Few people look forward to laundry day. But with the right tools and tricks of the trade, you can save time and spare yourself some effort. Laundry hampers have been around for ages, but newer designs are aimed at reducing strain, smells, and other inconveniences.
Hampers, which are basically large baskets for storing dirty laundry, can also have a sorting function. Larger units, divided into two or more compartments, help separate dark colors, light colors, and delicate items before throwing them into the machine. Read on to learn about the types of hampers currently available and find out why the following are considered among the best in various categories.
- BEST OVERALL: OIAHOMY Laundry Hamper Woven Cotton Rope Large Hamper
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Handy Laundry Mesh Popup Laundry Hamper
- BEST TOTE: CleverMade Collapsible Laundry Tote, Large Foldable
- BEST HANGING: KEEPJOY Hanging Laundry Hamper Bag
- BEST SECTIONAL: Simple Houseware 4-Bag Heavy Duty Laundry Sorter
- BEST CABINET: Giantex Laundry Hamper Bamboo Freestanding W/ Shelf
- BEST FOR BIG LOADS: WOWLIVE Large Laundry Hamper Clothes Hamper
- BEST FOR HANGING CLOTHES: Seville Classics Mobile 3 Laundry Hamper Sorter
- BEST FOR STUDENTS: HOUSE AGAIN Strong Mesh Pop-up Laundry Hamper
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Laundry Hamper
Without a designated spot to keep them, dirty clothes and bedding can find their way onto the floor or in piles in a closet. A hamper offers a measure of organization and, in some cases, it can even provide a bit of room decor. Keep the following factors and features in mind when shopping for the right hamper to help stow soiled garments and linens.
For the most part, hampers are plain in design and don’t offer a lot of frills. However, they come in a few different types, making some better suited than others to individual laundry rooms, lifestyles, and family sizes.
- Standard: A basic hamper, which can also double as a laundry basket, is usually made from either wicker or plastic with handles on the top for carrying. A standard hamper may or may not come with a lid, but it usually features an open weave, which is beneficial for allowing damp clothing to dry out rather than mildew in an enclosed space.
- Sectional: For the best results, laundry is usually sorted by color before washing, and a sectional hamper, also called a “divided hamper,” makes sorting a snap. Sectional hampers come with two to four bins for separating whites, colors, darks, and hand-wash items. Dirty items can be separated as they’re put in the hamper, so there’s no need to dig through them when it’s time to wash.
- Rolling: Homes with dedicated laundry centers can benefit from portable, rolling hampers that can be pushed across the room with ease. Rolling hampers feature metal frames and usually come with canvas bins that can be unhooked from the frame and machine washed when necessary. A large, rolling hamper may also come with an overhead rack for use as a clothes drying rack.
- Collapsible: Apartment dwellers and college students living in dorms may prefer collapsible laundry baskets that can be stowed out of the way under a bed or behind a dresser until needed. These soft-side hampers feature lightweight, flexible frames with mesh covering. Collapsible hampers fold flat when not in use.
- Hanging: When floor space is at a premium, consider a hamper that can be hung on a closet rod or the back of a closet door. Made from fabric, hanging hampers are usually just large enough to hold a few days’ worth of dirty clothing, but a few larger models can hold up to four loads of laundry.
- Integrated: This type of hamper is made to fit inside a cabinet, and it either pulls out (on drawer slides) or tips out, similar to an old-style potato bin. For combo bathroom/laundry rooms, an integrated hamper keeps dirty laundry out of sight.
Materials that breathe are top options for hampers because they help damp and sweaty items air dry, deferring mildew. That said, avoid tossing sopping wet clothing in a hamper to prevent mildew growth. Once mildew forms on fabric, it can be difficult to remove.
Canvas, woven wicker, and ventilated plastic hampers are easy to clean by just wiping with a damp rag. Detachable fabric bins can be removed and tossed in the washer when dirty.
Capacity and Sorting
While laundry baskets typically hold just one load of laundry (about 60 liters) and have handles for carrying, a hamper is usually larger, capable of holding two or three laundry loads. Integrated hampers come with separate containers that can each contain one or more loads, depending on size.
Our Top Picks
Laundry hampers should combine excellent design with strong materials that last for years. The following products are some of the best in terms of quality, performance, durability, and additional features (like removable liners and extra compartments).
Laundry hampers can be functional and good-looking, too. Oiahomy’s 100 percent cotton rope basket-style hamper can nicely suit a variety of decor styles thanks to its soft neutral color and smooth shape. It’s made of durable high-grade cotton rope and is 25.6 inches by 19.3 inches, yet its slim design won’t take up much space. Large, comfortable cotton handles make the hamper easy to pick up and tote to the washing machine. There are no sharp edges or hard materials, making the hamper safe for use in kids’ rooms and playrooms.
No need to spend a bundle on a quality hamper. The Handy Laundry Mesh Pop-Up Hamper is affordable, lightweight, and features mesh fabric that encourages dampness to evaporate, staving off mildew. The hampers are sold as a set of two, each one measuring 13 inches wide by 14 inches deep and standing 24 inches high. Each hamper can hold a full load of laundry.
The hamper features a simple-to-use frame that pops open or folds flat with just a twist. Empty, each hamper weighs less than one pound, so it won’t add substantially to the weight of the laundry. Reinforced fabric handles at the top make for easy carrying.
Those who patronize a laundromat and want something nicer than a bag for carrying clothes may appreciate CleverMade’s totally portable collapsible hamper. It holds up to 55 pounds (approximately two loads of laundry), has strong handles, and is made of heavy-duty polyester fabric. Reinforced with a steel rim at the top and a rigid baseboard at the bottom, this portable hamper won’t sag or buckle. It measures 21.25 inches long, 13.25 inches wide, and 18.5 inches tall. Innovative snap hinges inside the bag let it be popped open and collapsed with ease. It comes in a range of color schemes to suit different decors.
When closet floor space is at a premium, the KEEPJOY Hanging Laundry Hamper Bag is just the ticket. Designed to hang over the back of a closet or bathroom door (door hanger included), this handy hamper will hold approximately two loads of laundry. The 30-inch long by 20-inch wide bag is made from durable Oxford fabric and has a reinforced hole at the top for depositing dirty clothes. A zipper in the back makes it simple to dump the clothes out rather than dig them from the bag by hand. The entire bag is machine washable.
Sorting big loads of laundry and hauling it around may never be fun, but this wheeled hamper may just make it less of a chore. Simple Houseware’s laundry sorter is a great solution for large, mixed loads. The steel frame is hung with heavy-duty fabric bags that lift out easily, allowing users to empty just one or two at a time.
Each cloth bag holds up to 11 gallons of clothes—so the total capacity of the cart is 44 gallons—about two full loads. Toss light colors, dark colors, delicates, and linens into four separate compartments. Two of the wheel casters have built-in brakes so that the cart won’t slip and slide.
Those wanting both a hamper and additional shelving might find the Giantex Bamboo Hamper a great bathroom addition. It measures 37.5 inches high, 16 inches wide, and is 13 inches deep, making it small enough to fit in many compact bathrooms and featuring two shelves for assorted items like lotions, washcloths, soap, and toiletries.
The hamper comes with a hinged door that tips out for access to a durable polyester liner that holds up to two full laundry loads. The bamboo frame has open slats that allow for ventilation, and both the liner and the bamboo rack itself come with handles for easy carrying. The frame and the liner both wipe clean with a damp cloth.
WOWLIVE’s large hamper stands strong during use and collapses flat easily for storage. It’s made of thick 600D Oxford fabric that’s tough, waterproof, and repels dust. Reinforced with fiber rods and boasting a plastic base for additional stability, this hamper can handle a lot of laundry and has up to 40 percent more storage than other laundry baskets.
With its compact square shape, WOWLIVE’s hamper fits easily into a corner. It comes with two removable, washable laundry bags fitted with carrying handles. Once collapsed, it’s easy to store and carry, should users want to take it on vacation.
The overhead bar on the Seville Classics three-bag hamper makes it easy to hang freshly laundered items for air drying or steaming. Its chrome frame holds three detachable, 23.3-inch by 15.75-inch by 9.5-inch cotton-polyester canvas bins for easy sorting. The adjustable rack stands 66 inches high, is 30.75 inches wide, and 19.5 inches deep. The hanging bar adjusts from 66 inches down to 39 inches to suit a variety of users, and caster wheels make it simple to roll where needed. The canvas bins are machine washable.
It weighs just 8 ounces, but House Again’s pop-up laundry hamper packs a punch when it comes to strength and function. Made of polyester mesh with a high-carbon steel frame, a solid polyester bottom, and double-stitched handles, this portable laundry hamper can go the distance.
With a 50-pound capacity, it is large enough to hold up to a week’s worth of dirty clothes, yet it doesn’t take up much space. Pop it open to use, and collapse it to store out of sight. The mesh fabric provides ventilation to keep laundry from getting musty. Extra side pockets stash laundry soap and dryer balls. Choose a single hamper, available in a variety of colors and designs, or pick up a two-pack, which is available in black. Suited to dorm rooms, this reinforced hamper is also great for travel, house sitting, and small-apartment living.
FAQs About Laundry Hampers
If you want more information to help you choose the right laundry hamper for your home and lifestyle, check out the answers to these commonly asked questions.
Q. What’s the difference between a laundry basket and a hamper?
Laundry baskets are small and meant to carry a load of clothes to and from the washer and dryer. A hamper is typically larger and meant to hold two or more laundry loads.
Q. Can you wash a laundry hamper?
Most hampers can be cleaned just by wiping with a damp rag. Detachable fabric hamper bins can be removed and tossed in the washer.
Q. Where should I keep my laundry hamper?
That’s a personal preference, but many prefer to keep a hamper in a closet or a laundry room.
Q. Why do laundry hampers have holes?
The holes provide ventilation, allowing damp clothing to dry out so they don’t develop mildew.