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Dunelm’s heated airer is a fast track to dry, crease-free clothing

We were skeptical about this gadgets claim of being able to dry up to 10kg of clothing

Tamara Hinson
Tuesday 26 April 2022 09:59
<p>We considered design, drying time and effectiveness </p>

We considered design, drying time and effectiveness

We’ve all seen them: television adverts showing endless washing lines loaded with fresh-scented laundry drying under cloudless blue skies.

But the suggestion that the onset of summer means more opportunities to dry our clothes outside doesn’t really stack up in the UK.

Mid-summer showers will quickly put a dampener on our dreams of air-dried undies – leaving us more likely to resort to hanging our freshly laundered clothes off radiators, bannisters and hastily erected drying racks which fill our homes with a damp fug.

This – in theory – is where heated airers come in. In a nutshell, they look, for all intents and purposes, like the typical folding airers that most of us own. But there’s one difference...

These have heated bars which speed up the drying process, and which are typically sturdier than the rails on the average dryer, which allows them to support larger weights (most heated airers can support around 10kg of clothing) while still having enough space between the bars to allow air to circulate. And what’s more, they’re more popular than ever, which is which we decided it was high time to put one to the test.

Read more:

How we tested

Luckily, our testing sessions occurred during a period when the UK was blighted by some unexpected cold weather, which meant plenty of opportunities to give this airer thorough testing. We piled it with a wide range of clothing – almost certainly exceeding the weight limit of 10kg on more than one occasion – and paid careful attention not only to drying times, but to its design, and how easily it was to fold, unfold and stow away.

Dunelm two tier heated airer: £85, Dunelm.com

  • Rating: 9/10
  • Dimensions: W 101cm x H 74cm x L 11.5cm
  • Maximum load: 10kg washing
  • Drying space: 10 metres
  • Material: aluminium and plastic

Design

The first thing that stands out about this airer is that it’s incredibly light – it weighs just 2.5kg and can be easily lifted with one hand. The bars, arranged over two tiers, have a matte feel and are smooth to the touch with a slightly textured finish which helped keep our smalls in place.

The bars, like the rest of the airer, feel incredibly stable – there’s no twisting or shifting, and they’re held in place by thick plastic supports which surround the end of each one. When folded out, curved, flexible clips support the two tiers, too.

Stability was obviously a key aspect for the designers, because the overall sturdiness is fantastic as well. The x-shaped support struts near the base kept the dryer firmly in place, even when it was loaded (possibly overloaded) with a freshly-washed load of laundry. And its worth noting the supports are made of the same aluminium as the bars from which we hung our clothes – in our experience, all too often, cheaper less reliable materials are used for supporting parts on items like this.

The airer in action

We also loved the fact that there are no sharp edges – thick plastic caps cover not only the upper corners of the airer but the feet, which meant we had no concerns about placing this on our freshly-laid kitchen flooring. When we placed it on carpeted areas, there were no imprints left behind.

Even the switch has some extra protection – a transparent rubber covering which certainly provided peace of mind when using the airer to dry damp clothes. And we also loved the generous length of the cable – 73cm (and yes, we did measure it) meant more than enough room to tuck the airer into the furthest corners of our kitchen.

Drying power

First things first: there’s no timer on this airer, but we didn’t miss this particular feature. Heated airers shouldn’t be left on when nobody’s at home anyway, so it’s a feature we’re fairly sure we wouldn’t use.

From the moment we switched the airer on, it took around three minutes to reach full heat. Temperature-wise, the bars certainly felt warm to the touch, but nowhere near hot enough to pose a burn risk: think toasty warm, rather than sizzling hot.

Read more: 10 best clothes steamers to smooth creases in your favourite garments and furnishings

We used the airer to dry a wide range of garments on days when unexpected showers meant we couldn’t use our outdoor washing line. Smaller items, such as underwear, dried in a couple of hours, while heavier garments such as thick cotton shorts and sweaters took another 40-60 minutes. But this airer really comes into its own with delicate garments, in our opinion.

A delicate silk dress took just 40-minutes to dry and was wonderfully crease-free at the end of the process, as were our favourite woollen jumpers (albeit after slightly longer drying times). We suspect that the combination of hanging rails and gentle warmth is the key factor here – a holy grail which meant far fewer creases than we’ve come to expect with line-dried items, paired with faster drying times. What’s not to love?

The verdict: Dunelm two-tier heated airer

We were skeptical about this Dunelm airer, but we’re pleased to report we’re now total converts. It didn’t just dry our clothes quickly and thoroughly, but banished creases, too.

Another reason for our hesitancy was a lack of space – could an item sturdy enough to hold 10kg of clothing really be stashed away into our cramped kitchen cupboard? The answer, with this airer at least, is yes – and what’s more, we were able to fold it and unfold it single-handedly, a major perk when carrying armloads of freshly washed laundry.

Dunelm two tier heated airer

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