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Buying guide for best portable spin dryers

A dryer is one of the most energy-consuming appliances in a home, and it takes up a lot of space. If you don’t have room to spare, or you’re trying to be more energy efficient, a portable spin dryer is worth considering. These dryers use centrifugal force to wring the water from clothing and get it mostly dry. You can then hang up your clothes to dry completely. It’s similar to the way a washing machine wrings out the excess water at the end of the cycle.

There are various types and sizes of portable spin dryers, so it’s important that you understand the differences in order to choose the one that’s right for you. Here’s a short guide to walk you through the key factors to think about as you shop. If you’re ready to buy a portable spin dryer, take a look at our top recommendations.

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Most spin dryers run more quietly than traditional clothes dryers.

Key considerations

Electric vs. manual

Electric: Most portable spin dryers are electric. You plug it in, run the cycle, and it works essentially the same way as a regular clothes dryer, though the clothes won’t get completely dry. The advantage of an electric model is that you don’t need to do any work yourself. However, the dryers are limited to areas with an outlet, and while these units may be more energy efficient than traditional dryers, they still use electricity.

Manual: Manual portable spin dryers don’t use electricity at all. They require you to turn a hand crank to spin the clothing dry. This requires more work on your part, but it gives you some control over how dry you get the clothes and how quickly you dry them.


These spin dryers are portable and so by necessity small. The downside is that one has a much smaller capacity than a traditional dryer. Some only hold 4 or 5 pounds of clothing at a time, while larger models hold up to 22 pounds. Consider how often you do laundry and the size of your loads. Go with a model that you feel is large enough to accommodate your needs.

Drying time

One of the biggest advantages of portable spin dryers is that they only take a few minutes to do each load, which can help make up for the smaller capacity. Most portable spin dryers dry clothing most of the way in under five minutes, and some can do it in under three minutes. But results vary depending on how wet the clothes are when they go into the spin dryer.


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Did you know?
Some spin dryers have a built-in security system to stop the dryer if the drying tub is opened.

Portable spin dryer features

Once you’ve decided on the type, capacity, and speed you need, you can dig into the details.

Size and weight

All portable spin dryers are designed to be compact enough to transport from one location to another, but if you plan to move it frequently or you don’t have much room in your home, size will be a special concern. Check the product page online or consult with the manufacturer to find the dimensions of the model you’re interested in. You may need to compromise on capacity if the unit you’re interested in is too large for your space. In that case, you might want to focus on choosing a smaller, faster unit.

Water removal

Pump and hose: Some portable spin dryers have a pump that removes the excess water from the spin dryer. You put the attached hose in a sink or tub so the water can drain out.

Gravity: Other models employ a gravity system where the water drains out of the bottom of the unit. You can place some sort of bowl underneath it to catch the water or place it on the edge of a sink or tub. Unlike the dryers with pumps, a gravity dryer must be higher than the water receptacle.


It’s important to invest in a well-made portable spin dryer so that you don’t need to worry about it breaking down after a few uses. Some dryers use plastic components that can chip and break, preventing the spin dryer from working correctly. If you’re choosing a spin dryer that has metal internal components, double-check that they’re stainless steel so you won’t need to worry about the dryer rusting. Read through online customer reviews to get an idea of how well a portable spin dryer holds up.

Washing machine option

Some portable spin dryers also double as portable washing machines. You just add the clothes, detergent, and water and start the cycle. The machine washes the clothes, and when the washing cycle is finished, it will either begin the spin cycle automatically or you’ll need to move the clothes to a second drum for drying.

These machines are useful if you want a machine that can do both tasks, but bear in mind that these units may have an even smaller drying capacity because the dryer is sharing space with the washer. This could limit how much laundry you can do at once, slowing down the whole process.


Portable spin dryers usually include some type of warranty in case the dryer breaks down after a few uses. Choose a model that offers at least a one-year warranty. Some of the more expensive models have warranties that extend three years or more.

    "Because spin dryers don’t use heat, they can help to remove substances stuck on clothing rather than baking them on."

    Portable spin dryer prices

    Portable spin dryers cost anywhere from $60 to $250.

    Manual: You’ll pay less for a manual spin dryer because the machines are simpler and more affordable to produce. You should be able to find one of these for $75 or less.

    Electric: If you want to invest in a durable, high-quality electric spin dryer, we recommend spending at least $100. You could end up spending $150 to $200, though, depending on the size and power of the unit. Spin dryers that double as portable washing machines fall in the higher end of this price range.


    • Read the owner’s manual. Do this before using your portable spin dryer for the first time.
    • Don’t overload the spin dryer. Putting too many items in could break it.
    • Don’t put your hands in the drying basket while the unit is on. Wait until the spin dryer has completed its cycle.
    • Don’t use an extension cord with a portable spin dryer.
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    A typical spin dryer can extract more water from your clothing than a traditional washing machine’s spin cycle.


    Q. How dry does a spin dryer get clothes?
    It depends on how wet your clothes are when you put them in the dryer, but usually a spin dryer gets your clothes around 90% dry.

    Q. Do electric spin dryers work better than manual spin dryers?
    Not necessarily. It all depends on the effort that you put into operating the manual spin dryer and the power that an electric spin dryer can generate.

    Q. Can I use a spin dryer to dry delicate clothes?
    Most likely yes, but you should consult the owner’s manual for the portable spin dryer you’re considering to double-check that it won’t ruin your clothing.

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