Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- No need to air your dirty laundry: Instead, corral it in a suitable basket or hamper.
- We checked out the best-selling and most recommended laundry totes, and Sterilite’s White Stackable Laundry Basket is the best of the best.
At some point, it happens to all of us: We reach the age where “storing” our dirty laundry on our bedroom or closet floor just isn’t acceptable any longer. For some, that day arrives in childhood. For others, not until college and a shared dorm room. And for the rest, not until an annoyed significant other complains, “Can’t you ever pick up your dirty socks?”
Luckily, choosing a satisfactory laundry basket or hamper isn’t rocket science; it’s mostly a matter of preference, along with a hefty dollop of utility and logistics. If you do laundry in your own home, it’s easier to worry about appearance. If you tote a heavy load of dirty clothing to a laundromat, a community laundry room, or your parents’ home, portability becomes a bigger issue.
Having said all that, some laundry baskets hold up better than others, and we’ve narrowed down the field to the very best ones you can buy, but first, let’s get into all the things you should look for in a laundry basket or hamper.
What’s the difference between a basket and a hamper?
While there is no hard-and-fast definition of these two often-interchangeable words, generally, a laundry basket has a low and wide shape with an open top. Laundry hampers are typically tall and narrow, may have a lid, or be divided into sections for sorting. Neither is necessarily better: The right choice depends on your needs and preferences.
There are a few things to consider when it’s time to wrangle that mountain of laundry into the perfect basket.
- Size and shape: The sweet spot here largely depends on where you’ll be using the basket. A tall, thin hamper is a good choice for a dorm room or tiny apartment. A wide, low basket fits nicely in the average-or-larger sized bedroom closet. A cute, round basket is nice in the baby’s nursery, while a multi-sectioned, large, rolling laundry hamper will make life easier if you have a large family or a designated laundry room. If you have to haul your laundry up and down stairs, you’re least likely to lose your step carrying a laundry bag.
- Material: Inexpensive, basic laundry baskets and hampers are typically heavy-duty plastic. Folding or rolling units are often cloth on a metal frame. Woven baskets are the most attractive choice. None of these materials are necessarily better than the rest: It simply depends on what you are looking for.
- Portability: If you transport your laundry, you’ll appreciate a folding hamper, a sorter on wheels, or a hamper with a removable laundry bag.
- Sorters: A laundry sorter cuts down on time come laundry day. Clothes are divided up the way you want them (darks, lights, cold water, hot water) as they are dropped into the basket’s sections, instead of as you divvy up loads for the washing machine. Still, not everyone has the space or the need for these types of hampers.
Here are the best laundry baskets you can buy in 2019:
- Best laundry basket overall: White Stackable Laundry Basket
- Best laundry hamper: Household Essentials Double Hamper
- Best wheeled laundry sorter: Heavy-Duty 3-Bag Laundry Sorter
- Best pop-up laundry hamper: Household Essentials Pop-Up Mesh Hamper
- Best attractive laundry hamper: Seville Classics Water Hyacinth Oval Double Hamper
Updated on 06/12/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, and formatting.
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best laundry basket overall
When it’s time to tote your dirty laundry to the washing machine, you’ll appreciate the strength, size, and lift-up handles of the White Stackable Laundry Basket from Sterilite.
Laundry baskets are not complicated devices. You shouldn’t have to give your basket a second thought on the way to the laundromat. You can let your mind wander as you tote the White Stackable Laundry Basket made by Sterilite. It’s not likely to crack or warp, it holds lots of laundry, and the convenient lift-up handles mean you won’t scrape your knuckles going through a doorway.
This is a basic basket made from heavy-duty white plastic that won’t snag your unmentionables, with sides that curve slightly to keep clothes from tumbling out, a big enough capacity to let you delay laundry day without overflowing, and gray handles that are comfortable to hold and strong enough to support up to 40 pounds of weight.
The Wirecutter chose this basket as its number-one pick, saying it’s “The best laundry basket you’ll find.” The testers loved the large capacity, the basket’s strength, and the way it held up to extended, vigorous use.
Reviews on the Container Store website were overwhelmingly positive, with buyers praising the basket’s slightly narrow shape – which makes it easy to carry and suitable for smaller spaces – convenient stackability, durability, and reasonable price.
Pros: Strong, comfortable handles, 1.5-bushel capacity, easy to stack
Cons: None to speak of
The best laundry hamper
The Household Essentials Double Hamper has two compartments for sorting, folds away when not in use, and holds plenty of dirty clothing.
For a laundry tote, the Household Essentials Double Hamper has a fair amount of bells and whistles, and it’s attractive, to boot.
Large enough to hold up to four loads of laundry, and divided into two sections so you can sort your darks from your lights as you drop clothing into the hamper, this laundry tote is made of heavy polyester with a moisture-resistant inner lining. It’s got a lid, as well, so dirty-sock fumes won’t float where you don’t want them. When not in use, the hamper easily folds flat for storage.
The Household Essentials Double Hamper has over 2,400 reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.2 stars. Typical comments praise the hamper’s large capacity, the lid, and the double-sorting feature. Some owners wish the hamper was lined with removable bags to simplify transporting laundry from the hamper to the washing machine.
The hamper is available in black, brown, gray, or a tan chevron pattern.
Pros: Double sorter, large capacity, folds for storage
Cons: No bag to lift laundry out of hamper
The best wheeled laundry sorter
With three sections, and a wheeled, sturdy frame, the Heavy-Duty 3-Bag Laundry Sorter makes laundry day a breeze.
The DeCo Bros Heavy-Duty Laundry Sorter is the hamper for people who take their laundry seriously. It’s large, however, so it’s best if you keep it in your home laundry area or service porch. It’s also a good choice for anyone who doesn’t need to use stairs on the way to a community laundry room.
Three heavy-duty polyester bags let you sort your laundry with ease, whether you do it by color, by water temperature, or by family member. Each bag lifts out separately, so you can easily transport the dirty clothing from the hamper to the washing machine, or carry the bags to your car for a visit to the laundromat. The sorter has sturdy casters, as well, so you won’t have to lift or struggle to move the device – just wheel it where you need it.
Amazon customers love the large-capacity bags, the wheels, and the easily assembled frame. A few people complain that the sorter isn’t really as heavy-duty as they would like, however, and sways or becomes difficult to roll when very heavily loaded. Still, the overwhelming majority of reviews are positive.
The hamper is available in bronze finish with bronze bags or a chrome finish with off-white bags.
Pros: Strong frame, wheels, large capacity
Cons: Might sway when overly full
The best pop-up laundry hamper
For lightweight duty, the Household Essentials Pop-Up Mesh Hamper can’t be beat.
Perfect for a college dorm, the guest room, near the swimming pool to collect wet towels, or for use while traveling in an RV, the Household Essentials Pop-Up Mesh Hamper isn’t for exceptionally heavy loads, but it’s an excellent way to corral laundry in a small space.
As the name implies, this simple round hamper is made of heavy polyester mesh, and pops up for use. It also collapses flat for storage. The open-mesh design lets laundry “breathe,” so you’ll have less chance of mildewed towels or hardened gym socks. It also means that odors are free to circulate, however, so you’ll probably want to get your laundry done on time.
The hamper has two large handles, making it easy to carry out to the car or down to the laundry room when it’s time to come clean. The solid polyester bottom gives the bag a bit of stability, as does the spring wire frame. All in all, this is an excellent choice for those with limited space to store dirty clothes.
Of Amazon buyers who left reviews, 68% gave the Pop-Up Hamper a 5-star rating. Most owners appreciate the hamper’s perfect size for one person’s laundry, along with its lightweight design. Some complain that the hamper didn’t hold up to heavy use as well as they expected, though.
The Pop-Up Hamper is available in charcoal gray or black.
Pros: Perfect for a small space, folds down easily, lightweight
Cons: Won’t hold very large loads, might not stand up to rugged use
The best attractive laundry hamper
If you’re looking for a hamper that will actually add a touch of décor to your home, you’ll love the Seville Classics Water Hyacinth Oval Double Hamper.
For most people, a laundry basket is a purely utilitarian object that spends most of its time hidden away in a bedroom closet or laundry room. For others, however, the basket needs to stay out on display, so appearance is as important as function. If you fall into that second group, you’ll appreciate the lovely hand-woven Water Hyacinth Oval Double Hamper from Seville Classics.
The Water Hyacinth hamper doesn’t cruise by on good looks alone, however. This is a sturdy, well-designed laundry tote that has a steel wire frame for durability, along with cutout handles for carrying the hamper, a lid, and two compartments, each with its own removable canvas laundry bag for easy sorting and transporting of dirty clothing.
The Wirecutter also chose it as an “attractive option,” calling it “nice to look at and functional.” Amazon buyers seem to like it as well: With 500 reviews, the hamper has a 4.6-star average. Reviewers like the attractive appearance, but also appreciate the double bags, the roomy capacity, and the sturdy construction.
Pros: Appearance, double bags for sorting