Tennis Balls vs Wool Dryer Balls for Laundry

Wool dryer balls are superior to tennis balls in every way for drying laundry. If you’ve been using tennis balls, get ready to make the switch. 

Quick links:

Why use tennis balls?

Cons of tennis balls

What are wool dryer balls?

How do wool dryer balls work?

Why wool dryer balls are better

When you learn how much better they are, you’ll want to buy our wool dryer balls immediately to enjoy their benefits.

How do Tennis Balls Work?

Some people don’t mind using dryer sheets. But not you. You’re different. You can’t stop thinking about all the chemical residues coating your clothes, and building up inside your dryer. You think about your baby’s eczema and can’t help but wonder if those dryer sheets have something to do with it. You also hate sending so many dryer sheets to the landfill. So you check the vast expanse of the Internet for answers and find an interesting solution:  tennis balls.

As soon as you can, you go to the store to buy some tennis balls. You can’t help but wait anxiously for laundry day to give your new fuzzy friends a chance to prove themselves.

The time comes. You throw in some sheets, some clothes, a down jacket, and a few new tennis balls. You wait until 10 minutes before your clothes are usually done and rush to the dryer to open the door. But instead of flowers and lavender, it smells of plastic and... is that the park? Weird. But they are dry and relatively fluffy. You pull them out and see tons of little static sparks. And is that neon dye on that jacket?

When you put tennis balls in your dryer, the tennis balls bounce and circulate among the garments, helping to prevent them from sticking together. They also release…bits of tennis ball. And tennis ball smell. Not exactly what you were going for.

Why Put Tennis Balls in the Dryer?

Tennis balls fluff up and separate the clothes, preventing them from clumping together and improving airflow. This results in faster and more efficient drying. The tennis balls create agitation, which helps to remove any wrinkles and soften the fabric. Tennis balls are particularly useful for large and bulky items like comforters, pillows, and down jackets, ensuring they are evenly dried and fluffed.

Cons of Tennis Balls

Although tennis balls fluff laundry in the dryer, they have some drawbacks. 

  • Tennis balls are typically made from synthetic materials, which are not biodegradable and can contribute to environmental waste.
  • Unlike wool dryer balls, tennis balls do not provide the option to add natural scents to the laundry.
  • Tennis balls may contain chemicals such as dyes or synthetic additives that can transfer to clothing during the drying process.
  • Tennis balls are not reusable like wool dryer balls, requiring frequent repurchases.
  • Tennis balls may be too harsh for delicate fabrics and can potentially cause damage or pilling.
  • Tennis balls don’t provide the same level of softness, static reduction, or efficiency in drying time as wool dryer balls.
  • Tennis balls create more noise and rattle in the dryer.

What are Wool Dryer Balls?

When things look most bleak, a friend comes to you, picks you up out of your pile of clothes and stinky tennis balls, and hands you a Smart Sheep dryer ball.

It’s cute and wooly; it doesn’t smell like the backside of a park or melting plastic. “Try it,” your friend says.

So you do.

Turns out, these little wooly dryer balls are heroes in disguise; they do what the dryer sheets and tennis balls do, only better. They naturally shorten your drying times, reduce static, soften the fabric, and reduce tangling. Now you open your dryer door, and there are no funny smells. You use them stress-free when drying your baby’s clothes, and then gasp when you learn that they’ll last long enough to dry your next baby’s clothes too.

Our wool dryer balls are made of the finest New Zealand wool and are about the size of a softball. They are a more effective and environmentally friendly alternative to fabric softeners and dryer sheets. 

Wool dryer balls provide all the benefits of tennis balls in the dryer, plus a whole lot more.

  • They fluff your laundry better
  • They reduce drying time by absorbing moisture and increasing air circulation
  • They can be scented with our essential oil spray to make your laundry smell amazing
  • They can be reused for up to 1000 laundry loads
  • They are quieter than tennis balls
  • They are renewable, biodegradable, and all around eco-friendly
  • They don’t smell like tennis balls

How do Wool Dryer Balls Work?

Wool dryer balls get to work in the dryer in the following ways:

  1. Enhanced air circulation: as the dryer balls tumble in the dryer, they help to separate and lift the clothing, allowing hot air to circulate more efficiently.
  2. Absorption of moisture: the wool fibers of the dryer balls absorb excess moisture from the clothes, reducing drying time and saving energy.
  3. Softening and fluffing: the gentle agitation of the dryer balls naturally softens fabrics and reduces wrinkles, eliminating the need for chemical-laden fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
  4. Reduction of static cling: by preventing clothes from sticking together during the drying process, wool dryer balls minimize static electricity buildup, resulting in less static cling.

Wool Dryer Balls are Better than Tennis Balls

Should you use wool dryer balls instead of tennis balls? Yes, you should. Wool balls win hands-down.

  1. Natural and eco-friendly: wool dryer balls are made from 100% natural wool, while tennis balls are made of synthetic materials. Choosing wool dryer balls aligns with sustainable and environmentally conscious practices.
  2. Gentle and chemical-free: dryer balls are free from harsh chemicals and synthetic additives, making them a great fabric softener substitute. In contrast, tennis balls contain chemicals or coatings that can transfer onto your laundry.
  3. Enhanced softening and fluffing: wool dryer balls naturally soften fabrics, reduce wrinkles, and help to maintain the fluffiness of garments. Tennis balls, on the other hand, lack the softening capabilities of wool dryer balls.
  4. Reduced drying time and energy savings: the absorbent properties of wool dryer balls help to wick away excess moisture from clothes, leading to shorter drying times. This not only saves energy but also reduces wear and tear on fabrics.
  5. Decreased static cling: wool dryer balls minimize static electricity in the dryer, resulting in less static cling on clothes than tennis balls.
  6. Long-lasting and reusable: wool dryer balls are durable and can be used for years, while tennis balls tend to wear out faster.

Tennis Balls vs Dryer Balls FAQ

What can be used instead of tennis balls?

Here are some alternatives to using tennis balls in the dryer:

Of these alternatives, only one is any good. Can you guess which one?

Can I use any ball as a dryer ball?

Wool dryer balls are the best option for putting in the dryer. You can also use tennis balls, but they’re inferior to wool dryer balls in every way.

How many tennis balls can you put in a dryer?

Depending on the size of your laundry load, you can put 2-6 tennis balls in the dryer. 

Can you use socks instead of tennis balls in the dryer?

You can use socks instead of tennis balls in the dryer, but they don’t work very well. Wool dryer balls are the ultimate choice for eco-friendly fluffy laundry. 

What are some laundry hacks for green living?

Here are some of the best laundry tips for green living.

  • Wash clothes less often
  • Use eco-friendly laundry products
  • Wash with cold water
  • Wash fuller loads
  • Consider a microfiber filter
  • Air-dry laundry instead of putting it in the dryer
  • Use our wool dryer balls to reduce energy usage

Should I use plastic dryer balls instead of wool balls?

Use wool dryer balls instead of plastic balls. Plastic dryer balls are not environmentally friendly. Wool is more durable than plastic, and you can customize your dryer balls by adding a few drops of essential oils (or, better yet, with our Essential Oil Anti-Static Scenting Spray).

What are some benefits of wool dryer balls?

Wool dryer balls have plenty of benefits:

  • Reducing static
  • Soften clothes
  • Speed up drying time
  • Eco-friendly
  • Chemical-free
  • Save money

Can tennis balls in the dryer fully dry clothes?

Tennis balls in the dryer can help improve airflow and speed up the drying time, but they won’t completely dry wet clothes on their own. Wool dryer balls are much better than tennis balls.

How do tennis balls in the dryer help fluff your clothes?

When used in the dryer, tennis balls create agitation and separate the clothes, allowing air to circulate more freely. This action helps to fluff the clothes, reduce wrinkles, and restore their natural softness.

Are there any precautions or considerations when using tennis balls in the dryer?

Ensure you are using clean tennis balls free from any chemical coatings. Or, use our all-natural wool dryer balls, which are so much better. 

Further Reading

Essential oil recipes for wool dryer balls

The difference between wool dryer balls and dryer sheets

How long do wool dryer balls last?

What are the best wool dryer balls?

Do wool dryer balls still have static?

How to use wool dryer balls with essential oils?

Should you DIY wool dryer balls?

Where can I buy wool dryer balls?

How often should I recharge wool dryer balls?