Compared to single-use dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener, wool or plastic dryer balls are an economical and environmentally-friendly alternative to help make clothing, towels, and bedding static- and wrinkle-free. The best dryer balls work by preventing fabrics from clumping together in the dryer, helping the laundry dry more efficiently with fewer wrinkles. They also retain heat, which boosts your appliance’s effectiveness by distributing their warmth while allowing heated air to flow among the dryer’s contents. The more dryer balls you add to a single load, the more you can cut down drying time—sometimes reducing it by up to 40 percent.
With so many different options on the market, it can be challenging to determine which are the best dryer balls for your laundry. Dryer balls are available in various styles and materials, and they all work in a similar manner. Keep reading for comparison shopping advice and recommendations.
- BEST OVERALL: Friendsheep Organic Eco Wool Dryer Balls
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Wantell Wool Dryer Balls 6-Pack XL
- BEST ORGANIC: OHOCO Wool Dryer Balls 6 Pack XL
- BEST COLORFUL: S&T INC. Reusable Dryer Balls
- BEST SCENTED: Woolzies Organic Wool Dryer Balls & Essential Oil
- BEST OVERSIZED: Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Dryer Balls
Dryer balls are safe for almost all fabrics, from cotton and hemp to polyester blends and more. With scents being optional, they’re less likely to cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin than some dryer sheets and fabric softeners. The best dryer balls are reusable for months to even years, eliminating the need to continually purchase new dryer sheets and fabric softener and cutting down on landfill waste. Choosing a set for your home comes down to three main decisions: material, size, and number.
Most dryer balls are made of felted or boiled sheep’s wool, while some are constructed from plastic. Regardless of the type of material, all dryer balls work in the same way to keep clothes soft while reducing static and wrinkles. The best wool dryer balls are hypoallergenic and contain no synthetic ingredients. Since many wool dryer balls contain no additional fragrance, they are ideal for babies or anyone with sensitive skin or fragrance allergies.
Wool and plastic dryer balls also vary in shape. Wool dryer balls are smooth and round, while plastic dryer balls are bumpy with small nodules that separate garments in the dryer, naturally increasing airflow. They can be either stiff and rigid or more malleable. Extra-hard plastic dryer balls are designed to help eliminate extra-tough stains in clothing. (You also can find dryer balls with cute animal designs and shapes, such as penguins or porcupines, which makes them a thoughtful housewarming, baby shower, or holiday gift.)
Dryer balls are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs. The most popular size for a dryer ball is approximately 2.5 inches in diameter, roughly the size of a tennis ball. An oversize dryer ball, on the other hand, can measure 3 inches or more in diameter. The larger the size, the better they can fluff your laundry.
Their growing popularity means a wide variety of dryer balls are available. Purchase as few or as many as needed in a single package, with quantities ranging from two dryer balls to 20 or more.
For a small dryer or a single load of laundry, most people use six balls, and experts recommend six dryer balls for larger loads. The number of dryer balls to have on hand is a personal preference, but how many you use in a given load will depend on the amount and type of clothing or other laundry in addition to the size of the dryer.
Our Top Picks
Keep reading to find a collection of some of the best dryer balls on the market that offer quality, value, effectiveness to help make the most of your next load of laundry.
These ecologically-friendly wool dryer balls from Friendsheep are perfect for the new, delicate skin of babies or anyone with chemical or fragrance sensitivities. They are made from 100 percent pure New Zealand wool, with no additives or other materials. Each dryer ball, which can be reused to complete more than 1,000 loads, will reduce drying time by up to 40 percent.
These wool dryer balls are hand-stitched by women in underprivileged communities in Nepal who receive fair wages, an education, and medical care for their work. The dryer balls are produced in an ethical work environment that empowers the workers while maintaining a deep respect for the surrounding nature and animals.
For stretching the dollar, Wantell’s package of six extra-large wool dryer balls ranks high on the list. At 2.9 inches in diameter, they’re also one of the largest dryer balls on the market for the price tag.
These handmade dryer balls are made from 100 percent organic New Zealand wool. They are chemical- and fragrance-free, a wise choice for babies and adults with allergies or sensitivities. Plan for each dryer ball to last for at least 1,000 dryer cycles and to shorten drying time by up to 40 percent.
These organic wool dryer balls from OHOCO are oversize and made with all-natural New Zealand wool. They don’t include any added chemicals or fragrances, making them ideal for anyone concerned about skin irritations or reducing their carbon footprint. They can be reused to complete at least 1,000 dryer loads.
These dryer balls can decrease drying time up to 25 percent, and because they’re made with felted wool, they limit the amount of friction against fabrics, creating less static. OHOCO recommends using the white dryer balls for light-colored loads and the gray dryer balls for dark clothing and bedding.
Each brightly colored dryer ball from S&T INC. is approximately 2.5 inches in diameter and is covered in small raised nodules. However, the nodules have smooth edges that won’t catch or snag on fabrics while reducing static. These dryer balls are available in a set of six with a choice between blue or orange.
While the dryer balls will shorten drying time by up to 25 percent, they’re also specially designed to promote even drying of clothing, towels, and bedding. Use two to three dryer balls for standard loads and four to six for larger loads.
Woolzies’ pack of three organic wool dryer balls includes a bottle of 100 percent pure lavender essential oil. If desired, simply add a few drops of the scented oil to a dryer ball. Place the ball in the dryer with a load of dry clothing, towels, or bedding for 10 additional minutes to leave them smelling fresh and fragrant.
These pure New Zealand wool dryer balls are also hypoallergenic. They contain zero fillers, additives, or harmful chemicals, and they will not shed their fibers in the dryer. They are recommended for children and adults with wool sensitivities. This combination product of dryer balls and essential oils can add that lavender scent to more than 1,000 loads. If fruity scents are more to your liking, lemon and orange are also available.
At 3 inches in diameter, these 100 percent pure New Zealand wool dryer balls from Handy Laundry are extra-large, which means they can handle just about any size load. They are all-natural and free of chemicals, and they also won’t shed fibers that fill up the lint trap. These organic, felted dryer balls can lower drying time by up to 25 percent, while also fluffing up the laundry and reducing static cling. Handy suggests adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to provide a touch of fragrance to each load.
The Advantages of Owning Dryer Balls
Whether you’re trying to save money, help protect the environment, or eliminate harmful chemicals from your life, dryer balls can help when laundry day rolls around.
Let’s look at some of the key advantages of owning wool or plastic dryer balls:
- Reduced drying time. Perhaps the most significant benefit of using dryer balls is increased efficiency; most dryer balls boast an ability to shorten drying time by 25 percent or more.
- Reduced static. When laundry items become tangled in the dryer, static forms. Dryer balls naturally separate these items and prevent them from clinging together.
- Chemical- and fragrance-free laundry. The fragrance in some dryer sheets or fabric softeners can be an irritant for those with sensitive skin. Dryer balls are made without harsh chemicals or fragrances.
- Environmentally friendly alternative. Also unlike dryer sheets and fabric softeners, dryer balls can be used countless times, often up to several months, or even years, before they need to be replaced.
- Money saved. While the initial purchase of a set of dryer balls may seem like a big bite out of the budget, the cost per use is significantly less since they’re purchased less frequently than dryer sheets or fabric softener.
FAQ About Your New Dryer Balls
Q. How do you use dryer balls?
Open your dryer and place your wet laundry items inside. Toss in the dryer balls, close the door, and start the dryer.
Q. How many dryer balls should you use?
Use from two to six dryer balls at a time, depending on the size of the dryer and the amount of laundry. (All six can be helpful in drying large loads and large appliances.)
Q. Do dryer balls replace dryer sheets?
Dryer balls are intended to replace both dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener.
Q. How long do dryer balls last?
Dryer balls can last anywhere from several months to several years, depending on how frequently they’re used. Many of the best dryer balls specify that they’re good for 1,000 loads.