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Best Overall: Parachute Wool Dryer Balls
If you're looking for an eco-friendly and natural alternative to dryer sheets, wool dryer balls are a great option. While dryer balls can be made of rubber or plastic, wool tends to dry clothes quicker. Our top pick in this category is Parachute's Wool Dryer Balls, which come in a pack of three and cut drying time by about 50 percent. These balls are made from 100 percent New Zealand wool, and they’re chemical-free and hypoallergenic. Reviewers note that using them restores softness, adds fluff, cuts down on static cling, and reduces wrinkles.
Parachute notes that the balls will last for 1,000 washes—that’s a lifespan of nearly 10 years if you use the dryer twice a week. While these dryer balls might be a bit pricier than other options, customers say that these wool balls work much better than dryer sheets and love that they're an eco-friendly alternative.
Best Budget: Woolous Organic Wool Dryer Balls, Six Pack
These budget-friendly wool balls are a great way to test out the effectiveness of dryer balls without spending a lot of money. This pack of six wool balls also comes with a felt carrying case that keeps all of them together. The balls are handmade from organic merino wool from New Zealand sheep and do not contain chemicals. Just make sure to wash them prior to using them the first time, according to the manufacturer.
One note: compared to some other dryer balls available for purchase, these are a bit on the small side. And, some reviewers note that after several months of usage, the balls may pick up some colors (from dark jeans, for instance) as well as becoming slightly misshapen. Overall, most customers are satisfied with these dryer balls.
Best Splurge: Grove Grove Collaborative Wool Dryer Balls, Set of Three
Grove Collaborative is an eco-friendly retailer that specializes in cleaning products and other household essentials. Their wool dryer balls are a bit pricier than most, but again and again, reviewers comment that these wool balls work far better than expected. These eco-friendly, chemical-free balls can be used in 1,000 loads of laundry and reduce drying time by 25 percent, according to Grove Collaborative.
To get the most effectiveness out of these dryer balls, give them a spritz of water before throwing them in the dryer. Adding a safety pin to one ball—or just crumpling up some aluminum foil and adding it to the dryer—will reduce static. And, the balls are most effective for medium-sized (not large or super-sized) loads of laundry. Reviewers note that when they follow these tips, the balls are far more effective, reporting that loads of towels that previously required two dryer cycles are now bone dry in just one.
Best Scented: Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls Organic
One of the things that’s nice about fresh laundry is that fresh, clean smell. Detergent adds some of that to clothes—but dryer sheets really power up the scent. But don’t despair: skipping dryer sheets doesn’t have to mean bidding farewell to scent entirely. Instead, many dryer ball users turn to essential oils. These Woolzies organic dryer balls come with a jar of lavender essential oil (other essential oil scents are also available, too).
The essential oil jar is small, but that’s because a little goes a long way. Here’s how it works: toss the balls into the dryer along with clean, wet laundry. Run the dryer until everything is dry. Then, dab just three to six drops of essential oil on each of the balls, and place them back in the dryer on a non-heated fluff cycle for 10 minutes.
Best Organic: Casafield Wool Dryer Balls, Set of Six
People with sensitive skin and parents of little ones will particularly appreciate these wool balls from Casafield, which are organic, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. They deliver soft linens and clothing without requiring dryer sheets or fabric softener, which are both chock-full of chemicals. (Looking for other natural fabric softener options? Try adding white vinegar in the wash cycle).
Casafield’s dryer balls have a three-inch diameter, which is a bit smaller than some other alternatives. Still, reviewers note that these balls—which come with a printed carrying case—are effective at reducing drying time without the need for chemical-based products.
Best Oversized: OHOCO Wool Dryer Balls 6 Pack XL
If you do large loads of laundry—or several at once—you’ll appreciate that this set comes with six extra-large dryer balls. You can throw them all in for an oversized load, or split them between two dryers at the Laundromat. OHOCO’s large, dense dryer balls are made from all-natural wool from New Zealand sheep—no bleach or other chemicals were used to make them. They're also fragrance-free, which is great for those with sensitive skin.
Like all wool balls, using these will cut down on drying time, soften clothes, attract lint and pet hair, and reduce wrinkles. That shorter dryer cycle is good for the environment—and your energy bill. To reduce static cling, OHOCO recommends lightly spritzing the balls with water or attaching a safety pin into one of the balls that you add to the dryer load.
Best Colorful: Five Two Wool Dryer Balls
Just because laundry is a chore, doesn’t mean it has to feel like one. These colorful dryer balls—available in warm or cool tones—are both functional and adorable. Instead of hiding them away at the bottom of the laundry bin, these wool dryer balls from Five Two are pretty enough to set out in a basket or glass vase.
These hypoallergenic dryer balls are handmade in Nepal from 100 percent New Zealand wool. The surface is small, which should help the balls not stick to your clothes and linens. Five Two describes them as being about the size of a navel orange—they’re small enough to easily pick up and large enough to lend your dryer a hand, helping to distribute air throughout for speedier drying time.
Best Environmentally-Friendly: Coyuchi Climate Beneficial Wool Dryer Balls
There are a lot of reasons to opt for dryer balls—over time, it’s a cheaper way to soften your clothes than dryer sheets are. You’ll get back time thanks to shorter dryer cycles, too. For many people, a big part of the appeal is the environmental factor: using less energy isn’t just saving for your wallet—it’s also good for the environment. If the environment is at the forefront of your mind, you might wonder about the environmental impact of your dryer balls.
The Coyuchi dryer balls are made from what the company calls “climate beneficial wool.” What does that mean? Well, the wool is carbon-neutral, since it comes from California sheep who are raised on a farm that follows carbon farming methods that among other environmentally responsible actions, reduce carbon in the atmosphere. (Most dryer balls are made from wool that comes from New Zealand sheep). Coyuchi’s wool dryer balls are effective and a great choice for people concerned with the environmental impact of the items they purchase.