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Best portable washing machine

Which portable washing machines are best?

Whether you are interested in taking up the “tiny home” lifestyle, live in an apartment that lacks easy access to a laundry facility or are interested in helping the planet, investing in a portable washing machine offers several notable benefits. Given that using a laundromat week in and week out can cost a significant amount of money and purchasing and installing a full-sized washing machine may not be possible in your home, portable washing machines provide a niche solution. With the COMFEE 1.6 Cu.ft 11 lbs Capacity Fully Automatic Compact Portable Washing Machine at your disposal, you can enjoy many of the modes that a full machine has to offer at a fraction of the price.

What to know before you buy a portable washing machine

How much do you want to reduce your electric bill?

While it is certainly true that a regular washing machine requires much more maintenance and needs much more water than its more portable counterparts, portable washing machines have the advantage in terms of pure energy efficiency. With some models offering a reduction in power usage of as much as 84% compared to a full-sized washing machine, you can gain significant savings if you are willing to do more loads of laundry overall. 

In addition, some models of portable washing machines are fully human-powered like their original predecessors without carrying the risk of crushing buttons or fingers in automated rollers. By completely eliminating the need for electricity to wash all kinds of clothes, including delicate garments, you can enjoy clean clothes on the road, in your apartment or wherever your travels take you.

Safety features, water entry points and other technical details

While no one particularly wants to experience their washing machine breaking, overflowing and covering your surroundings with soapy water and half-cleaned clothes, these concerns are especially present for those with pets, small children and mobile living situations. Furthermore, it would be rather inconvenient to discover that your portable washing machine needs to be connected to a source of running water instead of filling it via a bucket or other means.

When considering the purchase of a portable washing machine used in the presence of children, you should always check if the model includes safety features such as child locks and the ability to freeze the control panel. Finally, it’s worth noting that models with convenient addons like quick-connect kits can make the entire process that much easier.

What to look for in a quality portable washing machine

Weight, ease of transport, laundry modes and cleaning options

Regardless of your particular motivations for being interested in purchasing a portable washing machine, you would likely agree that the word “portable” should imply that said product is truly easy to use, set up, drain and store. However, whether you want to reduce your power bill or go completely off the grid, it is crucial that your washing machine adequately clean your clothes.

That said, those interested in hand-powered units should invest in models capable of cleaning anything from cashmere, wool and even cloth diapers. On the other hand, powered units should offer a reasonable alternative to full-sized units while retaining convenience with different wash cycles, water levels and temperature settings. After all, depending on the particular location where you are interested in washing your dirty clothes, it wouldn’t be ideal to end up with ruined garments.

Space saver

Though full-sized washing machines are prized for their ability to save the everyday consumer significant amounts of time and money, there is no denying that they take up considerable amounts of physical space in your home or apartment. In addition, they also create a fairly significant amount of noise while in operation, which can easily strain relations in close quarters like recreational vehicles or thin-walled apartment complexes.

Thankfully for those who would like to enjoy the benefits of a washing machine without causing any unnecessary tension with your nearby neighbors or fellow residents, the selected models of portable washing machines offer incredibly low levels of operating noise to keep things quiet. Finally, said models all offer the ability to always have clean clothes for your college dorm room, apartment or recreational vehicle.

Capacity, weight limit and other features

As with their more full-sized counterparts, you should always consider exactly how much laundry your portable washing machine can effectively clean in a single load. For example, if you are on a trip with four other people and you all have roughly ten pounds of laundry each, it might be some time until your turn at the machine comes up.

In addition, those who like to keep track of how their laundry is progressing might be interested in features like clear viewing panels to observe wash cycles, pulsators to generate both weak and strong water flow, rollers for more efficient drying and more. Finally, features include auto-shutoff after the wash cycle has concluded, delaying the cycle’s start and commonly used cleaning settings like bulky or delicates.

How much you can expect to spend on a portable washing machine

Depending on your desired features and any budgetary considerations, a quality portable washing machine can cost anywhere from $70-$351, and sometimes more.

Portable washing machine FAQ

How can I connect my portable washing machine to a water source?

A. Depending on your rental agreement, access to tools and comfort with DIY, there are two simple options for connecting your portable washing machine to a water source. The first and more simple option is to use a quick-connect kit to attach your washing machine to a sink, whereas the second option requires you to have a suitable plumbing connection to hook directly into your plumbing.

Can I use additional laundry products such as bleach in my portable washing machine?

A. This depends on the manufacturer, but it should be safe to occasionally use more caustic chemicals like bleach and laundry sanitizer in your portable washing machine unless otherwise indicated. However, you should always check if using a particular cleaning solution will cause you to end up voiding your warranty.

What are the best portable washing machines to buy?

Top portable washing machine 

COMFEE 1.6 Cu.ft 11 lbs Capacity Fully Automatic Compact Portable Washing Machine

What you need to know: This is an excellent portable washing machine that can save you lots of power and space.

What you’ll love: This unit offers a maximum of 1.6 cubic feet and up to 11 pounds of clothes for a single load of laundry as well as a durable stainless steel inner tub, 84% less power usage than a full machine, six laundry programs including Normal, Quick, Heavy, Bulky, Delicate and Spin Only, a Child Lock feature to freeze the control panel, see-through lid, LED display and wheels for ease of movement.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as leaky water lines and connecting hoses being excessively short and small.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top portable washing machine for the money

The Laundry Alternative WonderWash Portable Washing Machine

What you need to know: This option is an extremely efficient and eco-friendly portable washing machine for the environmentally conscious.

What you’ll love: This unit offers the ability to clean either a large bath towel or up to 5 pounds of laundry in a single load as well as using 90% less water than a full machine and no power, lacks an agitator and is great for delicate garments, comes with a comprehensive 3-year warranty and can clean cloths within a couple of minutes.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as receiving damaged products, having screws break unexpectedly and insufficient locking mechanisms.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Magic Chef 1.6 Cu. Ft. Compact Top-Load Washer

What you need to know: This is an impressive portable washing machine with a host of advanced features.

What you’ll love: This unit offers six different fully automated wash cycles for a wide variety of garments and fabrics as well as rollers to make moving the washer much easier, a delay start function, a pulsator to generate both weak and strong water flow, accessible control panel, quick-connect kit and auto-shutoff after the wash cycle ends.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues such as malfunctions with water level sensors and cracked outlet pipes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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