Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets: Which Are Better?

Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets: Which Are Better?

While many people think wool dryer balls are the best all-natural item, others prefer to use dryer sheets. 

Despite the continued use of dryer sheets and the ever-growing popularity dryer balls, we need to understand the pros and cons of each. Some people like dryer sheets for their ease of use, others don’t like them because of their synthetic ingredients and single-use property. Environment-conscious people love to use dryer balls because they are naturally odorless and reusable. 

Dryer balls vs. dryer sheets: which is the best option for you? Both options work when it comes to reducing static or softening clothes. However, dryer balls come with some extra features such as reduced drying time. Which one is the right choice? In this post, we’ll thoroughly compare both dryer balls and dryer sheets to find out which is better. 

What Are Dryer Balls?

A dryer ball, usually made of plastic or wool, is a reusable product that you can add in your dryer with your wet laundry to achieve several benefits. The basic function of a dryer ball is to create space between clothes so that air can move freely. The right use of dryer balls not only reduces the drying time but also keeps your clothes soft. 

Many people use dryer balls as an alternative to chemical-based fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Instead of fabric softeners, you can use dryer balls to protect the environment and improve your laundry experience. Dryer balls come in different sizes and forms. 

Regardless of a dryer ball’s material, they’re all designed to perform in a similar fashion. They separate laundry items as your dryer tumbles. Here are two popular types of dryer balls: 

Plastic dryer balls: Plastic dryer balls come with spikes that increase airflow. When used the right way, they can last for a very long time. Most plastic dryer balls available commercially are non-toxic. However, it’s better to choose an all-natural set of dryer balls for your laundry. 

Wool dryer balls: People often prefer wool dryer balls over plastic dryer balls because they want a more natural and easy way to soften clothes and even add fragrance. Quality wool dryer balls are made of 100% New Zealand wool that can withstand thousands of laundry loads with ease. 

Your preferences will help you determine whether you want to use wool or plastic dryer balls. Overall, dryer balls are a great option for environmentally-conscious people. Before we highlight the pros and cons of dryer balls, let’s take a quick look at how these natural balls work. 

How Dryer Balls Work 

If you put your clothes in the dryer and start the drying process, your wet clothes will bunch together. This is where dryer balls come into play. 

Place three or four balls in with your wet laundry, the dryer balls create space between the layers of clothes as the dryer spins allowing the hot air to move freely and dry your laundry more quickly. Since your laundry can dry significantly quicker with dryer balls, you have to reduce the drying team on your machine. 

Overdrying is a common cause of static in the laundry. Some people complain that dryer balls don’t help them reduce static cling. That’s because they unknowingly over-dry their clothes. If this has happened to you, a simple solution is to add a little moisture by putting an ice cube in a sock, tying a loose knot and then tossing it in the dryer with your clothes for about 5 minutes. The static should be gone. 

Dryer balls, whether made of plastic or wool, help you achieve the following three major goals. 

Reduced Drying Time 

We know most dryers tumble clothes to separate items and allow hot air to circulate. When clothes stick together - taking longer to dry. Dryer balls separate clothes and improve the tumbling effect as they tumble around in the dryer. A test result revealed that dryer balls effectively reduce drying time by 14%

Eliminate Static Cling 

While dryer balls don’t release positive ions like dryer sheets, they still reduce the amount of static. When they separate clothing, it leads to less friction and minimum chances of static creation. Remember, dryer balls reduce dry time so you will want to reduce the actual machine dry time so as not to over dry, which is the leading cause of static. If you’re using wool dryer balls, you can also spray them with water to improve their ability to reduce static. Wool dryer balls can hold onto moisture while your laundry dries completely. 

Soften Clothes 

Dryer balls also work as fabric softeners. However, they don’t work by coating fabric with chemical compounds that are electrically charged (like you find in liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets).. Rather, they move in the dryer in a way that fights wrinkles and softens clothes. 

Let’s list the pros and cons of dryer balls to make things easier for you! 

Pros of Dryer Balls

  • Dryer balls are reusable and eco-friendly as they don’t contain any chemical or toxic material. 
  • They don’t leave any added chemical scent, which makes them a good choice for people with sensitive skin. 
  • They not only reduce drying time but also help you save electricity. 
  • Dryer balls present no health risks as they don’t release any harmful substances. 
  • Dryer balls are not expensive considering how long you can use them. 
  • They fluff clothes as they dry. This process leads to wrinkle-free, soft clothes. 

Cons of Dryer Balls 

  • Dryer balls are not as effective as dryer sheets when it comes to static cling. 
  • They can be noisy as they bounce around the dryer. 
  • They don’t add any fragrance unless you add some essential oils. 

Now that you understand the pros and cons of using dryer balls, let’s review dryer sheets to find out which option is better for you. 

What Are Dryer Sheets?

Dry sheets are fabric coated with liquid softeners, fragrances, and a slew of various chemicals. The fabric is usually made of cellulose fibers or polyester. When compared to other solutions, dryer sheets are a classic option. People have been using them for decades. 

You’ve probably used dryer sheets already. However, it’s important to understand how these sheets soften clothes or add fragrance. Dryer sheets are losing popularity due to chemicals used in their creation. There are brands out there that offer biodegradable dryer sheets, but they can’t compete with dryer balls when it comes to environmental friendliness. 

How Dryer Sheets Work

The core functions of dryer sheets are to reduce static, soften clothes and reduce drying times. Dryer sheets also add fragrance to the laundry. When you include dryer sheets in your laundry, the dryer heat releases the ingredients of sheets onto your fabrics. The sheets absorb the static electricity created during the drying process. 

You can do a little experiment by rubbing a dryer sheet between your fingers. Dryer sheets contain a fatty molecule and a positive charge that can create a tacky feeling between your fingers. When the dryer sheets heat up during the drying process, they form a coat on your clothes. As a result, your clothes feel soft and positive as atoms reduce static. 

The key components of a dryer sheet are its active agents or surfactants that lower the surface tension between two elements: a liquid and a solid or a liquid and a gas. 

Do dryer sheets really work? The quick answer is yes, they do work when it comes to eliminating static or wrinkles. People often use dryer sheets for multiple purposes, such as sweeping dust from surfaces or buffing water spots on chrome surfaces. 

However, you need to do a dryer ball vs dryer sheets comparison in order to determine whether or not dryer sheets are right for your laundry room. 

Most of the commercially available dryer sheets are scented, unlike dryer balls which do not release any scent unless you add fragrance to them. While dryer sheets make your clothes smell nice and fresh, chemicals added to dryer sheets for fragrance are not good for health. 

The following are some of the pros and cons of dryer sheets: 

Pros of Dryer Sheets 

  • Dryer sheets produce good results when it comes to reducing static cling and softening clothes. 
  • Dryer sheets are easy to use. All you need to do is place a dryer sheet in with your laundry before you start the drying cycle. 
  • Dryer sheets are widely available and affordable. 

Cons of Dryer Sheets 

  • It is claimed that dryer sheets contain toxic chemicals that cause many health problems including serious illnesses after continuous exposure. 
  • You can’t reuse dryer sheets, unlike dryer balls — dryer sheets can only be used once, and then you have to dispose of them
  • Dryer sheets are not efficient when it comes to reducing drying time. 
  • Fatty molecules released by dryer sheets make towels less absorbent. 

The Key Difference Between Dryer Sheets and Dryer Balls

We have highlighted the major pros and cons of both dryer balls and dryer sheets. The key difference between them is that dryer sheets come with additional fragrance. Another major difference is the effectiveness of the dryer sheet in reducing static cling. Dryer balls are not as effective as dryer sheets when it comes to reducing static cling. 

However, dryer balls maintain separation between laundry items as they tumble. In other words, dryer balls help you reduce static in a natural, chemical-free way. If you add some moisture to dryer balls before using them, the increase of humidity in your dryer will lead to reduced static cling. 

Dryer Balls Are More Cost-Efficient 

Dryer sheets are affordable. However, you can only use them once. On the other hand, a set of dryer balls can be used for hundreds of laundry loads. For example, wool dryer balls can be used for over 1,000 loads. If we take into account the long-lasting life of dryer balls, they are more cost-effective.

Dryer Sheets Are Less Eco-Friendly 

If you like to use 100% natural, chemical-free laundry products, you shouldn’t choose dryer sheets. We’ve already identified how chemicals used in the composition of dryer sheets can create health issues. 

However, more research is needed to determine the potential health effects of scented dryer sheets. Meanwhile, you can rely on fragrance-free, all-natural dryer balls. In other words, if you care about the environment, dryer balls are the best choice. 

Which Is Better: Dryer Balls or Dryer Sheets? 

We have compared both dryer sheets and dryer balls on three factors: cost, features, and environmental impact. Based on our analysis, we would recommend dryer balls. Why? Because dryer balls are not only affordable and natural, they also deliver results. If you want to add added freshness to your clothes, you can use the LaundryFresh Dryer Balls kit that comes with a odor eliminator + air freshener ultra mist spray. Our plant-based spray will freshen your laundry for up to 300+ loads. 

Why Wool Dryer Balls Are the Best 

If you’ve decided to go with dryer balls, your best bet would be wool dryer balls. While plastic dryer balls are also effective, wool balls offer some additional benefits such as amazingly reduced drying time and soft clothes. 

As wool dryer balls are becoming increasingly popular among environment-conscious people, they’re easy to find. You don’t have to spend a lot to get the benefits of using natural products. Quality wool dryer balls are made of 100% New Zealand organic wool. 

How Long Do Wool Dryer Balls Last?

You might be wondering how long you can use a set of wool dryer balls. While you can use a dryer sheet once, wool dryer balls last over 1,000 loads if you use them the right way. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this dryer balls vs. dryer sheets comparison will help you choose the right method and products to dry, soften, and protect your laundry. To sum things up, we recommend you add wool dryer balls to your laundry arsenal. 

If you love soft, fresh clothes, be sure to use our LaundryFresh Dryer Ball Kit which includes our Ultra Mist Spray. All you need to do is spray each ball by holding the nozzle close to the ball for maximum results. Feel free to browse through our online shop to learn more about our odor eliminator + air freshener products! 



Do Dryer Balls Really Work? | Prudent Reviews

Are Dryer Sheets Safe to Use? Learn What the Research Says | Healthline.

How to Get Rid of Static Cling From Clothes | The Spruce

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