Cyber Monday may be over, but great prices are here to stay.
Tub measures 2.0 cubic feet. Has a quiet-close lid, 6 cycle options, and 3 different water levels, based on need. Can be used in a variety of small spaces, including on RVs. The LED display screen is easy to operate. Has a hose hook-up in the back.
Tends to leak a little.
Has a quick wash time and is relatively quiet. Easy to use knob controls and separate timers for the washing and spinning compartments. The small size works great for those with limited room. Washing tub can hold up to 9 pounds of clothes.
Can have drainage issues. Not the best for heavy-duty clothing items.
Easy-to-use compact washer with 6 programs and 3 water levels. Designed with a delayed-start feature to allow you to choose the time of your wash. Built with a durable motor to create strong, stable power and preserve energy. Includes child lock for safety.
A couple of customers noted machine is heavy.
Can hold up to 9.92 pounds of items for washing. Has a clear lid to keep an eye on the process, an LED display screen, and a honeycomb design in the interior to prevent damage to clothes. The side handles make for easy transportation.
Instructions are not very clear. Connecting this machine can be difficult.
Distances itself from others for its hand-cranked operation that doesn't need electricity. Small size works well in tight spaces. Gentle on delicate fabrics. Inexpensive and efficient.
Requires a bit of time and strength to operate. Only holds 5 pounds at a time. The longevity of some of its components is questionable.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Are you tired of hauling your laundry to the apartment complex laundry room? A portable washing machine can be a good alternative.
Almost unheard of in the U.S. until a couple decades ago, the portable washing machine market has really taken off in recent years, almost concurrent with the tiny house movement. You can choose from a wide range of choices, from small, hand-cranked units to dual-tub portable machines that are almost as big as regular automatic washers.
Rather than being directly hooked up to a home’s plumbing system, portable washing machines get their water from a sink faucet and typically drain into the sink as well. Owners hook up the machine by attaching an inlet hose to the faucet, and turn on the water to fill the tub. Once the wash cycle is complete, the inlet hose and drain hose are tucked away behind or inside the washing machine, which can then be moved and stored out of the way.
Portable washing machines are designed with space saving in mind first and everything else second. Originally designed to be stored inside closets when not in use, many models still have a slim design. They’re almost universally light enough when empty to be picked up by one person.
Those people looking for a heavy-duty, fully automatic washing machine may be disappointed by the few options and limited washing capacity in small and midsize portable models. However, for those trying to pare down their lifestyle, a portable washing machine offers a great balance of convenience and economy. As a bonus, most models are quieter than full-size washing machines, too.
Nonelectric (manual operation): Generally the smallest of all portable washing machines, manually operated models feature an interior drum that can be spun or agitated using a hand crank or foot pedal. These are super easy to operate, store in almost any cabinet, and can be picked up and moved with one hand. However, these models have the lowest capacity, and their service life is short compared to other types because of the all-plastic construction.
Electric: The most popular portable washing machines handle the various washing and rinsing cycles. You still need to manually fill the tub with water for each cycle, from prewash to wash to rinse. Some have analog controls, while pricier models feature LED displays, electronic controls, and more automated functions like dispensing liquid fabric softener.
Portable washing machines come in a range of different sizes and capacities.
Small: About 18 inches tall by 14 inches wide by 14 inches deep; 0.2 to 1.0 cubic feet
Medium: About 23 to 27 inches tall by 18 inches wide by 18 to 21 inches deep; 2.8 cubic feet
The most common type of portable washing machine features a single tub (or drum) that agitates and spins the clothes.
This type of portable washing machine has two drums: one for washing/agitating and rinsing, and another for spinning water out of the clothes. Both tubs can operate at the same time, allowing users to run wash and spin cycles simultaneously.
More expensive washers have controls that allow you to set the water level, temperature, and start time. Most electric models allow you to pause a cycle, and models with a digital display can tell you the status of the cycle.
The lowest-priced portable washing machines start at around $89 and go up to about $185. Surprisingly, some very nice small electric machines are available within this price range.
Medium-size portable washing machines with a tub capacity of around 1.5 cubic feet range in price from $260 to $450. The wide difference in price is typically due to the difference in controls (LED vs. analog).
Large portable washing machines hold significantly more laundry, some over 13 cubic feet, and are more likely to be festooned with additional features like LED controls and automated cycles. Their prices are naturally higher, too, starting at about $450 and topping out at just under $800 for most brands.
Use the correct amount of detergent. Remember that a smaller capacity and fewer clothes mean using less detergent and fabric softener. Using too much can make rinsing the clothes a real chore.
Use a furniture dolly to easily move a portable washing machine.
Don’t use an extension cord or power strip with a portable washing machine. For safety reasons, plug it directly into a wall outlet.
Use a portable washer as an extra countertop. When it’s not in use, you can place a butcher block on top of the machine to provide a smooth, level surface.
Follow the recommended load and water limits. Putting more than the recommended weight in the tub or filling it with water past the fill line can damage the machine.
Weigh each load of laundry before putting it in the machine. Use a bathroom scale to be sure to stay under the manufacturer’s specified weight limit.
Fill the washing machine from a bucket or pitcher if you don’t have access to a sink faucet and power outlet in the same area (such as when camping).
Wipe out the washing machine tub after using starch or bleach. Also wipe down the exterior of the machine periodically.
A. For those who must use laundromats, a portable washer can save about $260 or more per year. Portable washing machines can also save of dozens of hours per year that are no longer spent sitting in the laundromat. Those who switch from full-size washing machines to portables have noted savings on their water bill, though this can vary.
A. Capacity is the biggest drawback. Portable washing machines typically hold less than 11 pounds of clothing; any more than that can damage the machine. That sounds like plenty, but the washing tub itself isn’t very big either. That means heavier clothing like jeans and sweaters can only be washed one or two at a time. And forget about washing that duvet cover in a portable machine. Owners are never completely free of laundromat visits – they’ll still need to make a few trips a year to wash blankets and other bulky or heavy items.
A. That’s entirely up to your personal preference and circumstances. If you're purchasing a portable washing machine for an apartment, you may find an electric machine very convenient. On the other hand, if you want to save electricity or you want a machine for off-grid camping, a non-electric machine may be better for you.
A. It’s very important to check your lease agreement to see if there are any stipulations about portable washing machines. Some apartment communities do not allow them at all, while others require approval. The biggest reason for this is that a portable machine that isn’t properly hooked up to the sink may leak and cause flooding, a huge repair bill, and possible liability on your part. And the plumbing in some older apartment buildings isn’t up to the added strain that a portable machine puts on the drainpipes.