The Best Portable Washing Machines (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Say goodbye to expensive trips to the laundromat with these handy portable washing machines
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON October 17, 2020
For someone that lives in a small space such as an apartment, cabin, dorm room, or even a camper, doing laundry can be a pain. Paying for wash-and-fold service is expensive, laundromats don’t always have the most convenient hours or locations, and running home to your parent's house to do your laundry is a habit that needs to be outgrown (even if they say they don’t mind).
In any of these situations, a portable washing machine can be a real lifesaver. While the capacity leaves a bit to be desired, these incredible machines are really the most convenient option for someone who is lacking the space or dedicated laundry facilities. Taking a closer look at the options currently on the market, we put together a list of our top picks of the best portable washing machines.
This is a powerful, dual-purpose machine that has a decent washing and spin-drying capacity at an affordable price.
A sleek looking, clean design with an 8-pound washing capacity and 4.5-pound spin dryer. It’s compact and affordable.
The washing capacity isn’t huge, so doing laundry for a whole family can be time-consuming. Any imbalance in the load will cause the machine not to work properly.
The simple yet convenient design makes it easy to use and easy to maintain. It features a powerful 1,300 RPM motor that allows it to perform just as well as higher-end models.
A straightforward, simple design that is easy to operate. It offers the same washing and drying capacity as some higher-end models, but with a much nicer price tag.
Small load capacity is great for single people or couples, but not practical for larger families. Be watchful that the drain doesn’t clog and flood your space.
A stylish portable washer and dryer with decent load capacity and design that allows both cycles to be run at the same time, saving you valuable time.
Lightweight and super compact, this washer/dryer combo can fit into many small spaces. The ability to run both washer and dryer simultaneously saves you precious time when doing laundry.
Loads need to be carefully balanced to ensure proper machine function. Components tend to be a little less durable than some other models.
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Benefits of Portable Washing Machines
- Convenience. Portable washing machines allow you the luxury of being able to wash your clothes at home, even if you live in a tight space. No more wasting precious time traveling back and forth to the laundromat.
- Cost Savings. No more costly laundromats or wash and dry laundry services. Portable washing machines allow you the ability to do laundry in your dorm, apartment, RV, or other tight space inexpensively.
- Control. If you’ve ever had one of your favorite items come back from the laundry service ruined, or they’ve lost or misplaced something, or items aren’t clean to your satisfaction, a portable washing machine is an excellent solution to allowing you to control what happens to your laundry. You can wash items gently, or multiple times if you want.
- Portability. Portable washing machines have the added bonus of being easy to move from room to room, so you can store it safely and inconspicuously when not in use, or you have the option of lending it to a friend or family member to help them with their laundry needs.
Types of Portable Washing Machines
The traditional type of portable washing machine. These have a central, low profile agitator that opens from the top and often, a spin dryer option in line with the washer itself. They tend to use a bit more water than other types, but have a larger capacity and usually do a more thorough cleaning job than some other models on the market.
This type of washer has a central, horizontal drum that opens from the front. It uses centripetal force to pull water and soap out of your clothing. These models don’t have an agitator at all, and are usually a bit smaller in capacity, which saves water but often doesn’t get your clothes as clean. They usually come as a stand-alone washer and no inline spine dryer, making them even more compact.
Also called “pedal-powered” washing machines, these clever machines use no electricity at all and are much more compact than any electric model you will find. They can range in size from as small as a salad spinner to as large as a 5-gallon bucket. They rely completely on your elbow grease to function, thus they tend to break down less often and don’t have some of the same functional issues that typically electric washers have.
These are the typical portable washer and regular-sized washing machines. They can be either top- or front-loading, but use electricity to power their wash and spin cycles and timers. This saves you manual labor and energy, by letting a built-in motor do your job. With electricity and motors comes, of course, reliance on those things to work properly in order for the machine to do its job.
Giantex is the leading service-oriented e-retailer in North America. They also have a presence in over 10 countries, delivering quality products. They offer a wide range of affordably priced products for your home, office, pets, outdoor settings, tools, and much more, including their rattan outdoor patio furniture sets and accessories.
Kuppet is a newer company, founded in 2018, but it is a trailblazer when it comes to innovative designs for home appliances. It is a leading manufacturer of high-quality household appliances, including washers and dryers, refrigerators, ice makers, kegerators, pool cleaners, air conditioners, fans, water coolers, and much, much more. Pressure washers for your car are just about the only thing it doesn’t do.
Panda has been around since 2006, so it has a solid track record of designing and manufacturing reliable and highly affordable houseware and kitchenware products, like its line of kettles and blenders. Its products go through a litany of tests to ensure they’re reliable and high-functioning.
Costway was founded in 2008 with the goal of providing premium home products at ultra-low prices. It has been a major player in the online third party retail venue with companies like Amazon and eBay since 2009, selling some of its best products, such as its evaporative portable air conditioner cooler. Costway helps more than 10 million customers per month and now has its own online store.
Portable Washing Machine Pricing
- Under $100: portable washers in this price range are usually ultra-compact, with the washer and spinner dryer in one unit. This price range also encompasses most human-powered washers.
- $100-$200: This price range will get you most double-barrel washer and dryer combos that can be hooked up to your sink faucet. This is the most common price range for portable washers.
- $200 and up: This price range is going to include the higher-end electrical portable washers with higher quality components. Many will have digital displays and Wi-Fi capabilities.
Probably the most important key feature is that these portable washers and dryers are highly compact and designed specifically to fit in tight spaces, such as RVs, dorm rooms, small apartments, or cabins. Portable washers can be compact or really compact, giving options to people who might not otherwise think that they have the luxury of owning a washing machine.
Depending on how often you want to do laundry, or how many people you have in your household to do laundry for, the load capacity of your washing machine is a key feature. Be sure to check over the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully to guarantee you’re getting the best washing machine for your personal needs.
Do you want a manual or an automatic electrically powered portable washing machine? Manual ones mean you have to put forth more of your personal effort to get clean clothes. Electric washers are more convenient, but they also cost more to run and can create issues when things break down.
- Spin Speed. High spin speed is the key to removing as much excess water from clothing as possible, thus minimizing drying time. Most portable washers will start with a spin speed of 850 RPMs, but the higher-end models may have a spin speed as high as between 1,400-3,200 RPMs.
- Noise of Operation. While most portable washers tend to run pretty quietly, it’s important to note that when you operate them in a very compact space, you will definitely know they’re there. That being said, some portable washers definitely run quieter than others, so be sure to check out what their operational noise levels are prior to purchase.
- Cost. This pertains to the washer price initially, but also the long-term costs in terms of energy and water consumption and price of replacement parts. Many portable washing machines have a low initial cost, but might end up costing you more in bill and repair costs down the line. Get a washer that is well known for its durability and overall reliability.
Best Portable Washing Machine Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Always be sure to balance your washing loads as best you can to minimize imbalance during the wash and spin cycles, which can lead to equipment wear and tear and untimely damage, not to mention ineffective washing of your clothes.
- Keep an eye on the washer as you fill it, ensuring that you get the proper level of water into the drum without overflowing or flooding your washing area.
- Don’t be afraid to run extra spin cycles to really squeeze all available water out of your clothes before drying them.
- Be sure to tailor your detergent use according to the amount of water you’re putting into your portable washer. Too much detergent will be very difficult to effectively remove from a small machine.
What is the best portable washing machine?
A: The best portable washing machine is the one that can fit into your available space. Be sure to measure the area that you want to use it in prior to purchase to ensure it fits well.
Are portable washing machines allowed in apartments?
A: Check your specific lease or rental agreement, but yes, most apartments allow for portable washing machines to be used in individual units.
How do portable washing machines work?
A: How a portable washing machine works depends on the type of machine. Most commonly, portable washing machines rely on a small but powerful electric motor that will agitate and spin your clothes clean. Some work on sheer elbow grease, though, utilizing your own body power.
How much clothing can you put in a portable washing machine?
A: The amount of clothing that a portable washing machine can accommodate is much less than a regular-sized machine, usually between 5-10 pounds for a wash cycle and 3-6 pounds for a spin cycle.
Portable washing machines can be a game-changer for people who live in tiny spaces. The Giantex Portable Compact Mini Twin Tub Washing Machine can fit well in most apartments or large RVs, while the Lavario Portable Clothes Washer can fit in even the most compact space you can think of, giving you options for washing your clothes at home that save you from tedious trips to the laundromat.