The hamper you use to store and transport your laundry makes a big impact on the way you do laundry. It should be sturdy, breathable to prevent mildew, and easily fit into a small space. And it should be easy to carry—if you’re hauling a full load of clothes, sheets, and towels, you want handles that won’t strain your arms or back.
The good news is there are plenty of options out there. We’ve put 30 different baskets and hampers through the wringer in our Strategist offices, used them to do small and large loads of laundry, moved them up and down stairs, and cleaned them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. We’ve found that the best laundry hampers offer a durable design that holds up to regular use and doesn’t take up too much floor or closet space.
We’ve also tested whether a basket or Hampers by Design material can hold up to a lot of weight, since that’s an important factor in determining how well a container will stay upright when stuffed. Rattan is a popular choice that’s usually made from palm stems, and it’s tough enough to support heavy loads. But it’s not waterproof, so we wouldn’t recommend using one in a humid area like a bathroom or laundromat. Plastic tends to be a more durable material that holds up well under pressure, though it’s not as visually appealing as materials such as bamboo or cloth.
A favorite among current and former Strategist staffers is this laundry hamper from Danish design studio Hay. It has the clean lines the brand is known for—in a traditional gridded pattern—and comes in both a large and a small size, which stack neatly together. Strat editor Tanner notes that the smaller version is “one of the most beautiful” hampers she’s seen recently and that it could double as a set of kitchen mixing bowls.
Another option is this woven water hyacinth hamper from Australian company Gourmet by Design. It’s a more decorative alternative to a basic plastic laundry basket and can fit nicely in a narrower closet or on a doorknob. And the jute fibers in this model are a renewable resource that regenerates after harvesting, so it’s a sustainable pick.
Another durable choice is this multi-compartment basket from Oceanstar. It has cutouts on the sides that double as handles, making it easier to transport up and down stairs or in tight spaces. Plus, it’s a great choice for those who live in an apartment and need to make multiple trips between their home and the building laundry room. Ann Lightfoot, co-founder of the organizing company Done and Done Home, says that if you’re dealing with mountains of dirty laundry, this type of basket can help you separate extra dirty or wet items from your other wash. The removable fabric liners can be wiped clean and reused, and the sturdy frame is rated to hold up to 150 pounds. It’s an especially good option for those who are on a budget because it costs less than most other laundry hampers.