Go eco-friendly and enjoy line-fresh laundry with the best rotary washing line

Ditch the dryer and get bright and breezy with an eco-friendly, outdoor airer.

Best rotary washing lines

by Amy-Mae Turner |
Published on

The smell of fresh linen is a perennially popular fragrance for anything from air fresheners to candles. There is a simple way to enjoy that fresh fragrance with your clothing, bedding, and towels, achieved by drying your washing outdoors with the best rotary washing line. This old-school method will imbue your laundry with that distinctive, desirable, and oh-so-fresh fragrance and offers an environmentally-friendly alternative to switching on the tumble dryer or firing up the central heating. In fact, according to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save at least £45 a year by avoiding your appliances (but more on that in our FAQs).

You may be surprised to learn that the unmistakable scent of line-dried laundry is down to science. The smell is generated by a photochemical reaction that, when sunlight hits wet fabric, produces a range of aldehydes and ketones. These are organic compounds that have an 'ozonic' smell, which our noses associate with outdoor freshness. There's another science-based reason to dry your clothes on a line - the ultraviolet light from the sun helps to kill bacteria.

Best rotary washing lines at a glance:

Best overall rotary washing line

Brabantia Lift-O-Matic Rotary Washing Line

Best three-arm rotary washing line

Addis Three-Arm Rotary Washing Line

Best hoistable rotary washing line

Vileda Supadry Hoist Rotary Washing Line

Best wall-mounted rotary washing line

Brabantia WallFix Rotary Washing Line

Rotary clothes lines, also known as 'umbrella' clothes lines in some other countries, date back decades as a way to efficiently dry washing outside without taking up too much of your outdoor space. The strong arms support multiple washing lines that can, obviously depending on the capacity, dry several loads of washing at a time. The most common design for rotary washing lines offers four arms, but more compact three-arm options are also available if your outdoor space is limited and you don't want laundry encroaching on your garden furniture. We're taking a look at both in our roundup of the best rotary dryers currently available.

Best rotary washing line for your next load of laundry

Best overall rotary washing line

Brabantia washing lineBrabantia/Amazon
Price: $288.30

This high-end Brabantia rotary washing line has notched up an impressive 4.7-star Amazon rating from over 24,000 reviews, so you can be confident in trusting this product to take care of your laundry drying needs. It has four strong arms that support UV-resistant lines giving you a total of 60 metres of drying space and comes with a robust metal ground spike.

You can adjust this rotary clothesline to your ideal working height from 129 to 187cm and this whole dryer turns easily, even when weighted down with wet washing. A nice detail we like is that all four arms are fitted with special holes for clothes hangers. As an added bonus, Brabantia will plant one tree via the WeForest programme for every washing line sold.

Pros

  • Option to adjust the level of the dryer to suit your ideal working height
  • One tree planted as part of the WeForest scheme for every rotary line sold

Cons

  • Brabantia rotary washing line cover sold separately

Best three-arm rotary washing line

Addis washing lineAddis/Amazon
Price: $42.19

Described by Addis as a great entry-level rotary washing line, this compact option has three arms and a span of 2.18 metres, providing you with 35 metres of drying space, ideal for smaller households. We like this washing line's umbrella clip lock mechanism that offers multiple tension adjustments for heavier loads of laundry.

This affordable option is made of aluminium which makes it lightweight, and able to stand up to British weather conditions. This rotary washing line comes with a 32mm ground spike that's made of plastic, so you may want to buy a more robust version for peace of mind.

Pros

  • A compact choice that's ideal for smaller gardens
  • Ability to adjust the line tension to handle heavier loads

Cons

  • You may want to consider upgrading the plastic ground spike

Best hoistable rotary washing line

Vileda washing line Vileda/Amazon

This rotary washing line from Vileda is the most high-tech we're featuring as it boasts a hoist mechanism, controlled via a crank handle, that lowers and raises the arms to allow for easy loading when lowered, and gives you more headroom when hoisted. In addition, there is a handy breeze brake that prevents the arms from rotating while you're hanging your washing.

The tech doesn't stop there - each of the PVC-coated polyester washing lines boasts tensioning devices to tighten them if they become loose. This provides you with 60 metres of drying space, four coat hanger hooks, a ground socket with a locking collar, and comes with a five-year warranty.

Pros

  • Hand crank hoist mechanism to lower and raise the arms
  • Ability to adjust the tension of individual washing lines

Cons

  • Heavyweight at nearly eight kilograms

Best wall-mounted rotary washing line

Brabantia Wallfix washing line Brabantia/Amazon

Rrp: $224.00

Price: $151.08
Alternative retailers
Walmart$135.22View offer
Lowe's$188.18View offer
Wayfair$188.18View offer
Macy's$260.99View offer

Depending on the layout of your outside space, a wall-mounted rotary washing line might better suit your needs than a spike-in-the-ground option. This Brabantia option is a super-tidy choice as it pulls out when needed, clicking into position, and then folds back in for space-saving storage, all contained in a neat metallic cover.

This comes complete with a drilling template so you can easily position it exactly where you want it, and at a working height that suits you. When extended, this gives you 24 metres of washing line which should cover you for two average loads of laundry.

Pros

  • Comes with step-by-step instructions, solid wall fixings, and a drilling template
  • Tucks away neatly inside a metallic cover when not in use

Cons

  • Requires some DIY drilling action to get it fixed to the wall

Best heavy-duty rotary washing line

SG Traders washing lineSG Traders/Amazon

If the spot you want to place your rotary washing line is particularly exposed, you may want to consider investing in a heavy-duty option that can withstand a battering from the unpredictable British elements. SG Traders' rotary washing line is comprised of a sturdy tubular steel frame that's been powder-coated to resist mould, mildew, and corrosion.

This four-arm washing line gives you 60 metres of PVC-coated, weather-resistant washing line and offers four height adjustments to vary the line tension. This can be collapsed down using the soft grip handle, at which point you can protect it with the fabric cover that's included.

Pros

  • This has a durable and weather-resistant, heavy-duty build quality
  • Four height adjustments to change the line tension to suit your needs

Cons

  • Some reviewers comment that the height adjustment requires a lot of force

Best budget rotary washing line

Bargains Galore washing lineBargains Galore/Amazon

This affordable option doesn't offer hoist action or adjustability but does give you 50 metres of washing line suspended from four arms. The arms are constructed from powder-coated aluminium while the lines are PVC-coated for protection from the weather, whether that's rain or UV rays.

This comes with a ground spike that can be pushed, or cemented, into the ground to give your washing line a super-stable base. BARGAINS-GALORE supply this washing complete with a cover so you can shield it from the weather when it's not in use.

Pros

  • The washing lines are coated with PVC to protect from the elements
  • Protective cover included to use when collapsed down

Cons

  • No ability to adjust the tension of the washing lines

Best portable rotary washing line

Minky washing line Minky/Amazon
Price: $116.05

If you want the ability to line-dry your laundry when you're away from home, a portable rotary washing line could be the answer. This small-scale, three-arm version from Minky could also suit anyone who only occasionally wants to hang their washing outdoors, and can't install a more permanent solution.

Collapsed down this has manageable dimensions for storage, then unfolds and clicks into position to provide you with 15 metres of drying space which should be enough for one laundry load. With no drilling or cementing required, thanks to the tripod base, this is a simple solution that's a strong alternative to a traditional clothes airer.

Pros

  • No DIY involved to get this rotary washing line set up
  • Strong tubular steel construction for stability

Cons

  • Only has capacity for one load of laundry

How we chose the best rotary washing lines

All of these rotary washing lines have been hand-selected by our team of Modern Gardens shopping experts. We carefully considered the size, hanging capacity, and build quality in our selection of the best. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching rotary washing lines to make it easier for you to find the very best, and we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in.

Where possible, we also test and share the latest and best products you should know about. And with help from Modern Gardens Magazine, Garden News and Garden Answers, we share expert gardening knowledge to help you get the most from your product.

What are the benefits of using a rotary washing line?

It's a money-saving solution - you don't need to pop the heating on to dry washing on the radiators, or use an energy-guzzling tumble dryer.

It's environmentally friendly - for the same reasons it saves you money, it's also an eco-friendly alternative to using gas or electricity.

It protects your clothes - unless you have a degree in thermodynamics to work out the correct settings, tumble driers can easily damage clothes.

It gets you outside - hanging out freshly washed laundry on a sunny day can offer a satisfying moment of zen as you peg your washing on the line. And afterwards, you can simply kick back in a sun lounger and enjoy the sunshine yourself. Bliss.

What's the best way to secure a rotary washing line in the ground?

Without a doubt, cementing your rotary washing line's ground stake into the ground offers the most stable and robust way to secure your line, no matter how heavy your laundry load.

You should dig a hole that's the depth of your stake and surround it with a post fix concrete mixture to set it in place. There are handy three-way post spirit levels available to help you ensure it's straight.

Do rotary washing lines have to be cemented in?

We would recommend going down the cement route to be sure of the stability of your washing line, but if this is not an option for you, you can buy heavy-duty ground sockets that stake into the ground.

How much money can I save using a rotary washing line?

As a rough ballpark figure, home energy experts Heatable estimate the average tumble dryer costs around 61p an hour to use. Household electronics manufacturer Haier offers more detail, stating the average nine-kilogram vented tumble dryer will use around 5.30 kWh for a full load cycle. This means using your dryer twice a week will give you an average annual usage of 636 kWh – which works out at £1.54 for each cycle and £184.44 a year.

Investing a fraction of that yearly figure in a rotary washing line will save you money in the long run - and, from an eco-friendly point of view, reduce your household's carbon footprint.

What are some good alternatives to rotary washing lines?

If you're looking for an outdoor airer solution for family-size amounts of laundry, it's hard to beat a rotary washing line. However, if this is not an option that's going to suit you or you don't want to up-turf your artificial grass, there are alternatives.

Fixed post-washing lines are the most basic option and have been used for thousands of years to hang washing. The most popular way to set up such a system is by fixing two washing line posts into the ground and running a washing line between them. Alternatively, a line can be run from any two fixed points, such as strong hooks drilled into walls.

Retractable clothes lines are comprised of a wall-mounted reel that houses a line, which can be pulled out then locked in place. When unused, the cord retracts back into the reel, for a tidy solution that saves space. Single and double line retractable washing lines are readily available and relatively affordable.

A folding, wall-mounted washing dryer is not a massively popular option but could be a solution to suit you if you have a tucked-away wall in your garden that's not being utilised.

A very simple solution is just to carry your existing laundry airer out to the garden whenever you see a sunny opportunity.

Garden storage ideas to keep your outdoor space in order

The best plastic greenhouses to up your growing potential

The best hose pipes for your lawn and garden in 2024

Subscribe to Modern Gardens magazine and get the most out of your outdoor space. Discover everything you need to know to make your outside space look fantastic, quickly and easily, with hundreds of simple ideas, designer tricks, affordable products and expert advice in every issue of Modern Gardens. View our latest subscription offers to save on shop prices.

Amy-Mae Turner is a Commerce Content Writer for Modern Gardens, Yours, Take A Break Pets, and A Modern Kitchen. When she's not pottering in the garden or mucking around in the kitchen, she can be found having doggy cuddles with her two beloved cockapoochis.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us