Professional organizers know that easy-to-use tools get used the most. Hooks beat hangers—and floor-standing coat racks have that "easy" factor, too.
Bonaldo's Tree, designed by Mario Mazzer, is made of polyethylene; the base has a steel disk to provide stability. (And stability is a big deal in homes with children and pets running around.) Bonaldo notes it can also be used outdoors, which might be nice especially for homes with large front porches.
The Merkled coat rack is made from powder-coated aluminum. It's shipped flat, but is designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble. (Some end users with memories of bad Ikea assembly may cringe at that.) The coat rack is specifically designed to accommodate tall umbrellas, either in the center or hanging off the top ledge. Also note those nice rounded edges along the top—easier on clothing than squared-off designs.
Coat trees can incorporate hooks or pegs in a number of ways. The Tree from Cascando, designed by Robert Bronwasser, is made of lacquered MDF; it has enough aluminum pegs to hold 20 coats. One concern: The pegs seem slippery and have no upward slant, so I wonder if some coats might slide off.
Many coat trees space out the hooks—but the Artek Clothes Tree 160 is a single pole. However, the pegs spiral around the pole, and are different lengths, allowing larger things like coats to still hang nicely over less bulky items. This clothes tree was designed by Anna Maija Jaatinen back in 1964, and the design is still in production.
Tom Dixon uses discs instead of hooks in his peg coat stand. The eight disks come in four different sizes, and attach to dowels; the end-user can decide which disk goes where. The disks range in size from 3.1 inches to 13.7 inches. Nothing's going to slip off those disks, but the sizes may not work for all end-users.
Though it might be hard to tell from the photos, the peg stand is almost 6 feet tall. It's one of the few coat stands with some pegs low enough for children to reach. One concern: The paint on this coat rack might fade if left in direct sunlight.
The Martha coat rack from e15, designed by Philipp Mainzer, is made from 30 mm (1-1/8 inch) solid wood. It leans against the wall, and uses eight milled, rounded cut-outs rather than hooks. This design requires the end-users to have available wall space, but it's also a fairly compact coat rack compared to the freestanding options. There's a steel eyelet on the back that would allow the end-user to attach this rack to a hook on the wall, if needed for stability—a reasonable precaution if small children are around.
The Pendura coat stand from Galula uses a slightly different design, with notches on the front (at the top) and the back (near the bottom). At 9.2 pounds, it's something that many end-users could easily move around—perhaps even tuck away and bring out when needed for visitors.
And here's another approach to providing stability. The Slide from Van Esch is made from two metal tubes that adjust so they fit between the floor and ceiling. End users who need to accommodate both kids and adults will appreciate that the hooks can be attached anywhere, including at a child-friendly height—and being plastic, with no sharp edges, the hooks themselves are child-friendly, too. Six hooks make this a somewhat low-capacity coat rack, but multiple racks, if needed, wouldn't take a huge amount of space.
The Sutro Coat Rack from Godar Furniture, originally offered via Kickstarter, is a reminder that sometimes a product targeted to a somewhat small, specific audience can be a success. This coat rack found many fans in San Francisco. It's also easy to assemble—with a hammer made from a beer can, no less.
Jeri Dansky has been a professional organizer since 2004, helping people whose clutter is driving them crazy—and helping the mostly organized do even better. She works with her clients to de-clutter and organize the stuff and the papers in their homes and offices.