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The best clothes-drying racks of 2024, tested and reviewed

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A clothes rack has several pieces of clothing hanging from it, including jeans and a sweatshirt.The best clothes-drying racks offer ample hanging space.

Maliah West/Insider

A drying rack offers a no-heat, gentle solution to drying delicate clothing and fabrics such as silk, satin, and wool. Plus, it saves a ton of energy when compared with a commercial dryer. Investing in one of the best clothes-drying racks can be cost-effective and help your finest clothes last longer. 

We spoke with sustainability consultant and eco-conscious blogger Shannon Kenny from the blog Mama Eco and Gwen Whiting, the co-founder of The Laundress, to get tips on what to look for in a drying rack. After testing eight options, we selected four of the best clothes-drying racks that serve multiple purposes and will last through frequent use. 

Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products.

Our picks for the best clothes-drying racks

Best overall: Honey-Can-Do Heavy Duty Gullwing Drying Rack – See at Amazon

Best for small spaces: Home Solution Foldable Garment & Clothes Drying Rack – See at Amazon

Best for small items: CenYouful Stainless Steel Laundry Drying Rack – See at Amazon

Best overall

The Honey-Can-Do Heavy Duty Gullwing Drying Rack has 46 linear feet of drying space and is the perfect size for drying large loads of laundry.

The rack arrived pre-assembled and only needed to be unfolded before use. It has several unique features, the most notable being its shoe drying racks, which I used to dry my house slippers.

With two separate hanging sections and a small area for small items such as socks and undergarments, the rack can easily hold large amounts of clothing while also giving each clothing item enough space to fully dry. 

During testing, the rack performed extremely well. It was able to handle 10 to 15 pounds of clothing, provided enough space for items to fully dry, and was still in great shape after being folded and unfolded ten times. As the rack is very large, it may not be a great option if you’re tight on space.

Best for small spaces

The Home Solution Foldable Garment & Clothes Drying Rack can hold up to 65 pounds of clothing and has wheels that make it easy to maneuver. The rack has two spinning tiers that can hold up to 60 items of clothing.

This rack is unique because instead of draping items over the rack to dry, you place them on hangers that you then hang on the rack. Assembling the rack was easy, but It took me about five minutes due to some of the buttons being hard to push down. 

This rack stood out especially during drying tests; placing clothes on hangers instead of draping them meant clothing dried without any wrinkling. This makes it a great option for drying sweaters, blouses, and dresses. It’s also extremely easy to store as it folds down completely and can stow away in corners and smaller closets. 

Best for small items

The CenYouful Stainless Steel Laundry Drying Rack is a duo of two hangers that are outfitted with eight clips to hold up small clothing items. While the hangers can be hung in any closet for everyday clothing storage, they can also be used to dry delicate clothing. 

While testing the hangers I was surprised at how easily they were able to hold up masks, undergarments, stockings, and tank tops. These smaller items can easily be damaged or even lost when thrown in the dryer.

The hangers are made of stainless steel, which I found helps them hold up multiple items at a time with ease. The various items I hung up on the hangers dried within a few hours.

What to look for in a clothes drying rack

We spoke with experts about the factors to consider when purchasing a clothes drying rack:

Size of your space: Choosing the right drying rack depends mainly on the size of your space. If you have a smaller space, opt for either a standing drying rack or a small to medium-sized rack that can fold down and be stored under a bed or in a small closet.

Load size: If you’re working with more space and tend to wash larger-sized loads of clothing, a large, multi-tiered drying rack will allow you to easily dry more. A tip that Whiting uses to save space while using a drying rack is placing the drying rack in her bathtub. 

Space between bars: Kenny advises purchasing a drying rack that allows for spacing between items so that clothing has more air circulation and can dry faster. It’s very important to buy the right sized drying rack, as overloading can lead to soaking wet clothes. 

How we test clothes-drying racksSeveral folded up drying racks are propped against a yellow wall.

Maliah West/Insider

We spoke with Mama Eco‘s Shannon Kenny, a sustainability consultant, and Gwen Whiting, the co-founder of The Laundress, to learn more about the best ways to dry clothing and the qualities of a great drying rack. Based on their expertise, we developed our testing methodology and put all drying racks through the following five tests:

Assembly: For any of the racks that required assembly, we noted how easy or difficult each rack was to put together and timed how long the process took.

Weight: We placed a variety of clothing types on each rack, from lightweight pieces to heavy jeans and sweaters, and observed how well each rack was able to hold up the clothing. When testing larger racks, we washed a full-sized load of laundry, which is about 10 to 15 pounds wet. And for the smaller or standing racks, we followed each rack’s listed clothing weight capacity. 

Drying: While drying time can vary widely based on the temperature, humidity, and location that the rack is placed in, we observed how thoroughly clothing dried on each rack. We focused on the center of the racks throughout testing and checked to see if clothing on different parts of the rack took longer or shorter to fully dry.

Storage: We closed and opened each rack 10 times and noted any damages that occurred during this process. We paid close attention to how easy each rack folded and how easy it was to store.

Durability: At the end of the testing period we examined each rack for any damage that may have occurred throughout normal use. 

Clothes-drying rack FAQsA clothes rack has several pieces of clothing hanging from it, including jeans and a sweatshirt.

Maliah West/Insider

What are the benefits of drying clothing using a drying rack versus drying clothing in the dryer?

Clothing, especially when made of delicate materials, can easily become damaged in the dryer.

“The combination of high heat and agitation (tumble drying) from machine drying tends to shrink certain fabrics, lead to color fading, and contribute to wear and tear that compromises the integrity of the fabric over time. This can all be avoided with air drying,” said Whiting.

What types of clothing should always be dried on a drying rack?

Whiting recommends air drying any clothing made of wool, silk, or synthetic-based silk.

“Bras, silky underwear with stretch, bathing suits, sports bras, and women’s sport leggings and tops should be air dried,” said Whiting. Overall, if you’re not sure if a clothing item will be damaged if placed in the dryer, you should air dry it instead. 

What are some other ways to make washing and drying clothing more energy-efficient?

Make sure you’re running a strong spin cycle during every wash. This helps to remove any excess moisture from your clothing and helps speed up air drying, according to Kenny.

If you’re looking to purchase a new washer or dryer, Kenny suggests looking for energy efficient models. “There are so many options out there and they don’t even necessarily cost more than the regular ones. It’s just a matter of filtering down to find the option that works for you,” said Kenny.

Do drying racks save energy?

When compared to the high energy output of a dryer, drying racks are a zero-energy solution to drying clothing.

“If you have the space and the time, a drying rack is definitely worth it, and will save you a lot of money in the long run, and that ongoing energy footprint will be subtracted from your main footprint,” said Kenny.

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