The 7 Best Hand Wringers
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you’re anti technology, live off the grid or just don’t own a dryer, a hand wringer will help your clothes and towels dry faster than just hanging them on a line by efficiently removing excess water. They are great for other uses, too, including wringing out chamois cloths used for car washing and bathing suits when camping. Our choices range from small to large, heavy-duty to lightweight. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best hand wringer on Amazon.
Who Uses Hand Wringers?
But there are a handful of times when a hand wringer will beat out a fancy washing machine.
A hand wringer, also called a laundry wringer or mangle, is an electricity-free device that helps press extra water out of clothing and linens in order to make rinsing more efficient or to help them dry faster after washing. If you’ve ever tried to wring out a wet towel by hand, you can see why a laundry wringer is so useful; not only does twisting the fabric make your arms tired, it’s also likely to get you all wet. Anyone needing to put the squeeze on some wet garments, then, is well served by the humble hand wringer.
Some might wonder, though, why anyone would need a hand wringer in this day and age, when washing machines are so common. After all, if you really want to conserve your energy, letting a machine do all the work would be the easiest way to go. But there are a handful of times when a hand wringer will beat out a fancy washing machine.
For instance, many people invest in a high-quality mangle for disaster prep. No, we aren’t talking about the apocalypse or end of the world; a hurricane, winter storm, or wildfire can cause localized disasters that leave people without power for long stretches. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey knocked out power to at least a quarter of a million homes, with 4,000 of these still without power weeks after the event. Having non-powered versions of common electric items, such as a hand wringer, makes life less stressful in these times.
A hand wringer also lends itself nicely to some day-to-day scenarios. At a car wash where vehicles are hand dried, a wringer is a huge help that keeps workers from having to wring out chamois cloths all day long. In fact, some hand wringers are made expressly for this purpose and are a strong choice for both commercial enterprises and the home auto mechanic or car enthusiast.
Sometimes RVers invest in a laundry wringer, too. Today’s compact hand wringers don’t take up much space and more than make up for the room they do use. If a laundromat isn’t available and the clothes have to be hand or bucket washed, a wringer will be invaluable. Or perhaps after a morning of swimming you’re ready to hit the road, but you don’t want dripping towels strewn across your rig. A quick run through the hand wringer will help get these towels drier faster, and with less mess.
If you’re used to tossing everything in a washing machine, doing laundry by hand can feel a little overwhelming at first. Even the hand wringer, which looks so simple, can suddenly feel complex when you’ve got a pile of wet clothes to first rinse and then to dry. But don’t worry: we’ve got a few tips to help you make the process painless, as well as keep your laundry and linens in great shape for longer.
A hand wringer certainly isn’t as dangerous as, say, a circular saw, but you could still give your hand or fingers a painful pinch.
First, you need to secure the wringer properly to a sturdy surface. Most have clamps that you tighten to securely affix the wringer, usually to a bucket, tub, or board. Manufacturers generally include instructions about how this should be accomplished for each particular model. There are also stands available made expressly to hold wringers, if you’d prefer to go that route.
Also, follow the wringer’s instructions and don’t use it with items for which it isn’t intended. Some smaller versions, for example, are made for lighter pieces, such as hand towels, undergarments, and shirts. If you try to force heavier items, such as jeans, through them, you could damage the wringer. Make sure every item is flat as you run it through, as well. Overall, going a little slower and paying attention while moving clothing through the machine will help you extend the life of your wringer.
Consider, too, that there are some items you won’t want to put through a mangle. Because they exert quite a bit of force, they can break delicate buttons or snaps. They’ve also been known to bend bras out of shape, specifically the underwire or closure hooks. You may wish to hand wring these items, instead. You can roll them up in a towel and squeeze gently, which will remove the extra moisture faster and with less stress on delicate items.
Finally, be careful where you place your hands as you’re working. A hand wringer certainly isn’t as dangerous as, say, a circular saw, but you could still give your hand or fingers a painful pinch. Keep your wringer away from very young children, and supervise older children if they’re going to help you with the laundry.
A Brief History Of The Hand Wringer
The hand wringer is not a new invention by any stretch of the imagination. The oldest version has been traced back to the 1400s in Norway, although many of these earliest mangles were made for flattening and de-wrinkling clothes — what we would use an iron for, today. By the 18th century, large box mangles, used to both dry and press clothing, had become common.
True, a washer-and-dryer combo will get your laundry done much faster, but they can be rough on your garments, shortening their lifespan.
It was in the 1840s that the hand wringer took on the form that we’re more familiar with, thanks to John E. Turnbull and his hand-crank mangle for the household washing tub. This new and improved version was smaller than the old box mangles, which made it easier for nearly every home to have one. Many versions featured wood rollers, since rubber was harder to come by up until World War II, when synthetic rubber became more widely available.
In some ways, these precursors to the spin-cycle on a washing machine may have been better for clothing. True, a washer-and-dryer combo will get your laundry done much faster, but they can be rough on your garments, shortening their lifespan. A hand wringer will flatten your garments without the heat and steam of an iron, too, which also take their toll on clothing. The hand wringer may be old, but it definitely has its advantages.
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