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Do dryer balls actually work?

We test whether these supposed laundry helpers live up to their claims.

Ecozone Amazing Dryer Balls
Last updated: 08 March 2024

Many years ago some bright spark suggested that putting a tennis ball into a dryer would help soften clothes and save you money by reducing drying time. Marketing gurus have cottoned onto this idea and introduced plastic or woollen dryer balls that claim to do the same thing. But do they actually work? We put four brands of dryer balls to the test to find out.

Do dryer balls work?

In short, not really. There are marginal differences, but in most cases dryer balls actually increase your costs by a very small amount. We tested with a conventional electric vented dryer and an upmarket condenser dryer both with and without the balls and compared the two. None of them had much of an impact on performance in either dryer.

So by all means if you want to throw your money towards this product, go ahead, but don't be under any illusion that dryer balls will save you any money on running costs, or even reduce the time it takes to dry a load of clothes.

Products we looked at

Pacific Air Dryer Balls

Pacific Air Clothes Dryer Balls

Type: Plastic

Price paid: $16.95 

Claim: Faster drying.

Conclusion: No faster drying.

Wooly Mates Dryer Balls

Wooly Mates Dryer Balls

Type: Wool

Price paid: $34.85

Claim: No claim on drying time made.

Ecozone Amazing Dryer Balls

Ecozone Amazing Dryer Balls

Type: Plastic

Price paid: $17.95

Claim: Reduce drying time by up to 25%

Conclusion: Increased drying time by 3.9%

Ms Fix It Dryer Balls

Ms Fix-It Dryer Balls

Type: Plastic

Price paid: $6.50

Claim: Faster drying.

Conclusion: Increased drying time by 5.2%

How we tested dryer balls

We compared each of the products with a separate run without dryer balls in each dryer type (electric vented and condenser). We used identical loads and program types. We measured against the final mass and energy usage for the conventional electric vented dryer and we compared against mass, time and electricity with regards to the condenser dryer. 

We've only displayed energy usage because this is the difference you'll see in your energy bill. We used a 3.5kg IEC cotton load that we use for all our dryer (and washing machine) tests. We based the energy cost calculation on $0.40 per kWh.

Electric vented dryer we used: Simpson 39P400M

Condenser dryer we used: Miele T8929WP

Apart from the Wooly Mates dryer balls, all of the dryer balls we looked at are plastic, and only the Wooly Mates ones claimed to be made in Australia – the rest didn't say where they were made at the time of testing.

CHOICE Verdict

Don't bother buying these products to save you money by speeding up your drying times and using less energy. Quite simply, they don't work. 

Dryer balls also claim to make clothes softer, which we haven't tested, but you can just give your clothes a flick when they come out of the wash and that should add some air to the fabric (products like fabric softeners are often a waste of money).

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.