9 Best Wool Dryer Balls for 2022: Do They Really Work?

By | July 21, 2022

If you’re looking to get your laundry next-level soft and fluffy while steering clear of chemicals, wool dryer balls might be on your radar. These compact orbs, made from sheep’s wool, are meant to be a natural, reusable alternative to conventional fabric softener sheets or plastic dryer balls.

Only thing is… are they as incredible as some people claim?

The truth is there’s not a ton of evidence out there to say for certain whether wool dryer balls work and if they’ll for sure do as good a job as fabric softeners.

But we can take a dive into how they’re meant to improve your laundry, what the general consensus seems to be on how well they get the job done, plus some product picks to try. So let’s get to it.

A quick look at the best wool dryer balls

wool dryer balls

Sooo.. do wool dryer balls work?

Dryer balls, in general, work by “disrupting” your laundry load.

Basically, they bounce around between clothes to keep fabrics from bunching or balling up. That’s supposed to speed up drying time, stop static from forming, boost softness and fluffiness, and reduce wrinkles. Some people say they get pet hair off of clothes too, but that’s kinda TBD.

Wool vs. plastic dryer balls and dryer sheets

There are plastic dryer balls out there — plus good ol’ fashioned dryer sheets — so why wool in particular?

Turns out the stuff is hella absorbent, so it could cut your load’s drying time down by a lot.

It’s also a sustainable, renewable material that’s good for the planet. It’s also a smart option for people with sensitive skin since wool is hypoallergenic.

In comparison, plastic dryer balls work pretty similarly to wool ones — although they’re not as straight-up environmentally-friendly as wool, they don’t leave any annoying wool fibers behind and can last a long time. They are harder, though, and can make it sound like someone is tumbling a bunch of bowling balls in your dryer. Wool is definitely quieter.

Meanwhile, dryer sheets don’t check off many of these boxes at all: They’re single-use, making them both more wasteful and more expensive, and the fragrances and chemicals added to help them soften fabrics and eliminate static can be super irritating to sensitive or allergy-prone skin.

How we chose

Before we tell you which wool dryer balls we think are worth checking out, here’s how we narrowed this list down of our top favorites:

  • Construction. Your wool dryer balls should be made of — you guessed it! — wool, so we checked to be sure that our suggested products are all 100% wool construction. If the wool comes from New Zealand, aka the wool capital of the world (that’s not an official title, we just made that up because of all the sheep), then it got bonus points.
  • Durability. No one wants their wool dryer balls falling apart after just three or four months. We tried to find dryer balls that could last you at least two years, if not longer.
  • Quantity. What good is one wool dryer ball? No good at all. We also looked for balls sold in packs of four or six, to maximize the bang for your buck.

Pricing guide

Prices are for 6-packs.

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$20
  • $$$ = $20–$30

The best wool dryer balls to buy

If you want to try adding wool dryer balls to your laundry, you’ve got loads to choose from. (Heh, sorry.) Most of the options are billed as extra-large, meaning they’re a little larger than a tennis ball, and come in packs of six, which manufacturers say is enough for a very big load of laundry.

Best rated wool dryer balls

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls

smart sheep wool dryer balls
  • Price: $$
  • Quantity: 6
  • Colors available: white, gray smiling sheep, marching penguins
  • What we like: These are handmade in Nepal and extra durable
  • What we don’t like: They’ve gotten some complaints of creating more static

More than 58,000 satisfied Amazon shoppers agree that these WDBs do great things for their laundry. Made from 100 percent premium New Zealand wool, they’ve actually won awards for their greatness.

Each extra-large ball is a little bigger than a tennis ball and designed to last for two to four years, depending on how often you do laundry. And if you like to support socially responsible businesses, this brand is for you. Smart Sheep’s balls are crafted by women in Nepal who are paid a living wage. 

Best organic wool dryer balls

SnugPad Wool Dryer Balls

Snugpad wool dryer balls
  • Price: $$
  • Quantity: 4, 6, or 8
  • Colors available: white
  • What we like: No odor, no lint, no problem(s)
  • What we don’t like: They’re on the pricier side

Earth-conscious shoppers will appreciate that these WDBs are made from 100 percent organic New Zealand wool that’ll perform for up to four years.

The brand claims the balls will help your clothes dry 25 percent faster, and they’ve earned over 32,000 positive reviews on Amazon. They come in a standard 6-pack, but if you don’t do a ton of laundry, you can also get a 4-pack.

Most responsibly-sourced wool dryer balls

Friendsheep Eco Wool Dryer Balls

Friendsheep Eco Wool Dryer Balls
  • Price: $$$
  • Quantity: 6
  • Colors available: multiple
  • What we like: Handmade in Nepal, fairly traded, and sun-dried without chemicals
  • What we don’t like: Pricier than similar styles and brands

Here’s another pick made from 100 percent organic New Zealand wool. This one claims to speed up drying time by 20 to 40 percent while helping fabric avoid wrinkling, tangling, and twisting so you don’t have to spend time ironing.

But the thing that really makes them stand out? They’re handmade by women in Nepal under ethical working conditions, so the women are paid a fair wage and the materials are all fair-traded.

The balls are even sun-dried to avoid the use of any chemicals in the manufacturing process. They even have the eco-friendly Leaping Bunny certification to back them up.

Cutest wool dryer balls

Wooly Heroes Dryer Balls

Wooly Heroes Dryer Balls
  • Price: $$$
  • Quantity: 6
  • Colors available: penguins, cows, and other animals
  • What we like: Organic, with lots of BOGO discounts available
  • What we don’t like: Some users complain that the balls shed fibers

Snap these up if you ever do laundry with a kid… or you’re just a kid at heart.

These — you guessed it — 100 percent organic New Zealand wool balls boast cute animal faces, but still get the job done. They claim to slash drying time by up to 40 percent and last up to 1,000 dry cycles.

Wool dryer balls with the best storage option

East Cobb Products Wool Dryer Balls

East Cobb Wool Dryer Balls
  • Price: $$
  • Quantity: 6
  • Colors available: white
  • What we like: Easy to access and portable
  • What we don’t: Some reviewers say the balls aren’t super helpful for wrinkles or static cling

More New Zealand wool at work here! These claim to cut your drying time anywhere from 20 to 40 percent and are meant to last for two to four years.

But their best feature is the felt container that comes with your purchase. It’s a neat, easy way to store the WDBs right on the shelf in between loads.

Best budget wool dryer balls

Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls

Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls
  • Price: $$
  • Quantity: 6
  • Colors available: white
  • What we like: An affordable but no less effective option
  • What we don’t like: A few reviewers say the balls don’t do a great job at removing pet hair

These balls claim to cut drying time while nixing wrinkles and lint. And over 52,000 Amazon reviewers agree that the balls get the job done (and we say that is a very nice price tag).

Also nice: The balls come in a convenient canvas storage bag.

Best scented wool dryer balls

Nellie’s Lamby Wool Dryer Balls

Nellie's Lamby Wool Dryer Balls
  • Price: $
  • Quantity: 1
  • Colors available: white
  • What we like: Choose from a few different scents that will last through 50 loads
  • What we don’t like: Only one per package

If sweet-smelling laundry is your jam but you don’t want to use chemical-laden dryer sheets, give one or two of Nellie’s scented wool dryer balls a shot. Not only is the amount of scent totally customizable, but it also comes from lavender essential oil…and that’s all, folks.

These scented dryer balls work the same way as Nellie’s unscented ones, so you can add as many scented ones to your laundry as you want (Nellie’s suggests just throwing one in with four or five regulars for a large load, but you can use more if you want extra-scented laundry).

And if lavender isn’t your favorite scent, Nellie’s makes these in citrus, bergamot, rose and lemongrass varieties, too.

Best wool dryer balls on Amazon

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls
  • Price: $$$
  • Quantity: 6
  • Colors available: blue, green, gray, lavender, pink, white
  • What we like: Large, available on Amazon
  • What we don’t like: Pricey

A pack of six XL-sized dryer balls with a) 5,000 rave reviews, b) a cost-conscious price tag, and c) Amazon Prime Delivery? Yeah, sign us up, please and thank you. Woolzies are an Amazon shopper-favorite brand, known for lasting a long time and cutting drying time by about 20 percent.

These balls are also made from 100% organic New Zealand wool, are insanely good at removing static cling and wrinkles, and come in a bunch of cool, chic colors to help you boost your laundry game.

Best wool dryer balls for pet hair

Ecoigy Wool Dryer Balls

Ecoigy Wool Dryer Balls
  • Price: $$
  • Quantity: 6
  • Colors available: white
  • What we like: Dog hair? You won’t care, because these are weirdly good at removing it
  • What we don’t like: These balls are made in China, and are maybe a bit more “linty” than others

Don’t ask us why these balls, more than any others on this list, are especially good at pulling pet hair off your clothes. We can’t tell you why!

But we can tell you that more than a couple of reviewers mention how effective these wool dryer balls from Ecoigy are at reducing the amount of cat and dog hair left on their clothes when they come out of the dryer.

If you’re tired of looking like you slept on your dog’s bed before you left the house, these 100% wool dryer balls have a magical ability to collect all types of pet hair — and, on top of that, they perform just as well in all other ways than similar brands, softening clothes, reducing drying time, and stamping out wrinkles.

Don’t ask us about that stuff, either: ask the nearly 20,000 reviewers on Amazon who love ’em.

Side-by-side comparison

Brand Price Color(s)
Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls $19 white, sheep faces
SnugPad Wool Dryer Balls $10 (for 4) white
Friendsheep Eco Wool Dryer Balls $32 for 6 white
Wooly Heroes Dryer Balls $28 for 6 cow or penguin faces
East Cobb Products Wool Dryer Balls $19 for 6 white
Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls $11 for 4, $13 for 6 white
Nellie’s Lamby Wool Dryer Balls $10 for 1 white
Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls $24 for 6 blue, green, gray, lavender, pink, white
Ecoigy Wool Dryer Balls $12 for 6 white

Are wool dryers good for…

OK, so which of the claims about wool dryer balls actually pan out?

Again, scientists haven’t been studying these products rigorously (hopefully they have more important things to research). But there’s some solid info we can pull from independent tests to help you figure out whether WDBs are really worth the money.

Drying time?

Probably. Any kind of ball-like object — from a wool dryer ball to a tennis ball — will likely help separate clothes so they don’t ball up, which could encourage them to dry quicker.

One source says wool dryer balls could potentially cut drying time by 50 percent, but other folks say it’s more like 10 to 25 percent. Regardless, the consensus seems to be that WDBs will get your wet jeans or towel out of the dryer a little quicker.

Making your laundry smell nice?

Probably. If you like the idea of scented laundry but don’t wanna deal with artificial fragrances, WDBs could help you out.

Some people like to pour a few drops of essential oil directly onto the balls before tossing them in the dryer, infusing the scent of the oils into the laundry.

This works pretty well, though it might take some trial and error to figure out exactly how many drops of EO to use to get the scent level you’re looking for.

Getting pet hair off clothes?

Maybe. While the balls bounce around your dryer, they could potentially grab onto pet hair, lint, or other fibers that are sticking to your clothes. And a sponsored study of one dryer ball brand (made of microfiber, not wool) found that the balls captured a decent amount of rogue fibers.

Static?

Probably not. Dryer sheets are coated with positively charged ions that transfer to clothes in the dryer and keep them from sticking together. Dryer balls are not, and at least one independent test found that they don’t seem to do much good for static. (Note: This experiment tested plastic dryer balls, not wool — so the jury is still out on wool’s effectiveness on static).

Also worth keeping in mind: The drier your clothes get, the more likely they are to stick to each other. And since WDBs are tops at speeding up drying, well, you know where this is probably going.

How to choose

We’ll be honest with you: There are not a ton of differences between most of the wool dryer balls on the market.

Most of them are made with 100% New Zealand wool, so you don’t have to figure out what type of wool is the most durable or best suits your needs. It’s all the same.

But where there is variability between products is with the amount of balls you get per package, your color options, and the price range. Here’s how to figure out what you need.

Quantity

If you live alone and throw a small load of laundry in once a week, you probably only need two or three dryer balls. Same goes for if you line dry or air dry a lot of your stuff.

But if you’re doing laundry for a family of five on the regular, it’s worth investing in a higher-quantity package; most manufacturers suggest using anywhere from four to six dryer balls per large load.

Color

This isn’t really a big deal in the grand scheme of things (who’s peeking inside your dryer to check out the color of your dryer balls? No one, that’s who) but if you’re planning to display your dryer balls in a clear jar on your laundry room shelf, you might want them to be a chic gray color. Or electric blue, if that’s more your style.

And if you’re hoping to bribe — ahem, enlist — your kids’ help in doing more laundry, it never hurts to buy stuff with cute animal faces on it.

Price

Your budget is your business, but it’s worth keeping in mind here — you can splurge on high quality wool dryer balls handmade and sun-dried by lovely ladies in Nepal, or you can stick with cheaper, just-gets-the-job-done dryer balls in a bulk-sized package.

Totally up to you, but know that you have a wide range of price options, so you don’t need to skimp or splurge unless you want to.

How to use wool dryer balls

How to use them

It literally couldn’t be easier: Toss a bunch (okay, anywhere from 3 to 6) of dryer balls into your dryer with your wet laundry, then dry as usual. That’s…it.

The only thing to keep in mind? If the dryer balls work as well as they say they do to cut down your drying time, you might want to shorten the length of your drying cycle, too, to reduce the amount of static cling that can build up. (ICYMI, static develops when dry clothes keep rubbing together in the dryer, so the longer they tumble around while already dry, the more static you might end up with.)

How to clean them

So you don’t really have to clean these, per se, but some people suggest giving your dryer balls a refresh once in a while. One of the brands listed here, Friendsheep, says that dryer balls can actually get dried out over time, which limits their ability to reduce wrinkles and static cling.

The solution? Wash ’em in a gentle, hot water cycle and dry them in the dryer. Easy peasy. You can do this whenever you think they’re getting a little less effective, or when they’re starting to look rough or brittle.

How to store them

It’s up to you. Fancy glass apothecary jar? Cute lil tote or basket on top of the dryer? In the canvas sack they came in? Inside the dryer, waiting for the next load?

Doesn’t matter, they aren’t picky.

Frequently asked questions

Do wool dryer balls really work?

Like we said, the jury is still out here. There’s no, like, scientific evidence that they do any of the things that manufacturers claim they do, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that they help — at least somewhat — with softness, wrinkles, and separation of clothing into fluffy pieces rather than one large clumpy mess.

What type of wool is best for dryer balls?

We don’t know if this is necessary “the best,” but pretty much all wool dryer balls are made with 100% New Zealand wool, so we’ll trust the experts here and say they must be using it for a good reason.

What’s better: Wool dryer balls or dryer sheets?

Personally, we think wool dryer balls are better because they’re reusable (so there’s less waste), chemical-free and hypoallergenic, and cheaper over time, since they can last for several years rather than the time it takes to go through one box.

How long do wool dryer balls last?

With proper use, most wool dryer balls last for at least two years and up to five or six.

It kinda depends on how often you use them, though. In general, most wool dryer balls are designed to last for about 1,000 loads of laundry, so if you do multiple loads every day — or only one load per week — YMMV.

Are dryer balls good for your dryer?

They’re not good for your dryer, but they won’t hurt it, either.

Wool dryer balls, in particular, can’t accidentally melt, won’t damage or stain your dryer, and don’t make the same annoying noise as plastic dryer balls during a drying cycle.

What is the best size for wool dryer balls?

You should look for dryer balls that are about three inches in diameter, or roughly the size of a tennis ball. This allows you to use about 4 to 6 balls per load to get the desired effect, which won’t crowd your dryer.

tl;dr

Wool dryer balls can probably help your clothes dry faster, and if you add a few drops of essential oils, they’ll help your clothes smell a little nicer without dryer sheets or fabric softeners.

But there’s not much proof that they’ll keep static at bay, and they could actually make the static worse. The upside? Since they’re pretty inexpensive, there’s not much to lose if you want to give them a try.

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