The Best Retractable Washing Line for Gardens
Retractable washing lines are a great way to dry clothes outside, and as they can be retracted, you don’t have to look at the lines when you’re not drying clothes; just unhook the line, and it will rewind automatically into the discreet box.
I used to be lazy and put my radiators on just to dry my washing, but with the current cost of living crisis and skyrocketing gas bills, I purchased the two highest-rated and best retractable washing lines I could find and put them to the test.
The Vileda “Cordomatic” 15-metre washing line came out on top and is my Best Pick.
Read my full review below, watch the video and if you like what you see, but online at Amazon.
Daniel Woodley – product tester
Quick Video Review
Watch my short 6-min video review below:
My Recommended Rectractable Washing Line: Vileda Cordomatic
While retractable washing lines aren’t exactly the most exciting subject, I did a ton of research before making my choice.
I analysed thousands of online reviews and noted the failure rates, issues with sagging and the price.
Based on my findings, I chose the Vileda Cordomatic 15 metre retractable washing line which had the highest percentage of 4 and 5 star ratings and the lowest number of 1 or 2 stars.
I also purchased the Minky retractable washing line, just for comparison.
The Vileda washing line unit is a discreet grey colour and is made to the following dimensions:
The backing plate, which is made from steel and has two pre-drilled holes, feels really strong, and I don’t believe this would ever break.
The two metal screws that came with the pack looked a little flimsy but, according to the manufacturer, are rated to hold 15kg. These could easily be swapped, but I haven’t had any issues with them so far.
The rest of the product is made from hard plastic, and upon inspection, I couldn’t find any obvious weak spots, although an all-metal product would obviously be much stronger.
Installing this retractable washing line was a breeze and took only a few minutes and required just three tools:
- Drill bit (6mm).
I drilled directly into the brick face as that’s the toughest part of the wall and I wound the hook into a nearby tree trunk.
The Strength Test
I loaded the line up with towels, a jacket, bed duvet, duvet cover, 2 x boots, shoes and other items of clothing and the line slipped!
A quick tip; wrap the line twice around the node at the base of the unit to stop the line from slipping.
Otherwise, the unit and line handled the load without any issues.
Wrap twice to prevent the line from slipping
Testing the line with heavy items inc a duvet and cover, towels and throwovers etc
Pros and Cons
Here are my pros and cons:
- It’s easy to put up, and I had it in place within 5 minutes.
- It’s discreet, with no crazy colours.
- The box is small.
- The fixing plate is sturdy and unlikely to snap.
- Holds up to 15kg of laundry.
- 15m of line is enough for most gardens but do measure yours.
- The fixings screws could be more robust; the heads were quite small.
- An all-metal design would be so much tougher, but at this price point, I think that would be asking too much.
- The sag; if you fully extend this washing line, you’ll need to prop it up with a pole.
Does This Retractable Washing Line Need a Pole?
An easy way to deal with sagging washing lines is to buy a £10 extendable prop which can be used to lift up the line.
Based on my experience; if you extend the washing line up to 10 metres, you won’t need a pole to prop it up.
Go up to 15 metres and I think you’d be better off buying a prop pole as heavy loads do cause a bit of sag.
What Others Are Saying About the Vileda Cordomatic
As part of my research into the best retractable washing lines, I looked at thousands of reviews on Amazon, eBay and other online sites.
This is what I found:
- 90% of consumers rated it 4 or 5 stars out of 5, which indicates that buyers really like this washing line.
- Only 5% of reviewers rated it 1 or 2 stars out of 5, which is low compared to competing products.
- The main complaints were due to screws snapping or the line getting twisted inside the unit.
- A small number of reviewers stated that they fixed a cleat hook next to the unit as it helped keep the line tight.
Alternative Retractable Washing Lines
There are plenty of retractable washing lines out there and but Vileda and Minky are the most popular brands.
I looked in detail at the Minky retractable washing line and the thousands of reviews it has received online and while the product is similar, it doesn’t appear as sturdy.
In my video, I compared the two products and the differences were minor:
- Minky feels more plasticky.
- Vileda’s product has a bigger backing plate and a metal clip.
- Minky’s clip is plastic.
- Minky’s unit can be removed from the wall without using a screwdriver, unlike Vileda’s.
The Minky alternative washing line looked a little more fragile.
The online reviews were similar to that of Vileda’s product, but slightly fewer consumers rated it 4 or 5 stars out of 5.
One notable highlight is that Minky also sells a different model with two lines and an increased weight limit to 25kg, which could be very handy depending on the size and shape of your garden and how much washing you do:
But two lines are better than one and the weight limit is higher.
I chose the Vileda product and so far after 6 months of usage and testing for the video, it’s met my expectations.
Author: Daniel Woodley
Thanks for reading this guide to retractable washing lines, which we know isn’t the most exciting topic! Daniel Woodley published this guide here at DIY Gardening and the article was last updated in July 4th 2022.
Daniel is a keen amateur gardener trying to reduce his reliance on harmful weed killers and other chemicals but accepts there is a place for them in some scenarios.
He also enjoys growing vegetables and fruits, as well as his herbaceous border and container garden.
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