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Why I bought it
When trying to dry wet washing in the winter there are limited options. I used to use a combination of hanging things outside on sunny/windy days (which didn't get it properly dry in the coldest months), hanging on airers and radiators (a lot of phaff and blocks the heat from radiators) and the dreaded tumble dryer (which is bad for the environment, not to mention my pocket!!).
I first found out about these heated airers a few years ago. I kept putting off getting one due to the price, but having heard consistently good things about them and being tired of the hassle of wet washing I finally decided to invest in one and I haven't been disappointed!
I paid £92.99 from the Lakeland website (via the nectar website to collect double nectar points!).
I am reviewing the 3 tier heated tower airer but there is a smaller 2 tier airer available for £76.99.
Delivery was free and was stated to take 3-5 working days. Mine arrived in 3. Yodel were the courier (who I don't rate highly at all) but luckily I was in when they delivered so I didn't have any issues.
Exactly as its name suggests this is a clothes airer which plugs into the mains and heats up to dry your clothes.
It provides up to 21 metres (69 foot) of drying space when fully set up. You can also just open it half way if you don't have so much to dry.
Open: W 73cm x D 75cm x H 137cm
Closed: W 73cm x D 8cm x H 137cm
Power consumption 230v
Max load 15kg
To set the airer up is very simple. You swing out the two main arms then lift each tier and hook it in place. It is very very light and I was worried it wouldn't be very sturdy but it is deceptive when folded up, as once set up it is easily rigid enough.
If you drape washing over each rung it can easily hold a full load. My washing machine has an 8kg capacity and the airer comfortably holds a full wash. Alternatively, if you want things to dry quicker, or they might lose their shape whilst damp, you can lay them flat on the tiers.
Once it's loaded up there is only one setting, a simple on/off switch. The airer heats up within minutes. It is hot enough to dry the washing but doesn't become so hot that you could burn yourself - think of a comfortably warm radiator.
With both arms opened up it does take up quite a bit of space, but I still find it better than having wet washing draped all over the house on several different radiators and airers. I simply set it up in one room and shut the door.
As for how long it takes to dry clothes, this varies with how much you put on it. If you are happy to keep rearranging the washing so the dampest parts are directly touching the rails I'd say about 4 hours for a full load. I find it easier just to leave it on longer and just turn the washing occasionally. Lying the washing flat dries it much quicker. To make it even more economical sometimes I just have it on for an hour or two to get rid of the worst of the dampness and then turn it off and leave it to work as a normal airer.
The running costs are one of the biggest selling points. It's stated to cost less than 5p per hour to run based on average elecricity prices July 2011. I'm not sure how much this would make it at current prices but it'll certainly still be far cheaper than a tumble dryer to run.
One thing I was worried about was all the moisture it would generate. It certainly does create a lot, as obviously if the water is coming off the washing it's going into the air. The easiest way to deal with this I've found is to shut it in one room, and either open the window quite wide for a few minutes every hour or so, or else leave the window slightly ajar the whole time (I prefer this option, as I've found the heat generated by the airer cancels out the chill from having the window open).
For storage it folds pretty flat (only 8cm!) but it is still quite tall/wide. This is a disadvantage compared to standard airers which are generally far more compact when folded up. Do think about whether you have somewhere to store it before getting one, and if space is an issue perhaps opt for the smaller 2 tier version.
Finally, Lakeland offer the following guarantee: if you're not satisfied at any time, you receive your money back. You can't say fairer than that!
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely. I've found it so convenient to use. It's so nice to know I can put a wash on whenever I want without having to have any hassle getting it dry. I set this up, turn it on and leave it. Easy!
Plus it's very economical to run. The initial cost is a lot (you'd have to save a fair few runs of the tumble dryer before you make your money back) but for me it's not just the cost, it's the convenience. I honestly don't know if I'll ever use our tumble dryer again unless I need something dried very quickly. If the tumble dryer died I certainly would think twice about buying another one.
I've given it 4 out of 5 stars, because although I absolutely love it, firstly because I do think it's a lot of money for what it is, and secondly because of it's large size when folded up.
It's literally taken a load (of washing!) off my mind!!
Lakeland Dry-Soon 3-Tier Heated Tower Airer
I could have called this review " I wish I Had One Of These Years Ago" and I mean it! When my family were all living at home I did three loads of washing every day, and although in the summer I would hang items out to dry the winter months were a time I would dread. Although yes I could tumble towels, bed clothes, and some non delicate items, there were always a mountain of things with no place to dry but on clothes horses or on hangers- I have even been known to use curtain rails in the past to suspend hangers from which looked unsightly and chaotic. It doesn't help not having a utility room, which I would dearly love in my next house where laundry could dry out of the way. It was when I started to hang tablecloths over the bannisters I decided it was time to do something as my washing was taking me over!
With my family now grown up and only returning for visits I was of course doing less washing. That was true until my son came home from university this summer and reminded me of all the extra loads I had been missing! It was then that I came across the Dry-Soon 3-Tier Heated Tower Airer and pondered the possibility for some months, finally taking the plunge and making a purchase in September. I am just so glad I did!
The Lakeland Dry-Soon 3-Tier Heated Tower Airer is an appliance that has the appearance of a very sturdy clothes airer but is heated. It is this heated aspect that facilitates clothes drying so much more quickly, and provides a real alternative to the tumble dryer as well as a method for drying delicate items safely and quickly.
There are actually two sizes to choose from. I hesitated for a moment but plumped for the large as it was only £15 more, and offered substantially more drying area. I am so glad that I made this decision as even with two of us it means that I can do less loads and fill the machine to capacity and then dry it all on one day. This saves time and energy and of course reduces fuel consumption.
Delivery was free and as with all Lakeland items I have been highly delighted with customer service, delivery times and accuracy - the item was delivered in just three days. It does come in a very large box and sadly because of these it can only be delivered to mainland UK addresses.
To give you an idea of the dimensions, the appliance is when fully open 73 x 75 x 137cm H. (28 3/4" x 29 1/2" x 54"); it folds to a depth of 8cm (3"). Also it arrives packaged in a large box that is 142cm x 80cm x 9cm. (56" x 31½" x 3½"). 300W.
The appliance has three shelves and has the capability to be open half way to allow for drying smaller loads if required. When open fully it has 21m of drying space and is easy to move around as it is remarkably lightweight. When fully loaded it will take the weight of 15kgs of washing as it is incredibly sturdy and in my opinion very well made indeed.
What I really enjoy is the benefit of being able to dry delicate items like knitwear as these can lie flat on the shelves. Smaller items can be placed over the shelves with ease and it will even take the weight of a freshly laundered duvet.
Dries Clothes And Heats the Room Too!
The running cost of this is 5p per hour and in my experience this will dry most items in 8 hours. What I tend to do is to do a wash in the morning, load up the dryer for 8 hours and then switch it off and leave the clothes in situ overnight. By the morning they are beautifully dry, and an added bonus is something that may appeal to those who have chilly houses as the appliance acts like a little heater when it is on and really warms up the room. My daughter who is a student is very interested in this appliance, not only to dry her washing, but also to provide a source of heat in her flat so it may be on her Christmas wish list! I wasn't expecting this but when my boiler died last week and we had no heating it was fantastic, as not only did it dry my clothes but it also warmed us up!
I still use my tumble dryer for towels and sheets because these do impart a lot of moisture into the air due to their large surface area, and so it isn't ideal to have these items drying for long periods of time in enclosed spaces as this can lead to condensation and mould issues. However if you don't have a tumble dryer this would be much better than using radiators or trying to dry items in cold rooms on conventional clothes horses.
Although the appliance is heated it is not a risk to pets or young children as it is not boiling hot, and also this means that if you accidentally forget to turn it off promptly you are not going to find clothes singed or damaged.
The Smaller Option
If you have a very small family you may wish to purchase the smaller option which is less expensive to run only costing 3p per hour. This gives 13m of drying space and is £69.99. It will give you a maximum weight allowance for wet laundry of 10kg and when fully open is 75 x 73 x 99cm H. (29½" x 28¾" x 39"). This model folds to a depth of approx. 8cm (3"). 200W. I think this option is certainly one to consider and is ideal for a student living on their own or an elderly person who maybe finds difficulty hanging washing out of doors. This model has won a House Beautiful award this year so comes highly recommended.
I always like to study reviews very carefully indeed before making purchases and one of the things I really value about Lakeland, and other online retailers who do this, is that they allow reviews to be posted about their products warts and all. Because of this it isn't unusual to find dreadful reviews next to products which are always answered by the Lakeland team who take feedback very seriously. The 3 Tier Airer scores 4 out of 5 and the 2 Tier 5 out of 5 so this is excellent, and really instils confidence in the product. Also I would note that there are almost 400 reviews of the Three Tier Airer on the website and 14 on the smaller version.
An example of the way that the customer service team interact with the review writers is seen in the latest review on there in which a lady points out that the washing dries much more quickly if it is covered by a sheet. This is also suggested in many other reviews prompting a suggestion that maybe Lakeland should supply a cover for it. After extensive testing the answer Lakeland give for not doing this is that it produces a lot of condensation which can damage flooring making it wet, and so I have deduced from this that it is probably ok to cover it if you have ceramic rather than laminate flooring wood or carpets which will quickly become saturated if the condensation is allowed to build up.
I think the only negatives if there are any is that the Three Tier Airer is quite a large item so you do need room for it, and secondly the on off switch is at the bottom meaning you have to lean down to press it, which is not ideal for anyone who is disabled or elderly, but you can of course unplug it at the main wall socket.
Overall I think this is an amazing product that I can honestly say I wish I had had years ago. It has made laundry days simple and easy, and has saved money already on my electricity bill over using my dryer and has made my house free from the clutter of wet washing. It really is a fantastic product.
This review will also be posted on Ciao under my user name Violet1278