The best washing lines: cheapest and most effective way to dry clothes without a tumble dryer
Save money and energy on your laundry by skipping the tumble dryer and embracing one of the best washing lines on the market, with options for both indoor and outdoor use.
Many of us are always looking for little ways to save money on everyday things, knowing that a little here and there can add up to a big saving over time.
So, in the spirit of saving the pennies to let the pounds look after themselves, did you know that the average household could save up to £223 per year if they bypassed the tumble dryer? That’s according to experts from Uswitch, who calculate the cost of an average load at around £1.82 for a 9kg vented tumble dryer and £1.77 for a condenser tumble dryer.
If that doesn’t have you reconsidering your drying habits, perhaps you’ll be swayed by thoughts of the environment. Tumble drying is a serial offender when it comes to eco-credentials, using lots of energy, contributing significantly to your carbon footprint and potentially releasing harmful microfibres that contribute to pollution.
And did you know they using a tumble dryer can also be bad for your clothes? It’s thought that fabrics wear out up to twice as fast when they’re tumbled, and the machines can also lead to shrinkage, neither of which is good news for your garments.
Enter the humble washing line: friend to the environment and to your wallet, these handy tools will help you optimise your space for air drying, whether outside or in. Our pick of the best washing lines we’ve seen includes options for any room of the house and models suited to any size of garden.
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The best washing lines at a glance:
- Best for frequent use: Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line
- Best heavy duty washing line: Vileda Cordomatic Retractable Washing Line
- Best retractable airer: Vileda Rewind 4 Retractable Washing Line Airer
- Best for large households: Vinsani 30 metre Retractable Reel Clothes Lines Washing Line with Twin Cable
- Best for bathrooms: JOOM Retractable Clothesline Indoor Outdoor Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Line
- Best indoor-outdoor option: LIVEHITOP Washing Line
- Great for small gardens: Beldray Dual Clothes Retractable Washing Line
- Best indoor only line: I3C Retractable Clothesline 4.2m Duo Reel Washing Line
The best washing lines
Best for frequent use: Minky Retractable Duo Reel Washing Line
A sturdy and reliable washing line
This easy-to-install and easy-to-use retractable washing line is robust enough for daily use – so long as the weather’s good enough! The two lines combine to offer 30 metres of hanging space.
This retractable outdoor wall-mounted washing line is a great option for everyday use. It’s easy to install and use, sturdy and weather resistant, and features double retractable lines that offer 30 metres (98 feet) of hanging space between them). The maximum weight allowance is a generous 25kg, and when not in use, it clips off its bracket with ease, meaning you can store it inside to protect it from harsh weather.
Best heavy-duty washing line: Vileda Cordomatic Retractable Washing Line
Automatically retracts to save space
A space-saving retractable washing line that’s great for drying clothes in the garden on dry days. The 15-metre line is made of durable plastic that can hold up to 15kg of laundry at a time.
This washing line’s generous maximum weight allowance of 15kg makes this single-line retractable line perfect for drying heavier laundry items such as towels and work uniforms. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, we think it’s perfect for the garden, where it is easy to extend while you make the most of good weather, and automatically retracts to save space when not in use.
Best retractable airer: Vileda Rewind 4 Retractable Washing Line Airer
A discreet wall-mounted option
This compact and inconspicuous indoor clothes airer is easy to install and comes complete with all the brackets and screws you’ll need. Its four retractable lines offer 16 metres of line between them.
If you’re looking to dry clothes inside but are short on space, this four-line retractable indoor airer could be just the thing you need. It’s easy to install and takes up very little space on your wall, offering an inconspicuous addition to practically any room in the house. When extended, the four lines offer 16 metres of hanging space between them, then slide away again in seconds when you’re done.
Best for large households: Vinsani 30 metre Retractable Reel Clothes Lines Washing Line with Twin Cable
Two lines hold double the washing load
If your household gets through more than one load of laundry a day, you need the extra hanging space offered by a washing line with two cables. This one offers up to 30 metres of line when extended.
A wall-mounted retractable washing line is a must-have for anyone with a garden, and if you have a large household or simply find yourself doing laundry on the regular, why not invest in a double-lined version? This one offers two sturdy plastic lines that extend up to 15 metres each, giving you extra space to dry all your laundry at once.
Best for bathrooms: JOOM Retractable Clothesline Indoor Outdoor Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Line
For bathrooms, laundry and utility rooms
Looking to make the most of every space in your house? This discreet wall-mounted laundry line is great for indoor use, offering generous hanging space and easily retracting when not in use.
Whether you don’t have the privilege of outside space or are looking for a bad weather option for drying, this retractable clothesline is a great pick for indoor use.
Suitable for anywhere in the house, it’s great for bathrooms, laundry rooms and utility rooms, but it really can be used anywhere you have the space. The two adjustable lines extend to 4.2 metres and are durable and strong, holding up to 20kg each. The two lines retract slowly and easily lock into place to ensure everyone’s safety.
Best indoor-outdoor option: LIVEHITOP Washing Line
Attaches to almost any surface
When it comes to adaptability, this washing line is hard to beat. It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use and comes with two mounting options, meaning you can attach it to almost any surface.
This indoor-outdoor washing line is suitable for gardens, balconies or use inside the home and comes with two installation options, which means it can be attached to almost any surface, including tiles, glass, metal, wood and most wall types. The retractable line extends up to 4.2 metres and holds up to 20kg of laundry. The sleek design makes it a great option for a modern home.
Great for small gardens: Beldray Dual Clothes Retractable Washing Line
Easily retracted when not in use
Make the most of any outside space with this flexible double-cord retractable washing line, which retracts easily when not n use and pivots up to 180 degrees to adapt to most spaces.
Make the most of whatever outside space you have with this retractable double-cord washing line from Beldray. Its compact design means it’s only 18.5 x 16 x 9.5 centimetres when retracted. The two lines can be extended up to 26 metres between them (and anything in-between), while the easy-to-install wall bracket pivots for added flexibility.
Best indoor-only line: I3C Retractable Clothesline 4.2m Duo Reel Washing Line
An extendable line for inside your home
This sleek and discreet retractable wall-mounted washing line is designed for indoor use and features two extendable stainless steel laundry lines that can reach up to 4.2 metres each.
If you are blessed with the space to extend a washing line indoors, then this attractive wall-mounted washing line is such a great option. Say goodbye to bulky clothes horses and hello to up to 8.4 metres of laundry line, made from stainless steel to ensure safety and durability, each holding up to 20kg of washing. When not in use, the lines retract automatically into the wall mount, which measures only 24 x 8.7 x 5.6 cm.
If you want to read more expert-recommended round-ups and product guides, check out our Household page, where you’ll find more home recommendations, including the best clothes airers, the best energy efficient heaters, and the best draught excluders.
Hannah Lewis-Marshall is a writer and editor with more than ten years of experience working on product round-ups and shopping guides. She's committed to helping you make smarter purchases, from one-off big buys to everyday essentials.