Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets: Which is Better For You?

dryer balls vs dryer sheets

Dryer Balls and Dryer Sheets help dry clothes faster. They also offer other benefits like reducing static cling, softening clothes, and adding a refreshing fragrance to your garments.

Both options promise to enhance softness and reduce static, but the debate rages on which is truly superior. I’ll share the science behind the functionality and dissect the battle of dryer balls vs. dryer sheets.

Related: Substitute for Fabric Softener?

Difference Between Dryer Balls and Dryer Sheets

PropertyDryer BallsDryer sheets
Reducing Static clingDryer balls reduce static cling by creating friction while creating a separator between the clothes as they tumble. It helps increase the humidity levels and ensure uniform moisture distribution throughout the load.Dryer sheets release positively charged ions onto the clothes. These particles counteract the electron imbalance due to clothes rubbing against each other during washing.
Softening clothesDryer balls agitate the fiber to soften the clothes. However, it’s debatable to date whether, in reality, it helps to soften the clothes or not.Dryer sheets coat the surface of clothes with fatty molecules to soften them.
Adding fragrance to clothesDryer balls are 100% natural with no chemicals. To help clothes have a pleasant aroma, you can add a few drops of essential oils to dryer balls.Dryer sheets release certain chemicals to add fragrance to clothes. These chemicals are toxic, and continuous usage may trigger allergic reactions in some.
Drying timeDryer balls reduce the drying time by about 25%.Dryer sheets do not reduce the drying time.
UsabilityYou can use dryer balls many times.One-time use only.

Related: How to clean wool dryer balls?

Pros and Cons of Dryer Balls

wool dryer balls for soften clothes


  1. Dryer balls save a lot on energy bills as they reduce the drying time of wet clothes.
  2. You can use dryer balls for multiple laundry cycles.
  3. Dryer balls do not pose any health hazards as they don’t release chemicals to dry clothes or add fragrance.
  4. Dryer balls help reduce static cling, soften clothes, and reduce wrinkles by fluffing clothes during drying.
  5. Dryer balls are as affordable as dryer sheets.
  6. You can make pet toys from worn-out dryer balls or refresh your drawer, cupboard, or room by adding a few drops of essential oil and placing them in these places.

Related: What do dryer balls do?


  1. It’s a noisy affair with dryer balls. The sound of dryer balls bouncing off the walls of the dryer chamber can be annoying.
  2. The softening of clothes and reducing static cling aren’t up to the mark as well as those of dryer sheets.
  3. Dryer balls fail to add fragrance to clothes on their own. Pouring a few drops of essential oils on the dryer balls helps you achieve this feature.
  4. Wool dryer balls may unravel inside the drawer, leading to bothersome shambles. The small pieces of lint tattered in the dryer are arduous to remove and may clog the machine if not removed in time.

Pros and Cons of Dryer Sheets

adding dryer sheet in the dryer


  1. Dryer sheets add softness to clothes, reduce static cling, and add fragrance.
  2. Using dryer sheets is simple. Just place one sheet in the dryer before initiating the cycle.
  3. Dryer sheets are also budget-friendly, similar to dryer balls.


  1. Dryer sheets contain hazardous chemicals that help dry clothes and add fragrance. However, these chemicals may pose serious health hazards, like skin irritation and other severe ailments, if exposed for a long time.
  2. Dryer sheets, unfortunately, are a one-time affair. So, you may have to buy them frequently.
  3. You cannot reduce the drying time with dryer sheets. 
  4. A few research claim that dryer sheets adversely affect the absorbency level of towels owing to the release of fatty molecules by the sheets.

How Does Dryer Ball Work?

adding dryer balls in the dryer

Plastic or wool are the principal materials used to manufacture dryer balls. Dryer balls are free of chemicals or toxic compounds. Therefore, manufacturers boast them as an environment-friendly option for liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets, which are known to reduce static cling and soften clothes, reducing drying time.

a. Static Cling

It’s wrong to state that dryer balls remove static cling. However, they do reduce some amount of static cling.

  1. Dryer balls act as a separator by coming between the clothes.
  2. It helps reduce the overall friction and limits the opportunities to generate static.
  3. Wool dryer balls absorb moisture during the drying cycle. It helps boost humidity, limiting the possibility of static.
  4. You can enhance this effect by spraying wool dryer balls with water before initiating the cycle. Since wool is thicker than other fabrics, it retains moisture for a long time and maintains high humidity throughout the process.

b. Soften Clothes

Dryer balls create mechanical agitation within the dryer drum as they tumble along with the clothes. This agitation helps break up the stiffness and clumping of fabric fibers during drying. Being natural means free of chemicals; they don’t release any fatty molecules onto the clothes, as dryer sheets do.

c. Reduce Drying Time

A separation between the clothes is required to help clothes dry faster, which is already in place in most dryer machines. The hot air then circulates uniformly in that area to dry the clothes. 

Dryer balls add more separation, enhancing the entire effect and speeding up the drying process. They bounce off in the dryer’s chamber to create more detachment, allowing hot air to circulate effortlessly to dry clothes faster than standard time.

How do Dryer Sheets Work?

laundress adding dryer sheet in the dryer

Dryer sheets are small, rectangle-shaped sheets. A typical dryer sheet is made of polyester with a coating of chemicals and compounds specially created to speed up the drying process, which softens the clothes and reduces static cling. 

Hot air and friction within the laundry activate these chemicals and compounds to interact with the clothes and meet their objectives.

a. Static Cling

Static cling happens when clothes kept together in the dryer rub against each other. It facilitates the electrons’ movement from one item to another, making some atoms positively charged and some negatively charged. It creates an imbalance between the electrons. When this happens, clothes try to stick together, as opposites attract opposites, to stabilize.

Dryer sheets combat this imbalance by releasing the ions to equalize the electron imbalance, thereby reducing the static cling.

b. Adds Fragrance

Dryer sheets add fragrance to clothes, making them smell fresh and good. However, a few research claim it’s hazardous, as it contains dangerous chemicals like benzyl acetate and ethyl acetate, which can lead to dermatitis, asthma, and migraines.

Despite some reports refuting this claim, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Dryer Balls vs. Dryer Sheets: What Should You Use?

Well, it all depends on what you are looking for. If you are an environmentalist, you should go with the all-natural dryer balls. However, if you want fragrance all over your clothes, you can take the risk of the chemicals that the dryer sheet releases.

If you wish to remove static cling effectively, dryer sheets are your product. However, if you want to reduce the drying time, then, without a doubt, dryer balls are your best bet.

Or you can use dryer balls 90% of the time and dryer sheets 10% of the time. So, you remain safe from toxic chemicals by limiting dryer sheet usage and using them exclusively when you want your clothes to smell nice. The rest of the time, use dryer balls and help the environment. In addition, keep your health and yourself safe and sound.

  • Are dryer balls better than dryer sheets?

    Yes, dryer balls are better than dryer sheets, as they are environmentally friendly, last longer than dryer sheets, and you can use them for multiple laundry cycles.

  • What are the downsides of dryer balls?

    Dryer balls are noisy as they bounce off the dryer’s walls. They may also unravel and leave lint in the dryer, which may result in clogging the machine and damaging it if not removed.


Dryer balls and dryer sheets help dry the clothing. They also soften them and reduce their static cling. Dryer balls are environment-friendly, with no chemicals in them. On the contrary, dryer sheets contain chemicals that may be harmful.

Overall, it’s evident that dryer balls are a safer bet than dryer sheets. You can add fragrance to your clothes in other ways without depending on dryer sheets. The long life of dryer balls also saves you from purchasing them frequently, saving you shopping time and expenses.

Plus, dryer balls reduce your drying time and electricity bills, helping you utilize your time for quality purposes.

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