The Best Outdoor Towel Racks of 2023

One of these towel racks will be perfect for keeping towels fresh and accessible by the pool, hot tub, or outdoor shower.

Best Overall

The Best Outdoor Towel Racks Option: Milliard Freestanding Portable Outdoor Towel Tree

Milliard Freestanding Portable Outdoor Towel Tree

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Outdoor Towel Racks Option: Topspeeder Outdoor Pool Towel Hooks

Topspeeder Outdoor Pool Towel Hooks

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Best Stability

The Best Outdoor Towel Racks Option: Outdoor Lamp Company 5-Bar Towel Rack

Outdoor Lamp Company 5-Bar Towel Rack

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Outdoor towel racks keep those big luxurious beach towels fresh and fluffy before use and provide somewhere for them to dry after. On sunny days, they make towel warmers unnecessary, and since they don’t require any power, they’re more eco-friendly.

The choice between outdoor towel racks ranges from simple, low-cost outdoor towel hooks to large folding models. Such variety is great, but the range of styles, configurations, sizes, and materials can make finding the right poolside towel rack more challenging than it first appears.

In this article, we aim to help you simplify the process by looking at key details and offering picks for what we think are the best outdoor towel racks on the market right now.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Milliard Freestanding Portable Outdoor Towel Tree
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Topspeeder Outdoor Pool Towel Hooks
  3. BEST STABILITY: Outdoor Lamp Company 5-Bar Towel Rack
  4. BEST WALL-MOUNTED: Lonffery 4-Arm Outdoor Towel Rack
  5. BEST CAPACITY: TowelMaid Curved 7-Bar Outdoor Towel Rack
  6. BEST WOODEN: AquaTeak Original Sula Versatile Teak Towel Rack
  7. BEST EXTENDING: Aero W Expandable Folding Rack
  8. BEST FOLDING: SmartSome Clothes Drying Rack
  9. BEST CABINET: Rubbermaid Extra-Large Patio Storage Cabinet
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: Pennsylvania Woodworks Large Clothes Drying Rack
The Best Outdoor Towel Racks Option storing a towel, hat, and shoes at a campsite
Photo: amazon..com

How We Chose the Best Outdoor Towel Racks

In developing our curated list of the top outdoor towel racks, our principal aim was to offer as wide a choice as possible. To do this, we looked at dozens of different models, including everything from a low-cost wall-mounted towel rack for hot tub use to a large freestanding beach towel rack that sits beside a pool. We also poured through hundreds of owner reviews to get real-world feedback.

Style is very personal, so we chose towel racks in various designs, colors, and materials. We considered how many towels could be held, how easy the towel racks were to move, and how durable they would be in daily use. As usual, price was also an important factor.

The only type of towel rack we didn’t include was an outdoor heated towel rack or towel warmer. We were unable to find any that are safe if the weather turns bad, so we don’t see them as truly “outdoor” devices.

Our Top Picks

The following selection represents the best outdoor towel holders in each of ten categories. There are solutions here to suit just about every location, budget, and taste.

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The Milliard outdoor towel tree offers a clever and versatile solution. It is made from furniture-grade PVC (polyvinyl chloride) that is ultraviolet (UV)-resistant and unaffected by rain if left out occasionally. It is finished in an attractive bronze color. The towel rack’s three horizontal poles are adjustable to accommodate different towel sizes, and at 65 inches tall, there’s little chance of them dragging on the floor.

Although lightweight enough to be moved easily, the base is designed to be filled with water, thus adding stability. Poles are removable for more compact storage and transportation, so this towel tree could easily double as a towel rack for RV use.

The Milliard is a popular pool towel holder, and owners are largely happy with their purchase. However, a combination of direct sun and very hot temperatures can cause the base to soften and the central pole to tilt, so it’s best stored in the shade when not in use.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Material: Furniture-grade PVC
  • Towel capacity: 6

Pros

  • Made from furniture-grade PVC so it can be left outside no matter the weather
  • Base can be filled with water to prevent it from easily tipping or blowing over
  • Adjustable bars accommodate different towel sizes and can be removed for storage

Cons

  • Base may soften in very hot sun, causing the central pole to tilt

Get the Milliard outdoor towel rack at Amazon.

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We looked at several wall-mounted outdoor towel racks, but few offer the combination of low price, simplicity, and effectiveness provided by this hook set from Topspeeder.

Its all-steel construction supports considerable weight, ensuring that wet towels, bags, and clothing can be hung without causing damage. The finish is scratch- and weather-resistant, so rust shouldn’t be a problem. A mere three holes are required for installation, and the necessary wall anchors and screws are included.

The Topspeeder towel hook rack is just 16 inches wide, so finding an appropriate space for this set of hooks should be easy. Some pool owners feel the hook spacing makes it difficult to drape a full row of large beach towels, though if the towels have hanging loops, this won’t be a problem.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wall-mounted
  • Material: Steel
  • Towel capacity: 8

Pros

  • Simple, budget-friendly way to hang towels, clothes, bags, etc.
  • Steel construction is strong and very durable with a tough weather-resistant finish
  • Easy to install on any suitable upright surface; fixing screws are included

Cons

  • Some feel the size makes it impractical to accommodate large towels on every hook

Get the Topspeeder outdoor towel rack at Amazon.

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Adding large towels to slender outdoor towel racks can be like putting out sails on a sailboat. Any slight breeze might topple them, and passing kids or pets could easily tip them over. The wide-set legs of the Outdoor Lamp Company 5-bar towel rack provide an especially stable base, thus preventing these problems. Yet it remains light enough to be moved around easily.

This UV-resistant furniture-grade PVC pool towel rack has an attractive bronze finish. The 5-bar layout provides plenty of space for large beach towels or drying bathing suits and swimming trunks. Poolside footwear could also be rested on top.

The Outdoor Lamp Company towel rack does require assembly, although the manufacturer says it should only take 5 minutes. The necessary Phillips screwdriver is not included, though we expect most buyers will have one. This rack can be taken apart for easier storage, although it’s small enough that most people are unlikely to bother.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Material: Furniture-grade PVC
  • Towel capacity: 5

Pros

  • Wide, stable base won’t easily be tipped by wind, kids, or pets
  • Constructed from UV-resistant furniture-grade PVC and unaffected by water
  • 5 bars provide plenty of space for towels, bathing suits, swimming trunks, etc.

Cons

  • Some assembly is necessary, and the required Phillips screwdriver is not included

Get the Outdoor Lamp Company outdoor towel rack at Amazon.

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The Lonffery outdoor wall-mounted towel rack is a smart, space-saving design. When not in use, it folds flat against the wall. When needed, each of the arms can rotate up to 180 degrees to allow plenty of space between towels for airing or drying.

The main support is aluminum, which is light, strong, and doesn’t rust. The arms are plastic, but the manufacturer doesn’t verify that it’s furniture-grade PVC. This wall-mounted towel rack has some nice features, such as endcaps that prevent towels from sliding off the arms and damping rings that make for smooth motion without noise. There are two hooks at the base to hang clothes, washcloths, etc.

The Lonffery outdoor towel rack is very affordable. Its fitting requires just two holes, and the necessary wall anchors, screws, and decorative covers are all included.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wall-mounted
  • Material: Aluminum, plastic
  • Towel capacity: 4

Pros

  • Space-saving design can accommodate 4 towels and folds flat when not in use
  • 180-degree arm rotation allows space between items for air drying
  • Fitting requires just 2 holes, and the necessary wall anchors and screws are included

Cons

  • Some feel the 12-inch-long arms are a little short for large beach towels

Get the Lonffery outdoor towel rack at Amazon.

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The TowelMaid curved 7-bar outdoor towel rack is ideal for larger families or those who like to invite friends to use the pool. It provides ample space for towels, swimwear, and pool accessories yet is light enough to move easily. A wide base makes it very stable, so there’s no danger of wind, kids, or pets knocking it over.

The TowelMaid is made from furniture-grade PVC that is mildew-resistant and UV blocking, so it won’t yellow over time. The only minor negative to this large pool towel drying rack is that the manufacturer recommends two people for assembly, which takes about 20 minutes. A rubber mallet is suggested but not included. TowelMaid also says it is easy to disassemble, though we doubt many people would unless storage is a problem.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Material: Furniture-grade PVC
  • Towel capacity: 6

Pros

  • Plenty of space for lots of towels, swimwear, pool noodles, floats, etc.
  • Large base provides good stability, so it won’t tip or blow over
  • Made from furniture-grade PVC that is mildew-resistant and UV blocking

Cons

  • According to TowelMaid, assembly requires “20 minutes, a rubber mallet, and a friend,” which is more than most racks

Get the TowelMaid outdoor towel rack at Amazon or TowelMaid.

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Something about the look and feel of solid wood always gives it great appeal. The Original Sula outdoor towel rack is made from premium teak, which has an attractive warmth and contains natural oils that make it highly resistant to the effects of sun and rain. It would partner well with a wooden outdoor bar cart.

Though it isn’t the largest pool towel stand, three horizontal bars provide space for towels, and the bottom is great for folded items, footwear, bottles of sunblock, etc. It also has four adjustable feet for leveling.

At just 9 pounds, the Original Sula towel rack is easy to move around and looks just as good indoors as out. Some simple assembly is required.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Material: Solid teak
  • Towel capacity: 3

Pros

  • Made from solid teak, which contains natural oils that prevent mold or warping
  • Classic design with useful storage shelf; can be used indoors or out
  • Weighs only 9 pounds and comes with adjustable feet for leveling

Cons

  • Has modest capacity, though folded towels could go on the shelf

Get the AquaTeak outdoor towel rack at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Wayfair, or AquaTeak.

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The wall-mounted Aero W expandable folding rack takes up little space when folded yet extends to provide a remarkable 22 linear feet of hanging space. It may not look like a heavy-duty outdoor towel rack, but it can hold up to 60 pounds. When not used for towels, it also provides valuable drying space for laundry.

There are three models available: one made from stainless steel and two from aluminum. Each is rust-resistant and has a folding mechanism that can be used one-handed. Mounting requires just four holes.

While most buyers were happy with their purchase, a number of them found the assembly instructions confusing. Also, the included wall anchors are adequate for brick or block walls but not for drywall.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wall-mounted
  • Material: Stainless steel or aluminum
  • Towel capacity: 8

Pros

  • Provides 22 feet of hanging space with a weight capacity of up to 60 pounds
  • Made from high-quality rust-resistant stainless steel or aluminum
  • Space-saving design with easy-to-use 1-handed folding mechanism

Cons

  • Poor instructions and the fixings included are not suitable for drywall

Get the Aero W outdoor towel rack at Amazon.

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Although the SmartSome clothes drying rack isn’t designed specifically for outdoor towel use, it has a number of features that will make it the perfect solution for some. It is made from rust-resistant stainless steel, provides up to 20 feet of drying space, and supports up to 35 pounds. When not in use, it folds completely flat for easy storage.

The drying rack offers a lot of versatility with a central rack and upper rails that can both be used for towels. The rails extend to a maximum width of 60 inches, and patented locking clips prevent the racks from sliding back accidentally. Of course, the SmartSome offers useful indoor or outdoor space for laundry drying as well.

While described as heavy duty, care should be taken not to overload the rack, which could cause instability, especially if it’s windy. Assembly is required, and a helpful video is available.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Towel capacity: 9

Pros

  • A versatile rack that offers good space and folds completely flat for easy storage
  • Made from rust-resistant stainless steel with a 35-pound weight capacity
  • Extending rods have a patented locking mechanism to prevent accidental closure

Cons

  • Not as heavy duty as suggested—stability can be compromised if overloaded

Get the SmartSome outdoor towel rack at Amazon or SmartSome.

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We’re including Rubbermaid’s attractive garden storage solution as an outdoor towel cabinet, but of course, this spacious container has many possible uses. With a capacity of 123 gallons and an adjustable shelf, it can provide waterproof outdoor pool towel storage and hold cushions, pool noodles, swimwear, grill accessories, or garden tools.

It is made from durable resin that is tough enough to take a few knocks and is UV-resistant. It will handle whatever the weather throws at it without rotting or fading. The twin doors have a locking hasp for security, but no padlock is included.

The Rubbermaid storage cabinet requires assembly, and several buyers have been critical of the instructions. It’s important to be patient and ensure everything fits properly because faults can result in leaks.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Material: Resin
  • Towel capacity: Multiple (see description)

Pros

  • High-capacity pool towel storage plus space for a wide variety of other items
  • Tough resin construction is weatherproof, UV-resistant, and will not rot or fade
  • Includes adjustable shelf and has locking doors (padlock not included)

Cons

  • Some consider the assembly instructions poor, and incorrect assembly can result in leaks

Get the Rubbermaid outdoor towel rack at Amazon.

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The Pennsylvania Woodworks clothes drying rack is a design classic that has been around for generations; it is perhaps one of the best clotheslines ever created. This version is made in the U.S. from solid maple.

When folded, this model is just 7 inches deep, yet it provides 37 feet of stable hanging space when opened. The untreated wood is sanded smooth, so it won’t snag towels or clothing. A central rack provides a useful area for folded items, while the 36-inch-wide horizontal poles are strong enough to support large beach towels when wet.

The Pennsylvania Woodworks outdoor towel rack comes fully assembled and ready to use. It is very popular, and complaints are rare. However, being unfinished wood, it should not be left outside in wet weather or stored anywhere damp as this can promote rot or mold growth.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Freestanding
  • Material: Solid maple
  • Towel capacity: 8 or more

Pros

  • Heirloom-quality rack made in the U.S. from solid maple hardwood
  • Provides 37 feet of drying space but folds to just 7 inches deep
  • Comes fully assembled and is available in a range of sizes from small to XXL

Cons

  • The maple is unfinished, so it should not be left outside or stored in damp conditions

Get the Pennsylvania Woodworks outdoor towel rack at Amazonor Pennsylvania Woodworks.

Or, DIY Your Own Outdoor Towel Rack

Anyone with basic DIY skills and a modest tool kit can make their own outdoor towel rack. Building one yourself provides a great sense of satisfaction and might use up scrap material that would otherwise go to waste. There are lots of plans and videos available to help. With a little creativity, it’s possible to modify these to personal tastes and make something truly unique.

One popular project is making an outdoor towel tree from wood and copper pipe. The materials are inexpensive and readily available from DIY or hardware stores. The task could be completed in a weekend with no more than a saw, a drill/driver, and the application of paint or varnish to protect the wood.

Making an outdoor towel rack using ordinary PVC plumbing pipes and connectors is even easier. These can be assembled with no more than a hacksaw and some PVC adhesive. In fact, some commercial models use a similar technique.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Towel Rack 

A quick look through our top picks underlines the huge choice in towel rack style, size, material, color, etc. Numerous things should be considered before deciding which is the best outdoor towel rack for you. The following section looks at the key features to help you decide.

Portability 

There are lots of reasons to want portability from an outdoor towel rack. While many will withstand all weather, those wishing to keep the deck area tidy will want to put it away, particularly at the end of the season. If towels are being dried, moving the rack into the sun during the day might be necessary. In the event of a sudden shower, it’s handy to be able to move them indoors. Those with a pool or hot tub might simply want to move the towel rack for convenience.

As you can see, portability has a lot of impact on making the right choice. If mobility is a priority, folding models are often best, though you might sacrifice some stability.

Stability

If an outdoor towel rack is unstable, it can be a real pain. The towels act like sails, so any breeze could blow the rack over. Boisterous kids or pets could also easily knock an unstable rack over. Sometimes the towel rack is too light or may not be well balanced. Folding models can collapse where they hinge.

There are various approaches to solving the problem. Many outdoor towel racks have a base that can be filled with water to add stability. These are usually relatively easy to empty if the rack needs to be moved. Others have wide-set legs or frames that provide the necessary resistance to wind or bumps. Folding outdoor towel racks may have locking latches or pegs. However, remember that each method needs to be balanced against the desire for portability and storage when not in use.

Material

Although many people will want to put their outdoor towel rack away during the cold and wet winter months, there is the chance of a surprise shower even in summer. Grabbing the towels and dashing indoors is easy enough, but moving the entire rack may be less convenient. Therefore, the material it is made from is important.

The material used to make a towel rack also greatly impacts durability. Plastic doesn’t rust, but the UV in sunlight can weaken some types. PVC is highly UV-resistant and safe in all weather. It is also reasonably tough and often inexpensive. As a result, it is probably the most popular material for outdoor towel racks.

Metals, particularly steel, offer good strength, though it needs to be protected in areas of high humidity, or rust can form. Powder coating is a hard-wearing finish often used for this reason. Aluminum tubing is also frequently used for folding outdoor towel racks. It is lighter than steel and rust-resistant. However, rough treatment can bend or kink frames, and they are not easy to straighten.

Finally, there are wooden outdoor towel racks. These can be very attractive and, with a little care, can last many years. They are often promoted as the environmentally friendly option, though it’s important to check where the wood is sourced.

Size and Hanging Space

Size and hanging space are often related, but not always. Wall-mounted outdoor towel hooks, for example, are relatively small but might hang a half dozen towels or more. Rotating and extending models are similarly compact when not in use. The only downside is that each of these needs to be attached to a wall, and that’s not always convenient.

Freestanding outdoor towel racks tend to require more space, especially those that hold more than four towels. While they can be very stable even when full of towels, finding somewhere to store them can be a challenge. One solution is to choose a collapsible outdoor towel holder. While many collapsible models offer ample hanging space, they are still easy to fold down, carry, and put away when not required.

FAQs

Still have questions about which outdoor towel rack is right for you? Read the answers to some commonly asked questions about towel racks just below.

Q. Are outdoor towel racks safe?

Most towel racks are absolutely safe, though it’s worth considering who will use them and where they will be positioned. Boisterous kids might topple some freestanding or folding outdoor towel racks, but many are extremely stable. Choosing a wall-mounted model might also avoid problems. The article above provides safe solutions to just about every situation.

Q. Is an outdoor towel rack cost-effective?

The majority of outdoor towel racks are very cost-effective. They do a better job of drying towels or keeping them fresh than just throwing them over a chair; most are maintenance-free. With the huge choice available, there is an outdoor towel rack to suit every budget.

Q. Can I make an outdoor towel rack myself?

Yes, you can make an outdoor towel rack yourself, and it’s a subject we look at in the article above. There are plans available for all skill levels. That said, the low cost of some of the models we feature means that while there’s great satisfaction in making your own outdoor towel rack, you may not actually save much money.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Researcher and product specialist Bob Beacham has written consumer-advice articles for national publications for more than a decade. He covers a wide variety of home and garden subjects and is known for providing information that is thorough yet easy to understand.

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Bob Beacham

Contributing Writer

Bob Beacham is an engineer by trade and has spent 35 years working on everything from auto parts to oil rigs. He is also an avid DIY enthusiast. Bob started writing for the Bob Vila team in 2020 and covers tools, outdoor equipment, and home improvement projects.

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