Drying clothes is one of those jobs that comes naturally; once you’ve washed, after all, you have to dry, and it doesn’t come in a moment! You need the right weather, to begin with, and then somewhere sensible to hang your clothes so they get a suitable airing. Finding the perfect combination of weather, wind and space is never going to be easy, but once you have it, you can simply hang out your washing and let the elements do the work that needs to be done.
Now, not all of us have large outdoor spaces that are perfect for drying; indeed, with the advent of smaller starter homes, it is useful to find a way of drying laundry that does not need a great deal of space. Of course, you could buy an electric automatic dryer to complement your washer – or even a combined model that does both jobs at once – but these are not cheap, and they do use a lot of power – and hence cost money to run. Also, once out of warranty, they can be expensive to repair, so you need to factor that in if you choose this option.
For most households, then, the simple clothes line is the best way. Those of us of a certain age, and who grew up in an era of terraced houses, can remember the lines strung across the back lanes, laundry swinging in the wind. We’ve largely moved on to a different format of housing these days, but still, the need is for somewhere to hang that laundry when it needs to dry. Whether you have a yard or a full garden, that’s your answer, but limited space means limited drying. Not, we should say, if you invest the small amount in a rotary washing line!
These are items that have been around a while, but the modern version is more versatile, cheaper and usable than those that you may remember from your parents’ house, so let’s have a look at what they are all about, and then review the top 10 on the market for you.
How It Works
A rotary washing line is, in fact, one of the simplest yet most ingenious appliances you will ever use. By creating a compact, easy to erect and collapse design that takes up little ground space, the original designer thought of a method of incorporating a considerable length of washing line in a very small space. There is no doubt that you can fit all of your required washing – that which would go on a standard line – in most of those in our list.
What’s more is that because they are free to revolve they use the wind to their advantage, providing extended and accelerated drying effect. They are also not a permanent fixture, so once you have done the job, you can simply collapse the item, remove it and leave the space free for children, pets or other family members to use.
The whole point of the rotary washing line is to provide you with somewhere to dry and air your laundry if you have limited space or, perhaps, if you simply don’t want ugly long lines stretching across your garden. Make no mistake that these are not made to look at but to use, so they are practical above all else.
So, let’s see if we can help you find the one that suits your requirements with our review of the top 10 best rotary washing lines on the market right now, and make your life a lot easier when it comes to laundry day!
The Top 10
1: Livivo 4-Arm 45m
Before we get into our reviews, be aware that will be some repetition. That’s not because the makers of these great items are not inventive, but simply as the basic concept works so well it is not easy to diversify from. This one, from Livivo, is a four-arm variety and is a great, simple design for smaller space. It is a heavy-duty model so is not the lightest of the bunch, and comes with a powder-coated finish for added weather protection. It’s very easy to take down and set up, and is suitably compact.
Now for the important bits: you get 45metres of line – that’s a long way, and much more than the average garden could handle – and it comes complete with a ground spike so you can secure it properly. It’s easy to drop down when you need to load or retrieve, and to raise again for maximum effect. It also comes complete with a cover, so if you do need to leave it in place you can. It’s 255cm across when fully opened, so that’s just about all the space you need. At around £25 it’s good value, too.
Pros: 45m line, heavy duty, ground spike, easy to use, cover
Cons: not the lightest, but very robust
2: Brabantia Lift-O-Matic
This model is one that adds a little something of its own to the party, this being the brand’s own ‘Lift-O-Matic’ raising system. Put simply, one of the problems with rotary lines can be raising them to operating height when they are loaded; this system does it for you, and is very clever. You do pay for it, however, as we will show later on. It’s a 50-metre model so offers you just about the standard amount of line for one of these, and is very nicely made with a 4-arm design.
Other features of this one include holes in the arms for coat hangers – a very neat touch that is not present on some and adds to the capacity or versatility of the model – and the adjustable height means that you can also use it for items you may not want to hang too high. It is finished in durable metal and covers a little more than 200cm across – surprisingly compact for one of these – and comes with its own cover. You will pay around £80 for one of these, which is somewhat more than some on our list, but it is a quality item.
Pros: neat lifting mechanism, compact, 50m line, easy to use
Cons: perhaps the price, but it’s a cut above some of these in quality
3: Brabantia Topspinner
Our second model from the Brabantia range is this one, and again it’s a clever take on a simple concept. You get adjustable arms so you can manage the tension in the line – a great idea for heavier items you may be washing – as well as a smooth rotation movement for better drying. It comes with 40m of line, not the longest of these but still decent for average use, and a sturdy shaft that sits nicely in a ground spike – supplied by the make for easy installation.
It’s simple to take down and put back up – when not in use it has a rather clever loop attached so you can hang it out of the way in the garage or shed – and, as with all products from the maker, also comes with a 5-year guarantee, which is pretty impressive. One further point – Brabantia is a green company that will plant a real treey for each one of these sold, so if that’s your sort of thing, at around £60 this may be a good choice.
Pros: compact, neat design, adjustable, green credentials
Cons: only 40m, not the cheapest
4: Elex 4-Arm 50m
If you want a basic, simple and usable laundry line, one that is cheap to buy, durable and easy to fit, this could be the one for you. It comes from the Elex brand, and it is a genuinely no-frills model, as reflected by a price of somewhere around £25. The powder-coated finish is designed to be weatherproof and the cover keeps it protected when it is not in use, while you also get a ground spike and all fittings supplied.
This one is durable and easy to raise and lower – although may be a little heavy when fully loaded – and is a full 265cm across when unfolded so not the smallest, but it does give you 50m of line so will be able to handle any sensible load. Like we said, there’s nothing special about this one but that may be its overall appeal; it does the job it’s intended for, and it does it well, and at the price is great for anyone on a budget.
Pros: 50m, sturdy, cheap, usable
Cons: large, may be heavy for some
5: Brabantia Essential 30m
As this is our third choice from the brand, you may have realised that Brabantia is a bit player in this field of home and garden goods> they do like their green credentials – they plant a tree for every one of these sold – and provide quality goods, and this is their basic laundry spinner. It’s basic in many ways: there are no clever raising and lowering mechanisms, just the usual ones you would find on one of these, and there are no special features to make it stand out.
In fact, the one thing that does set it aside somewhat may be its downfall: this model comes with just 30m of line – considerably shorter than some of these – and therefore may be recommended only for a single person or couple, perhaps. It does come with holes for coat hangers, and it is well-made, sturdy and practical, and we like the brand and respect its quality. At around £45 it’s not bad value, but there are others with more capacity that are similarly priced.
Pros: brand, green credentials, easy to use, quality, hanger holes
Cons: just 30m, not cheap
6: ParkLand Heavy Duty 4-Arm
Halfway into our reviews and you will surely begin to see a pattern; as we warned, there is bound to be repetition with items such as these, and it becomes more evident when we have a selection of reviews to read. This one, from ParkLand, can be safely described as a typical one of these. It is the usual 4-arm design, comes with an easy to set up and take down, heavy-duty mast that is weather-protected, and does the job it is designed to do.
You get 50m of line suspended through carefully chosen rectangular arms which give more strength and support than circular ones, and although there is no special mechanism, it’s easy to lift and drop, although may be heavy if loaded. It’s a good, basic design that will handle a sensible amount of laundry, and one worth checking out at a price of little more than £25.
Pros: neat, cheap, rectangular arms, 50m, easy to use
Cons: very basic, may be heavy use when loaded
7: Addis 40m 4-Arm
Addis is a long-established brand with a wide range of household and garden goods, and one that is recognisable to anyone who frequents home or hardware shops. This rotary clothes line is typical of the brand in offering practicality and simplicity at a sensible price. It has no clever or innovative details, but it is arguable it doesn’t need them. 40m of line is perfectly adequate for the average home – there are larger ones here if you need and, in fact, this model can be had in 50m form.
What it does give you is adjustable tension, which is not always offered with one of these, and this is a useful feature for if you are hanging heavier or bulky items. The raising and lowering mechanism is simple to use, it’s made from durable and weather-protected materials, and it is 2.5m across when in use – so you will need that clearance to fit one of these. It’s good, it’s from a brand you can trust, and at around £35 it’s sensibly priced in a competitive market.
Pros: known brand, quality, easy to use, affordable
Cons: only 40m, but if that bothers you, buy the bigger one!
8: Kingfisher 4-Arm
This one, from Kingfisher, is a four-arm variety and is a great, simple design for smaller space. It is a heavy-duty model so is not the lightest of the bunch, and comes with a powder-coated finish for added weather protection. It’s very easy to take down and set up, and is suitably compact. One again, there is nothing special here, but that’s the point – it does the job, and does it well. One point we will make is that this one comes with a plastic ground installation kit, and while we’re sure it works, we’re not so certain it applies the stability you get from a metal spike.
Now for the important bits: you get 50 metres of line – that’s a long way, and much more than the average garden could handle – so it is suitable for all households. It’s easy to drop down when you need to load or retrieve, and to raise again for maximum effect. It also comes complete with a cover, so if you do need to leave it in place you can. It’s about 250cm across when fully opened, so that’s just about all the space you need. At under £20 we are amazed that they can do it, it’s very, very cheap.
Pros: neat design, very cheap, 50m, easy to use
Cons: very cheap, plastic fittings
9: Marko Homewares 3-Arm
This is a model that differs from most of these here as it is of the 3-arm variety; while that may not sound like much of a difference, it does take away from the stability and practicality somewhat, but it also impacts on the price. Marko has a large range of such items and is a known brand, and this model is perfectly decent if you want something simple and basic and at a bargain price – it’s not much more than £15! The construction is entirely typical – it’s a no-frills design – and it does the job it’s designed to with no fuss.
It is made from durable, weather-proofed material for a long life, and is very simple to set up and take down, although raising it when loaded may be somewhat tricky for some. It comes with a cover and a ground socket so you get everything you need to set it up and get going, and while 34m of line is not the longest, for a single person or a couple this will do the job. At the price, it’s difficult to fault if all you want is a handy washing line.
Pros: cheap, neat, simple, compact
Cons: only 34m, just 3-arms
10: FunkyBuys 50m Heavy Duty
Our final choice is from FunkyBuys, and it’s a very typical 50m version that is entirely similar to many we have reviewed above. That’s not at all to its detriment, it’s simply that the 4-arm rotary washing line is a pretty much tried and tested design. If you want a basic, simple and usable laundry line, one that is cheap to buy, durable and easy to fit, this could be the one for you. The powder-coated finish is designed to be weatherproof and the cover keeps it protected when it is not in use, while you also get a ground spike and all fittings supplied.
This one is durable and easy to raise and lower – although may be a little heavy when fully loaded –but it does give you 50m of line so will be able to handle any sensible load. Like we said, there’s nothing special about this one but that may be its overall appeal; it does the job it’s intended for, and it does it well, and at the price is great for anyone on a budget. That price is not much more than £25, so it really is pretty good value.
Pros: 50m, sturdy, cheap, usable
Cons: large, may be heavy for some
That’s our list of 10 rotary washing lines complete, and we are sure you will see that, when all is said and done, there’s not a great deal of difference between many of these. In fact, we are pretty sure that at least two – and possibly more – are exactly the same, with different brands applied. So, before we sum up, a quick look at the features you need to consider.
The rotary washing line is a simple item, so let’s keep it simple! Here’s what to look for:
3 or 4 Arms – only one of the above is a 3-arm model and, while it is the cheapest of the bunch, this does suggest that 4 is the better way to go.
Length of Line – those reviewed here range from 30m to 50m in length, and how much line you need will depend entirely upon the amount of laundry you want to be drying at any one time.
Ease of Use – a couple of these have features that assist the user in raising and lowering the line; this can be very useful if you have heavy loads that need hanging.
Price – always an issue, but we’re amazed at the variety in prices of these, so make sure you know your budget before you make your choice.
So, which is for you? Here’s what we think!
Which is For You?
There are ten models in the list above and, to be fair, every one does the very same thing: hangs your laundry out to dry! The only differences are in the features above, with a couple – one of the notable models from Brabantia, for example – offering some clever assistance where needed, but at a price.
If you want a simple, effective and usable rotary clothes line that will do the job you want it to with no fuss, and that has a sensible amount of line at a decent price, any of the larger models under the £30 bracket will suffice, so have another look, and get that washing drying as the wind blows!