Lugging your hamper to the laundromat can be a total drag. The solution? A good portable washing machine. Available in a range of prices to suit most budgets, the best portable washing machines are
compact enough to fit in small spaces, and feature spin cycles to wring out extra water. Some are tricked out with multiple temperature and agitation settings, and others are pared down and don’t even require access to electricity.
Most of these options are pretty compact, but some require more room than others, so be sure to measure your available space before buying. You’ll also want to consider capacity. If you’re just looking to do
T-shirts, socks, and some underwear, you can get by with a capacity of around 5 pounds, but if you’re looking for something that can handle sets of sheets and bulky bath towels, you’re better off with something bigger. (The options on this list go all the way up to an 18-pound capacity.)
Another thing to consider is how high-tech you want to go with your washer, and machines are all over the place in this aspect. If you want to keep it straightforward (and a bit cheaper), you could opt for a machine with simple timer settings, but you’ll have to put in a bit more effort by draining and refilling the machine before running a rinse cycle. If you want something a little more hands off — go for a fully automatic option. These higher-priced machines also have more customization options, like different agitation settings (gentle, bulky, etc.), so you get a proper clean for whatever you’re washing. Some even have temperature options, so you can toggle between warm, hot, and cold water. On the other hand, if you’re off the grid — or want something
super compact — go for a hand-powered crank washer that doesn’t require access to electricity. While it definitely requires more work on your part, it’ll get clothes cleaner than simple hand-washing, and is much easier on the wrists and fingers.
Picking the best portable washing machine for you and your space can be tricky. Here's a roundup of the best portable washing machines, so you can throw in a load and get back to your couch ASAP.
1 The Overall Best What’s great: 10 washing programs, automatic, auto-balance adjustment, spin cycle Size and weight: 19 x 19 x 33.5 inches, 51 pounds
best portable washer — all things considered — packs a lot of punch despite its slim design. The honeycomb-shaped inner tub can hold up to 10 pounds of laundry per load (and if you aren't sure what 10 pounds of clothing looks like, the support manual comes with a handy reference guide to help you out). The Giantex portable washing machine also features a touchpad control panel with eight water levels and 10 washing programs — like fast, normal, blankets, and spin — to choose from, making this the most customizable pick on the list. Plus, there’s a delay function and a digital timer display, so you know just how soon your load will be done. This machine even features a "balance adjustment," which will automatically shift clothing so weight is equally distributed throughout the washer for efficient cleaning, every time. According to one reviewer: "Love this thing, and so glad I bought it! I use it about 5-10 times a week to wash all our clothes, bedding, towels, you name it. We're a family of four living in a small 2 bedroom, and this has been a lifesaver. You may need to buy an adapter from the hardware store to hook it up to your faucet, which costs under $15. How big is the washer? This thing can handle a queen size comforter! 3-4 large towels at a time! 12 of my husbands large shirts!’ 2 The Runner-Up What’s great: 5 washing programs, auto-balance adjustment, spin cycle, cheaper than top pick, Size and weight: 17.7 x 18 x 31.5 inches, 44 pounds
portable washer is similar to the top pick, albeit with a smaller 6.6-pound load capacity and fewer washing programs. That being said, it has a more wallet-conscious price tag, so it’s good choice if you want to shell out a little less. It has five wash programs, like gentle, heavy, and rapid, as well as three load size selections and a spin cycle to wring out water. Like the first option, it has a digital timer display, so you can see how many minutes are left on the cycle, and it automatically corrects for any unbalanced loads. Plus, despite the relatively small capacity, reviewers have reported it can take on sheets and towels just fine. According to one reviewer: “I love this. It is literally one of the best investments I have purchased. I would purchase it again in a heartbeat and recommend it to anyone who is thinking about getting a portable washer. It can fit about 60% a load of a standard washer. I can fit a queen sheet, fitted sheet and 3 pillow cases perfectly fine. It can also fit about 3 towels with a handful of washcloths in one wash, for comparison. I don't have grass stains to remove or exceptionally soiled clothes to wash but it definitely does a great job. The spin dry is so great when I place my clothes on a drying rack most are completely dry in about 8 hours in cool weather, faster when it's hot. Sound level is great. I can barely hear it with the door closed.” 3 The Best Budget-Friendly Washer What’s great: wallet-friendly, 3 settings, compact size, separate spinner Size and weight: 25 x 22 x 15 inches, 22 pounds
For a budget-friendly option, this
compact portable washing machine hits all the right marks. It’s lightweight and small enough to fit into just about any closet or storage space, but the dual-tub washer and spinner helps you get clean and nearly dry clothes without having to leave the comfort of home. The wash tub holds up to 5.5 pounds of laundry — a relatively small capacity, so you may have to do multiple loads — while the spinner can accommodate up to 4.4 pounds. (Reviewers recommend being careful to not overload the machine, and have reported it’s a bit too small for sheets and multiple bulky towels.) Plus, this portable mini washing machine features three settings: standard, soft, and drain. It also features a timer for both wash and spin cycles so you can load your clothes, set the timer, and let it do its thing until the buzzer goes off. According to one reviewer: "This little washer is amazing. Very happy with my purchase. It's easy to use, quick to wash and the spin cycle dries out the washed items so good it ends up drying in a couple hours! I love it.” 4 The Best Large-Capacity Washer What’s great: large 18-pound wash capacity, 2 washing programs, separate spinner Size and weight: 27 x 16 x 32 inches, 31 pounds
If you want to get more laundry done in one cycle, this
large-capacity washing machine that can handle up to 18 pounds is for you. It also has a separate spinner that can accommodate up to 10 pounds, but you may need to run two cycles to spin all your washed clothes. Two dials let you set the wash on a timer of up to 15 minutes, and the spinner up to five minutes, while a third dial allows you to choose between a standard wash setting and drain. Despite its capacity, the washer weighs in at just 31 pounds, making it easy to move out of the way if needed. According to one reviewer: “This is a great machine so far. Living in our camper we have limited space and this fit the bill. I can wash all of my families clothes efficiently with this machine. The spinner works great and gets most of the water out. Love it.” 5 The Best Premium Washer With 3 Temperature Settings What’s great: 6 washing programs, 3 temperature settings, spin cycle Size and weight: 20 x 21 x 37 inches, 77.8 pounds
If you don’t mind the higher price tag, this
fully automatic portable washer is well worth the cost, and the closest you’ll get to a standard washing machine, thanks to its three temperature settings that let you dictate between warm, cold, and hot cycles — the only pick on the list with that feature. The machine also features six washing programs, including delicate, bulky, and normal, and three load size selections, plus a spin cycle. There’s a delay mode and a digital timer display, so you can see how much longer you have before your clothes are done. According to one reviewer: “Great machine. Fits *so* much laundry it in. Clothes come out clean. Does a great job extracting water at the end with the spin cycle. No leaking, no issues, no fuss. I've been washing 2-3 loads a week for two months and it works fabulously, just like brand new. [...] Very happy with it. It's very quiet and I think my downstairs neighbor can't hear it.” 6 The Best Dual Washer & Spin Dryer What’s great: separate tubs for washing & spinning, 2 washing programs Size and weight: 25 x 15 x 28.5 inches, 29 pounds
multi-tub washing machine features one tub for washing clothes and one tub for spinning them — that means they’ll take much less time to air dry once you complete both steps. There are two adjustable dials that allow you to choose the amount of time for wash and spin cycles (up to 15 minutes for a wash and five minutes for a spin), and the wash selector dial gives you options for normal, soft, and drain programs. Keep in mind that the washer tub holds up to 11 pounds of laundry (twice as much as the budget pick), while the spinner holds 6.6 pounds, so you may have to “dry” in two separate loads. According to one reviewer: "I needed something small and portable and this is perfect. It’s powerful for its size and still does a great job with my clothes. I need to to 4 small loads instead of two big ones with this, but that’s fine. The drain uses gravity to do its job, so I just put the unit in the tub. It’s easy to just put it right in the tub and fill it with water using the hand held shower attachment. The fill hose included with it doesn’t fit into anything too well. This product is WELL worth the money- just get it! People using an apartment community washer and dryer especially are gonna love this washer!” 7 The Best Hand-Powered Machine What’s great: no electricity required, great for small loads, takes up minimal storage space Size and weight: 12 x 12 x 16 inches, 6 pounds
The most compact option on the list — and the best portable washing machine for camping — is the
WonderWash. This model gets clothes clean with a human-powered hand crank, so access to an outlet is not necessary. Similar to hand-washing clothes (but more effective and a lot less tiring), it works in just one to two minutes, but you may have to run a couple rinse “cycles.” It’s budget-friendly and super lightweight, but according to the manufacturer, can still accommodate up to 10 T-shirts, or eight dress shirts, or two pairs of jeans. Of course, if you’re looking for something that can wash sheets, or a unit with multiple settings, this isn’t the pick for you. But if you’re on the road or just looking to wash basics between trips to the laundromat, this is a solid pick that takes up minimal space. One reviewer wrote: “Very easy to assemble, convenient little unit that is also easy to fill, wash, and drain. Turning the handle to wash clothes is not difficult. Another plus is, it holds more clothes than I thought it would. I wash 3-4 blouses or shirts, a pair pj bottoms, socks, unmentionables all in one load, and even then it’s not completely full. [...] Great deal for a compact little, hand crank washer! That holds quite a bit of laundry!”
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This article was originally published on
Aug. 11, 2019