Do dryer balls help clothes dry faster?

One of the main benefits of wool dryer balls is their ability to reduce drying time, sometimes as dramatically as per 25%. As the dryer tumbles, wool dryer balls separate laundry items and prevent them from clumping together. This allows warm air to circulate around each individual item, resulting in faster and more efficient drying.

Quick links:

What affects the wool dryer balls effectiveness?

What other benefits do they provide?

Is dryer balls material important?

Useful tips for faster drying

Wool dryer balls definitely speed up your laundry routine—among the other awesome things they do. 

“One of the most impressive benefits is the reduced drying time. My clothes are coming out of the dryer much faster than before, which not only saves energy but also keeps my utility bills in check. As someone who's always on the go, this is a huge time-saver, allowing me to get through my laundry piles more efficiently.”—JCastro, Verified purchaser on Amazon (five stars)

If you want to experience the magic for yourself, buy our wool dryer balls today!

How do dryers work?

A tumble dryer removes moisture from clothes and other fabrics through a fairly simple process. Inside the dryer drum, clothes tumble around as hot air circulates to dry them.

The dryer cycle begins when you turn on the dryer. The drum starts rotating, tossing the clothes around inside. At the same time, a heating element turns on to warm the air. This warm air then flows into the drum and passes through the tumbling clothes.

As the hot air contacts the wet laundry, it evaporates the water contained in the fabrics. The water transitions from a liquid to a gas, entering the air as water vapor. 

The now-humid air gets pulled out of the drum through vents. It passes over a condenser, which removes the moisture. Then the air is reheated and pumped back into the drum to repeat the process.

So, tumble dryers rely on three key mechanisms to dry clothes:

  • Tumbling action. The rotating drum agitates the clothes, breaking up bundles and exposing more surface area to the air.
  • Heat. Warm air heats up the water in fabrics, accelerating evaporation. Most dryers reach temperatures between 135-175°F.
  • Airflow. Continuous airflow picks up evaporated moisture and brings dry air back into contact with the clothes.

How do wool dryer balls help?

Wool dryer balls reduce drying time and save energy with their amazing wooliness. At the same time, they’re promoting the health of your family and the environment. Here’s why they’re so awesome:

  1. When clothes are put in the dryer, they tend to clump together, which restricts airflow and slows down the drying process. Dryer balls work by physically separating the items, allowing air to circulate through and around each piece more efficiently. 
  2. Wool dryer balls absorb moisture from the air during the drying cycle, further reducing drying time.
  3. Reduce wrinkles and static. Wool dryer balls help smooth out wrinkles as clothes tumble. They also help reduce static cling. 
  4. Soften fabrics. The wool has a softening effect on fabrics as it rubs against the clothes during the drying cycle. This makes clothes feel softer.
  5. Too much heat or agitation can damage fabrics; wool dryer balls absorb and release moisture to help level out the drying process and strike the right balance. 
  6. Replace fabric softener. Skip fabric softener with its toxic chemicals and unnecessary waste. Wool dryer balls provide natural softening. 
  7. Reusable and eco-friendly. Wool balls are a reusable, eco-friendly alternative to single-use dryer sheets or plastic balls. Wool is biodegradable and renewable.
  8. No synthetic fragrances. Wool dryer balls are scent-free—but you can add your own delicious aromas by spritzing them with our essential oil spray
  9. Reduce lint. The wool attracts lint from clothes during the cycle, cutting down on lint left on clothes. This also helps keep dryer lint traps cleaner.
  10. Low maintenance. Wool balls are easy to use. Just toss a few in with wet clothes. They require no upkeep other than occasional washing to refresh.
  11. Reusable for thousands of loads, saving money and waste versus disposable dryer sheets.

Are you sold yet? Don’t spend another day without our wool dryer balls. 

Smart sheep 6 pack

Do dryer balls actually reduce drying time?

Wool dryer balls do reduce drying time. Here are two studies that prove it.

  1. study by the David Suzuki foundation found that wool dryer balls reduce drying time by about 25% compared to no dryer balls.
  2. study published on the website Prudent Reviews in 2023 examined the impact of using both wool and plastic dryer balls on drying time. The results showed that both types of dryer balls helped reduce drying time compared to a control group with no dryer balls. The study found that wool dryer balls reduce drying time by an average of 14% (from 47 minutes and 37 seconds to 41 minutes and 20 seconds).

Depending on which study you trust more, wool dryer balls reduce average drying times by anywhere from 14% to 25%. For a standard American household with an electric dryer, wool dryer balls can save $18-$30 annually in energy costs alone (once you factor in the savings on laundry products, the numbers get even better).

$18-$30 may not sound like a fortune, but multiplied over 3 years (the expected lifespan of our wool dryer balls), it’s enough to pay for the wool dryer balls a couple times over.

Shorter drying cycles are also great for the planet. Across millions of households, small energy savings add up to a large amount of power plant emissions not released. The small change of adding natural wool dryer balls can have a meaningful environmental impact. 

How effective are wool dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls are one factor in your drying cycle. Here are some other factors that affect how the process unfolds.

  • Dryer type. Wool dryer balls may work better in some models than others depending on drum size, airflow path, etc. Top-loading dryers allow more contact between wool dryer balls and clothes.
  • Fabrics. Natural fibers like cotton and wool hold more moisture, whereas synthetics dry more quickly. Wool dryer balls seem make the biggest difference with natural fabrics—though they still help with synthetics as well.
  • Airflow. Lint traps must be cleaned, and vents must be unobstructed.

When other factors are optimized, wool dryer balls are at their most effective.

Even though studies show a reduction in dry time of 14-25%, some of our customers are claiming that our wool dryer balls are cutting dry times nearly in half!

“They cut drying time in half. Maybe more than half. Amazing.”—Tom, Verified purchaser on Amazon (five stars)

“I did a load of towels comparison to test these. I have a high capacity washer and when I fill it full of towels I have to run it through the dryer for 180 mins. When I checked them with the balls they were dryer at 40 mins than they used to be at 90, so I put them in for another 40 minutes. For towels at least... it literally cut my drying time in a little less than HALF. “—Danielle, Verified purchaser on Amazon (five stars)

Smart sheep 6 pack

What type of dryer balls are the best?

Not all dryer balls are equal. Wool dryer balls are far superior to any other type of dryer balls:

  1. Wool dryer balls absorb moisture and allow air to circulate freely throughout the load. This significantly cuts down on drying time compared to other materials.
  2. Rubber and plastic dryer balls help increase airflow slightly, but they can't match the moisture-wicking capabilities of wool. Plus, plastic breaks down over time, releasing microplastics into the environment.

If you're looking to speed up your laundry routine, make sure to choose high-quality wool laundry balls.

“Love these balls. They are super good and work very well . I have been using them for a long time and they make my clothes dry faster. They are worth the money.” —Archishman Dakua, Verified purchaser on Amazon (five stars)

Additional tips for faster drying

Wool dryer balls can help speed up drying but here are several other tips you can follow to shorten drying times:

Proper loading

  • Don't overload. This is one of the biggest mistakes. Overstuffing leaves no room for clothes to tumble and prevents air circulation.
  • For standard dryers, only fill the drum halfway for optimal results. Follow your machine's recommended capacity.
  • Try to load similar textiles together since heavier fabrics take longer. Mixing heavy cottons and light synthetics isn't ideal.
  • Make sure clothes can tumble freely with space in between. Don't cram in too tightly.

Clean lint filter

  • Clean before every single load, without fail. Lint buildup severely restricts airflow.
  • Use your fingers or a brush to remove lint clinging to the mesh screen. Avoid just wiping over it.
  • If lint is compacted heavily or stuck on, use soap and hot water to scrub the screen clean.
  • Check the duct pathway as well. Lint can accumulate in vents over time.

Use timed drying

  • Set cycles based on the expected drying duration for that load. Most dryers have auto-sensing, but timed drying gives you control.
  • For mixed loads, use the time for the longest-drying fabric present. Check labels for guidance.
  • Make notes of drying times for common loads. Avoid over-drying, which sets wrinkles and wastes energy.

“They [Smart Sheep wool dryer balls] also promised to last for over 1,000 loads of laundry (more than two years’ worth!) and save me money by shortening the drying time…That was six months ago, and ever since that first purchase I have enjoyed calm, non-irritated skin and clean, cling-free clothes that dry in half the time (as long as I don’t overload the dryer).” —Chloe Nannestad, on Reader’s Digest

Wool dryer balls FAQ

Do dryer balls shorten drying time?

Dryer balls shorten drying time by creating space between clothes in the dryer, allowing hot air to circulate more efficiently. They also absorb moisture and prevent clothes from clumping together, resulting in faster and more even drying.

What can I put in my dryer to make clothes dry faster?

To make clothes dry faster in a dryer, you can add a dry towel or a couple of wool dryer balls. These items help to absorb moisture and create more movement within the dryer, which can speed up the drying process.

Are dryer balls worth the hype?

Wool dryer balls are worth the hype for several reasons. They help to reduce drying time, make your clothes soft, and reduce static cling. They are also eco-friendly because they eliminate the need for disposable dryer sheets. 

Do dryer balls damage your dryer?

Dryer balls do not damage your dryer. In fact, they can be beneficial as they help to separate laundry, eliminate static buildup, and improve airflow, resulting in faster drying times. 

How many drops of essential oil do you put in dryer balls?

The number of drops of essential oil you put on wool dryer balls depends on personal preference and the strength of the essential oil. Generally, it’s good to start with 3-5 drops per ball and adjust from there. Some people prefer a stronger scent and may use more drops, while others prefer a lighter scent and use fewer drops.

Learn more about how to add essential oils to wool dryer balls!

Do dryer balls really save money? 

Dryer balls can provide real cost savings in a few ways. By reducing drying time, they lower energy usage, trimming your electricity bills over time. Their lifespan of 1,000+ loads also eliminates the need to constantly buy disposable dryer sheets or liquid fabric softeners over the years. And their ability to soften clothes may allow you to turn down your water heater temperature for washing.

Are dryer balls safe for all machines?

Wool dryer balls are safe for home dryers, including top-load and front-load models. Their wool material is durable enough to withstand the tumbling motion. 

How many dryer balls should I use?

Here are some general rules that should help you judge how many wool dryer balls per load you should use.

  • For small to medium loads, 3-4 balls should get the job done.
  • For larger loads, you can use 5-8 balls.
  • For extra-large and heavy loads, you may want to go as high as 9-12 balls.

Further reading

What are the best laundry detergents for sensitive skin?

What is the best eco-friendly alternative to fabric softeners?

Are wool dryer balls better than tennis balls?

Are wool dryer balls better than dryer sheets?

Detergent sheets vs liquid laundry detergents—who wins?

How to create your own wool dryer balls?

How often should I recharge my wool dryer balls?

What is the best stain remover for clothes?

Should I use tennis balls in the clothes dryer?

Do dryer sheets contain harmful chemicals?

Why should I put a safety pin on my wool dryer balls?