Laundry Debate: Wool Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets – Which is Best?

Hip2Save may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you via trusted partners and affiliate links in this post. Prices and availability are accurate as of time posted. Read our full disclosure policy here.

More Tips

wool dryer balls in bowl on washing machine

How do you do laundry?

I’m sharing the pros and cons of dryer sheets vs. wool dryer balls – and while you may prefer one over the other now, there are things you should know about both to get the most out of your laundry and get the freshness you desire. Plus, I’m sharing my top picks for both!

Wool dryer balls

wool dryer balls with baby clothing in a basket

Pros of wool dryer balls:

  • Help dry laundry more quickly
    • Absorb moisture
    • Retain heat
    • Average drying time is 40% faster
      • Saves you money on gas and electricity
  • Eco-friendly
    • Made of all-natural and sustainable materials
  • Help reduce static cling
  • Safe for all types of materials
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Reusable
    • Replace after 1 year or every 1,000 loads
    • More cost-effective than dryer sheets
  • Works as an agitator in the dryer
    • Keeps clothes from sticking together
    • Aids in softening clothes and linens
  • Fragrance-free
  • Chemical-free

Cons of wool dryer balls:

  • Not ideal for large loads
    • They work best in small-to-medium loads where they can move around
  • Some people may prefer to have a scent on their clothes
  • Can be loud when moving around inside the dryer
  • As they age, chunks of wool can fall off and get into your lint drawer

penguin wool dryer balls

Some of our favorite highly-rated  wool dryer balls to use:

I searched different types of popular wool dryer balls with strictly high ratings across the board.

For the Starter set, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option to get you started if you’re new to dryer balls. My Character set adds a touch of fun to your laundry or could make a great gift. Lastly, the Essential Oils Scented dryer balls are perfect for someone who likes a fresh, natural smell in their laundry.  

Starter set: Wool Dryer Balls by Smart Sheep 6-Pack

Character set: Friendsheep Organic Eco Wool Dryer Balls – Black Penguin

Naturally Scented: Woolzies Organic Wool Dryer Balls + 100% Pure Lavender Essential Oils

Hip Tip: If you like a little scent on your clothes, but hate the chemicals, try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to your wool dryer balls.

Dryer sheets

boxes of bounce dryer sheets

Pros of dryer sheets:

  • Soften fabrics
  • Eliminate static cling on clothes and linens
  • Add fragrance to each load of laundry
    • Fragrance-free options are available
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Can be used in any laundry load size
  • Can be used for other household cleaning chores
    • Keep luggage smelling fresh when traveling
    • Scrub pots and pans
    • And so much more! 

Cons of dryer sheets:

  • Most contain toxic chemicals
    • Can irritate your skin
  • Not eco-friendly
  • Leave residue inside your dryer
    • Can block screen on the lint catcher
      • Reduces air circulation
      • Decreases efficiency over time
    • Makes clothing more flammable
  • Can create greasy-looking stains on clothes
  • Can only be used one time
  • Do not reduce drying time
  • Some residue on sheets can reduce the absorbency of towels

Bounce free & gentle dryer sheets

Some of our favorite highly-rated dryer sheets to use:

I searched different types of popular dryer sheets with strictly high ratings across the board.

For my popular pick, I found a mid-price, highly-rated option that most people tend to use. Naturally scented uses a touch of essential oils and is offered at an affordable cost. My fragrance-free option is great for babies and people with sensitive skin and is still affordable for all budgets. 

Popular pick: Bounce Outdoor Fresh Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets

Naturally scented: Arm & Hammer Essentials Fabric Softener Sheets

Fragrance-Free: Bounce Free & Gentle Unscented Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets for Sensitive Skin

So what’s the Hip2Save team verdict?

woman spreading fitted sheet over mattress bed

Wool Dryer Balls ✅ vs. Dryer Sheets 👎

“I prefer the wool balls because my clothes sometimes feel waxy after using dryer sheets. I’ll put a few drops of lavender oil on the balls, too, so they add a little bit of scent to my laundry.” – Emily 

“I love using wool dryer balls and never liked dryer sheets at all. I like the benefits of the wool dryer balls and also that I don’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals since they’re an all-natural product. My daughter has a lot of allergies as well, so this is just a great, safe product for our family.” – Jami 

“There’s a time and place for wool dryer balls and dryer sheets. However, I love my wool dryer balls for reducing drying time and adding maximum fluff to our clothes! They’re also great for helping to distribute the stuffing inside comforters as they dry.” – Jenna 

“I’ve never used wool dryer balls, but after writing this article, I’m totally going to give them a shot! I’ve never liked dryer sheets and the way they make my clothes feel. Plus, I think dryer sheets are too smelly, and I really don’t like that they have so many chemicals.” – Sara

Dryer Sheets ✅ vs. Wool Dryer Balls 👎

“I really wanted to love the wool dryer balls, but I didn’t get as great results and smell that I was hoping for. I’m basically addicted to the smell of dryer sheets and won’t give them up. LOL!”  – Lina 

“I like to use dryer sheets because I don’t feel like the dryer balls ever really worked for me.” – Jessica C.

“I’ve never tried the wool dryer balls, and I’ve always just used dryer sheets. They work for us and smell good in my opinion.” – Michelle  

“I use both, however, I don’t feel like dryer balls get the static out, so I always throw in a dryer sheet as well!” – Jennifer

“I tried dryer balls for the first time and I really tried to love them, but I don’t think they do anything for static cling. The only benefit I see is to reduce drying time because they bounce around in there. I have the Woolzies ones with essential oils, and they do smell good when you put the oil on them, but honestly, that’s all. I still put dryer sheets in with them. Also, I personally think it’s a pain to dig through the clothes to find them after each load. I thought I would like them but not really a fan.” – Michelle P.

The verdict? Wool dryer balls – 4 vs. Dryer sheets – 5 

It seems that most of our team hasn’t even tried wool dryer balls before, but the ones that have really love using them for the eco-friendly aspect. The other half of our team loves their tried and true dryer sheets.

Enough about us though, what do you use?

Try these 10 genius ways to use vinegar around your home.

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 120

  1. Kylie

    I’ve always been worried essential oils will stain my clothes if I use it on my dryer balls. Anyone have this problem?

    • Kel

      I use some lavender EO I got on Amazon whenever I dry bedding. It stains the balls, but since I drop it right on the balls and it soaks in, it doesn’t stain my clothes at all. I use 1-2 drops per ball.

    • sissar

      no they don’t, I have been using for long time.

  2. terri

    I actually can’t believe there is any discussion at all..toxic chemicals in dryer sheets helllloooo! I’ve never used them and after all we know, can’t believe people like them. Crazy

    • Anne DT

      I’m with you Terri!!

  3. Alyssa

    I use dryer balls. If my clothes end up staticky, it’s cuz I’ve over-dried them. It only takes about 40 mins to dry a large load with them!

  4. Julie

    I’m hooked on Plant Therapy Deodorizing synergy blend to make my laundry smell amazing. Just a few drops on the wool dryer balls, the fresh smell lasts!

  5. Dollar Revolution

    Make sure to read your dryer’s manual!
    Our LG flat out says not to use dryer sheets and doing so will void the warranty. It mentions a technician can determine if they are used since there will be a film on certain components from it.
    Another article on CNET mentions dryer sheets will also leave a film on your towels, etc. and slowly make them less absorbent, as well as minimize wicking in sports attire and socks.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the helpful warning! Good to know!

  6. Rebecca

    Only dryer balls!! I put 2 drops of lavender per ball and will never go back! Fun discussion.

  7. Tina

    Wool balls are terrible. Since they are animal fur (sorry sheep), they shed or rather shred. They didn’t help with static in the winter. I regret buying them, especially after realizing where they come from.

    Dryer sheets are good if you buy the right ones. Honest company makes reusable ones and some companies make compostable or biodegradable ones. There are tips online about how to make your own from old cloths.

    • Marge

      The sheep would have a very cumbersome load of wool to wear if they are not sheared. Dryer balls are an environmentally friendly use of the natural
      wool material.

  8. Rachel

    I use neither. I don’t seem to have issues ever with static cling (probably due to the humidity in my area) and have soft water in my home. If we ever use anything scented, it is from essential oils I have previously tested. I have never liked using the dryer sheets. The wool balls look cool and all, but I had issues back in the day when the other dryer balls came out with them getting caught in pant legs. LOL. I am good with using nothing, which saves me money on both 🙂

  9. Anne DT

    Love dryer balls for all the pros mentioned above. Toxic chemicals is a big reason. (2nd: I don’t have to continually buy dry er sheets) And even better: I try to line dry as much as I can (just fluff up the towels for 5-10 minutes at the end), so no need for either 🙂

  10. kanick

    I have used wool dryer balls for a long time now. I think i’m due for a new set so thank you for this discussion. I put a few drops of lemon, or orange or lavender oil. Depends on the day. I still use dryer sheets to repel mosquitoes/bugs when we go outdoors or when we were moving, we put them at the top and bottom of boxes where we didn’t want bugs/rodents to get in. They are toxic so that was a big reason for us to stop using them in our dryer.

  11. Jenny

    You can also reduce dryer time by including an already dry towel with your load that you’re about to dry. I have a designated towel for this purpose.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh yes! I’ve done that before too! Thanks for the helpful tip, Jenny!

    • Suzanne H

      Yes, I do this in addition to dryer balls. Just make sure it’s an old towel that no longer creates lint. Works great.
      I love my dryer balls – no chemicals, easy to use and they last a long time. In the winter, when I have trouble with static, I ball up some aluminum foil and throw it in the dryer as well. Problem solved.

  12. Jess

    What about allergies? I’m allergic to animal hair. Wouldn’t using the wool dryer balls increase symptoms for allergy sufferers?

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      I am allergic to a lot of animals and I don’t have issues when using these, Jess. Maybe some other readers can chime in and tell you about their experience!

    • JoAnn

      There’s a difference between animal hair and animal fur. Dogs that don’t shed have hair. Dogs that shed have fur. Are you allergic to clothes/coats/socks with wool in them? I’m just curious, not being hateful.

  13. Pammyjo

    I wish everyone who could possibly use an outdoor clothesline would do so at least some of the time. I haven’t used my dryer in many years. I’m lucky that I don’t have allergies from stuff that blows around outside and I don’t have to do tons of laundry, but I wish more people who COULD use a clothesline would do it whenever they can. I hang clothes outside all year. Better for the environment to use less energy and much better for my wallet. Definitely a win/win for me. And what I find amazing (and I can’t explain this) is that it’s extremely rare for bird poop to be an issue. I guess they just aim for the car.

    • mary martin

      i am a line dryer when i have the chance – less now then before when i was sahm, my favorite is sheets on the line – and towels – though my kids call our towels CRUNCHY – i like em – good work pammyjo!

      • Pammyjo

        Thanks, mary martin. Those crunchy towels are invigorating after a shower! Like a gentle loofah. And for folks who say clotheslines are unsightly, I point out that the effects of climate change are even uglier. If most people in this country could skip using the dryer at least some of the time, a huge amount of energy could be saved.

        • Emilia

          I hang my laundry outside on the line every chance I get, but then again I am one of the few who hands aren’t broken and hand wash my dishes too 🙂

  14. SJ

    I’ve only used dryer balls. I literally cant give away all the free bounce sheets I’d gotten over the years from couponing. No one wants them.

  15. mary martin

    my brother is an appliance man – the number one thing that causes static cling is that you are running your dryer TOO high – if you have an option to lower the heat – you will notice your static cling goes away – I run my dryer at medium – only towels do I do at medium high – i never use high heat. hope this helps

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing that with us, Mary! Great tip!

  16. Emilia

    I hang my laundry outside on the line every chance I get, but then again I am one of the few who hands aren’t broken and hand wash my dishes too 🙂

  17. Donna

    How many balls do you use per load? I just got mine today.

  18. JoAnn

    I have alpaca wool balls and a sheep’s wool ball. I definitely prefer to use them over dryer sheets. Those that use dryer sheets, do this test – take out your lint filter and run some water on top of it. Generally with dryer sheets, there’s a build up on that screen (besides towels and clothes). Water doesn’t flow quickly through it because of the build up. That reduces air flow which can cause it to be a fire hazard. If you can’t give up your dryer sheets, at least wash your screen off with soap and water and let air dry frequently to remove the build up. Thank the gal above for clearing up if the essential oils stain clothes. I wondered about that. When I did use (sparingly) dryer sheets, I’d cut the sheet in thirds, inevitably my husband would be walking around school (principal) and the dryer sheet would work it’s way out of his pants leg. It’s much easier for me to find the dryer balls. 😁

  19. Annet Enn

    I’m using dryer balls for 2 years and I’m very happy with them. I have used balls from 5-6 different manufacturers, but it seems they all are from China and some from Nepal.

    I’ve noticed that sometimes 4 balls are not enough and using 8-10 balls is the best way. Always no static!!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?