Retractable Washing Line Vs Clothes Drying Rack

How to choose between an indoor retractable washing line and a clothes drying rack.

If you are looking for a new way to dry your wet washing indoors, that is more affordable than using an electric tumble dryer, then you may be considering the choice of an indoor retractable washing line or a clothes drying rack.

Both options are kinder to the environment and your pocket thanks to not needing electricity to run. Whilst naturally drying your clothes is also proven to be kinder to fabrics, increasing the lifespan of your washing. But, which is the best option for you to easily dry your wet washing? At Washing Line, we have put together this helpful guide comparing retractable washing lines and clothes drying racks to help you make the right choice to dry your wet laundry.


There is an obvious winner in this category as retractable clotheslines are much smaller than drying racks. If space is a premium on your property then most indoor retractable clotheslines will either take minimal space when retracted back into the casing on the wall. Another benefit is that retractable washing lines take up zero square feet of floor space. If you’re in an area without a lot of space, such as a flat, you don’t want anything unnecessarily taking up floor space.

On the other hand, drying racks are much larger and even when drying racks are folded up, they still tend to be quite clunky and take up a lot of space. They also need floor space in order to be used, which as we mentioned earlier can be an issue in smaller apartments. One key consideration that we also suggest when people ask us about buying a clothes drying rack is to check the dimensions for the rack when folded. Then measure the storage place you had in mind in your home to see if the clothes drying rack will fit.

You will also need to consider the number of washing loads that you need to dry and the capacity of each clothes drying option in this category. The more washing you need to dry, the larger the drying rack or the more drying racks you will need. As retractable washing lines take up a lot less space, having an extra unit is considerably less of an issue.


Slightly linking with the size of each style of clothes drying device, the position of both these options is important to consider.

Although retractable washing lines take up no floor space, they do take up space in the room. This does come with the benefit of improving the air circulation to dry clothes in much less time. But also the drawback of creating a barrier in the room which may leave some place inaccessible without ducking under the wet washing hanging on your clothesline.

This is where, if you have the floor space, a clothes drying rack can be more discreet in drying your washing and left in a corner or side of the room out of the way.


An important consideration that comes into play whenever you are buying something new for the home, price and value for money is key. If you compare the expense of buying a retractable clothesline to buying a clothes drying rack, retractable washing lines tend to be a little cheaper ranging from under £10 to £30, in comparison to £20-£40.


A slightly more general thing to consider when buying any clothes drying device is the capacity of how much washing it can hold. As standard retractable washing lines tend to have a clothesline length of 15 meters to 20 meters. Whilst a standard size clothes drying rack has a capacity of around 20 meters.

However, both options do have potential extras that can increase the amount of wet washing they can hold. Indoor retractable washing lines now come in various models with extra clotheslines that increase the overall length and capacity. These can be great if you have a reasonable amount of air space to dry large loads of washing at the same time.

Alternatively, clothes drying racks tend to have extra features such as fold-out tiers or side wings. These little add-ons can give you the chance to hook extra wet washing onto your clothes rack and increase its drying capacity.

Retractable washing line or clothes drying rack?

At Washing Line, we think that both indoor retractable washing lines and clothes drying racks are great ways to dry your wet washing. Much friendlier to the environment, your finances and kinder to clothes than electric dryers, we believe it will become an increasingly popular choice.

When it comes down to whether an indoor retractable washing line or a clothes drying rack is best for you, our advice is to take into consideration everything mentioned above and then make your choice. The most important to think about is the available space you have on your property when the clothes drying devices are in use, and also when they are in storage.

Other considerations such as price and capacity fall in favour of the indoor retractable washing line. But if you don’t have the right space then don’t try and fit square pegs into circle holes.

If you have made your choice and want some help picking out the right model for you, check out our Best Retractable Washing Line Review or our Best Clothes Drying Rack Review.

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