Through Handle Basket is rated
Rated 5 out of
A functional masterpiece
<i>16 months ago, I posted a review of this basket on Amazon, but never thought to post it here until I received this comment:
"Thank you so much for your great review on the Rubbermaid laundry basket! You are correct - we have come to expect substandard schlock, and a truly great product deserves praise. (I hope you sent a copy of your comments to Rubbermaid.) You have helped me decide which laundry baskets to purchase for the animal shelter I volunteer at. The white laundry baskets were all donated, and of various brands and ages. I have noticed the ones with the Rubbermaid sticker inside the basket (still)
- Jan 24, 2014 2:58:12 PM PST"
Lynne was right: To thank whoever designed this basket, I had to post the comments here:</i>
We are so accustomed to thinking of plastic products as "cheap" that we may overlook the brilliant ones. That is especially true in the case of a laundry basket, that we see as "merely" functional or utilitarian. But once in a while some such humble product comes along that is so amazingly good in every detail, that it's worth taking a moment to appreciate its genius.
We've had this laundry basket for years, but came to this realization only recently, comparing it with a second basket which we were (yet again) replacing. While looking for a replacement for our second laundry basket, we began thinking about why we have had several others in the time that we have had this Rubbermaid 2874. It's not like we've been getting the cheapest thing available. Typically we go for baskets that seem sturdy in the store, with features like reinforced handles. Still, those "reinforced" handles break after several months, and then gradually the sides begin to crack, and finally there's nothing to be done but replace it. Not so with this Rubbermaid basket, so I studied why.
First, there are the handles: simple and elegant, reinforced not with additional plastic in a color designed to catch the shopper's eye, but with the simple use of an arch - both stronger and lighter than the alternatives [as the Romans taught us], and surprisingly also more comfortable.
Second, look at how the four corners use a little extra width for stiffness where it counts.
Third, the gusseted bottom (not visible in the picture) is perfectly designed to maximize strength with minimal material.
Fourth, study the sides carefully. Unfortunately, that's not so easy with just the picture, but there are three horizontal rows of holes - 8 per row on the short sides, 12 per row on the long sides - placed with amazing attention to engineering detail. The vertical posts between the holes are subtly different - widest in the middle where strength is most critical, tapering to thinnest at the ends next to the corners - maximizing both airflow and stiffness. Similarly, the vertical spacing is not just casually laid out, but engineered to optimize airflow and strength.
Fifth, above the air holes the basket is stiffened one more time before getting to the top rail, by widening the lower basket into a solid upper basket for the final few inches. The horizontal transition needed to widen to a larger top again adds strength without weight. (A lot of the better baskets use a little transition like this to stiffen the sides, but the combination of this basket's better material and better detailed design make it work much better than other baskets.) The result is a basket that is not only stronger, but generously wide at the top, so that it holds more than our other baskets. (Though rated at 1.25 bu, it holds more by volume than our other baskets rated 1.5 and 1.6 bu - and holds much more by weight.)
Sixth, the top is finished in a gentle large-radius curve all around, with no weak points on flats or corners, perfectly mating with those arched handles. What you notice, though, is that to make that work properly required a more complex and expensive mold than was required for our other baskets.
Given the mold and manufacturing process, this is not an inexpensive basket to make. Rubbermaid deserves credit for accepting that cost - for not compromising in pursuit of a great laundry basket - even though nothing about it looks expensive to the casual eye. That probably has a cost in sales volume, and in profit per basket, because few people in the store - and even fewer people online - will notice what a masterpiece of functional design it is. In our case it took years of living with it, while others came and went, to realize that.
So it was worth this review. We are surrounded by so much mass-produced schlock that it can be easy not to notice when something as humble as a laundry basket achieves greatness. But if we don't take at least a moment to praise greatness when we see it in small things, we have no right to expect it elsewhere, and no right to complain about the decline of standards. I wish I could meet the person(s) who designed this basket. It's nice to know that such craftsmen still exist.
Anyway, in the end we realized that it made no sense to get anything else but another one of these. It may be the last laundry basket we ever need to buy.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated 5 out of
Sturdy and Reliable
All the laundry baskets I've had in the past have broken, or would snag my delicate clothes. Not this Rubbermaid basket! I own three of them now because they're so sturdy and reliable. No snags and can carry large loads of heavy construction pants and jeans with ease. You don't think about laundry baskets until something goes wrong with them, or a sharp edge scrapes your fingers. I love my Rubbermaid laundry baskets! I wouldn't choose any other brand or style!
Date published: 2013-02-06
Rated 5 out of
Best ever I've used.Greatest for kids who make them temp homes. Doesen't break!! Turtles have to check these out.
Date published: 2011-10-29
Rated 4 out of
When I first bought these laundry baskets, I didn't find the handles as comfortable as the square Rubbermaid basket I'd been using, which had rounded handles. Three years of use has accustomed my hands to these handles.
None of the baskets show significant signs of wear, which is remarkable. None of the baskets has torn as most previous baskets did.
Date published: 2009-10-18