Portable washers and dryers are ideal for people who don’t have space for full-sized models in their homes. There are also manual models that can be used anywhere, even if you don’t have access to electricity. This makes them suitable for taking along when camping, boating or anywhere else you may spend an extended period of time away from facilities.
In addition to whether or not you want to buy a manual or electric model, there are many things to consider when purchasing a portable washer and dryer. Capacity should be a top priority as well as the effectiveness in drying clothes. You may also want to consider how many, if any, different wash settings they have and how long they take to finish a cycle. Some models, such as the Giantex Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine, offer regular and gentle settings and can finish a full cycle, including washing and drying, in just 20 minutes.
Portable washers and dryers come in both manual and electric options, each offering its pros and cons.
Manual models are great for several reasons. They more closely embody the portable concept since they tend to be compact and lightweight. They also don’t require access to electricity, so they can truly be used anywhere. However, the downside to manual models is the amount of physical effort they require on your part. You’ll need to continuously spin a handle, pump a foot pedal or perform some other action to rotate the drum or agitate the clothing.
Electric models offer more convenience during operation since you can just start the cycle and walk away, but they aren’t nearly as portable. They can only be used where electrical outlets are present and often weigh between 25 and 40 pounds. That said, they do offer more capacity, which will come in handy for people who often do large loads.
It should be noted that portable washers and dryers utilize spin-drying. This is different from the heated tumble drying of standard home dryers. Rather than relying on hot air, spin dryers utilize centrifugal force to pull moisture out of clothing. This is a faster and more energy-efficient process, but it doesn’t get clothes fully dry. You’ll still need to hang them afterwards for anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes, depending on the weather and the type and weight of the fabric.
Portable washers and dryers do not connect directly to a water line. Instead, you’ll either need to pour water in them yourself or hook them up to a faucet. In both cases, it is up to you to stop adding water when you reach the proper fill level.
Manual washers and dryers don’t have any settings. You simply agitate the clothing as much and as long as you want for more gentle or thorough washing. Likewise, you spin them as long as you want to achieve the level of dryness you prefer. Conversely, electric models may have several time and agitation settings for you to choose from.
Manual portable washers and dryers usually have a load capacity between 3 and 6 pounds. Electric models generally have a load capacity between 10 and 22 pounds. When choosing a model, consider how often you do laundry and the size of the loads. Those who like to go as long as possible between washings or launder clothes for several people will want to opt for a larger model. If you are only laundering clothes for yourself and don’t mind doing loads frequently, a small model may suffice.
Because spin dryers rely on centrifugal force to pull water out of clothes, the speed at which they rotate measured in revolutions per minute plays a major role in both how effective they are and how long they take to dry clothes. Just bear in mind that higher RPM often translates to more noise when drying.
Most electric washers and dryers cost $100-$300. Manual models cost $75-$150.
A. Unlike full-sized dryers, which require a 220-volt outlet, nearly all portable washers and dryers plug into a standard 110-volt outlet.
A. Yes. Portable washers and dryers tend to be very economical for a couple of reasons. They run for a shorter amount of time and don’t use heat during the drying process, both of which help save electricity. They also don’t use as much water as full-sized models.
What you need to know: The economical Giantex Portable Mini takes just 15 minutes to finish a wash and five minutes to spin-dry your clothes afterwards,
What you’ll love: It can be filled with water by hand or by connecting it to a faucet, and you can wash and dry loads at the same time.
What you should consider: The attachments and hoses feel low quality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: Though it doesn’t have the largest capacity, this portable washer does a good job of getting clothes clean in a short amount of time.
What you’ll love: It only weighs 25 pounds, so you won’t have trouble periodically moving it if needed. Also, it operates a bit quieter than many comparable models.
What you should consider: The included drain hose is short.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: If you need something easily portable that allows you to launder clothes anywhere, this manual model fits the bill.
What you’ll love: You can rotate it either way when washing and drying clothes, so it doesn’t feel awkward for lefties. Also, it utilizes a pulsator that helps to agitate the clothes for more effective removal of dirt and stains.
What you should consider: It requires a lot of physical effort on your part.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.