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Laundry baskets are a solution by design, but sometimes pose their own problems. While they usually succeed in being a vessel for dirty clothes, remaining one that stays intact over time and doesn’t turn inconvenient is another story. Yes, hampers can shield the world from the consequences of our messier family dinners and toughest workouts, but can they promise not to snag our delicates in the meantime? There’s a lot to consider when choosing a laundry basket, especially if you’re particular about the treatment of your linens or basket aesthetic is important to you. While wicker baskets offer attractive storage, they aren’t usually the best for holding finer fabrics. And those foldable, portable, mesh guys we know from college dorm days? They seem to collapse every chance they get, spilling their guts and your investment basics all over your floor. I digress. But I’m also just getting started, because we went ahead and gave a range of laundry baskets and hampers the ol’ college try, from those with handles and hangers to those with wheels and wall-mounting. We found the best of the best — the laundry hampers that work for what you need and are well constructed, thoughtfully designed, safe on most fabrics, and easy on the eyes.
What to Consider Before Buying a Laundry Basket
How often do you do laundry? About how much do you accumulate between washings? Are you collecting laundry for just yourself, you and a partner, or the whole family? Even beyond considering the volume and cadence of your laundry routine, choosing the right hamper also has to do with what you’re washing. For example, it’s probably not the best idea to toss delicates in, on, or around wicker. Damp bath towels deserve their own special pre-laundering treatment as well. Read on for our tips on finding the right laundry hampers for your needs.
Take stock of how much laundry you do. If you have a full-on laundry room or generally enough space to set up a hamper as big as your washing machine, more power to you. But if you’re working with a smaller space, you’ll need something more deceptively spacious or at least easy to transport. Some materials, like cotton and polyester, produce woven fabrics that hold their shape while offering a bit of stretch and flexibility. This is perfect for encouraging more airflow through the hamper’s contents. Baskets made from harder materials like wood, bamboo, and metal put the work on your clothes and linens to do all the compressing, which is a great solution for sheets and bedding that are dry and usually highly packable.
Are you keeping your basket in your closet? One with a bit of flexibility can prevent doors from jamming, hanging clothing from getting snagged or tangled, and can be easily pulled out for washing. If your space is limited, don’t shy away from larger hardshell hampers like rattan or wicker. Since they hold their shape, they’re more easily stackable. A little collection of these could keep laundry types separated while also elevating the room’s decor. When it comes to keeping a laundry basket fresh, the occasional spot clean is usually the way to go. Be sure to check, though, that you can in fact clean the one you want as needed with your preferred solutions or it could hold onto odors and become that thing in your home that you don’t touch — a bowl of worn workout attire potpourri.
Laundry hampers with liners are common and for good reason. To be able to quickly lift laundry away from its harder-shelled basket and head to the washer or laundromat is to be doing laundry right. But a lot of the hard hampers that come with liners are designed with efficiency in mind, not necessarily appearances, so either the shell is unattractive or the liner is no good. Investing in a good vessel for your laundry routine and a soft liner bag separately means you get the perfect laundry setup for yourself, but if that seems like a hassle, rest assured there are picks in our list designed to remove excess effort from your laundry routine.
A biggie that often gets forgotten when it comes to laundry baskets, ventilation — either from the wider weave of wicker or intentionally placed holes in a solid frame — can make or break your experience. Unlike with kitchen trash cans, for example, there has to be a way for the vessel to encourage airflow both throughout the laundry in the basket and from the basket to the fresh(er) air. Cotton liners in wicker or rattan baskets encourage airflow with both breathable layers. But if you’re opting for a hamper that’s not made of mesh or obviously porous, you’ll want one that has holes included in its design somewhere.
What We Look for in a Laundry Basket
We tested a wide range of laundry baskets and hampers, judging them on the following criteria:
Brabantia makes some of the most modern and elegantly designed laundry bins (among other things!). While the brand’s classic Bo Laundry Bin is also a winner, their cork-lidded model comes out on top for its ergonomic shape, ventilation, soft cork entry barrier, and clean look. While it’s not the cheapest on our list, it’s certainly not the most expensive either. But the price is justified the moment this bin is unboxed and its supremely high-quality construction is revealed. It actually gets more worth it from there. Assembly takes all of two minutes, and the included machine-washable cotton liner actually fits and sticks around the perimeter of the bin, thanks to its non-skid top. The bin’s bottom is also non-skid, adding a safety anchor that is especially necessary if you’ve got little ones at home.
The cork top has multiple benefits: For starters, it helps the bin to contain smells like coffee spilled on sheets and wine…also spilled on sheets (if you’re new here, this is a safe space). In our tiniest room, which is about 8 by 10 feet, you couldn’t detect any odors at all. The cork also acts as a kind of funnel, allowing you to safely toss or drop in laundry piece by piece so there’s room for airflow and nothing gets shoved into any wrinkly positions. Lastly, against the black base, the cork adds a touch of Scandi charm. If you’re looking for a bin that does it all and looks good doing it, Brabantia is it.
Who it’s Best For: Those who want something sturdy and non-corrosive; those who want a hamper everyone can use for all linens; those who want something ventilated.
Good to Know: This could also be our best pick if you prefer to keep your hamper in the bathroom, as it won’t mold, rust, or mildew over time.
We know there are a ton of under-$10 hampers out there. But given my soapbox about how upsetting some flimsy, collapsible hampers can be, we’ve stepped up our expectations and went hunting for the actual best budget-friendly hamper. I’d say we found it. The Chrislley Laundry Hamper has a uniquely slim profile but a little extra length to compensate and the height of a normal hamper. It’ll fit in just about any 8-inch-wide gap you’ve got in the bathroom, bedroom, laundry room, or kitchen. We’re even a fan of having one in every room since it’s as incognito as it gets (without being outright decorative), and you won’t have to worry about one single laundry basket filling up too fast. The Chrislley hamper’s wheels are made of a soft polyurethane (PU) material which, outside of being seriously tough, prevents scratching to your floor. They can also be locked into place, keeping the hamper still until you want it to roll again. With handles on both short ends, the hamper can be lifted as well as rolled. As far as under-$25 laundry hampers go (usually under $20!), this one’s a winner for its unique shape, functional design, and tidy, minimalist appearance. Oh, it’s also foldable and can disassemble into next-to-nothing for easy storage — but you’ll probably never want to put it away.
Who it’s Best For: Those with very little space; those with minimalist decor; those looking for multiple matching hampers; those who want something with wheels.
Good to Know: Because it’s waterproof, this hamper lacks a lid to keep it breathable. That said, don’t pile in damp linens and forget about them or you’ll end up with mildewy everything.
*Honorable mention: Looking for something even more budget-friendly? This $6 pop-up hamper at Walmart is sturdy and, yes, collapsible, but will actually hold up to the laundry you fill it with rather than topple over at the sight of a sock.
“For simplehuman’s first-ever laundry hamper, they knocked it out of the park!” says AT assistant shopping editor Britt of the double X-Frame Hamper, a new addition to the brand’s robust housewares collection. “I don’t even bring my old hamper out of my apartment anymore because this one is so much more user-friendly. The bags can fold, collapse easily, and though the bottoms are round, they can stand up on their own with enough clothes in them.” Love a hamper that can handle the laundromat life. This one is specifically designed to be as easily portable as possible, but its bags don’t skimp on material quality in order to be lightweight. The extremely sturdy x-frame design makes us forget what flimsy even means while the removable bags are, that’s right, machine washable. Simplehuman thought of everything.
Who it’s Best For: Those who need something easily moveable; those who go to a laundromat; those who want something machine washable.
Good to Know: You can even try this hamper for 45 days and return it risk-free if it’s not for you.
We recommend the Zara Home Striped Laundry Basket for anyone who needs to keep their hamper on the move, whether it’s to head off to the laundromat or hand off to your laundry pick-up service. AT commerce editor Jasmine appreciates that “it’s compact and foldable, however it holds a lot more than you’d expect.” It’s ideal for people living solo or with a partner, but especially those who are particular about their space. “The cream color with navy pinstripes is so stylish and subtle,” Jasmine says, “as well as the cylindrical shape. I feel like I could leave this hamper out when company comes and its pretty enough to not want to stuff it away in the closet.” When taking it to-go, the drawstring closure at the top not only helps “make sure dirty laundry stays sealed in until wash day” but also contains everything while being moved around and provides easy access to its contents. Jasmine adds that “the convenient carrying handle is also great for transporting your laundry, whether you have a washer/dryer in your home or you have to travel to a laundromat.”
Who it’s Best For: Those who need something to take to the laundromat; those hoping for something unique and nice looking; those not wanting to spend over $40 on a nice hamper.
Good to Know: This hamper was made following the Join Life standard, developed by Zara’s parent corporation Inditex Group, which is an internationally standardized method of assessing the impacts of a product in the various phases of its production, use, and end of life.
While this is a solid solution for anyone lacking floor space for a laundry basket, whether due to a snooping, sock-stealing puppy or because you live in a small studio, it’s also the perfect start to a modular laundry system that’ll work for big families. The Mission Modular Laundry Bag and Holder is a set that’s wall-mountable, but its thick canvas-style cotton bag gives it the strength to stand on its own when unhooked at laundry time. This modular setup changed the way we handle laundry — we’re now excited to sort lights from darks, and since the hamper is nowhere near the floor, neither is our dirty laundry. For us, it’s the best hanging laundry hamper because it’s, simply put, well made. The first thing you want when mounting something potentially heavy on your wall is safety, and we were able to test a full load of towels, sheets, and clothing — about 15 pounds total — on both brick and concrete walls with no problems (drywall is usually not a recommended surface for mounting).
Who it’s Best For: Those looking for a hamper that stays off the floor; those who do a lot of laundry and want a matching modular system of multiple bags.
Goodee is designer brother duo Byron and Dexter Peart’s beautiful online marketplace full of home goods designed or crafted by artisans and small, independent brands globally. This lidded hamper by women-run label Makaua is crafted in Mexico from soft palm strands that, when woven, strike the perfect balance between flexible and sturdy. The Hamper, which I have in the Acero colorway, has a ton of interior space, and my housemate — who works in fashion, I might add — and I are able to fit over a week’s worth of worn clothing, towels, linens, and delicates. The lid is made from the same flexible palm and allows for some undercover overstuffing. Other decorative laundry baskets tend to have lids that rigidly lay atop overgrown, uneven piles of clothes and make it obvious that it’s been a while since you last did your sheets. This chic basket won’t do you like that. We recommend throwing in an equally pretty liner for an easy way to lift your laundry for washing. For homes with no space for anything less than beautiful, Goodee has the goods and Makaua has the laundry basket.
Who it’s Best For: Those who need a full-sized laundry basket that will be seen; those looking for versatile, displayable storage; those who appreciate heritage craft preservation and want to support disenfranchised groups.
Good to Know: Makaua products are handmade by a community of 50 families local to a specific region in Mexico.
The last thing you want, even if you happen to have an abundance of space, is for your laundry hampers to create clutter or become eyesores. This dual hamper by ToiletTree from Overstock is an editor favorite for sorting laundry and adding space for storage, folding, or organizing. It’s got a top shelf that, like the rest of the hamper’s frame, is made from 100 percent bamboo and extremely sturdy. Britt loves this multitasker and placed hers in the bathroom to primarily hold fresh towels on top. “It’s especially convenient for guests because used towels can be tossed into the hamper and are immediately out of sight. It’s lightweight and can be moved around without strain, which is a plus if I ever decide to move it to another room,” she says. “I can imagine it being highly effective as a nursery hamper or even a toy bin for stuffed animals, too.” All-around excellent storage with breathable bags and portability, despite its larger dual-hamper frame. “Bottom line: If you’re like me and want something that’s more than a simple laundry basket but isn’t heavy-duty, the ToiletTree Bamboo Hamper is for sure a great way to go.”
Who It’s Best For: Those in need of multiple laundry compartments; those who keep laundry separated; those looking for a guest-friendly laundry station or hamper.
Good to Know: It’s been labeled a “High Satisfaction Item” on Overstock, meaning it’s rarely returned and buyers are pretty consistently happy.
Similar to our best hanging laundry basket pick, this hamper from West Elm’s Bamboo modular organization collection is wall mounted, off the ground, and very elegant. For those in small spaces, especially those living alone or looking for a safe storage spot for delicates awaiting laundry day, we love this mounted hamper’s unique design. We tested this one in the bathroom as a multitasking towel rack and washcloth laundry basket in one. After allowing the cloths to dry on the rack, they’d go right into the hamper. Rinse, repeat. We even threw a bath towel in there, and after over a week of collection, it finally had its fill. It’s the perfect little storage unit, complete with an interior liner with handles that lifts right out when it’s time for washing. Not only is this our favorite for small spaces like bathrooms and closets, but it’s also ideal for small home living, in general, as well as households with pets, small kids, or even pests. Though it’s double lined, the breathable material of each layer keeps laundry from soiling further before washing. Not to mention, it’s obviously incredibly chic and looks even better in person.
Who it’s Best For: Those who want a dedicated closet or bathroom laundry basket; those with limited floor space; those who prefer to keep laundry away from kids or pets; those who want a laundry basket that’s not obvious.
Good to Know: You have 30 days to return this luxe hamper, but we already know you won’t.
*Honorable mention: AT creative studio coordinator Haley loves that the Honey-Can-Do Wicker Corner Hamper comes with a laundry bag in the hamper. The assembly required was super easy and and is a sufficient size to keep at least a week’s worth of laundry, but also doesn’t take up too much space in the room, thanks to its ingenious corner-fit design. It’s also available on Amazon!