If you’re loaded with laundry, you’re not alone. The typical American family does approximately 300 loads of laundry each year according to ENERGY STAR. If you have children, work outside, and/or get your share of exercise, your laundry could pile up even faster than average. Fortunately, a quality laundry basket can make your home look tidier by simply keeping garments and linen in one place.
The best laundry basket is comfortable to carry, easy to clean, and ventilated to air out odors. With an ever-growing market of laundry baskets to choose from, options range from utilitarian to stylish, and from space-saving to wheelable. And then there’s the laundry basket’s sister receptacle, the hamper: a typically stationary container with a lid to keep dirty laundry under cover. Some households rely on both a hamper and a laundry basket—and this guide can help you decide which models might be the best choice for your needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Honey-Can-Do HMP 02108 Steel Canvas Rolling Hamper
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: DOKEHOM 82L Large Laundry Basket
- BEST WHEELED: Simple Houseware Heavy-Duty 3-Bag Laundry Sorter Cart
- BEST WOVEN: Goodpick Large Cotton Rope Basket
- BEST PLASTIC: Rubbermaid FG299587WHTRB Laundry Basket
- BEST COLLAPSIBLE: SAMMART Collapsible Plastic Laundry Basket
- BEST HAMPER: Simplehouseware Double Laundry Hamper With Lid
- BEST POP-UP: [Reinforced] Strong Mesh Pop-up Laundry Hamper
What to Consider When Buying a Laundry Basket
A good laundry basket fits neatly in the physical space you have for it, speaks to your decor, and holds up to the rigors of daily life. Here are some factors and features to think about when shopping for a laundry basket:
The majority of laundry baskets and hampers are made of plastic, wicker, or woven materials.
- Plastic baskets are generally lightweight, fairly inexpensive, and durable. They traditionally aren’t the most stylish but are quite practical. Plastic is more resistant to mildew than other materials, and you can keep the basket clean with a quick swipe of a cloth or sponge.
- Wicker baskets, considered more stylish by some people, are also strong, durable, and lightweight. As it ages, however, wicker—typically woven from thin material such as reed, cane, willow, oak, and ash—may deteriorate and possibly snag your laundry. A reusable, machine-washable fabric basket liner can help prevent snagging and also keep your wicker basket cleaner.
- Woven baskets are made of such natural materials as cotton, grasses, and palm leaves, as well as plastic and other synthetic materials. They’re considered to be more stylish and not strictly for laundry (they’re often used as toy bins, decorative plant holders, and for storage). If you’re looking for an eco-friendly laundry basket, woven natural materials are a solid option.
No matter what material you choose, it’s wise to sanitize your laundry basket often, using products meant for its material. After all, it carries and stores both clean and dirty clothes, so cleaning it will help keep freshly laundered items free of dirt and odors.
Handles should be comfortable so they won’t strain your hands, and sturdy enough to support the weight of the basket when filled. Overloading your basket, especially with heavy, wet clothes, puts stress on the handles.
Some baskets have handles built into the sides. These handles are usually wider and spread out the weight of the basket, making it easier to carry. Baskets with thin handles don’t have a lot of area to distribute the basket’s weight and put added strain on your hands.
Handles on woven baskets are usually attached near the top of the basket. Long or flexible handles benefit multitaskers—you can grab the basket by both handles in one hand.
The holes on the sides of laundry baskets allow air to circulate so that clothing and linen can “breathe.” This helps prevent unpleasant smells and mildew (the growth of mold or fungus) from lingering in the basket. If a basket lacks ventilation holes, look for a mesh liner to help air out laundry instead.
Even with ventilation, it’s not a good idea to leave wet or damp laundry in a basket or it could start to smell or develop mildew, which causes a musty odor that’s hard to get rid of (and near impossible to remove from wicker baskets). Mold, which begins to develop in 24 hours under the right conditions, can be even more stubborn to banish.
The amount of laundry your basket holds depends on its size and durability. The average medium load of laundry is approximately 6 pounds and a large load is about 11 pounds. Most laundry baskets will hold one large load or two regular loads. Laundry baskets are usually measured in volume, making the capacity of the average basket about 60 liters.
If you generate a lot of laundry, you may be interested in a higher-capacity basket that holds a few extra-large loads. With added weight comes transport issues; consider a basket on wheels to avoid undue strain.
Laundry baskets are designed for functionality, fashion, and/or both. The simplest laundry baskets are purely utilitarian, rectangular receptacles with strong handles. Consider the length of your trip to the washer-dyer—a utilitarian design may be your best option if you need to go to a laundromat or the laundry room of an apartment house.
Other laundry baskets emphasize style and come in a variety of prints and colors. Depending on the design, they could be meant as a statement piece in the home as well as a purposeful basket. Stylish laundry baskets may be practical but offer a pop of color or a different shape, such as oval or round.
Our Top Picks
The following list includes some of the best laundry baskets on the market, based on the criteria mentioned above. While basket aesthetics varies from person to person, these picks are based on practicality and usefulness for each basket or hamper.
The slim, simple design of the Honey-Can-Do HMP 02108 Steel Canvas Rolling Hamper makes it a good choice for many households—especially if you prefer a model on wheels. Measuring 19.75 by 17.75 by 25 inches, this basket holds at least two large loads of laundry. It has a sturdy, easy-to-clean steel frame with a chrome finish, and it’s lined with a natural canvas bag that’s washable and breathable to keep your laundry and your basket clean. The canvas bag can be tied with its drawstring if desired and although it’s called a hamper, this model has no lid.
Caster rolling wheels are screwed in, making it easy and smooth to push, and it won’t scuff your floors. Though the wheeled basket is intended to save you from having to carry it, the frame has handles so you can pick it up if necessary.
A large capacity, quality laundry basket needn’t cost a load of money. The value-priced, bag-style DOKEHOM 82L Large Laundry Basket has aluminum handles that hold up well when the basket is full. Soft-grip handle pads make carrying easier and distribute the weight in your hands comfortably. The bag is 15 by 15 by 28 inches (including handles) and is made of double-layer 600D oxford fabric, giving it the strength to stand up on its own, even when empty.
If you’d rather not leave it standing when empty, the bag is collapsible—simply fold it up and tuck it away in a drawer or closet. A polyethylene (PE) liner coating lines the bag’s interior, making it waterproof, moisture-proof, and dust-proof. Machine washing can deteriorate the lining, however, so this bag is hand-wash only.
If your household produces a lot of different types of laundry, the Simple Houseware Heavy-Duty 3-Bag Laundry Sorter Cart may help you sort things out with ease. It’s organized into three separate heavy-duty fabric compartments, each one capable of holding 13 gallons of clothes. This lets you sort laundry as it gets dirty and then dump the contents of each bag into the washer when full, rather than sorting through a large pile of soiled clothes.
Caster wheels screwed into the cart make for a smooth and easy trip to the laundry room—and brakes prevent a rogue getaway. The cart’s frame is made of steel with a silver finish, and the individual baskets can be unhooked and carried to the washing machine if desired. The bags are not machine washable, however; using liners will keep the bags clean between handwashes. And note that you’ll need a dedicated area for this cart, as the frame (including the casters) is 30 by 17.5 by 33 inches.
As a natural option, the Goodpick Large Cotton Rope Basket is worth considering. It has a simple yet elegant round shape, measuring 15.8 by 15.8 by 13.8 inches. The basket is lightweight and tightly woven for structural integrity, and its handles, which are openings in the coils of rope, are soft to grip and easy to hold. The basket’s neutral color and multi-use design makes it a versatile choice for laundry or other duties. It works in a kid’s room, for yoga gear, as storage for clean blankets, and more.
The 100 percent cotton material won’t snag clothing or scratch floors. It’s environmentally friendly and adds a subtle touch of décor to a room. Although cotton is known as a breathable material, a basket liner will help the basket stay fresh between machine washes on a delicate cycle.
If you like to keep it simple and appreciate the easy care of a plastic laundry basket, the Rubbermaid FG299587WHTRB might suit you well. There are comfort-grip carrying handles on three sides of the basket, enabling you to hold it with one or both hands. The side without a handle features a “hip hug” design to contour against your body while toting, allowing you to multitask with your free hand.
Made of durable plastic, the 21.15 by 19.91 by 11.16 inch basket is very easy to clean: Simply wipe it down with disinfectant before putting your clean clothes back in it. There’s plenty of ventilation to let clothes breathe (no need for a liner), and the holes are smooth to deter snagging.
If you need a laundry basket that can serve as a toy storage bin, camping sink, or other type of hold-all—yet shrink down in size when not in use—this SAMMART model is worth a look. The BPA-free plastic basket collapses easily to save space: Simply push down one side at a time. At full size, it’s 22.5 by 17.5 by 10.5 inches but when folded it’s a mere 3.5 inches tall. Comfort grip handles ease carrying and while this basket doesn’t have ventilation holes, it’s easy to wipe down with a cloth for cleaning.
Dirty laundry? What dirty laundry? The Simplehouseware Double Laundry Hamper features a lid to hide the sight and smell of soiled clothes and linens. It features two bins, each with its own bag, for sorting laundry, and measures 23 by 13.75 by 22.75 inches—a size that can fit inside most closets to really keep it out of the way. Tip: Smaller hampers fill up faster and nudge you to do laundry more regularly, which helps minimize mildew risk.
The hamper is made of polypropylene, which isn’t as tough and rigid as some other plastics—if you’ve got little ones, don’t allow them to climb on it. It’s lightweight enough to move to and from the laundry room with ease; however, since the bags are removable, you may opt to have the hamper stay put and just tote the bags to the machine on laundry day.
This House Again basket is an especially suitable option for folks living in small or shared spaces. It’s made of polyester mesh with a high-carbon steel frame, a solid polyester bottom, and handles that are double-stitched firmly in place. Mesh siding gives plenty of ventilation to help minimize odor. At 14.5 by 14.5 by 24.5 inches, this pop-up basket is large and strong enough to hold 50 pounds of laundry. And when not in use, simply squash it down to collapse for storage. There’s even a convenient side pocket for laundry supplies for easy transport.
FAQs About Your New Laundry Basket
The best laundry basket helps you transport dirty and clean laundry with ease. As simple as these household staples may be, if you’d like more info about their features and uses, consider these answers to commonly asked questions about laundry baskets.
Q. What’s the best shape for a laundry basket?
The best laundry basket shape is relative to each individual’s needs. Rectangular baskets can hold more than round baskets and enable two piles of laundry to be stacked side-by-side, so many people find them best. Round baskets only have space for one pile (which is just fine for a regular load of laundry), while taller baskets can be easier on your back because less bending over is required.
Q. Where do you put a laundry basket?
Most people keep their basket in the bedroom, the laundry room, or the mudroom.
Q. How do you fold a laundry basket?
Not all baskets are foldable but those that are, have different designs for folding. Some fold into thirds and others need to be twisted into a figure eight shape and folded in half.