Is hanging laundry outside part of your routine or are you thinking about trying something new? Either way, you’re going to need the best retractable clothesline to get the job done. All of these are perfect for smaller back yards or temporary laundry hanging set ups.
Best Retractable Clothes Line
I love doing laundry outside. It’s the whole routine of it. The laundry smells amazing as you hang it on the line. The cool, damp fabric is a bit of relief on really hot days. Doing anything outside on a summer day is blissful, even if it’s a chore.
Then when it’s time to bring the laundry in you can fold it right off the line or bring it all in and fold on the couch. Either way, everything smells like the outside – something you just can’t get with the dryer.
Why You Should Hang Laundry Outside
First of all, hanging your laundry skips the dryer. That means you won’t need to worry about shrinkage on higher heat cycles. Especially if you have a lot of natural fibres like wool.
Hanging laundry on the clothesline also saves money and energy. Skipping the dryer keeps the cost to run it inside your wallet and means you’re using less energy. Which is great for the environment too.
If you have sensitive skin and like great smelling laundry, consider hanging it outside. Nature smells will naturally end up on your laundry. Which is great if you’re sensitive to dryer sheets or in-wash scent products.
Most people don’t realize this, but the sun is a natural disinfectant. Hanging cleaning rags or diapers on the line will prevent bacteria build up.
Want to access your clothes line without letting all of the bugs in? These patio screen doors are perfect for letting in the breeze, without the pests!
Can You Use a Retractable Clothes Line Indoors?
Drying clothes inside is another great reason to pick up a retractable clothes line. You could also use a freestanding drying rack, but I like the retractable lines for small and multipurpose spaces.
If your laundry room is too small to dry clothes in you could install a retractable clothes line in the garage, basement, kitchen, bedroom, or attic as a money-saving solution. Then when the laundry is done just retract the line and use the space for something else.
GorillaLine – Retractable Clothesline Indoor Outdoor
Don’t let this small clothes line deceive you – it’s powerful. Mount it on the wall and you’ll instantly have a clothes line that’s there when you need it, and gone when you’re finished with your laundry.
To install it all you have to do is mount both ends to either side of your room. The line extends over 13 feet, but you can make it shorter to fit any space. The weight limit is 40lbs, which should be plenty for most clothes.
- Low profile
- Easy to install
- Works indoors and outdoors
- Not long enough for large loads of laundry
- Doesn’t always retract smoothly
- Prone to sagging
Best for: Small spaces
This retractable clothes line has not one, not two, but five lines to hang clothes on. That means way higher capacity in roughly the same amount of space as a single line.
After you install both sides this clothes line extends up to 34 feet for a total of 170ft of clothes drying line. If your space is shorter than 34 feet you won’t get that maximum area, though.
- Lots of drying space
- Great for outdoor use
- Retracts when not in use
- Has issues with line tension
- High profile, especially when hung indoors
- Bracket doesn’t line up with studs in most homes
Best for: Occasional use where you want to dry a lot at once
AERO W Racks Stainless Steel Wall Mounted Collapsible Laundry Clothes Drying Rack
This one is a bit different from the other retractable clothes lines on this list but I thought it was worth mentioning. While it doesn’t extend or retract as far as other clotheslines, this wall mounted solution is great for small spaces like a laundry room.
When extended it’s the equivalent of 22 linear feet of clothes drying area. As a bonus, you don’t need to worry about lines sagging or hanging up heavy items.
- Very sturdy (when mounted properly)
- Easy to open and clothes
- Can be used indoors or outside
- Included mounting template is hard to use
- Takes up a lot of space on the wall when not in use
- Only 35” wide, not wide enough to dry large items like sheets
Best for: Spaces where you don’t have an adjacent wall to attach a retractable clothes line to
Retractable Clothesline – Portable Heavy Duty Indoor and Outdoor Single Clothes Drying Rack
One thing I like about this clothesline is that you can attach it to any hook on the other end. That means that not only can this be set up indoors and outside, but at places like the campsite too.
This lightweight clothesline extends 35 feet, which is farther than other similar products. The one downside to that is the reel is on the bigger size so it could be an eyesore in your home. The size is also a pro, though – less chances of the line getting tangled in a small box.
- Easy to install
- Extends and retracts easily
- Holds a lot of clothes (both length and weight)
- Plastic clothes lines are prone to stretching
- Sags in the middle when fully extended
- Doesn’t lock in place (so heavy clothes may continue to extend the line)
Best for: Lightweight clothing and outside use
BHILWY Retractable Clothesline Adjustable Clothes line
This little box doesn’t seem like much but hidden inside is over 13 feet of clothesline. It’s great for small spaces and can easily fit inside a closet, bedroom, laundry room, or kitchen.
What I like about this brand in particular is they offer a variety of colour options. If you have to have your clothesline in an area where people might see it when it’s retracted it’s nice to have something that matches your decor.
- Different design options
- Locks in place at your desired length
- Good for putting hangers on it
- Short line isn’t great for hanging large items
- Self adhesive mounting option may not hold up
- Only one cord
Best for: Any small space, décor-conscious buyers
What is the Best Retractable Clothes Line?
There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a new clothes line, most importantly: where you’re going to put it and what you’re planning to hang on the line. All of these clotheslines are great for different reasons, but if you just want the best one, which do you choose?
My pick for the best retractable clothes line is the BHILWY Retractable Clothesline. It was kind of a surprising find, if I’m honest, but it ticked all the boxes that make up a good clothesline.
First of all, it’s low profile and compact. When you’re shopping for a retractable line you want to be able to put it away without it standing out in the space. To make it even better, you can choose from a few colour options to match your décor.
Besides the look, though, it’s just genuinely a good product. Being able to lock the line when it’s extended is a huge plus. It means that you can use it at any length without worrying about heavy clothes pulling it out further.
Unlike most of the other retractable clothes lines on this list, this one has a metal cord. Metal is less prone to sagging which means you’ll get a more durable product. Especially if you’re using it indoors.
At over 13 feet long you’d be surprised how much you can fit on this clothesline. It supports hangers really well, but you could also drape a blanket or sheet over it too.
Finally, I love that installation is so easy. You should screw it into drywall (ideally, into studs) but for other surfaces like tile it actually comes with mounting adhesive. Once mounted properly the line holds up to 40lbs.
Final Thoughts on the Best Retractable Clothes Line
Retractable clothes lines aren’t as sturdy or durable as their fixed counterparts. If your space allows for it, consider installing something permanent if you want to dry your clothes outside often.
All of these would be awesome choices for small spaces or as a solution to dry those delicate clothes that can’t go in the dryer. You can also use clotheslines to dry towels by the pool or swimsuits for later use. They’re perfect for hanging up in the house, backyard, or on a balcony.
Just remember that most retractable clotheslines need two adjacent walls to be set up. And don’t forget to measure to make sure the line you choose will fit. Finally, make sure it’s mounted correctly so it doesn’t come crashing down when loaded with clothes.