With energy costs burning a big hole in our pockets, changing the way you dry your clothes could save you hundreds of pounds a year.

If you use a tumble dryer most days, depending on the model you have, it could be costing you anywhere from just over £170 to nearly £550 a year to run, so it’s no surprise that people are looking for alternative ways to dry their clothes.

One option is heated clothes airers, which help to speed up the drying process but at a fraction of the price of a tumble dryer. If you aren’t sure which type of airer is right for you, or what a good price to pay is, look no further. Here we’ve rounded up some of the best products on the market to speed up how long it takes to dry your clothes without driving up your energy bills.

What are heated clothes airers?

Clothes airers or drying racks are a common feature in most homes, but heated clothes airers are a relatively new development. They usually come in a couple of styles:

Standard heated clothes airer

Sometimes known as electric clothes airers, this style of airer is usually an aluminium frame clothes airer which has a heating element running through it, so the rungs of the airer are warm. The idea is that this warmth gives your clothes a kick start in drying. 

They cost anywhere between 12p and 31p to use for four hours (calculated using the current energy price cap of 27p per kilowatt hour), making them a cheaper option than even the most energy efficient tumble dryers, although it could take longer than four hours to dry your clothes. Many heated air dryers come with an automatic shut off timer, so if you forget to turn them off, they will turn off automatically.

Heated clothes airers come in a variety of sizes, but most will hold 15kg of damp laundry. While this might sound like a lot, bear in mind that most washing machines have a load capacity of anywhere from 7kg to 10kg of dry clothes. Once the clothes are damp, they could weigh double this, if not more, so bear this in mind when choosing a heated airer, as you probably won’t be able to dry a full load of laundry on one.

Most heated clothes airers will come with just the airer itself, but you can also get covers for them. A cover is designed to trap the heat the airer gives off and create a warm atmosphere which speeds up drying further. These covers can be quite expensive, but one of our savvy Rest Less members suggests using a duvet cover instead of a purpose-bought cover to achieve the same effect.

Drying pods or heated cabinets

These styles of airers are on the more expensive end of the spectrum, both in upfront price and running costs, but they’re also designed to dry your clothes even faster. So if your time is at a premium, this could be a better option. 

They can come in different styles, but generally drying pods or heated cabinets will consist of a heater that circulates warm air into an enclosed space. Cheaper models will usually be a metal frame with a fabric cover that closes to create a pod, while the more expensive ones are more like other white goods, with a solid structure.

Best heated clothes airers

Like most money-saving gadgets, heated clothes airers can sell out quickly and high demand is nudging up the prices. So if you’ve got your eye on one, you might not want to hang around too long.

Retro 3-Tier Heated Tower Airer - £129.99

This three-tier tower airer offers a compact solution for drying clothes and comes with a cover included in the price. It has up to 21 meters of drying space, which should let you dry around 15kg of damp laundry. This airer measures 78cm wide x 72cm deep x 138cm high and uses 220w of power, so will cost you around 23p for four hours.

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Dry:Soon Mini 3-Tier Heated Airer - £119.00

Slightly more compact than the Retro is the Dry:Soon Mini three-tier heated clothes airer, making it a good choice if you’re short on space. Despite its smaller size ( ‎60cm wide x 63cm deep x 113.5cm high), it can still hold up to 15kg of damp laundry. This airer uses 300w, so will cost you around 31p to run for four hours.

Highlands Electric Heated Clothes Dryer - £44.70

A cheaper option than the tower heated clothes airer, the Highlands clothes dryer can take up to 15kg of damp laundry and measures 146cm length x 55cm wide x 74cm high. The description says that it costs around 3p to 4p an hour to run, which suggests it uses between 120w and 150w. If you were to use this model for four hours it would cost around 12p to 16p.

Status Heated Clothes Airer - £40.70

The Status heated clothes airer is slightly larger in size than the Highlands one, measuring 90cm wide x 53cm deep x 148cm high, but it also has a 15kg drying capacity. It uses 220w, which means using it for four hours could cost you around 23p.

Best drying pods or heated cabinets

Dry:Soon Drying Pod - £69.99

This is one of the best-reviewed drying pods in its price range with nearly 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and it’s on the cheaper end for its style. It’s on the smaller side, measuring 62cm in diameter x 146cm high, but it can hold up to 12 items weighing up to a total of 10kg at a time, so is better suited for small households or drying a few key items. Drying pods tend to have higher running costs and with this model using 1000w, it will cost you around £1.03 to run for four hours, although the maximum suggested running time for this is three hours, which would cost about 77p.

KASYDoFF Electric Clothes Dryer - £80.99

Slightly larger than the Dry:Soon drying pod is the KASYDoFF Electric Clothes Dryer, which can hold up to 16kg of damp laundry at a time. It’s an aluminium frame measuring 50cm wide x 72cm deep x 170cm high so takes up a bit of space, but also means you can fit more in. This is one of the most expensive models to run, using 1500w which will cost you £1.56 if you use it for four hours.

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Top tips for drying clothes during the winter

While it might be tempting to splash the cash on one of the above airers or drying pods, you might want to save your money and try some of these ideas before you bite the bullet.

Opt for an extra spin and drain

Before you even think about drying things, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re driving out as much water as possible from your clothes while they are still in the washing machine. Putting your clothes through an extra spin and drain cycle could help reduce drying time as they’ll be drier from the outset. 

Avoid the temptation to overload your washing machine too in an effort to save money. While you might be able to get all of your items in the washing machine, they might not spin and drain as effectively if there’s too much in the drum. Most washing machines should only be filled three-quarters of the way, so if yours is more full than this, try removing a few items.

Use bed sheets to create your own drying pod

If you already have a normal clothes airer, but don’t want to buy a heated one, you can speed up the drying process by loading up your airer as usual, placing it near a radiator and putting a duvet cover over your airer and your radiator. This essentially traps some of the warmth from your radiator and helps to speed up the drying process.

Use a fan

While most of us will put our fans away when the weather starts to cool down, they can actually be really handy in helping to dry clothes in the winter. A cool breeze will dry your clothes faster than warm stagnant air, so use your fan to blow over your clothes to help them dry faster. Have a look at the low-cost fans section of our guide 12 best fans to keep you cool this summer for some budget options.

Use a dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers can be useful for both speeding up your laundry drying, but also for keeping your home feeling warm and preventing mould from building up. If you’re planning on using your heating less this winter, your home might become damper if it’s not being kept warm, which in turn could make you feel colder. Moisture in the air can cling to fibres and to your skin and make it harder for you to warm up, so a dehumidifier could be a good option if you want to reduce damp.

Don’t block radiators

Aside from potentially damaging your clothes, placing things directly on top of a warm radiator can trap warm air underneath your damp clothes and stop it from circulating properly and warming your home. 

A much better option is to get a radiator airer that can hold your clothes away from the top, while still enabling you to benefit from the heat.

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