You probably ended up here because you’re looking for a new extendable clothes line to replace your trusty old one or you simply want a clothesline that will tackle through a tough job without taking over your backyard like most traditional form factors do.
Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that this review is subjective, Lifestyle Clotheslines is not sponsored in any way by any manufacturer and our experience may not reflect the same scenario in your household.
If our guess is right, then you have come to the right place. We have reviewed a few of the popular models of extendable washing lines and ranked them from best to worst so we can help you make the right decision and minimise buyer’s remorse as much as possible.
Extendable washing lines are probably the simplest, most convenient kind of airer that you can install at home. Everything is stored inside a spring-loaded cabinet which lets you reel in or out the drying lines and the mounting possibilities are virtually endless.
Another good thing about retracting washing lines is the fact that they are pretty reliable by design, there is not a lot of moving parts that will wear out eventually and no unnecessary bells and whistles that you’ll find you really won’t use much and regret spending too much on so we think it is one of the better investments that will last a long time if you manage to get the right one.
For this review, we will focus on extendable washing lines that have around 40 meters of line capacity which are listed below:
Austral Retractaway 40
We will focus on the extendable washing lines’ build quality, performance, and price/value of these models, we will also tell you about the key takeaways for each one and other quirks that we may have encountered during our short time with them.
Austral Rectractaway 40 Review
This extendable clothesline is rather compact but we couldn’t help but notice how solid it felt, it is indeed very well built courtesy of the galvanised steel cabinet and a few plastic parts that do not feel cheaply made.
We could not find any information about the Retractaway 40’s plastic mouldings but we suspect that it is glass fibre reinforced and that is a good thing.
Glass fibre is the same material used to make rugged heat and impact resistant plastics that are used as the main structure for many power tools like drills and angle grinders, just to give you an idea.
While this extendable washing line has a discreet and simple design, frankly, it looks a little too dated compared to the other ones we featured on this review, the utilitarian look might not suit the preference of some but this thing is all about function over form.
This extendable clothesline is 100% designed and built in Australia if you’re the kind who pays a of attention on where a certain product is manufactured; we do agree that most Australian made airersare a bit better than ones outsourced in China.
The Austral Retractaway 40 was actually quite easy to use, we were able to extend the lines a maximum of seven meters and hooked up the bar on the receiving bracket without much fuss. The lines are a bit thick and is made of polyester.
Once the lines are properly deployed and secured to the receiving bracket, move the thumb switch to the ‘lock’ position and turn the tensioning knob clockwise to start tightening the line.
This task is quite easy for most of us but we think it can be a little difficult for those with smaller hands since it requires a bit of oomph to properly tighten the cords.
Once we were done using the extendable clothesline, retracting the lines back into the cabinet was an effortless affair.
The process is as simple as unlocking the reel switch, move to the other end of the line, lift off the line bar from the receiving bracket and gently walk towards the cabinet while you let the thing do the rest until the bar is properly seated on the cabinet.
Using the tensioning knob can be quite difficult
Very sturdy and compact build
Made in Australia
Great price point for an extendable clothesline
10 year warranty
Hills Slim 6 Review
Once we had this extendable washing line installed, it was apparent that Hills wasn’t kidding when they named it “Slim”.
It is a bit tall and wide as far as airers in this format go but its 70mm depth from the wall is quite impressive.
It looks really pleasing to the eyes, even friends and family ask us what it was and were often shocked to hear that it’s a clothesline.
Despite being designed by Hills here in Australia, this product is actually made in China but the overall build is satisfactory.
Its very modern design looks great and blends really well in our patio, it can easily fit into any space because of its slim profile.
The extendable washing line’s cabinet is fashioned from galvanised steel however, we could not help but notice that the plastics felt a little cheap, all in all though the whole thing is built really well so it’s nothing to worry about, the rest of the load bearing parts are made from steel which is a good thing.
The mechanism for locking lines is very easy to use because it is a lever therefore not much force is required using the hands and wrists unlike others that have knobs which require a strong grip.
Extending the polyester cords of this extendable clothesline is not as straightforward as the others ones since there’s a bit of manoeuvring to do but it’s quite easy to do.
Just pull down the bar from the bottom of the cabinet then work your way to the receiving bracket.
We did observe that the lines of this extendable clothesline are little uneven the moment we extended them so retightening maybe needed though we’re not sure if it just an isolated case for this extendable washing line.
Space between cords are adequate, and it handled around three to almost four full wash loads which is less than the Retractaway, it is to be expected given that it has just 39 meters of drying line—a little less compared to the other ones in this review that are cheaper.
The thing is, missing a meter of cord is not that bad since this extendable clothesline can win beauty pageants at any given day.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for the others, it’s a perfect marriage of form and function in our opinion and the competitors need to step up their game.
Thanks to the ample spacing of the cords, our sheets and jeans didn’t end up being damp by the time the sun was about to set.
This model performed remarkably well and we did not notice any ‘break in’ sounds such as creaks and springs twanging.
Retracting the lines back into the cabinet is as easy as pulling down the lever and slowly let the lines be fed back, not much fuss and you get to regain your backyard/patio space and the Slim 6 will still end up looking good when not in use.
Very sleek and unique design
Lever mechanism is convenient to use
Plastics feel a little on the cheap side
Uneven line tension, needs readjustment
Made in China but overall good build quality
A little pricey for the capacity
10 year warranty
Daytek 6 Line Retractable Clothesline Review
This extendable clothesline was quite hefty and it felt really robust—a good sign and not bad for a first impression right? The weighty cabinet of the Daytek 6 Line is powder coated too and looks rather classy.
The weight is understandable since all of its six lines are individually sprung/tensioned.
This means it has more components inside which are densely packed so line sagging is virtually eliminated.
Right off the bat we noticed that this extendable washing line has better aesthetics than the Austral Retractaway although it is a little on the chunky side due to the overhang/depth from the wall.
Plastics seem to be of good quality but we couldn’t tell if it is of the durable glass fibre reinforced variety like the one on Austral’s Retractaway 40, probably not, nevertheless the mouldings feel up to par.
Like with most extendable clotheslines, the cords were properly tightened in a snap, it was basically effortless to deploy and lock them in place.
The tensioning mechanism is very convenient to use thanks to the crank—it takes less than a full turn to execute and all six cords were adequately tight courtesy of the independent springs/reels.
We really liked this aspect of the Daytek, it makes it really convenient to use and makes cord readjustment of your extendable clothesline a thing of the past.
From a performance standpoint, we think it’s pretty average compared to the other ones but it does have 42 meters of line space which is the best our of the four units we have reviewed, it did take on four to almost five full wash loads which is nothing to scoff at considering how compact this thing is.
The polyester lines performed like a champ while hanging articles and they do feel well made, did not emit any strange sound even when tortured with heavy articles but the space between lines are a little less than the others.
We did notice that drying things like blankets and duvets took a tiny bit more time, the bottom ends were a bit damp when we were about to take them down at the same timeframe we did with the Retractaway and Slim but isn’t something that further airing cannot fix.
We suspect that this is due to the slightly narrower space between the clothes. The Daytek 6 still holds the candle when it comes to capacity so we’ll let this one pass.
Price-wise, this extendable washing line sits right in the middle of the pack, it is well built, handles a week’s worth of laundry without fuss and the tightening the lines is a breeze.
Great overall build quality and understated design
Cabinet depth of 202mm makes it look big
Gap between lines a little too small for our liking
Best capacity of all the clotheslines we featured on this article
10 year warranty
TopDry 39 Review
The TopDry 39 is the second cheapest option we have reviewed, it feels relatively sturdy, has a slim and attractive design that does not draw much attention so it can surely go incognito in your backyard or patio.
Based on our observation, the plastic parts seem cheap and the fact that one of the most used parts—the crank for tightening the lines—felt a bit on the flimsy side, not to mention too small compared to the Daytek’s.
What we loved about the TopDry’s design is the polycord lines can be deployed individually which is great for small jobs.
This will prolong the life of the lines because the other ones won’t have to be exposed under the sun when not in use thus, will be kept from getting brittle.
Extending all lines doesn’t take much effort, you don’t have to pull out all six cords one by one, you can just grab the bar like a typical extendable clothesline.
The locking mechanism is quite easy to use but the small crank and flimsy plastic does not give off a reassuring vibe, then again, the 15 year warranty may make up for those shortcomings so should any of your extendable washing lines’ parts break, TopDry has got you covered.
Just like the Daytek, the drying performance of the TopDry 39 is pretty average, it handled 3-4 loads which is of comparable capacity to the Hills Slim.
Despite the product’s shortcomings in terms of overall fit and finish, it didn’t make any strange noises that indicated signs of stress so that is a plus, the load bearing parts handled the heavy lifting nicely.
We just want to highlight that we really liked the fact that you can pull out any of the six lines so you can vary its capacity but when all six of them are being used.
Independently reeled lines lets you
deploy a drying line at a time
depending on the demand.
The space between each are a little narrow than we prefer so it we encountered the same issue that we did using the Daytek, slightly damp articles—just give it a bit more time to air and you’re good to go.
This definitely affected the drying time of our articles and for this price and capacity, you’re better off with the Retractaway 40 or Daytek 6—the former being a lot cheaper despite looking less handsome and the latter has better build quality with very little increase in price.
In all honesty, both the Retractaway and Daytek units look, feel a lot more robust, and offer better value for the money despite the long 15 year warranty.
The TopDry 39 is satisfactory in terms of design and function but it does not offer the best value in our opinion. There are many brands out there that offer competing products with greater quality for this capacity and price.
Lines can be extended individually
Crank mechanism is easy to use
Plastics feel cheap
Not the best capacity for the price
15 year warranty
It’s pretty clear which of these four retractable washing lines deserves the top spot and which should go to the bottom, quite frankly it is not the best looking of the bunch but our experience with the Retractaway 40 echoes the sentiments of other people who own this extendable washing line.
We think that the Retractaway and Hills Slim performed the best and offer great value for the price, these units are very much worthy of your consideration should you be on the lookout for your next extendable washing line.