Best heated clothes airers to dry laundry when skies are grey
Electric clothes airers are cheaper than a tumble dryer, portable and more energy-efficient than you might think - here's our pick of the best, including the new Aldi heated clothes airer
We all know washing needs to be done even on the chilly, wet days of winter - and that can mean spending months with every available space draped with steaming laundry. Drying wet clothes in your house, especially on radiators, releases large amounts of moisture into the room and puts you at risk of developing damp in your walls - a major and expensive issue to rectify. But if you don't have the space or budget to install a tumble dryer, a heated clothes airer can be a lifesaver.
We've put the best heated airers through their paces to see which one came out on top. Read on to discover more…
Tried-and-tested: best heated airers at a glance
- Best compact heated airer: Dry:Soon 3 Tier Heated Airer. Buy now Lakeland (£159.99), Amazon or Argos (£105)
- Best heated air for family washes: JML DriBUDDI heated airer. Buy now from Amazon, (£79) or Argos, (£75)
How we tested the heated airers
We dried a full load of washing, as per the capacity of our washing machines, but ensured it featured a pair of jeans, hoodie and t-shirt so we could compare drying times across the different brands. We allocated points in several categories. The first, how easy it was to use, which included setting it up, if there were instructions – and if so, how clear they were, if the heated airer included features like a timer, safety switch and a covers, as well as hangers or capacity for drying shoes. We also evaluated how eco-friendly the packaging was. We then assessed its functionality in terms of how sturdy it was, the dimensions and capacity as well as how easy it was to store. Next up, we timed how long it took to dry the full load, specifically timing the jeans, hoodie and t-shirt, and worked out how much the heated airer cost per hour to run. Finally, we took all this information into consideration to determine if the unti represented good value for money.
The best tried and tested heated airers:
Best heated airer for household washes
Score 4.5 out of 5
The lowdown: It may be expensive from the outset, but this heated airer is an efficient alternative to cranking up the central heating
The Dry:Soon 3 Tier Heated Airer is currently sold out but is being restocked. In a hurry? Check out the 3 Tier Heated Airer from Argos Home (£105) or Glamhaus 3 Tier Indoor Foldable Heated Airer from Robert Dyas (£149.99)
- Easy to assemble and compact when folded down
- Fits a large laundry load
- Cheaper than a tumble dry and/or turning on radiators
- Excellent guarantee period
- No timer function
Setting up this heated airer is nice and easy, and if you've got a small load, you can fold out just one half of the frame to save space too which is handy. Unlike the JML DriBuddi, the cover is sold separately, but we found draping a towel or sheet over the top works effectively to shorten the drying time for the rest of the load.
The Dry:Soon 3 Tier can accommodate 15kg of washing across 21m of drying space, but it doesn’t feature a timer which is a shame considering the cost of the product. In terms of timings, light items like T-shirts should be dry within 4 hours, and heavier items like jeans should be dry within 12.
We love: The Dry:Soon 3 Tier is sleek and compact, featuring six identical drying shelves which fold up flat, making it easy to use and store in smaller households like flats and house shares.
Should you buy it: Yes. Although the efficiency of the model works out cheaper than putting on the central heating or using a tumble dryer, it is on the expensive side up-front. However, in the long term I believe it's a worthy investment, as, one, it's cheaper than a tumble dryer (and more eco-friendly), and two, it will come in handy throughout all the year as well as winter (think of all the rainy days we have).
Specs: 137 x 73 x 75 cm and it holds up to 15kg of washing
Score: 4 out of 5
Best heated airer for smaller spaces
The lowdown: JML's DriBUDDI offers great value for money, is easy to set up and use, and has a capacity large enough to accommodate a full load. However, dry time may be a little longer than stated.
- Easy to set up
- Portable, can be moved or disassembled easily
- Cheaper than running a tumble dryer in most instances
- Dry time longer than advertised
The DriBUDDI is a self-assembly airer, composed of three legs, which were a little fiddly to fit, a motor unit with a timer, a support pole and the hanging unit as well as a zip-up cover and protective disc for the motor unit. In the end, the dry time was 4 hours to iron damp, 4.5 hours to bone dry – we think this seems like a reasonable dry time, but it’s worth noting JML suggests that an average wash load should take "between 1 and 3 hours".
We love: The cover is included, which isn’t always the case when buying a heated airer. You can choose between a white or blue cover, and while its primary purpose is to speed up dry time, the cover also means that your washing, hangers and the appliance itself are neatly hidden from view - perfect if you want to set it up in communal area of your home without having visitors staring at your knickers.
Should you buy it? Yes: In terms of how the airer's price compares to its competitors, it's impossible to compare models exactly like-for-like. But the DriBUDDI's closest high street rival is probably Lakeland's Dry:Soon pod airer, which is £20 more expensive at the time of writing and has a smaller capacity than the DriBUDDI (12 items vs 18 items). As for what warranty, if any, is included, the DriBUDDI comes with a one year manufacturer's guarantee.
Specs: 160 x 70 x 70 cm and it holds up to 10kg/18 items
3. AMOS Eezy-Dry Electric Clothes Dryer 15kg
Best heated airer for household washes
Score 3.5 out of 5
The lowdown: It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but this heated airer is great for speedy clothes drying in the winter
• Buy now from Amazon
• Dries jeans and hoodies quickly
• Handy timer function
• Cheaper than a tumble dry and/or turning on radiators
• Lightweight and folds up
• Can wheel it around
• Difficult to assemble
• Large and difficult to store if you live in a small space
• Slightly noisy
We found this airer tricky to assemble – it has lots of different parts and it took us a few attempts to get it right, but that might say more about our instruction-following abilities than the airer itself. It comes complete with a cover, so you don’t have to worry about buying that separately, and when it’s up, it couldn’t be easier to use.
In theory this airer can accommodate 15kg of washing across two levels of drying space, but we did find that it works best when you really spread things out and make sure nothing is touching. We love that it has a timer function, so you can just press a button and leave it to do its thing. We found light items had a dry time within around 4 hours, and the likes of hoodies were done in around 8.
We love: If you don’t have a tumble dryer, this heated airer is a lifesaver. It’s great for getting things dried promptly without having to turn your radiators on.
Should you buy it: Yes. Although it’s tricky to assemble, when it’s up it’s great. The only issue that we found was with storage – it does fold in the middle, but it’s still quite big and clunky to put away, so not great if you live in a small flat.
Specs: 70 x 23.5 x 24 cm, and it holds 5kg of damp clothing (the website suggests roughly 25 separate items, but we’d say less)
Best of the rest heated airers:
We haven't tested the following heated airers, but have checked out their reviews and think they're worth considering if you haven't been tempted by our expert-tested reviews above.
- Best heated airer for small washes: Status 220W Portable Heated Clothes Airer with Wings
- Best heated airer on a budget: Aldi Easy Home Heated Airer
Status 220W Portable Heated Clothes Airer with Wings
Best for: small loads and small spaces
If you're living in a small flat or a room in a shared house, the last thing you want is the constant damp smell of wet clothes hanging up around you all winter. A compact heated airer like the Status 220W Heated Clothes Airer will drastically cut down your drying time, without taking up too much room. We love that it comes with wings, to add that extra bit of capacity.
This simple airer folds out in seconds, and can be folded away when not in use just as quickly. Plus, with a low wattage of 220W, it's one of the most energy-efficient models on the market.
Aldi Easy Home Heated Airer
Best for: quick drying on a budget
Aldi has entered the heated clothes airer market with the Easy Home Heated Airer, a 20-bar folding electric airer with a zip-up cover included. As you'd expect from Aldi, it's a low-cost option, currently selling for the bargain price of £39.99, and the low 230W wattage ensures it won't tax your energy bills too heavily, either.
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It's rare to see a fold-out winged clothes airer with a cover, which increases the efficiency of the airer by keeping warm air in circulation, so this is a big plus.Given its popularity, the Easy Home Heated Airer does tend to sell out fast - at the moment, new stock is expected in mid-December - so make sure you snap it up when you can.
Heated airer vs the radiator
While you can’t beat a radiator if you’re in a hurry and need to dry a pair of jeans or a hoodie, however, outside of this needs-must scenario, the short answer is that if you’re using the radiator to dry clothes it isn’t heating your house. And, given the rising cost of energy, it’s ultimately an inefficient use of your money, especially given how much cheaper it is to run a heated airer (see below).
Of course, if you use an airer positioned in front of the radiator, it’s a sort of best-of-both-worlds option, but you’ll need to swap clothes around to make sure garments dry evenly, and it will act as a block for the heat to directly warm an area of the room.
How much does a heated clothes airer cost to run?
The exact cost of running an electric clothes airer depends on your energy tariff and the wattage of your airer. For instance, running an airer with a wattage of 1200W - common for larger airers with a motor unit - for 3 hours would cost £1.22, using current energy cap rates. Meanwhile, running an airer with a wattage of 240W - a typical wattage for a smaller foldout airer with heated bars - for six hours would cost about 49p, again using current energy cap rates.
To get a more precise estimate for your tariff and wattage, you can use SUST-IT’s energy cost calculator.
Comparing this to the cost of running a tumble dryer is tricky – it depends on the energy consumption of the tumble dryer, the type (condenser vs vented vs heat pump) and the length of the drying cycle. However, using a very rough average of a tumble dryer using 4.5kW with a 90-minute dry time, the cost would be £2.29 per cycle.
How to use a heated airer
Most electric airers are really simple to assemble and can easily be set up in any spare corner within reach of a plug socket, then dismantled and stowed away when not in use. Larger models can hold a full family wash, but you'll also find compact versions that are perfect for a small load.
Because they're powered by electricity, you might worry that a heated airer will drive up your energy bills. However, modern electric airers are more energy-efficient than you might think - using as little as a few pence per hour.
Which heated clothes airer is the best?
The electric airer you choose for your home depends on your needs. Both brands we tested are worth investing in, with the The Dry:Soon 3 Tier providing enough capacity for a household wash, while the JML DriBUDDI is great for compact spaces. However, outside of our test, if you're in a shared property or a small flat with limited space and you're usually washing for one, a small foldaway heated clothes airer like Aldi's Easy Home Heated Airer could be the answer to your winter washing woes. For busier households with a little more space, a larger, freestanding clothes airer able to handle a full wash like the AMOS Eezy-Dry could make more sense.
Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on YourHomeStyle.uk, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.
Katie is a Staff Writer for HomeStyle magazine and YourHomeStyle.uk. She previously worked on Gardens Illustrated magazine and has written for various other lifestyle magazines and brands. She particularly enjoys writing about indie and eco homeware brands, interior styles through the ages, urban gardening, and decor hacks for small spaces. She is also responsible for HomeStyle's buyer's guides, so you'll often find her testing out the latest homeware gadgets and kitchen appliances.