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Published Sep. 30, 2021

As we all know, laundry is as much a certainty in life as death and taxes. No matter where you live and what activities you participate in, clothes are going to get dirty and need to be cleaned. Fortunately, the washboards of yesteryear have gone by the wayside, making way for high-tech washing machines that wash huge loads of clothing.

But not everyone has the budget, the available space, or even the need for a full-size washer and dryer. Thankfully, portable washing machines can be a good substitute for those people who don’t want, can’t afford, or don’t have room for a large washer.

Portable washers are perfect in many spaces, from dormitory rooms, to small apartments, to travel trailers and motorhomes, to small weekend cabins. These smaller units allow you to always have a clean set of clothing at the ready without having to make a costly trip to the nearest laundromat. 

When shopping for portable washing machines, there are several things to consider, like capacity, size, portability, power of the motor and other features. That said, let’s look at some of the top portable washers available.

How We Chose the Best Portable Washing Machines

Methodology 

Until I started spending lots of time in a travel trailer, I didn’t even know portable washing machines existed. But while grumbling about spending a day at the laundromat on my latest vacation, a friend asked me why I didn’t have a portable washer. I was dumbfounded. That started an exhaustive research spree to decide which portable washer was best for my use.

Much of the research I did on the topic was used in determining the portable washing machines that appear on this list. Some of the things I considered included:

  • Capacity: This is probably the most important factor, and only you know how big a  washer you need. Keep in mind that many washers can only spin about half as much laundry as they can wash at a time.
  • Footprint: The size of the washing machine is also critical. Determine how much space you have—both for washing and for storage when not in use—before shopping to ensure you’ll have a place to use and store the machine.
  • Power: Washers with more powerful motors will spin better, leaving you with laundry that’s less wet after the spin cycle. A washer with an anemic spin cycle will be a constant irritation when clothing comes out soaked.
  • Controls: Easy-to-use controls like LED readouts making using portable washing machines easier. Washers with customizable water levels and multiple wash settings will be easier to use and do a better job than those that are basically just plug and play.
  • Price: Of course, price is always a consideration. Always determine your budget before you begin shopping. That will help you narrow down your choices very quickly.

The Best Portable Washing Machines: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Comfee 1.6 Cubic Foot Portable Washer

Tiny But Mighty

Able to wash 11 pounds of laundry at a time, this powerful, portable washer is great for small apartments, RVs, and camping. COMFEE’

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Why It Made The Cut: This portable washer from Comfee is small, powerful, and easy to use, making it one of the top units available. 

Specs:

  • 6 Handy Programs
  • 11-Pound Capacity
  • Wheels For Easy Moving

Pros: 

  • Energy efficient
  • Compact design
  • Delay start function
  • Clear lid

Cons:

  • Fairly heavy at 70 pounds

This space-saving portable washing machine from Comfee is made to fit wherever you need it—whether in an apartment, dormitory room, RV, or even hunting camp. It features a stainless steel inner tub, six washing programs—Normal, Quick, Heavy, Bulky, Delicate and Spin Only—and three different water temperature settings.

At only 20.7 inches wide, 20.3 inches deep, and 36.6 inches high, this compact washer can be stored quite easily wherever you want it. Yet despite its size, it can hold 11 pounds of dirty clothes.

The unit’s “Delay Start” function is particularly useful. Simply throw your laundry in  and set a time when you want it to start, avoiding the headache of having to wash clothing all over again because of mold and mildew from sitting too long.

A sturdy set of wheels makes moving the washer easy despite its 70-pound weight. And a reloading feature allows you to pause the wash and add  additional clothes if the need arises.

Best Twin-Tub:​​ Giantex Portable Mini Compact Washer

Compact Workhorse

This high-quality portable washing machine lets you set the amount of wash and spin time you want for your load of laundry, making it more customizable than most. Giantex

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Why It Made The Cut: With customizable wash and spin times, twin-tub design, and a powerful 300-watt motor, this unit from Giantex offers more features in one small package than most other portable washing machines on the market. 

Specs:

  • Powerful Motor
  • Twin Tubs
  • Customizable Run Time

Pros: 

  • Dual tubs
  • Filter Net
  • Customizable wash and spin times
  • 11-pound wash capacity

Cons:

  • 6.6-pound spin capacity

This dual-tub portable washing machine from Giantex is a lot of washer for the money. The twin-tub washer and spinner can work simultaneously or you can set different times for them. The unit is easy to operate with a simple top-knob design; a detailed instruction manual is included.

One of the most interesting features is the customizable wash and spin time, which allows you to decide how long you want your clothes to wash and spin. That gives you more control over your laundry than when using most other units.

The washer’s light weight makes it easy to move wherever you want to store it after use. And its small dimensions—24.8 inches wide, 15 inches deep, and 28.5 inches wide—means you can store it just about anywhere you have a little extra space.

This washer is great for ​​apartments, dorm rooms, condos, motor homes, travel trailers, camping trips, and more.

Best For Large Loads: Auertech Portable Washer

Large Capacity

This portable washing machine can wash 18 pounds of clothes at a time and spin 10 pounds of laundry. Auertech

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Why It Made The Cut: Weighing only 26 pounds in an easy-to-store size, this powerful portable washing machine can wash an incredible 18 pounds of clothes at a time—much more than most comparable units.

Specs:

  • Powerful 1,300 RPM Motor
  • Transparent Top Window
  • 27 x 16 x 32 Inches

Pros: 

  • Large wash capacity
  • Powerful motor for more efficient spinning
  • Easy to operate
  • 18-pound wash capacity

Cons:

  • Drain hose must be connected to a floor drain

For its size, this portable washing machine from Auertech can clean more clothes than most other comparable models. In fact, at only 26 pounds, its wash load max of 18 pounds is nearly 70 percent of the washer’s weight! The machine’s 1300 rpm motor can wash clothing quickly and efficiently. The transparent window allows you to watch what’s happening inside, and the twin tubs mean that wash and spin can happen simultaneously. With this unit you can also control washing time, washing mode, and spinning time through the three control switches on the panel. Two separate water inlets on the panel allow you to easily connect a hose and add water. Note that this portable washing machine must be connected to a floor drain in order to drain properly. Fortunately, it’s equipped with a hose to easily drain out the dirty wash water.

Best for Single-Person Households: Black + Decker Portable Washer

Single Serve

This diminutive portable washer from Black + Decker will wash 6.6 pounds of clothes at a time—perfect for single people who aren’t doing laundry for an entire family. BLACK+DECKER

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Why It Made The Cut: While this machine has a smaller capacity than most portable washing machines, Black + Decker’s history of top-quality products of all kinds makes this ultra compact washer one to consider.

Specs: 

  • Small (17.7 x 18.1 x 35.5 inches)
  • Energy-efficient operation
  • Built-in lint filter
  • LED display panel

Pros: 

  • Five cycle programs and three water settings
  • Automatic balance function
  • Clear top window for easy visibility
  • Drain hose and sink adaptor included 

Cons:

  • Only for use with cold water

While limited in capacity, this washer from Black + Decker has many other features that make it a good one to consider—especially for single-family households that don’t have to do a lot of laundry on a regular basis. With Heavy, Gentle, Normal, Rapid, and Soak cycles, you can control the wash, rinse, and spin cycles with the push of a button. You can also adjust the water level based on load size, saving on your water bill.

The unit has an easy-to-use LED digital display panel for simplified operation, and it also features a clear top window, making it easy to see the water level. Another cool feature of this washer is its automatic unbalance detection mechanism. Rather than the annoying vibration displayed by many washing machines when clothing inside is out of balance, this unit automatically corrects the situation.

One word of caution: This washer is made to only be used with cold water. If that’s a deal breaker for you, you’ll need to consider another model. 

Best Value: Densors Portable Single Tub Washer

Budget Efficiency

For under a great price, this compact, portable washing machine can keep you from spending your spare time at the laundromat. DENSORS

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Why It Made The Cut: We know not everyone has several hundred dollars to spend on a portable washing machine. This mini washer from Densors might be just the ticket for those on a tight budget.

Specs:

  • Ideal for lightweight or small items of clothing
  • Great for travel
  • Space saver

Pros: 

  • Extremely light for easy transportation and storage
  • User-friendly controls for setting wash and spin times
  • Clear lid to see water level and monitor progress
  • Energy-efficient unit saves on your electric bill 

Cons:

  • Only 9 pounds of wash capacity so most suitable for lightweight clothing items

While many people won’t find Densor’s Portable Tub to their liking due to its small capacity, those on a tight budget will appreciate the fact that they can get a portable washing machine for much less than its competitors—an amount that you’ll easily surpass with just a handful of visits to the laundromat. Because of its lightweight and small footprint—only 22 inches high and 14 inches wide—it’s a perfect travel washing machine, suitable for RVs and travel trailers, while still large enough for dorm rooms and small apartments.

Despite its budget price, this unit boasts many of the same features as washers two- or three-times the price: washing mode selector, wash timer, and a powerful motor for both washing and spinning. And the transparent exterior gives you more ability to monitor washing than the glass doors on top of many more expensive units.

Note that if you’re looking to wash large loads of big clothing like jeans, this isn’t the washer for you. But it is well suited for washing small clothes like undergarments, socks, pillow cases, and similar items.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Portable Washing Machine

One of the most important things to consider is how much laundry you’ll be needing to wash on a regular basis. If it’s just a small amount on an occasional basis, a portable washing machine might be just right for you. If you have a large family and do lots of laundry on a frequent basis, you’re probably not going to be happy with a portable washer and instead should look into full-size laundry equipment.

Portable washing machines come in lots of different sizes. The size that’s right for you has to have ample space to sit in while you’re using it, and also ample space to sit in when it’s not in use and you’re storing it. Take a tape measure to determine accurate measurements before you start shopping. If you’re buying the washer for  a motorhome or travel trailer, having a spot to store it in might be what limits the size of washer you can get. 

Check out prices early in the buying process. We’re probably all guilty of looking for an appliance or other product before setting a budget, with the result that we end up spending far more than we should—or needed to—on that item. Determine your budget and use that number for your first process of elimination. Once you narrow your list to the washers in your price range, you can start comparing their features to determine which one will be the best portable washing machine for you.

FAQs 

Q: What’s the difference between a portable washer and a regular washer?

Regular washing machines take up lots of space, are nearly impossible to move, and are capable of washing large loads of laundry. Portable washing machines are designed for people who have less space, don’t do as much laundry as many large families, or can’t afford the expense of a costly, full-size washing machine.

Q: Can you wash sheets in a portable washing machine?

You can in some and you can’t in others. You’ll need to check the capacity of the machine before tossing in a set of sheets. Some larger portable washing machines should do that job quite well. 

Q: Do portable washers use a lot of water?

That’s a relative question. According to published specs, the average portable washer uses about four gallons of water for the wash cycle and another four gallons for the rinse cycle. While that might sound like a lot, an average full-size washer uses about 19 gallons per load.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of portable washing machines on the market, and choosing the right one for you is going to take some research time. We’ve tried to cut that time and effort for you as much as possible. 

Consider how many clothes you’re going to be washing on a regular basis, how much space you have for the washer, and where you’ll be storing your washer when it’s not in use. That will get you started toward picking the best portable washing machine for you. 

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