The 9 Best Dryer Balls for All Types of Laundry

Our favorite is the Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls.

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Real Simple / Sabrina Jiang

When it comes to laundry, using simple and efficient tricks and products can make the chore a little less bothersome, such as organizing your laundry room for maximum efficiency with functional design. Using tennis balls in the dryer is one time-honored laundry hack, although dryer balls have gained popularity in recent years. Most are soft, fluffy, and made of wool, while others are plastic that look like they can double as pet toys. All have a purpose in softening and drying laundry at a faster rate, and are a much more eco-friendly option over single-use dryer sheets.

To find the best dryer balls, we evaluated the most popular options on their materials, effectiveness, size, and value. We also spoke to two experts—Adam Morris, engineer and founder of Appliances Made Simple, and Taylor Barefoot, cleaning expert, editor-in-chief, and founder of Snug Sensations—for tips on how to maximize the usage of dryer balls and what to look for when buying them. With plenty of appliance knowledge, particularly with dryers, Morris says that "dryer balls are a great solution to cut drying time and save money on your energy bill."

Here are our picks for the best dryer balls, along with tips and useful information on how to shop for dryer balls so you can actually enjoy laundry day.

Best Overall

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls


Who it's for: People who want a set of several effective dryer balls made with eco-friendly and ethical practices.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer plastic dryer balls and people who want more affordable dryer balls.

This set of six dryer balls is made with 100 percent New Zealand wool, the top material most commonly used for dryer balls. These dryer balls reduce drying time, static, and wrinkles while softening and fluffing laundry naturally (without the use of any chemicals). The brand recommends using three balls at a time for small or medium loads, and five or six for larger loads. Best of all, Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls are eco-friendly and can last for thousands of loads (that means years!). Unlike other dryer balls that tend to unravel after a couple of months, these still look brand new after several loads of laundry.

Aside from having a beloved and effective product, Smart Sheep is women-owned and founded. Each dryer ball is manufactured in Nepal using fair-trade practices, and is inspected and packaged by moms in the U.S. For those who need efficient, eco-friendly dryer balls at a reasonable price and would like to support a socially responsible brand, Smart Sheep is the ultimate choice.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: Set of 6 | Size: 2.8 inches

Best Budget

Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls

Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls


Who it's for: People who want effective dryer balls at the lowest price.

Who it isn't for: People who want colorful or scented dryer balls.

Wool in general is a highly sought after and occasionally expensive material, which is why most dryer balls tend to be on the pricier side. Handy Laundry Dryer Balls, however, provide a budget-friendly price tag without compromising efficiency or quality. Made with 100 percent New Zealand wool, these are the top choice for budget dryer balls. Each dryer ball also has a generous 3-inch diameter, which is about half an inch larger than standard dryer balls. For those who prefer scented dryer balls, these are able to absorb a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to release a natural, fresh scent in your dryer.

If your primary goal is to reduce static, it's recommended to use all six dryer balls for any load. The brand also says that these dryer balls reduce drying time by up to 25 percent, lifting clothes to allow hot air to better circulate, and are reusable for over 1,000 loads. Handy Laundry Dryer Balls are unscented, organic, and handmade in Nepal.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: Set of 6 | Size: 3 inches

Best for Pet Hair

Ecoigy Wool Dryer Balls Organic XL 6-Pack

Wool Dryer Balls


Who it's for: People with pets who shed lots of hair.

Who it isn't for: People looking for larger dryer balls.

Pet hair is notorious for clinging to just about any type of fabric, especially clothes. Whether you have a cat or a dog, cleaning up pet hair is no easy feat when it comes to doing the laundry. Fortunately, Ecoigy Handmade Wool Dryer Balls get the job done, and are Barefoot's go-to for removing pet hair. Unlike dryer balls made for pet hair, which are usually foam or velcro, these are made with 100 percent New Zealand wool. They are a favorite among customers with pets even though they are not specifically formulated with pets in mind. That's because while foam and velcro dryer balls simply stick to clothes or create more static, Ecoigy's dryer balls actually remove pet hair, leaving it to easily clean up in the lint trap vent. As a bonus, these dryer balls are also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, making them a great option for those with sensitivities and/or children.

For best results in removing pet hair, you should use all six dryer balls for any size load. If you prefer some fragrance, adding five to six drops of essential oil to the dryer balls and letting them sit overnight before using them can also add a natural aroma to your now fluffy and hair-free clothes.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: Set of 6 | Size: 2.6 inches

Best for Static

Cleancult Organic Wool Dryer Balls

Organic Wool Dryer Balls


Who it's for: People whose dryers create a lot of static.

Who it isn't for: People who want more than three dryer balls.

There are few things more jolting than reaching for clean, dry clothes in the dryer only to be stung with the shock of the static cling holding two items of clothing together. Wool dryer balls are the best at reducing this static cling because of their ability to absorb moisture and keep the air damp. Cleancult Dryer Balls are our pick for the best dryer balls for static, since they're made with ethically-sourced New Zealand wool that can last for up to 1,000 dryer loads. They are also compostable, biodegradable, fragrance-free, and packaged in a reusable and recyclable cotton pouch. Although each set only includes three dryer balls (which are recommended for small to medium loads), they have an impressive ability to reduce and even get rid of static in comparison to other wool dryer balls and dryer sheets.

In addition to reducing static cling, Cleancult Dryer Balls are great at softening clothes and reducing dry time. Although the dryer balls will wear or unravel slightly over time, their effectiveness holds up. To further reduce static in your dryer using these dryer balls, simply mist each ball with a bit of water before turning on the dryer.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: Set of 3 | Size: 3 inches

Best Sustainable

Blueland Dryer Ball Starter Set

Dryer Ball Starter Set


Who it's for: People who want sustainable, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free dryer balls.

Who it isn't for: People who want a larger set of dryer balls at a lower price.

Every now and then, wool dryer balls are met with hesitation from those looking for a cruelty-free and eco-friendly option. Since all wool dryer balls are derived from sheep's trimmed wool, finding sustainable and ethical options may be the most important factor when it comes to choosing dryer balls. The Blueland Dryer Ball Starter Set is made with New Zealand wool sourced from suppliers who treat sheep well, shear them in early summer, and do not engage in harmful wool harvesting practices like mulesing. For these reasons and more, these dryer balls are our pick for best sustainable dryer balls.

Blueland's dryer balls are made without any chemicals, and can replace up to 1,000 single-use plastic dryer sheets. They are also highly effective at reducing wrinkles, dry time, and static cling. While this set of three dryer balls is on the more expensive side, they could be the best choice for those looking for the most sustainable option from a brand whose ethos and practices match.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: Set of 3 | Size: Not listed

Best Plastic

S&T INC. Reusable Laundry Dryer Balls

Reusable Laundry Dryer Balls


Who it's for: People who want dryer balls that won't erode over time.

Who it isn't for: People prefer less noisy dryer balls.

Dryer balls, no matter the material they're made from, help reduce dryer times because they lift and separate clothes to create pockets of more efficient airflow. Plastic dryer balls tend to be more efficient in this aspect in comparison to wool dryer balls because of the spikes that cover them, which is why S&T's Laundry Dryer Balls are our top choice for best plastic dryer balls. They're made of BPA-free plastic, and are much-loved for their durability, affordability, and ability to soften and fluff clothes and towels.

While plastic dryer balls tend to be noisier than wool or soft material dryer balls (especially those with spikes), they can be a great option for people with wool allergies, or anyone who just wants an affordable, fragrance-free plastic dryer ball. And if for any reason you're unhappy with them, you can even repurpose them as entertaining dog toys.

Material: BPA-free plastic | Amount: Set of 6 | Size: 2.5 inches

Best Colorful

Friendsheep 6-Pack Wool Eco Dryer Balls

Friendsheep 6-Pack Wool Eco Dryer Balls


Who it's for: People who want dryer balls with personality.

Who it isn't for: People who want a more affordable set of dryer balls.

Most wool dryer balls are undyed, so it's common to find them in shades of off-white, beige, and gray. Friendsheep Wool Eco Dryer Balls, however, have taken colorful and uniquely designed wool dryer balls to another level. For their creative and fun selection, we chose these as the best colorful dryer balls. With assorted color options and even dryer balls in the shapes of animals such as bees and sloths, these look like they could be used as a nursery toy. Morris recommends these if you want to add a little life into your laundry room. "Why not have a little bit of fun with something as mundane as a dryer ball?" he says.

Despite their amusing look, Friendsheep Wool Eco Dryer Balls are highly-rated and favored for their ability to greatly reduce wrinkles, static, and dry time by 20 to 40 percent. Similar to Smart Sheep, Friendsheep dryer balls are handmade in Nepal for fair wages using 100 percent New Zealand wool, and packaged in the USA by work-from-home mothers. While these dryer balls are one of the most expensive options on our list, each hypoallergenic dryer ball has a lifespan of about 1,000 loads, and we think their cute and charming colors and designs are definitely worth the price.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: Sets of 3, 4, or 6 | Size: 3 inches

Best Scented

Nellie's Scented Wool Dryerball

Nellie's Scented Wool Dryerball


Who it's for: People who want a scented dryer ball.

Who it isn't for: People who want to buy a set.

Adding fragrance to wool dryer balls is quite simple—you just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your dryer ball—but for those who don't have essential oils or want to purchase a dryer ball that already comes scented, we recommend Nellie's Scented Wool Dryerball. With scents like lavender, bergamot, rose, citrus, and lemongrass, this dryerball is lightly infused with natural essential oils for a hint of fresh aroma to leave your laundry smelling delightful.

At $10 per dryer ball though, these are technically the biggest splurge on our list. However, Nellie's Scented Wool Dryerball is made with New Zealand wool that stays fragrant for up to 50 loads. The brand recommends using this dryer ball along with three to five unscented wool dryer balls for the best results. But even on its own, this dryer ball is mighty enough to soften laundry and reduce static cling.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: 1 dryer ball | Size: Not listed

Best Oversized

Dropps XL Wool Dryer Balls

Dropps XL Wool Dryer Balls


Who it's for: People who want extra large wool dryer balls made with sustainable practices.

Who it isn't for: People who want smaller dryer balls or ones that are less expensive.

Wool dryer balls are often compared to the size of a tennis ball, each between 2.5-3 inches in diameter. For the best oversized dryer balls, we recommend Dropps XL Wool Dryer Balls for their impressive 3.5-inch size, which is better able to soak up excess moisture and reduce drying time. Best of all, these dryer balls are reusable for up to a whopping 10,000 loads. These chemical-free and biodegradable dryer balls come in a set of four colors, allowing you to match the dryer ball to your load: cream for whites, gray for mixed colors, and black for denim and dark colors.

Dropps XL Wool Dryer Balls are made from 100 percent New Zealand wool adhering to strict humane standards. The sheep are skilfully and painlessly sheared in the summer and left to graze their home pastures while their wool is shipped around the globe. Additionally, Dropps provides recyclable packaging and carbon-neutral shipping.

Material: New Zealand wool | Amount: Set of 4 | Size: 3.5 inches

Final Verdict

For all around effectiveness and quality, our top pick is Smart Sheep 6-Pack Wool Dryer Balls. We also like that this company is women-owned and operated with a commitment to social responsibility. For a more affordable option that is just as efficient, we recommend Handy Laundry 6-Pack Wool Dryer Balls.

How to Shop for Dryer Balls Like a Pro


Dryer balls can come in wool, plastic, foam, rubber, or velcro, but wool dryer balls are by far the most popular. According to Morris, wool dryer balls don't contain some of the chemicals, additives, or smells commonly found in plastic counterparts, making wool dryer balls great for people with sensitive skin. "Wool dryer balls have a ton of different benefits, but the one that is most important to me is cutting drying time, especially with the current cost of energy," says Morris. "If I can cut down on drying time even just five to ten minutes, it's a win for me especially in the long run." Plastic dryer balls are less eco-friendly, but they do last for quite a while and are very effective at reducing drying time.


Most wool dryer balls are between 2.5-3 inches in diameter, while oversized dryer balls are between 3-4 inches in diameter. The bigger the size of the dryer ball, the better and shorter the drying time is. Oversized dryer balls are also best for large loads and bulky laundry such as bedding and towels.

"When buying dryer balls, size does matter because you want them to be able to move around freely in your dryer," says Barefoot. "If they are too small, they will get lost in the laundry and won't be able to do their job properly. On the other hand, if they are too large, they will take up too much space in the dryer and won't allow your clothes to move around as freely, which can lead to them not drying evenly. The ideal size for dryer balls is somewhere in the middle so that they can move around freely and still be effective."


Dryer balls typically come in sets of three, four, or six. To best decide which is best for you, both experts agree it depends on the size of your laundry loads. For small and medium loads, most brands recommend three to four regular-sized dryer balls or two oversized ones, and five to six (or three to four oversized) dryer balls for large loads. "If you find that your clothes are still taking too long to dry or are coming out wrinkled, try adding a few more dryer balls to the mix," says Barefoot.

Questions You Might Ask

How do you use dryer balls?

Using dryer balls is quite simple. For best results, keep them in your dryer to make sure you don't forget to add them in after every cycle. Lightly misting wool dryer balls with water can also help with reducing static cling.

"Just add them to your dryer along with your wet clothes," says Barefoot. "They will help fluff your clothes and reduce drying time. Most dryer balls can be used for multiple loads of laundry. Just make sure to clean them regularly!"

How do you clean dryer balls?

Cleaning dryer balls may seem counterintuitive or even unnecessary, but it may be required or helpful for the reusability and lifespan of a dryer ball. As a general rule of thumb, dryer balls should be cleaned every 80 to 100 loads of laundry.

"Dryer balls can be cleaned, as strange as that may sound since the main purpose of them is to roll around with clean laundry," says Morris. "As a general rule, simply put them in the wash with cold water (your individual dryer balls will likely have specific instructions) and let air dry. This should remove any build-up, lint, etc."

How long do dryer balls last?

Most dryer balls, especially those made of wool, can last for hundreds and even thousands of loads. With proper care, dryer balls can last for years, which make them the best eco-friendly alternative to single-use dryer sheets.

"I've had mine for around a year and a half and have yet to see any sign of defects," says Morris. "I don't track how many loads I do, but it's certainly not on the low side so they should last a while."

To ensure your dryer balls stay in great condition to keep reducing wrinkles, static, and dry time, Barefoot suggests keeping an eye on their wear and tear. "The lifespan of your dryer ball will vary depending on how often you use your dryer and the type of fabric you are drying," says Barefoot. "If you are using your dryer balls on a regular basis, it's important to inspect them periodically, checking for any damage to let you know it's time to replace them."

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by L. Daniela Alvarez, contributing writer for Real Simple with nearly three years experience writing about lifestyle content and product reviews. To compile this list, she spent hours researching dryer balls and reading customer reviewers. She also received tips on how to shop for dryer balls from Adam Morris, founder of Appliances Made Simple, and Taylor Barefoot, cleaning expert, editor-in-chief, and founder of Snug Sensations.

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