With the return of beautiful weather I’ve been doing more outdoor clothes drying. I thought I’d share my opinion of the Homesteader clothes drying rack from Homestead Drying Racks. This is an unsoliceted and uncompensated product review. You may be sure I am sharing my own experience and opinion.
First let me say that it just KILLS me to run the dryer in the summer. Last summer, after several months of waiting for my husband to build me a clothes line (he would have gotten to it eventually), I ran accross a magazine article about Homestead Drying Racks. I loved the idea of a portable rack, because sometimes I want to hang clothes to dry indoors. Also I liked the idea of being able to move it to the sunny side of the house based on the time of day or season. I hesitated to purchase it though, because it was expensive compared to the racks available at the big box stores, and return shipping would have been expensive if I hadn’t been happy. Finally after a few visits to the Homestead Drying Rack website, I bit the bullet and placed my order. I am very happy with the rack, but would have found it much easier to place my order had I known the answers to a few questions.
Is it well made? Well, to be honest the answer to this question depends on you. It requires assembly. I had my husband assemble it, and while I enjoyed watching him assemble it very much, he wished the instructions were a little more clear. That being said, the materials are high quality and durable. It has held up to the occasional climbing by the unruly kids who live here,(I make them get down as soon as I catch them) and has endured being frequently moved.
Does it do the job? Yes. I’m able to dry a large load, sometimes an extra large load, depending on the size of the items. I chose the Homesteader model, which is the largest they offer. If you’re single or have a small family you could choose one of the smaller units. The unique design of the rack allows the clothes to hang without touching one another unlike the accordion style racks available in stores, which allow clothes hanging from upper rungs to touch clothes on lower rungs. On a sunny day with a slight breeze drying time for an average wash load is similar to drying time in the electric dryer. In the winter I place the rack over our floor register and the clothes seem to dry even quicker than in the dryer, with the added benefit of humidifying our dry winter air.
Is it easy to use? Yes. It is easy to fold, move, use and store. It is lighter than its sturdy hardwood construction would suggest. It is easy for me to reach the top rungs and my children love to help me hang socks and wash cloths on the lowest rungs. If I sudden rain storm hits it is easy to fold the rack up, clothes still hanging on it, and move it indoors. I must admit that I’ve even folded it up and put it in a corner with clothes still hanging on it, just because I didn’t want to put them away yet. I store mine folded up in the living room, so sometimes when we have company I’ll hang a pretty folded quilt over it.
Is it worth the money? Yes. I’m lucky to live where electricity is a very inexpensive 2.7 cents per kilowatt hour, and I notice a difference in our power bill when I do more line drying. If you live where power is more expensive (the national average for April 2012 was about 12.7 cents per kwh) you’ll notice larger savings and sooner. I haven’t done any math on this, because I wanted the rack just for the joy of hanging cothes to dry so for me saving money is just gravy, but I’d guess the savings for a family of four who washes several times per week would be significant.
What are the cons? Unfortunatley no product can do absolutely everything. There are some minor cons with the Homesteader which don’t affect my satisfaction with it. The first is that the dowels are too large to use clothes pins on, so if it’s seriously windy or if an item is too small to drape over the rungs well you’ll have to figure out a way to secure your clothes. I’ve really only had this issue when drying socks for the little girls. I’ve solved the problem by using a clothes pin to secure two socks together and draping them one on each side of a rung. Another con is that children are almost irresistably drawn to the rack. My kids wanted to climb it a bunch when we first got it, and now they like to get inside and pretend it’s a tent when the clothes are drying. Also, your friends will be jealous, but you can direct them to www.homesteaddryingracks.com where they can get one of their own!
Check back soon for my opinion of homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener.