Dryer Balls vs Dryer Sheets: Which One Should You Choose?

Laundry is an inevitable part of life. After all, wearing clothes is essential. And each one of us has his and her own preference when it comes to clothing. Some are content with simple shirts and pants. At the same time, some prefer glamorous fur coats and expensive tuxedos. Whatever your style is, however expensive your clothes are, one fact remains: you have to wash and dry them properly and correctly. And the more people in a household, the more laundry load you have.

I remember when I was still young, and I still live with my parents. Being the oldest of five siblings, I always see piles of laundry, one on top of another in the basket, especially after sports practice or after a long weekend at the pool. Our house was always clean, but our laundry basket was always full. Mom certainly needed a hand, and there was I.

As the firstborn, I learned a few things around the laundry room and the importance of making sure that your laundry dries well. Not doing so will result in stinky or very wrinkly clothes. And one lesson I have learned and am still using now is to use dryer balls or dryer sheets.

But which is better, you may ask? Should we go with dryer balls or choose dryer sheets instead? Today we will be discussing the differences between these two. In the end, you will have a better understanding of how they work and their advantages and disadvantages so you can finally make a sound decision.

Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets: Key Differences

Before we decide which one to buy, we must first learn how they differ from each other. This is very important since knowing how one differs from the other will make you see what you need the most. So without further ado, here are the key differences between dryer balls and dryer sheets:

  • Dryer balls greatly reduce drying time by creating a gap between the clothes as they bounce around. This allows the hot air to circulate and reach every inch of the clothes better and faster. Dryer sheets don’t necessarily have any impact when it comes to drying time.
  • Dryer sheets make clothes softer by releasing fatty molecules that give your clothes a more pleasant feel. Dryer balls, on the other hand, soften clothes by agitating the fabrics. It acts as a device to “tenderize” the fabrics, which makes clothes feel softer. This has some doubts still since there are no proven studies regarding this.
  • Dryer sheets can add fragrance to your clothes since they are coated with fabric conditioners. This can be harmful to some since these can contain chemicals that can cause allergies to people with sensitive skin. Dryer balls, per se, don’t have these chemicals to add fragrance. You can add essential oils to them to add a pleasant smell to your clothes. This is safer since essential oils are more natural and are chemical-free.
  • Dryer sheets reduce static cling or static electricity that is produced by the clothes rubbing against each other. This is done by releasing positively charged particles on the clothes, neutralizing the imbalance of electrons that causes static cling. When it comes to dryer balls, static cling is reduced because they separate clothes as they roll around the machine. Wool dryer balls are said to increase humidity levels when they are drenched in water first before using. This is also one way of reducing static cling.

Since we are talking about dryer balls vs. dryer sheets, it will not be complete if we will not look at the advantages and the disadvantages of the two. It is easy to be confused about what to use, especially if you have only heard of them and are not aware of how they work. Luckily, we are here to explain things a little bit more for you to further understand and to be able to choose wisely.

Pros and Cons of Dryer Sheets

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Can be used in any laundry loadNot eco-friendly since dryer sheets can only be used once. Afterward, you have to throw them away.
Easy to useResidue can be seen left in the dryer. Making it harder to clean.
Proven to soften fabricsOthers have reported dryer sheets leaving greasy-looking stains on clothes because of the chemicals they release.
Make clothes smell fresher because of fabric conditioner (fragrance-free also available).Dryer sheets have no effect on drying time.
Can also be used for cleaning chores such as:
(a) scrubbing pots and pans
(b) loosening food residue
(c) picking up pet hair
(d) removing deodorant marks
(e) cleaning TV or laptop screen
Most dryer sheets contain harmful chemicals that may cause allergies and irritations.
Greatly reduces static clingThere can be a tendency to block the screen on the lint catcher on your dryer.
AffordableSome chemicals can have an effect on the absorbency of towels.

Pros and Cons of Dryer Balls

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Reduces static build-up on your clothes and prevents wrinkles.Not really ideal for larger loads since they need to move around the dryer to be effective. Larger loads mean lesser space for dryer balls to move around.
Dryer balls allow hot air to circulate more evenly on the laundry since they produce spaces in between the clothes.For wool dryer balls, as they age, chunks of wool can fall off and spread, causing lint accumulation.
Wool dryer balls are made from natural materials. They are chemical-free, making them safe even for the most sensitive skin.Dryer balls, especially plastic or rubber ones, can be loud when they are being rolled around in the dryer.
Wool dryer balls are also fragrant-free. This is also another indication that it is safe for sensitive skin. An essential oil can be added for fragrance if desired.Not as effective when it comes to reducing static cling for preventing lint.
Saves you money on electricity and gas since they absorb moisture and they retain heat thus helping to dry laundry faster by about 40%.
Dryer balls, especially plastic dryer balls, are reusable and can handle up to 1,000 loads of laundry.
Works as an agitator, keeping clothes from sticking onto each other making clothes and linens softer.

So, dryer balls or dryer sheets? Which one should you use?

With all that said, it is now time to make a decision. And to do that, you must first identify what your priorities are.

Suppose you (or the people around you) have sensitive skin. You should be looking for something that is free of chemicals and is made from natural materials. In this case, dryer balls (especially wool dryer balls) would fit what you are looking for. They are safe and reusable too!

If you are more into short-term use, then dryer sheets are the way to go. You can be sure that dryer sheets are practical and an affordable option when you’re only going to use them in the short term. Dryer sheets are also known to reduce lint production dramatically because of the fabric softener they release.

Once you know your priorities, then you can now make a sound decision. And whatever your decision may be, just keep in mind that both dryer balls and dryer sheets have their pros and cons. From there, you can weigh things out and choose which one is better for you that will give you the best value for your money.

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About Elaine Jordan

Elaine is a contributor at Tidy Diary. She describes herself as a neat freak with an intense desire to always make sure things are clean and orderly. When she’s not writing (or cleaning), you can only guess that she’s spending time playing with her favorite dog, Bogs.