The 9 Best Dryer Balls for All Types of Laundry
When it comes to laundry, using simple and efficient tricks and products can make the chore a little less bothersome. Enter dryer balls—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."
Our top pick is Smart Sheep 6-Pack Wool Dryer Balls, which are made of 100 percent New Zealand wool. These dryer balls stand out for their ability to dry, fluff, and soften laundry while greatly reducing static and wrinkles.
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.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Dryer Balls: Smart Sheep 6-Pack Wool Dryer Balls
- Best Budget Dryer Balls: Handy Laundry 4-Pack Wool Dryer Balls
- Best Dryer Balls for Pet Hair: Ecoigy 6-Pack Handmade Wool Dryer Balls
- Best Dryer Balls for Static: Cleancult 3-Pack Dryer Balls
- Best Sustainable Dryer Balls: Blueland 3-Pack Dryer Ball Starter Set
- Best Plastic Dryer Balls: S&T 6-Pack Laundry Dryer Balls
- Best Colorful Dryer Balls: Friendsheep 6-Pack Wool Eco Dryer Balls
- Best Scented Dryer Balls: Nellie's Scented Wool Dryerball
- Best Oversized Dryer Balls: Dropps 4-Pack XL Wool Dryer Balls
Best Overall: Smart Sheep 6-Pack Wool Dryer Balls
Best Budget Dryer Balls: Handy Laundry 4-Pack Wool Dryer Balls
Best Dryer Balls for Pet Hair: Ecoigy 6-Pack Handmade Wool Dryer Balls
Best Dryer Balls for Static: Cleancult 3-Pack Dryer Balls
Best Sustainable Dryer Balls: Blueland 3-Pack Dryer Ball Starter Set
Best Plastic Dryer Balls: S&T 6-Pack Laundry Dryer Balls
Best Colorful Dryer Balls: Friendsheep 6-Pack Wool Eco Dryer Balls
Best Scented Dryer Balls: Nellie's Scented Wool Dryerball
Best Oversized Dryer Balls: Dropps 4-Pack XL Wool Dryer Balls
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.