Best Portable Washing Machine
Great for Dorms, Apartments, Vacation Homes
An overview of the best portable washing machines available in 2012. Getting the right mini washing machine can make life much easier and cheaper. One of these small appliances can wash a small load of washing. They are great for underwear, t-shirts and other small items. In some machines you'll be able to wash larger items like jeans and towels, but probably just one item at a time.
A portable washer that fits on a countertop or in a small space is very practical. You can avoid trips to the laundromat or shared washing machines and it works out much cheaper over the long run.
These washers typically have a much shorter cycle than full-size machine, from a few minutes to 15 minutes so you won't be stuck around waiting for a load to finish. You will need to hang the clothes up to dry though. Plumbing is not required - you just need to be able to fill the machine with water and allow it to drain into a sink or bathtub.
A portable washing machine makes a great practical gift for a college student or someone getting their own apartment. They're also good good for boats, RVs and extended camping trips. Visits to a laundry are very time-consuming and it's great to get that time back to do other things at home.
Things to Consider when Buying a Portable Washing Machine
Before choosing a portable washing machine, consider these points to make sure you pick the right machine for you or the person you are buying for.
- Portable can mean different things. Some portable machines just mean they are smaller than a full-size machine. There are machines that stand on the floor and smaller countertop washers. Generally the larger machines will be better (and more costly) but take up more space and are more difficult to move.
- Consider access to power and water. Most washers require access to electricity. And you'll certainly need water to operate your washer. Some larger portable washers use hoses, others must be manually filled. Some need to be emptied out manually and others have a drain at the bottom.
- Electric or manual? You can get manual hand-crank portable washers as well as the electric kind. A manual washer is greener and cheaper to run, but obviously requires a lot of effort to operate.
- Check the load size. This can vary considerably between portable models. Make sure you know what to expect. You might be able to wash a pair of jeans but don't expect to fit anything else into a mini washer.
- Do you need a spin cycle? The cheaper and smaller portable washers don't tend to have a spin cycle. Expect your clothes to come out quite wet. The higher end mini washers do have a spinner which will save you a lot of time. But it will cost more.
Haier HLP21E 6.6-Pound Pulsator Wash - with Stainless Steel Tub
The Haier Pulsator portable washer is a good choice if you are looking for a high end mini washing machine with a spin cycle. Perhaps you live in an apartment where it's not possible to fit a full-size washer, or you are renting and can't get a regular washer plumbed in.
The Haier Pulsator is not the cheapest option, but it's not the most expensive either.
It's not the most compact machine, but is on castors so you can roll it into a large closet after use.
Panda Small Mini Portable Compact Washer Washing Machine - Electric washer
The Panda is a very popular mini washer which gets great reviews from its owners.
This machine has a respectable 5.5lbs capacity. It runs off mains electricity so think about where you can put it where you will have access to both water and a power socket.
The main downside is that the clothes are very wet when they come out of the machine. You can either wring them out manually or get a compact dryer, which obviously takes up more space and adds expense, but may be worth it for the convenience.
The Portable Laundry Pod is a portable laundry machine that uses human power instead of electricity! You can watch the very funny video below to see how it works.
The Portable Laundry Pod has been selected by Think Geek as a cool solution to washing clothes quickly and cheaply. It's compact and lightweight so it's easy to take with you - you can take it on camping trips as well as keeping it in a dorm room or small apartment.
Once you've loaded up the pod you turn the handle on top for around 10 minutes to wash your clothes - you even get a mini workout.
This is a eco-friendly solution to washing your clothes too. There's no need for electricity and you don't use a lot of water.
I doubt this machine gets clothes as clean as some of the electric machines, but for a college student who gets to use Mom's washing machine during the vacations, it might be just the right solution.
Portable Laundry Pod from ThinkGeek
Eco-egg Automatic Mini Washing Machine
And for anyone who likes their products to be a bit different, I couldn't resist including the Eco-egg Automatic Mini Washing Machine.
This cool design looks just amazing, you won't want to hide it away when it's not in use. Everyone will ask you what it is!
This machine claims a better build quality and longer life than other machines. It has a rinse cycle but no spin cycle.
The 2.2 lb load capacity is quite small, but fine for one person who is happy to put loads on regularly, or just for occasional use when you need to get something clean between trips to the laundry. Also ideal if you need to wash something quickly before it stains.
Compact Laundry Drying Solutions
We've looked at portable washers, but once you've washed clothes you'll need to get them dry. You could choose a portable dryer, or just a clothes drying rack.
Who Needs a Portable Washing Machine?
- College students who live in a dorm or shared accommodation and and have to take their washing to a costly and inconvenient laundromat.
- Apartment dwellers who share washing machines in a basement several floors down. It's handy to be able to do small loads of washing without leaving the apartment.
- People in rented accommodation without washing machine facilities. A portable washer that doesn't require plumbing in can be very convenient.
- Long stay campers who need to wash clothes while traveling. It can be handy when traveling with kids too. Taking a portable washing machine means you can take a lot less clothing with you.
- RV and boat dwellers who want the convenience of being able to wash clothes wherever they are.
- Frugal folks and those who want to minimize their environmental footprint. You can choose a portable washer that is much cheaper and greener that alternatives.
- Anyone with a baby who spits up all the time. Baby clothes are small, being able to quickly wash a small load reduces the amount of spare clothing you need.
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Best Portable Washing Machines