Best Dryer Balls

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

26 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
195 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best dryer balls

Last Updated October 2019

Have you ever used a set of dryer balls in your laundry instead of traditional fabric softener? The results can be fantastic. If not, the next time you’re drying your laundry, consider tossing some laundry balls in with your clothes instead of fabric softener. These little orbs look basic and cost very little, but when mixed in with your wet clothes, towels, and linens, they go to work. As the balls bounce among the fabrics, they separate them, soften them, and speed up drying time.

The most effective dryer balls are made of wool or plastic, and they’re available in several sizes and quantities. You can use them repeatedly, so it can be argued that you save money over time with dryer balls because you don’t have to buy fabric softener or dryer sheets. What’s more, with shorter drying times for your clothes, you cut down on your power usage.

Whether you're purchasing dryer balls for the first time or looking for a replacement set, check out the detailed information in our shopping guide to find out more. Our buying tips and product recommendations will lead you to the perfect product for your needs.

Not a fan of strong scents or perfumed fabric softeners? A dryer ball works in a similar manner to these products without adding fragrance to your laundry.

Benefits of using dryer balls

It may seem too good to be true: toss a few dryer balls in with your laundry, and you’ll get results similar to what you’d get using liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets. But it’s true; dryer balls really do perform for most types of fabrics and load sizes. Here’s a closer look at the benefits you can expect when you dry your clothes with these spherical laundry aids.

  • Quicker dryer times: When dryer balls are in the dryer, they separate materials and prevent them from clumping together. This allows the dryer work more efficiently, shortening drying times for most loads.
  • Softer fabrics: Because dryer balls separate and bounce around on your clothes, linens, and towels, these items come out softer when they’re dry. In addition, it’s thought that the natural fibers and oils in dryer balls made of wool have a softening effect.
  • Easy to use: Put your laundry in the dryer, toss in some dryer balls, and turn it on. Using dryer balls is that easy.
  • Eco-friendly: Dryer balls are eco-friendly because you can use them over and over again. They create less plastic waste in the form of fabric softener bottles and less chemical pollution down the drain.
  • Reduced static and wrinkles: Many materials come out of the dryer looking better after spending some time agitating with dryer balls. Clothes tend to have less static and fewer wrinkles.
  • Gentle on sensitive skin: Dryer balls work without added chemicals. Those made of wool are completely natural. Therefore, they aren’t likely to cause allergic reactions or irritations.
  • Save money: Dryer balls are relatively inexpensive, and they are reusable, so you save money on products you would otherwise use in the dryer. The result: more money in your wallet.
FOR YOUR SAFETY

Because quality wool dryer balls are made of natural, organic fibers that aren’t likely to irritate skin, they are perfect for drying baby clothing.

Wool dryer balls vs. plastic dryer balls

The two most popular materials for dryer balls are wool and plastic. Both are durable and non-toxic, and they hold up to repeated use. There are pros and cons to each.

Wool dryer balls

Pros: These eco-friendly dryer balls last a bit longer than plastic, are fairly quiet in the dryer, and are easy to use with essential oils.

Cons: Wool dryer balls can have a sheep smell, and they may leave behind noticeable fibers. With wear and tear, wool dryer balls can rip or unravel.

Plastic dryer balls

Pros: These dryer balls are lightweight and reasonably durable. No animal products are used to make them, and unlike wool, they don’t leave fibers behind on clothing.

Cons: Plastic dryer balls can be noisy in the dryer and may crack over time. Some plastic dryer balls can be used with essential oils, but if you want this feature, you may have to pay more or look harder to find them.

Many companies make dryer balls from wool that comes from New Zealand. That’s because the country is known for producing superior wool from Merino sheep.

Dryer ball features

Size

The best way to compare dryer ball sizes is to think of different types of sports balls: golf balls, tennis balls, baseballs. Wool and plastic dryer balls are available in these sizes, ranging in circumference from about five to ten inches. Baseball-size wool dryer balls (“extra-large” dryer balls) are one of the most popular choices. Plastic dryer balls are typically a bit smaller, about the size of tennis balls.

Color

The color of dryer balls is only a concern when it comes to those made of wool. That’s because the fibers can transfer to laundry, so you wouldn’t want to dry your best pair of black pants with dryer balls made of white wool. Although wool dryer balls are most commonly made of white wool, there are also grey, black, and colored wool dryer balls available.

Quantity

The number of dryer balls you need depends on how often you do your laundry and how large your loads are. The more often you use them, the more likely they are to wear down or break. Additionally, you’ll need more dryer balls for larger loads of laundry. Fortunately, dryer balls come in multiples. The typical range is two to eight dryer balls per pack.

Dryer ball prices

Affordable and reusable, dryer balls generally cost between $10 and $30. The priciest sets contain six to eight top-quality organic wool balls and run between $20 and $30. For $10 to $20, you can get a similar set made of lesser-quality wool.

Plastic dryer ball sets also tend to be in the $10 to $20 range. For $10, you can find sets of two or four. If you want plastic dryer balls that can be used with essential oils, expect to pay closer to $20 than $10.

EXPERT TIP

Consider keeping two sets of wool dryer balls on hand: a white set for light-colored clothing and a black set for darks. This will prevent any wool fibers that fall off the balls from being detectable on clothing.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Although wool dryer balls from sheep-friendly sources are available, they may not be suitable for consumers who prefer not to use animal-based products. If you live a vegan lifestyle, opt for plastic dryer balls instead.
  • Keep a basket of laundry balls in your laundry room or close to your dryer. That way, they’ll be nearby and ready to use when you need them.
  • Do you wash and dry your laundry at the laundromat? Choose laundry balls that come with a bag so you can easily transport them along with your dirty clothes.
  • Whether you choose wool or plastic dryer balls, it’s time to replace them when you notice signs of major wear. With repeated use, wool fibers will start to fray and unravel, and plastic may crack.

Other products we considered

Wool dryer ball fans love that they can apply essential oils before popping them in the dryer. However, you don’t have to give up that ability with the plastic Life Miracle Dryer Plus XL Dryer Balls. Backed by a two-year warranty, these durable plastic balls have small openings in which you can deposit a few drops of your favorite aromatic oils.

If you have a lot of black laundry, check out Woolous’s six-pack of black XL Wool Dryer Balls. Made of organic New Zealand wool, they won’t leave behind noticeable fibers on your favorite dark laundry. They are also compatible with essential oils, so your darks will smell as good as they look.

Does your skin often become irritated when you use products with unnatural ingredients? Dryer balls are a great substitute for fabric softeners, which can cause allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin.

FAQ

Q. How many times can I use wool dryer balls before they need to be replaced?
A.
Users have determined that on average, both wool and plastic dryer balls last for approximately 1,000 loads of laundry. Depending on how often you do laundry, that could translate to several years of use before your dryer balls need to be replaced.

Q. I want to try dryer balls, but I don’t want to give up the pleasant fragrance that comes from using dryer sheets. What are my options?
A.
To transfer scents to your laundry, wool dryer balls are your best option. Simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the balls before tossing them in with your clothes. As they tumble around the machine, the scent will transfer to the laundry. If you prefer plastic dryer balls, look for specialty models with small openings for adding essential oils.

Q. About how much drying time per load will I save when using dryer balls?
A.
Although your time savings will vary, experts estimate that using dryer balls with a typical load can cut your drying time by 20% to 45%. Keep in mind that if you over-stuff your dryer, however, the dryer balls will be less effective.

Q. How many dryer ball should I put in a load of laundry?
A.
For the best results, use two to four standard-size dryer balls for each small to mid-size load. For large loads, use four to eight dryer balls. Keep in mind that you may need a few more if you choose small orbs or a few less if you go with a larger size.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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