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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.

19 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
245 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 laundry detergent pods

Last Updated April 2020

At one time or another, everyone has to contend with dirty laundry. Laundry detergent pods are an ideal solution for anyone who’s tired of handling messy liquid and powder detergents. If you’re sick of finding your clothes covered in soapy residue because you added too much liquid detergent, or tired of rewashing loads that never seem clean enough, grab a tub of detergent pods and simplify your laundry day. 

Released in the early 2010s, detergent pods were designed as a practical alternative to complicated detergent options. All you need to do is pop one into your washer’s tub. That’s it. Like powders and liquids, pods are available in a variety of formulas from color safe to eco-friendly. Although they come with a slightly higher price tag, pods are an ultra-convenient detergent option. 

If you’re struggling to figure out which pod product to choose for your next load of laundry, keep reading. Our buying guide is filled with information about laundry pod ingredients, formulas, and features. Spend less time fretting over how to handle stains and spots and more time relaxing while your washing machine does all the work.

Buy laundry detergent pods in bulk to save money.

Key considerations

Components

A laundry detergent pod consists of a water-soluble outer layer that contains highly concentrated detergent. Many pods also include fabric-softening and stain-removing solutions. Detergent pods are much more concentrated and contain much less water than liquid detergents that come in a jug.

Benefits of pods

Convenient: Throw a pod in the machine, add your laundry, and start the wash cycle. Use one pod for a regular load and two if the load is larger than usual or heavily soiled. No need to use extra products since most pods already contain brighteners and stain-fighting ingredients.

Lightweight and small: Pods are especially handy if you do your laundry in a laundromat. 

Premeasured: Follow the guidelines on the packaging and add one or two pods depending on the size and condition of the load. No more messy measuring cups or caps.

Effective: Pods are as powerful as liquid and powder detergents, if not more so, and excellent at cleaning clothes and removing stains.

Simple to store: Pods are typically sold in their own resealable container. 

Spill-free. Accidentally tipping over your pod container won’t cause a frustrating mess, unlike liquid and powder detergents. 

Drawbacks of pods

More expensive: The cost is a significant drawback to consider for those on a budget or those who do laundry multiple times a week.

One size: You can’t snap a pod in half, so if you regularly run small loads, you may find yourself wasting detergent (and money).

Safety concerns: Children, pets, and others are attracted to these colorful detergent pods that can look like toys or candy. The pods are extremely dangerous if ingested.

Incorrect use: Sometimes, pods don’t dissolve completely if added to the machine after the clothing instead of before.

Environmental concerns. Many detergent pods are made of vinyl acetate, which poses a risk to marine life. There’s also evidence that the material is carcinogenic.

Safety precautions

In recent years, and certainly ever since a viral video fiasco in 2018, laundry pod makers have had to contend with worried parents and caregivers. The brightly colored pods look like an attractive treat to some, including children. 

Because detergent pods contain a high concentration of liquid detergent, they’re more dangerous than conventional liquid and powder detergents. Their appearance also makes them far more appealing compared to other detergent formats. 

Pods should be stored carefully and out of reach of curious hands. While the outer coating of most pods contains a bitter-tasting compound to deter consumption, reports show that children have continued to ingest pods despite efforts to reduce the incidence of poisoning. 

CAUTION

Do not use dishwasher pods in your washing machine. They do not contain the same ingredients. Keep them stored separately so you don’t mix them up.

Features

Fragrance

If scent is important to you, read reviews or test drive the product before purchasing by sniffing a packet or buying a smaller format. The smell will linger on clothing, so choose one that you find pleasant. Some pods are fragrance-free and suitable for persons with odor sensitivities and sensitive skin.

Formula

Sensitive skin: If your regular detergent leaves you feeling itchy, try a formula designed for sensitive skin intended to reduce the risk of irritation. Gentle pods are ideal for those with reactive skin, allergies, and eczema. 

Sports: Laundry detergent pods for the athletically inclined are made with powerful stain-removing and odor-fighting ingredients to banish sweat and stubborn smells. These types of pods are effective but gentle enough to use on premium high-tech fabrics.

HE compatible: Use these pods if you have a high-efficiency (HE) washing machine, but know that most laundry detergent pod products are suitable for use in a variety of washers. HE-compatible pods are guaranteed to dissolve in your energy-efficient unit that uses less water than a traditional machine. 

Eco-friendly: Are you concerned about the environment? While there’s some concern about the environmental impact of a host of laundry products, there are several eco-friendly pod options available on the market. Note that the term “eco” is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other words like “natural” and “green” don’t necessarily carry the weight that they connote either. If reducing your environmental impact is a top concern, opt for products labeled as USDA Organic

FOR YOUR SAFETY

If someone in your household ingests a laundry detergent pod, call 911 immediately.

Laundry detergent pod prices

While pods are the most expensive laundry detergent choice, pricing varies significantly within the category and according to the brand in question. The cost of laundry detergent pods varies from $0.16 to $0.98 per load. While not true of all products, the higher the price of a laundry pod, the higher the quality in many cases. Specialty pods, like those meant for washing stinky sportswear, also tend to cost more.

Tips

  • Read clothing labels before tossing in a pod. Not sure how to interpret the many symbols? Print out an online reference chart and keep it in your laundry area. 
     

  • Pretreat stains. If clothes are heavily stained, pretreat the stains before washing the clothes with a pod.
     

  • Follow manufacturer guidelines. There’s no need to measure detergent when using laundry detergent pods, but if you’ve got a heavily soiled load or a much larger load than usual, you might need to use two pods. Check manufacturer recommendations to find out whether using two pods is appropriate for your situation.
     

  • Handle pods with dry hands. The outer casing of the pod will start to dissolve if your hands are moist or wet.
     

  • Add the pod before tossing in your clothes. Pods added after clothing may not dissolve completely.

EXPERT TIP

Keep your pods in a sealed container to prevent moisture and humidity from causing damage and degrading the pods.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

Don’t see what you need in our matrix? We found a few more products for you. The Tide Free and Gentle Laundry Detergent Pods are a gentle alternative to Tide’s regular detergents. They’re hypoallergenic and free of harsh chemicals like dyes and perfumes. The pods contain a trio of detergent, brightener, and stain remover to banish grime and leave your clothes looking refreshed. The pods are compatible with hot or cold wash cycles.

The Arm & Hammer 2-in-1 Power Paks contain the reliable liquid detergent you love in a convenient pod package. The low-cost pods are stain-fighting machines that leave behind a pleasant fresh scent. They’re also compatible with all types of washing machines, including high-efficiency (HE) models. 

The affordable Solimo Laundry Detergent Pacs from Amazon are available in a handy bulk bin. Pods dissolve easily in hot or cold water and are compatible with any type of machine. In addition to banishing stains, the pods also brighten and whiten clothing.

Finally, the powerful Purex 4-in-1 + Clorox Pacs are designed to remove dirt and stains from heavily soiled laundry. Compatible with HE machines and all water temperatures, these pods are great for battling stubborn stains.

Be careful when handling detergent pods. If punctured, the pressurized pod can squirt concentrated detergent into your eyes.

FAQ

Q. Why don’t my laundry pods dissolve in the washing machine?
A. If you add the pods after putting in your clothes, there’s a possibility that they won’t dissolve. Always add pods before your clothing.
 

Q. Will pods dissolve in any water temperature?
A. Yes! They’re designed to dissolve in either hot or cold water. In the winter, when water is extremely cold, you might need to use a warm water setting or dissolve the pods in a bowl of warm water before adding the detergent to your washing machine.
 

Q. Is it bad to use multiple pods for one load of laundry?
A. It depends on the size of the load. A load that is very dirty or larger than usual may require the use of two pods. Avoid using more than one pod for a small load of laundry. Too much detergent can leave residue behind.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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