After testing dozens of hangers over the span of seven months using a range of clothing, and querying experts in the home-organization and garment industry, we recommend Proman’s Kascade Hanger as the best and most durable general-purpose hanger for most wardrobes.
Lightweight and slim with uniform construction, the Proman Kascade Hanger is an affordable, classic, and versatile clothing hanger style. Its consistently smooth edge finishing, its hooks for chain-linking hangers vertically, and its sturdy construction set it apart from competing models we reviewed. Our top all-purpose wooden hanger pick is strong enough to hold heavier winter coats, even suits, and it also accommodates all types of clothes, including pieces with delicate straps. If you buy a box, you’ll probably never have to worry about buying hangers again.
A single hanger style is enough for most people, but it isn’t always the best solution, since every style of clothing presents unique storage challenges to prevent damage or wrinkles; you may also have pieces you want to hang with special care. For the garments you care about most, we recommend investing extra in a few other hanger models.
As a managing editor at home decor and lifestyle site Apartment Therapy for seven years, I advised countless readers about tips and tricks for keeping the home in order, including numerous storage and decluttering strategies. I lived in a very cozy 1917 Los Angeles studio apartment with my now-wife, where a shared single closet became the delineating determinant between domestic order and chaotic clutter. I approach storage like I’m running a ship, with everything serving an evident and space-optimal purpose.
For this piece, I interviewed local professional organizer Elizabeth Zeigler of Bneato Bar (three consecutive years nominated as the Most Innovative Organizer at the Organizing Awards); Timothy Leung, a production pattern maker at rag & bone, who has more than 15 years of industry experience with woven outerwear, semitailored garments, and other menswear; Sean Crowley, a senior designer at Ralph Lauren; and Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project, who provided additional information about the specialty and luxury categories of clothing hangers.
The best hanger is designed to store and maintain garments without stretching, creasing, tearing, or changing the original shape of your clothing, which can help extend its life. Clothing hangers should be easy to hold, place, and sort while hanging, with a hook wide enough to fit securely over the closet rod (on average, modern closet rods are constructed to be from 1 inch to 1 5/16 inches in diameter; wooden rods in older homes may be smaller).
Lighter-weight clothing has a tendency to slip off or to stretch out at the shoulder ends or around the neck on poorly fit hangers, so professional organizer Elizabeth Zeigler recommends wooden hangers with metal hooks and strap notching, which are designed to last longer than their plastic equivalents. Hangers with swivel necks offer quicker access and easier organization in a small closet; tiered designs are common and further extend a closet’s capacity but complicate access. We gave hangers with tiering hooks positive marks unless the feature interfered with the clothing.
A note about flocked hangers (the ones textured to feel like thin velvet): Such styles are generally very sharp and have a thin profile, which is fine for lightweight articles but not good for much else. Although the flocking is meant to help hold garments in place, it almost always wears off, leaving you with a cheap plastic hanger. Flocking is good on hanger pant bars, but in our testing I always checked to see if it rubbed off easily; even between hangers of the same brand, flocking quality could vary.
If you care about reducing creases in your best pants, skirts, and suits, consider investing in clothing-specific hangers. Here are the factors we considered according to hanger type.
Pants: Hangers made for pants often have open-end, slide-in/slide-out designs. Typically the bar has a covering of nonslip material that is grippy without being sticky; foam, rubber, gel, plastic, and felt are common coatings. Some hangers are equipped with locking pant bars, a two-piece mechanism of a lateral wooden rod secured at one end with bent metal to hold trousers in place. This hanger style can leave conspicuous creasing across the thigh, and the pressure of the locked bar may damage the fabric of soft premium wool trousers over time, so we avoided this design. We also evaluated pant hangers for balance—some models teeter one way or the other a little more noticeably when pants are hanging on them, so we looked for a model that wouldn’t tilt.
Skirts: Hangers designed for skirts often consist of just a single metal rod with two adjustable metal clamps attached across each end for holding a skirt at the waistline. If the clamps are insufficiently padded with rubber, they can damage fabrics when you remove them.
Suits and coats: Hanging suits and coats carefully can extend their wear. Some men’s suit hangers are built significantly wider for optimal support across the coat shoulders, contoured with wide flares mimicking the human body to maintain shape between wears. Even an affordable off-the-rack suit can benefit from the contouring and support of a suit hanger, though you’d have to weigh the investment of a specialty hanger against that of the suit itself. Hanger designer Kirby Allison told us that suit and coat hangers should “extend all the way to—but not beyond—the point where the shoulder meets the sleeve,” measured directly across the back (the point-to-point measurement), following a gentle curve in semblance to the shoulder.
We looked at 30 different hangers sourced from big-box retailers, Amazon, and specialty online hanger dealers, eventually calling in 14 of the highest-rated models for seven months of hands-on testing. We used an enclosed closet and a freestanding Fol-D-Rak clothing rack to test the hangers with cotton, wool, denim, and nylon garments, including collared shirts, trousers, jeans, coats, suits, dresses, and blouses; we used the hangers daily and normally, looking for evidence of creasing or stretching after storage periods of one to two weeks with shirts and trousers.
We pulled pant bars and hooks with both reasonable and unreasonable force to inspect for sturdiness, and we carefully inspected each hanger by touch along the top, bottom, and sides for sharp edges, exposed screws or nails, and any jagged wooden joinery. We also evaluated how easy or difficult it was to put each hanger onto a closet rod or to remove it. We tested clamp mechanisms on fabric and on the meatiest part of our palms to determine how much force each clamp applied, and we carefully inspected each hanger for sharp edges along the ends of each rod and hook, as lightweight skirt material is prone to snags.
We eliminated clamp-style trouser hangers because they tend to damage fabric. Tier hangers provide efficient storage, but we omitted this style because the narrow metal gauge tubing creases fabric, and in practice it was too easy to accidentally slide off items on other tiers. All of our picks except our coat-hanger recommendation offer slim designs to maximize closet space.
After testing a finalist selection of six general-purpose hangers, we determined that our favorite is the Proman Kascade Hanger, a versatile model with features such as a loop for space-saving cascading hanging, a uniform durable construction, a smooth finish where wood may meet fabric, and a ball-end hook to prevent snagging. With bonuses like shoulder notches for slim-strapped tops and loops for tiered hanging, as well as a slightly lower price per hanger, this hanger style bests our previous pick, The Container Store’s wooden hangers.
The first thing you’ll notice while handling a Kascade is how lightweight and satisfyingly smooth the hanger feels to the touch. Each one has buffed edges, a ball-finished hook, and a pant bar finished with a slightly grippier material compared with what’s on the shoulders. At 17 inches wide, this hanger is the perfect size for my medium-size button-up long-sleeve shirts. It aligns perfectly with the seams across the shoulders and around the sleeves, and it’s wide enough across the shoulders to prevent visible creasing on a two-ply 120-thread-count cotton dress shirt. During normal use in our tests, the Kascade hangers provided easy and comfortable access without ever getting in the way, even under the weight of a heavier peacoat.
Our one major complaint about the Proman Kascade Hanger is that it’s available only in bulk lots of 50 hangers at a time (about $1.21 each as of this writing), a sizable amount for a single person to invest in but reasonable for a household of two to four. Households of one or two people without a lot of storage might be better served by our alternate pick from The Container Store.
We’d also prefer to see the Proman Kascade offered in additional, alternative designs similar to The Container Store’s Basic Natural Wood Hangers line. A felt or textured pant bar would be a welcome addition, and the Kascade design’s standard but slim shoulder bars are probably not appropriate for long-term use with finer formal coats.
The Container Store’s hangers also include nonslip toothed inserts to keep blouses in place, a welcome detail for lightweight garments with straps or sleeves prone to sliding off wooden hangers.
We demoted The Container Store’s offering to runner-up for this year’s update, however, because these hangers have fewer features than the Proman Kascade. The pant bar and garment notches are either/or options across the three versions, so you can’t use them interchangeably among different types of clothing. The hooks have a sharp tip, unlike the Proman style’s ball end. And the pant hanger didn’t break when we pulled across the pant bar, but our pulling did expose a gap at the joint that could pinch a garment (though this isn’t a problem with the barless shirt hanger).
In our tests, all narrow-bar pant hangers, including The Container Store Chrome Pant Hangers, eventually left a crease on lightweight-fabric cotton trousers within three to five days. The appearance of creasing varied depending on the humidity and the diameter of the pant arms, but we needed a light steam or ironing to remove marks indented onto our lightweight suit pants.
Models from Pro-Mart and Whitmor are nearly identical to MAWA’s skirt hanger in both looks and operation, offering the same style of metal and the same rubber-coated clip mechanism. We think the Pro-Mart and Whitmor skirt hangers are perfectly serviceable alternatives for tiered use, though they don’t have MAWA’s decade-long warranty coverage.
As good as the MAWA skirt hanger is, it could be a little easier to access in closets if it were equipped with a swiveling hook. (Neither of the runner-up models offers that feature either.) Some people may also miss a tier hook for attaching additional hangers vertically to optimize space, but its absence means there’s no issue of a hook pressing outward and against clothing, a bothersome problem we noted while testing both the Pro-Mart and Whitmor skirt hangers.
The hanger’s large, 2½-inch-width shoulder flares, paired with the same high-quality felt that covers the Kirby Allison trouser hangers, are in a league of their own. Ironically, this hanger’s strength is the source of its sole major drawback (beyond the significant $30 investment per hanger): It’s big and heavy, requiring approximately the same space on our closet rod as five Proman Kascade hangers aligned side by side! Still, considering the price of any decently tailored suit, the increase in size and price seems well warranted if it means protecting formal attire from collapsed shoulders and creasing.
Other suit hangers we tried, such as the Butler Luxury suit hanger and the Wooden Hangers USA design, offered similar wider shoulder flaring to emulate the male human shoulder and maintain garment form, but the Kirby Allison hanger was the most accurately rounded; it’s also free of the excess glue or rough joinery that mars cheaper models.
The Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project Luxury Wooden Suit Hanger is a splurge investment, considerably more expensive than the competition. So why pick this one over our all-purpose choice? We believe that the finest tailored clothing, such as suits and coats, deserves a long-term investment and particular care, and that a purchase of this hanger would be the exception, not the rule.
Surprisingly, Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project does not offer any sort of formal warranty coverage. (The website stipulates, “We stand by our products 100% and will do whatever it takes to correct for damaged hangers. However we do reserve the right to not send out replacements.”) It does have a 30-day return policy in case the hangers don’t meet a customer’s sizing expectations, but at this price we’d expect a better guarantee.
IKEA BUMERANG: People often name this hanger as a cheap general-use favorite, but in comparison with our top pick in the general-use category, price reflects quality here. In our tests, a rough wooden finish, inconsistent construction, and a weakly secured pant bar were characteristic.
AmazonBasics Wood Suit Hangers: A third-tier bulk option available in lots of 16 or 30. The quality and finish fall somewhere between those of the IKEA BUMERANG and our Container Store runner-up. We could find nothing notably positive or damningly negative about this model.
Kirby Allison’s The Hanger Project Profile B: This very expensive hanger is designed specifically for women’s wardrobes, with a smaller shoulder width and a sharper arm angle in accordance to women’s sizing. The 1.15-inch shoulder flare is gently flocked at the ends. Garment notches also covered in felt flocking prevent slipping, making this model the best women’s fine-garment hanger for blouses and shirts where delicate fabrics deserve extra care. Additional clips for skirts with ribbed rubber clamps secure at the waistline. At $20 each, the Profile B is out of most people’s budgets, but it’s a good option for delicate garments and petite sizing.
Jobar (Ideaworks) Slacks Hangers: The rotating smooth-ribbed plastic cover across each of these chrome-plated open-end pant hangers made it easy for us to remove pants individually, but the design also made it easy for pants to fall off while we thumbed through the closet.
J.S. Hanger Slacks Pant Hangers: The biggest drawback of this model is the particularly tacky and sticky rubber coating applied across the pant bar. In our testing it was a dust magnet that transferred particles onto darker fabrics, and in use it required us to remove the hanger from the rod to get to our pants, defeating the convenience of an open-end design.
Closet Complete Essential Closet Non-Slip Pants Hangers: A solid alternative to our Container Store pant-hanger pick. It has a thicker, cushioned nonslip foam that feels less durable than a rubber coating, as foam can dry, harden, and crack with time.
Richards Homewares Open End Trouser Hangers: This style looks similar to the Closet Complete pant hanger, but the hook element seems to be off balance, as it required us to push heavier-fabric pants to the rear of the arm to counteract tilting.
MAWA Open-Ended “Z” Non-Slip Pant Hanger: The smallest hanger we tested, this MAWA style is extremely compact. It’s designed with a very short drop and a thin profile that exacerbated creasing in our tests. We could use this style only with our external clothing rack, since the hooks proved to be too small to fit onto our closet bar.
Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project Luxury Wooden Clamping Trouser Hanger: In our testing, this model was the only clamp-style pant hanger we tried. We liked the felt-lined trouser grip, which is designed for storing pants upside down from the cuff. We think this style is a worthy premium alternative for your finer dress slacks, as it can reduce or perhaps even eliminate the formation of wrinkles between wears.
Butler Luxury Trouser Hanger: The reinforced and solid construction of this round velvet-covered bar pant hanger is nice, but it’s almost double the normal width. At about $8 apiece currently, it’s a fairly priced luxury alternative to the Kirby Allison trouser hanger, with a slightly less fine felt and an opening between body and bar that is an inch narrower.
Pro-Mart DAZZ Skirt Hanger: The sliding clips along this model’s metal arm make an unpleasant metal-on-metal sound. Instead of having a rubber tip at the top of the hook, the end loops back upward with a sharp edge. And the tier hook can intrude and press up against the skirt in the middle.
Whitmor Ebony Chrome Add-On Skirt/Slack Hanger: This skirt hanger is nearly identical in design to the Pro-Mart DAZZ model, though it sports a slightly larger dimple on the clamp, a slightly wider tier hook, and a rubber-coated tip on the top hook. It has the same tier-hook protrusion issue we noted with the Pro-Mart DAZZ, with a slightly wider hook.
Suit and coat hangers
Butler Luxury Tailor Made Suit Hanger: Available in two widths—a regular 16½-inch hanger for suit sizes 38 to 42, and an extra-large 18-inch model for suit sizes 43 to 48—this premium model ranked just behind our top suit-hanger pick, with noticeably less rounded and less smoothly finished ends in comparison with the Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project design. This hanger is big and bulky, and only a few would fit in our closet.
MAWA Bodyform 16″ Non-Slip Suit Hanger: One of the grippier hangers we tested, this model attracted a lot of lint and dust because of the sticky rubber coating applied across its arms and shoulder flares. As the width of the shoulder flares was much smaller than that of the Butler Luxury and Hanger Project suit hangers, it didn’t support suit coats and jackets nearly as well. This hanger is better for outerwear jackets than for suits.
Wooden Hangers USA 18″ Ultimate Wide Suit Hanger: This model is designed for larger-size suits, but our test sample’s pant bar exhibited undesirable visible gaps and edges. At just $7 apiece currently, this hanger represents a modest upgrade from the molded-plastic hangers that come with off-the-rack suits.
(Photos by Gregory Han.)
Originally published: April 12, 2016
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