardens
Drying space: 19m | Height: N/A | Weight: 2.3kg
If you lack garden space but still want a rotary washing line then a wall mounted one like this is ideal.
It takes up no ground space and doesn't get in the way of your kids playing. They also can't pull your laundry off the line as it will be secured out of their reach.
This mounted dryer has 19m drying space and can attach to a wall, fence, shed or garage.
When not in use it folds up compactly against the wall. However, do note that it's not detachable so will always be visible.
Pros: Does not take up any garden space, children can't pull laundry off, folds to the wall
Cons: Always slightly visible, not a huge amount of drying space, no breeze brake for loading
Available from: Argos
5. Brabantia 4-Arm Lift-o-matic Rotary Washing Line with Accessories 50m, £80
– Best for cover and accessories
Drying space: 50m | Height: 192cm | Weight: 6.4kg
This rotary washing line is the second biggest featured on this list. It is very similar to the 60m Vileda option. You can adjust the height, so you can load the laundry on at a lower height and then hoist it up to dry.
It comes with a ground spike to root it into place, a cover to protect it when not in use and pegs to hang your laundry.
Parent tester Kiera said, "I like that it comes with a cover. It's so handy to pop my washing on."
It has hooks on the end of each arm to give you a space to hang clothes with a hanger. When not in use, much like the others, it folds compactly away.
Pros: Good size, comes with accessories (pegs, cover), hooks on arms, folds away compactly, adjustable height
Cons: No breeze brake for loading, one of the heavier options
6. Argos Home 45m 4-Arm Rotary Airer with Shower Cover, £60
– Best for the rain
Drying space: 45m | Area of turning circle: 2.05m Weight: 3.85kg
If you love drying your clothes outside, then there's nothing worse than a little rain shower. With this rotary washing line you don't have to worry about the odd shower thanks to its handy cover which goes over the top to aim to keep your washing dry.
It has 45 m of drying space and can hold approximately 5 loads of washing.
When not in use, it can be folded away. It's not too heavy to carry either.
Pros: Has a rain cover so can leave laundry outside in wet weather, good amount of drying space, folds to be stored away
Cons: No breeze brake
Available from: Argos
How did we choose our 6 of the Best?
When testing and selecting the best rotary washing lines, we considered, drying space, ease of use, storage, weatherability and value.
Our Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don't just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.
Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team, specialising in household and trying to help parents save money. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products, ranging from best cordless vacuums to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development. During her teenage years she worked as a play worker and Brownie volunteer to support children's play.
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