If you have decided to ditch single-use dryer sheets in favor of more effective and more sustainable dryer balls then you’ve made a good decision. But you may now be confused over what kind of dryer balls to go for.
This is an issue that many people have as it can be hard to work out whether wool dryer balls or plastic dryer balls are better.
Well, I am here to help! In this post, I’ll look at how wool dryer balls and plastic dryer balls compare so that you can make a better-informed decision when picking new dryer balls.
Are Plastic Dryer Balls Better Than Wool?
Plastic dryer balls aren’t any more effective than wool ones. Both types of dryer balls offer many of the same benefits and can reduce laundry drying times but up to 30%. Choosing between wool and plastic dryer balls comes down to personal preferences and your own priorities.
There are many benefits of using either wool dryer balls or plastic dryer balls.
Some of the main benefits of dryer balls are:
- Shortened drying time (which saves electricity)
- Less static
- Reduced wrinkles
- Softens your clothes
- Removes pet hair
- No need for dryer sheets
Now, let’s take a look at how wool dryer balls and plastic dryer balls compare in different aspects…
Both wool and plastic dryer balls can have a big impact on your laundry. The main thing that they do is help to dry your things more quickly which will save your electricity costs. They will also help your laundry to come out softer, less wrinkly, and static-free.
Wool dryer balls tend to be heavier than plastic ones which means that they are better at breaking up your laundry. They’re absorbent too, so they draw moisture away from the clothes better than the plastic versions.
So, while both work well, many people find that wool dryer balls are slightly more effective than plastic dryer balls as they dry laundry a little quicker.
Winner: Wool dryer balls – quicker drying
Wool dryer balls and plastic dryer balls can both be bought for a fairly low price, but plastic dryer balls are a little bit cheaper.
Some of the cheapest plastic dryer balls tend to be smaller than wool dryer balls so you will need to put more in your dryer. It is worth remembering this when ordering and making sure that you get a pack that is big enough.
Whilst there is very little difference in price, you should be able to save a couple of dollars by choosing plastic dryer balls over wool dryer balls.
Winner: Plastic dryer balls – save a dollar or two
It has to be said, both wool dryer balls and plastic dryer balls will last you a good amount of time. In general, you will get around 1000 uses out of wool dryer balls before they start to lose shape and the fibers begin to break away.
This is likely to be 2 to 5 years of use, depending on how often you use them. While you can recharge wool balls by washing them, when your wool dryer balls wear out, you’ll need to replace them.
Although plastic is famous for lasting forever, plastic dryer balls will lose effectiveness over time. As they tumble around in your dryer the spikes will gradually be worn away and the plastic dryer balls will become less effective at speeding up drying times.
Sometimes plastic dryer balls can crack after prolonged use. They should be replaced immediately if this happens.
Rather than buying the cheapest product, it’s worth investing in quality dryer balls like Ecoegg dryer balls as these are guaranteed to last for at least 10 years.
Winner: Plastic dryer balls – some are guaranteed for 10 years
Wool dryer balls are made from a natural and biodegradable product. They are often made by hand, following fair trade principles.
However, the presence of sheep isn’t great for the environment. Sheep production results in greenhouse gas emissions and affects soil, water, and air quality. So although wool is natural, it’s not without environmental impact.
Also, many wool dryer balls are made from New Zealand wool. This means that there are quite a few air miles involved with the resulting carbon emissions.
Plastic dryer balls are made from plastic which is a man-made substance created from petroleum and natural gas. This means that they are created from a non-renewable resource. Plastic can take hundreds of years to break down and even then there are problems with microplastics getting into the oceans and food chain.
Theoretically, all plastics can be recycled. But many dryer balls are not made from recycled plastic and cannot be easily or affordably recycled. If you plan to buy plastic dryer balls, it would be smart to invest in a recyclable version such as the Ecoegg Dryer Eggs.
Plastic dryer balls tend to be produced in China which is also far away and lacks firm environmental regulations. Carbon will be emitted in creating plastic dryer balls as well as in transporting them.
Although both wool and plastic dryer balls have an impact on the environment, they are each less harmful than using single-use dryer sheets with every load of laundry.
Winner: Wool dryer balls – a natural and biodegradable product
As I have shown above, wool dryer balls are more eco-friendly than plastic as they are a natural product that will easily biodegrade once you have finished with them. Many wool dryer ball manufacturers also try to support and provide fairly paid work to women and minority communities.
However, it’s important to consider that wool dryer balls are made using an animal product and they are not vegan. According to PETA, sheep shearing is a cruel practice, with sheep often being stamped on, cut, and killed for wool.
In the wild, sheep do not require shearing as they grow just enough wool to regulate their temperature. But modern farmed sheep are bred to overproduce wool which can result in discomfort, overheating, and even maggots laying eggs under the wool which can then eat the sheep alive.
Winner: Plastic dryer balls – no cruelty to animals
If you live in a small space then any extra noise coming from your dryer is going to get on your nerves. Plastic dryer balls are definitely much noisier than wool dryer balls so this could be an important point of difference when making your choice.
Some people actually complain that wool dryer balls are too noisy, so don’t expect them to silently work their magic, but they are far quieter than the plastic alternative.
One good tip to reduce the noise from either type of ball is to layer them in with your washing rather than simply placing them on top. This will help to reduce the noise to a more manageable level.
Winner: Wool dryer balls – much quieter
Wool dryer balls are generally sold as a 100% natural and fragrance-free product. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be used to improve the smell of your laundry though. You can simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to the wool balls before you use them.
Things like lavender, balsam fir, and eucalyptus work well and will help you clothes to come out smelling nice and fresh. Some wool dryer balls are packaged with essential oils so that you have everything you need for fragrant laundry.
You can’t add essential oils to most plastic dryer balls. Although Ecoegg dryer eggs do come with the option of fragrance sticks that you can insert into the middle of the egg.
Winner: Wool dryer balls – add essential oils if desired
What Type Of Dryer Balls Are Best?
Wool dryer balls are slightly better than plastic dryer balls for most people. They will help your laundry dry more quickly, they are more environmentally friendly, they make less noise when in the dryer and they can be scented to give your garments a nice fresh feel.
However, depending on which brand you choose, plastic dryer balls can have the advantage of being cheaper, longer-lasting, and vegan-friendly.
Here’s a recap of the comparison between wool and plastic dryer balls…
When it comes to dryer balls, wool balls are the most popular choice. But both types of dryer balls can save you time and money whilst also making your clothes smell great, feel softer, and look less wrinkly.
By choosing wool dryer balls you may feel good that you’re doing your bit to help the environment by using a 100% natural product that’s biodegradable at the end of its useful life. However, wool isn’t without environmental impact.
That’s why my personal choice is to use the Ecoegg dryer egg. It has all of the benefits of plastic dryer balls, while being recyclable, guaranteed to last for 10 years, and with the option to add fragrance sticks if you desire.