Like buying electronics or gifts online, reading reviews on a certain product like outdoor clothes dryer isn’t unfamiliar for many of us, it is the best way to come up with the right decision before we take the shot because we want to know if we will get the best value for our hard-earned money.
Researching for the right outdoor clothes drying rack to own is no different so we’ve lined up three of our best selling models, assembled and tested them for you.
Bear in mind that every household has different needs so the scenarios below may not exactly reflect the one in yours, we did our best to express our honest opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of each one in hopes of providing you with a really good, comprehensive insight.
Eco 300 Foldable Clothesline Review
The Eco 300 is one of our most popular folding outdoor clothes dryers, it is well built and available in various sizes and colours. The versatility in terms of mounting configurations is just the icing on the cake, keep reading below and you will see why many choose to go with this model.
The first thing we have noticed when we were done assembling the Eco 300 (1500 mm depth, largest model) is how solid it felt unlike a few of the other models in this category.
Compared to something like the Hills Double, every load-bearing component of the Eco is made out of steel which definitely makes a difference in terms of the overall build quality, the one made by Hills have some of its parts fabricated from plastic, likely fibreglass reinforced.
Now, we are not implying that its counterpart from Hills feels flimsy since it is anything but that, the Hills Double has been rated quite highly online and has a proven track record (as with most of Hills’ products) but the Eco 300’s overall structure just feels a tad more solid.
The Eco 300 can be mounted on the wall or the ground, in this case, we chose to have it bolted to the wall since it is the most common scenario for the majority of households who choose this outdoor clothes drying rack so we felt that it will be a more realistic demonstration.
Installation process went like a breeze, the standard kit already comes with the bits and pieces such as wall fasteners and plugs (four of each) to anchor it to the wall. We chose to mount it on concrete but if you have bricks or stone walls, some extra steps might be needed to ensure solid anchoring of youroutdoor clothes dryer.
After finding the right spot, we took the necessary measurements, the clothes airer should be an inch higher than the user, we then marked the holes. We drilled into the wall using a hammer drill and a masonry drill bit (8 mm diameter), secured the fasteners and mounted the unit in place.
We deployed the main frame then locked the struts, the humongous unit—which measures 3 meters wide and a 1.5 depth from the wall—was able to accommodate about four hefty loads of laundry and then some (family of four), we positioned the heavy denims on the frontmost part to watch for any evidence of frame flexing/drooping and we are happy to report that there was none. The whole outdoor clothes drying rack was adequately sturdy and the struts did their job well..
When we were done with the first batch in the afternoon, it handled 14 king sized bedsheets the next day and it did so like a champ, there is adequate space between each of the lines hence the relatively quick drying time. Considering how heavy our clothes were, the polyester cord did an excellent job too and there was not much sagging, it held up quite nicely.
We accidentally nicked one corner of the frame during the installation, it caused quite a deep scratch no bigger than half an inch but the paint seems strong enough to withstand such an abuse so the steel did not end up getting exposed.
This is a good reason why people should forego outdoor clothes dryers that are covered with run of the mill polyurethane paint that can crack and peel off easily, the Eco 300 is powder coated with Colorbond, this makes it a lot more resilient to UV rays and the occasional scratches so moisture is kept at bay saving the steel from corrosion.
When we were finished testing the Eco 300, the joints were quiet while the frame was being folded down, we’re guessing that it’s because the unit is still quite new so it’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. Squeaks are easily fixed with a little drop of oil or a dab of grease so it shouldn’t be much of a problem.
This outdoor clothes dryer is a practical line drying solution for those who want a straightforward, spacious fold-down unit that can handle anything you throw at it. We liked the fact that it felt built like a tank and even managed to survive a deep scratch without jeopardising the metal underneath.
Space saving folding mechanism
Full galvanised steel construction, durable paint finish
Tons of sizes and colours available
Can be mounted in the ground, on a concrete slab, or the wall
Rotary hoist outdoor clothes dryers are a boon to many people due to the practicality and convenience of their design, some stay away from the standard format with fixed frames because of the relatively large area they require—virtually unaware that semi-portable, foldable airers of this format exist.
There are a few high capacity foldable hoists available on the market but on our end, the best selling one so far is the Austral Foldaway 51.
We figured it’s time we do a brief review on the overall experience with using it so you can have in depth knowledge about this outdoor clothes drying rack and find out if it will actually bode well with your needs.
We think we’re off to a good start here—not every person who purchase outdoor clothes drying racks are very technical, reading a manual can be a little daunting unless you are a geek like us so the really good advantage of the Foldaway 51’s design is that it requires minimal assembly.
Upon taking it out of the packaging, there was a bit of untangling to do but it isn’t as bad as digging for your smartphone charger in a box full of cables. As you may have guessed, the lines are already preinstalled and the whole thing is shipped in just one box but disassembled into three separate parts which consists of the ground socket, main shaft/column, and the head section.
The Foldaway 51 is a little on the light side for a rotary hoist but by no means does it feel flimsy, it is adequately substantial to give off a sense of sturdiness. This outdoor clothes dryer made of galvanised steel by Galvabond (the same folks behind Colorbond) so the 10 year warranty is nothing to scoff at.
It’s worth noting that this outdoor clothes dryer is available in classic cream, woodland grey or heritage green. We tested the woodland grey and we think it looked sleek, we didn’t worry about the colour so much since this thing can be lifted off the socket anyway.
We were able to designate an area for the unit at the corner of our test yard with enough space for the frame to spin freely when hit by wind, Austral recommends at least 500 mm on all four corners but we reckon you’ll be able to get by with at least 300-400mm if space is a real concern.
(Note: It is best to follow the manufacturer’s advice to make sure your outdoor clothes dryer works as intended.)
With the head section unfolded, the foldaway 51 spans 5 meters, add to that the required clearance of 500 mm for all corners, to give you an idea, that totals to a 6 meter wide space needed in your backyard.
Since it is foldable and can be taken off of the ground socket like a portable airer (apart from the fact that it needs a dedicated base/ground socket for mounting), the space can be utilised when you’re not drying your clothes, the whole thing can be hidden inside your tool shed or leaned against the wall so you don’t have to worry about wasted real estate.
The only real challenge for most rotary outdoor clothes dryers is the work needed to mount it into the ground, if this is something that you won’t be able to do you can ask for the seller to have it installed for you.
We dug a 250mm wide square hole that’s a bit over half a meter deep, around 600 mm to be exact, added some gravel at the bottom to facilitate rainwater drainage and dropped in the ground socket. We filled the sides with quick setting concrete for a more convenient approach, aligned the socket properly using a carpenter’s levelling tool then let it set overnight.
The next day, the concrete base/footing has already cured enough so we can finally mount the outdoor clothes dryer completely. Attaching the head section to the main column was quite easy thanks to the simple latching mechanism, inserted the end of the column into the ground socket, installed the crank and other plastic finishing attachments, unfolded the head section then we’re pretty much done.
We didn’t load the airer until the day after for fear of cracking the concrete base, the Foldaway 51 was able to manage around four big loads of laundry too, we tried hanging most of our heavy articles on one side of the drying lines for the sake of testing purposes and we didn’t witness any creaking, it stayed straight as an arrow even with an imbalanced load, silently turning when the occasional breeze decided to show up.
We’d like to note that raising the head section even when fully loaded was quite smooth and easy courtesy of the cranking mechanism, the crank is made of heavy duty plastic and feels well built, it also didn’t take long for our clothes to dry out which is not surprising for its design but we noticed that the line sagged a little upon taking everything down.
This is normal for new airers in most cases and we didn’t really mind, this is the part where the built-in line tensioner showed its worth. It was quite convenient to use but due to the way the cord was looped through the arms, we had to fiddle with the lines to get them to tighten up, it’s a little tricky to explain but it’s akin to fixing uneven shoelaces.
It was not difficult at all, albeit, a little time consuming so we suggest taking the head section off outdoor clothes dryer and resting it on the ground before tightening the lines because looking up and stretching your arms out for a certain period of time can cause some straining your neck, mostly if you’re an elderly or not a very tall person.
We were able to dry four queen sized bed sheets on the outer lines, king sized sheets can be dried too but not without some creasing—something to put in mind.
Taking off the Foldaway 51 for storage was an effortless affair, we just lowered the head section, unlatched the locking mechanism then folded it down, turned the main column clockwise, lifted it off the ground socket and placed the socket cover to keep it from being filled with water or dirt. The space is now ready for a weekend barbecue!
Once again, there is a considerable amount of effort involved to get the Foldaway 51 up and running compared to typical wall mounted fold-downs, for a DIY savvy person this isn’t much of a concern but for most of us who might not have the time to do it, seeking aid from a professional installer will do the trick.
This outdoor clothes dryer also has multiple moving parts compared to the standard rotating hoist so a bit of TLC is needed to keep your outdoor clothes dryer in tip-top shape, if you decide to go with an outdoor clothes drying rack which has any sort of joint or metal moving parts like the Foldaway 51.
It’s a good practice to apply oil or grease to the moving parts every now and then to prolong the life of your investment mostly if you live in regions where it rains frequently.
The best thing about the Foldaway 51 is that it can take on big laundry drying tasks when you need it to and you can still use the precious living space it takes up should the situation call for it, the line tensioning system is also a good thing to have, it will let you get more use out of your polycord and virtually gets rid of line sagging. It is a rewarding option for an outdoor clothes drying rack because there’s little compromise to encounter.
100% designed and built in Australia
Big drying capacity in a compact space
Foldable and can be stored when not in use
Built in line tensioning mechanism to keep line sagging at bay
Austral Retractaway 40 Retractable Clothesline Review Out of the three units we have reviewed, the Austral Retractaway 40 is the simplest out of all the outdoor clothes dryers we have on this list, it may lack most of the bells and whistles that comes with the other two but that’s what makes it so compelling. It is a straightforward approach in high capacity, outdoor clothes drying and finding a surface to mount it on is a piece of cake.
The standard package includes the Retractaway 40 (available in classic cream or woodland grey, ours was the latter) or simply dubbed as the ‘cabinet’, two 8 mm washers, and a receiving bracket.
The cabinet is simple in design, the main body of this outdoor clothes dryer is made of galvanised steel with some bits of heavy-duty plastic.
It’s 80 cm long, 12.5 cm thick and it feels quite robust, you can really tell right off the bat that it is a well made product and we liked that very much.
This model is so simple and dead easy to install, we can almost guarantee that anyone with a drill can get the job done. We opted for a wall to wall installation (kits are available for other mounting options), if you’re going to install this yourself, you will need four pieces of 8 mm masonry anchors since it does not come in the box.
We started by positioning the cabinet on the wall so the side slots rest directly on the surface and can be easily marked. Make sure that the cabinet is at least 50 mm above user’s head height. According to the manufacturer, typical installations are set at 1800 mm for the height of the cabinet, same goes for the receiving bracket.
After marking the wall, we drilled two holes and mounted the cabinet accordingly using the 8 mm washers, tightened the fasteners, then secured the receiving bracket on the opposite end making sure that we stay within the maximum length of 8 meters—well, in this case we were only able to cover a distance of 7 meters so we’re well within the limits.
The installation was easy and the provided manual was very detailed yet concise, upon drawing out the drying line we did encounter some uneven tightness on the third and fourth rows which we adjusted right away, gave it a final tug then tightened the tension knob—our outdoor clothes drying rack is all set!
There are 5 drying lines and the cords are made with PVC which gives off a reassuring vibe due to its thickness,
since ours was only able to stretch out to just 7 meters instead of 8, we hung articles that are heavier than usual to even out the test.
Corduroys, jeans, and long canvas curtains—yes, we might have overdone it a little (two and a half loads of the heavy stuff) but the thing barely broke a sweat. Of course it is to be expected that the lines will sag a little, considering all the mass it had to support so it will be stretched out during the ‘break in’ period.
You can keep readjusting the line tension but we noticed that PVC cords in general sag a little because of how flexible the material is, Austral did acknowledge that this is normal.
Due to the design of this clothes airer, most of the weight/torque is handled by the chassis and receiving bracket so it all boils down to the surfaces you mounted them on since the pulling forces are transferred directly to the walls. It’s a good idea to use a strong fastener for this type of outdoor clothes dryer.
When fully drawn out, the Retractaway 40 has the capacity to handle a big load of laundry in one go, when we tested ours we were not able to take advantage of the device’s full capacity but it’s safe to say that it will work well with a family of 3 or 4 members.
To retract the line, it takes just three easy steps: Unlock the tension knob on the cabinet,
unmount the receiving line from the bracket then slowly walk your way back to the cabinet and let the thing do its job by letting the lines be reeled back in.
This model is well built, easy to install, and reasonably priced. Aesthetics is an advantage too because it is quite discreet and we dig the grey colour. It’s hard not to recognise this one as a good alternative when choosing a good outdoor clothes drying rack.
User friendly, easy to install
Very discreet design
Great value for the capacity
Loads of options for mounting
Now that we have done the work for you, all that’s left to do is decide which outdoor clothes dryer to pick out, we think that the task should no longer be as difficult given that you now have an in depth look at how three of our most popular outdoor clothes drying racks fare against each other.
Each airer has its own strengths and weaknesses that you should definitely consider to ensure years of reliable service and utmost satisfaction so better choose well!
The Top 3 Australian Outdoor Clothes Dryers Reviewed