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Can I Put My Outdoor Dryer in an Umbrella Stand?

by Household Essentials • May 25, 2017
We get this question a lot.  And we get it: an umbrella stand is convenient!  So we're going to have a very candid conversation about umbrella dyers. 

Can outdoor clothes dryers fit?  Yes. 
Should they go there?  Not really. 

But we're going to give you the info you need to make your set-up as safe as possible, whichever way you choose.  So, here we go!

Umbrella Dryers 101

1. Umbrella dryers are tippy.

They are tall and narrow with a wide top.  That gives them a lot of pull when they are filled with clothes--especially since all that force will be at the top of the dryer.  Essentially, clothes on an umbrella dryer turn into sails.  And sails . . . catch wind.  Hence, tippy.

2. Concrete is the safest way to anchor an umbrella dryer.

It's a pain, it's messy, and it's semi-permanent (if you use a ground sleeve).  Alas, a tapered hole filled with concrete gives an umbrella sail the best, most secure footing.  While hopefully nothing more than dirty laundry would happen if the dryer tipped, there is always a chance for greater damage.  Property damage or personal damage can be far more frustrating than a concrete hole.

3. Warranties have conditions.

So, no one wants to talk about warranties, and we don't try to get out of ours.  We stand behind our products because we use them too!  The catch here is that anytime a product is used, installed, or operated differently from the way it's intended, we may choose not to exercise warranty.  The idea is this: we certify that we are providing a quality good that is supposed to work a certain way.  When it doesn't work because it's been used differently, though, we cannot know if it's a manufacturing issue or damage from misuse.  Basically, if a dryer breaks because it tips over when it's in a stand and not concreted into the ground, then it's not a fault in the dryer's manufacturing.  It's faulty installation.  Now, if the pole bends in its concrete, that is something we would be talking about for warranty.  (And we would want to see a picture, because WOW!).

Umbrella Stand Need-To-Know

We highly recommend concrete.  In fact, we exclusively recommend concrete.  However, if you are exploring other options, here's what you need to know:

1. The umbrella's center post is 1.5 inches in diameter.

This means you'll need a stand that will fit a pole at least that large.

2. The umbrella post is TALL and may need to be trimmed.

The top clothesline is 6 feet of the ground when installed in the ground.  So for parallel styles in particular, you may need to cut the post down so clotheslines can be reached if installing into a stand instead.  This is cutting a metal post, so be careful.

3. There needs to be some real weight to brace the base of the dryer.

Think about how hard it is to hold a regular umbrella in the wind.  Now make that bigger.  That's what an umbrella dryer is with clothes put on it just right.  This means that alternate installations need to really be ready to handle the force.  If you're using an umbrella stand only for nice, low breeze days, it's probably fine.  Go for a stand that is tall and heavy: think iron or weighted with sand.  Again, literally imagine sheets on clotheslines and the sails of a ship.  This is not a small thing.  Err on the side of over-doing it when it comes to bracing the base.  Add more weight to the base.  Put up the table that goes with the umbrella stand as extra bracing!  And ALWAYS take the dryer down when it's not being used.

4. Tipping is the greatest safety risk.

See all of the above!  (Are we over doing this?)

5. Warranties will no longer apply.

Truly, just trying to be transparent.  Again, we have a 1-year warranty that is good for defectective goods.  Alas, damage from tipping when a dryer is installed in a stand instead in concrete in the ground isn't defect.  It's physics.  Tall, skinny, and top heavy needs a solid anchor to avoid tipping.

So there you have it!  Can it be done?  Yes.  Should it be done?  No, but we understand the appeal.