The best portable closet
Whether your bedroom does not have a closet, or you simply need a bit of extra storage space, a portable closet is an affordable and convenient tool that can make storing and organizing clothes easier. A portable unit prevents you from letting clothing fall to the bottom of your closet or shoving rarely worn and bulkier garments into an already jammed space. Depending on their materials and size, portable closets vary in their weight capacity and storage. In this shopping guide, we share our favorites, including the SONGMICS' Double-Rod Portable Closet, which has what you need all wrapped up into one package.
Considerations when choosing portable closets
Weight capacity and size go hand in hand when it comes to portable closets. The larger the closet, the more weight it should hold, but there's no standard when it comes to portable units. Be sure to read how much weight the rods can hold and how much each shelf or cube can support.
Generally speaking, a rod for hanging garments with a loading capacity of 20 to 22 pounds is best for lightweight clothing, such as children's garments or summer wear. Shelves tend to hold about five to six pounds each. You'll also see a few manufacturers make claims about the number of hangers a rod will hold. This is difficult to judge because it depends on how heavy or thick the garments are that go onto the hangers. Your best bet is to use lightweight hangers and never overstuff a portable closet or it may become damaged.
Portable closets are designed to assemble into stable, durable, and long-lasting pieces of furniture if they're put together correctly. When assembling the frame, use a rubber mallet to gently attach the plastic connectors rather than forcing them together. Proper assembly also means putting the cover over the frame so it's snug, which stabilizes the unit. Look for zippers made of nylon teeth and with reinforced stitching that absorbs any strain on the unit if you overstuff it.
If you have more to store than simply hanging garments, opt for a unit with shelving. Some portable closets with shelves also come with coordinating storage cubes made of fabric. Or, you can place your own cubes onto the shelves. Shelves can be made from plastic or fabric, but you should always check the load capacity. The fabric shelves in a covered portable closet may hold about six pounds each. Meanwhile, uncovered metal portable closets may have shelving that can hold up to 100 pounds.
You can get extra mileage from your portable closet by considering a unit with side pockets. Side pockets on the outside of units, usually made from the same material as the cover, can hold lightweight items such as slippers or other small accessories.
Basic and compact portable closets that include one rod can run between $18 to $30. Larger portable closets with more functionality, including shelves and cubes, run between $30 to $90. For units that look more furniture-like, such as uncovered freestanding closet rack systems, expect to pay $90 or above.
Q. What else can I use a portable closet for in my home?
A. If you don't have an overflow of clothing in your home, a portable closet has other uses. You can store linens and towels or stuffed animals in a protected portable closet, or you can use it as a pantry to store paper goods or an organizer for your crafting supplies. Portable closets aren't just for home use, however. A portable closet can be used to transport wedding dresses and suits to a destination, or it can provide a patient in a nursing home with space to store extra clothing.
Q. How can I keep bugs, pests, and small pets from getting inside my portable closet?
A. Invest in an enclosed closet that also has a bottom. Though a bottom is not as sturdy as the floor, you can put it to use and store lightweight items. You'll notice the four legs of the unit stick out from the base. If you want to further protect your clothing, close up the leg openings with duct tape.
Portable closets we recommend
Best of the best: SONGMICS' Double-Rod Portable Closet
Our take: A spacious and sturdy portable closet with two rods for a good price.
What we like: This unit is handsome enough to keep exposed in a living area. The organization includes nine storage shelves and two rods. The base lets you store a few lightweight shoes and keeps dust from the floor out of the closet.
What we dislike: Plastic connectors and other plastic parts could be more durable, especially if you want to move the closet. However, customer service responds quickly with replacements.
Best bang for your buck: Whitmor's Portable Closet
Our take: An affordable option for a compact closet that slips easily into smaller spaces.
What we like: This closet is purely for garment storage and doesn't have cubes taking up valuable hanging space. The zipper is smooth, and the frame is sturdy for the price. The bottom can hold a few lightweight items and keep out dust.
What we dislike: Reports of problems with the white version of the material disintegrating too soon. Stick with the blue version with the D-zipper door.
Choice 3: Seville Classics' Expandable Closet
Our take: A step above canvas-covered portable closets, this sturdy and durable open shelving closet unit has a telescoping hanging rod that expands to seven feet wide to let you hang more clothing.
What we like: Three elegant finishes plus adjustable shelving means you can customize your closet quickly whether you use this freestanding in your room or in a walk-in closet.
What we dislike: Pricey.
Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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