The fact is, having a designated laundry area at home is not a luxury that all families have. Some houses or apartments don’t have washing machine hook-ups, while others simply don’t have the capacity for a full-sized washer. This leaves tenants with a few options: They can schlep to their local laundromat…or they can invest in a portable washer. The best portable washing machines, after all, allow users to get clothes as spotless as they would with a stationary washer, while also tucking away neatly when laundry time is through. Our top choice is the Black + Decker Portable Top Load Washing Machine, which offers a wide range of wash cycles and an affordable price tag.
Experts say the best portable washing machines can offer a wonderful level of convenience—and that … [+]
Unsure if you need a portable washing machine in your life? Experts say they can offer a wonderful level of convenience—and that they’re worth considering if you live in a smaller space. “They’re cheaper than full-size washers,” says JustAnswer home and appliance expert Aaron Wilson. “And they can be good for small vacation homes or cabins that don’t have real washer or dryer connections.” While portable washers are typically much less expensive than their conventional counterparts, they can still give you a quality cleaning. “Depending on the model, portable washing machines can clean just as well as full-size machines,” says Mallory Micetich, home expert at Angi. Ahead, find the best options available in 2023.
This bestselling Black + Decker machine is packed with features to make laundry day as easy as possible. It features an LED digital display and cycle status lights—in other words, the control panel looks an awful lot like that of a stationary washer. Choose from five cycles (Heavy, Gentle, Normal, Rapid and Soak) and three water level choices to get a cleaning experience that’s tailored to each specific load. The washer also features a drain hose that quickly connects to your sink, along with adjustable front leveling legs to help even out your machine…and there are even safety features like auto unbalance detection and auto shutoff.
At $999, this GE model is definitely on the higher end of portable washing machines. But it offers an impressive 2.8 cubic feet capacity, which busy parents with lots of laundry to tackle will surely appreciate. The machine has a surprisingly small footprint, too, as well as eight wash cycles, three rinse cycles and four water temperature options. A unicoupler makes it easy to quickly connect and disconnect your water hoses to your sink, while caster wheels help you wheel your machine out when it’s laundry time and put it away when the work is done.
If you’re not looking to spend a fortune on your portable washer, consider the Super Deal Mini. This petite washer, which is just $95, has a sizable wash capacity and strong spin. While it won’t be able to handle an entire week’s worth of laundry in one go, it can still help you get plenty of clothes clean (and is a great choice for new parents who need to wash baby clothes quickly and efficiently). The machine also works fast: The washer can run for up to 15 minutes, while the spin cycle can run for five minutes per load. Just a heads up, though: You’ll need to manually transfer the clothes from the washing area to the spinning zone. That said, you can still tackle a new load with the washing cycle as the spinner is handling other clothes, which ultimately means that this is a time-saving machine.
This portable washer is small enough for even the tightest spaces—otherwise known as dorm rooms. With wheels and handles on both sides, it also offers easy maneuvering as needed. The stainless steel inner tub can stand up to plenty of use and the soft close lid won’t bang shut and disturb a roommate. Users can choose from five wash programs (Heavy, Soft, Normal, Rapid and Soak) and three water levels to do their laundry the way they prefer. While this particular machine has a 0.9 cubic feet capacity, Comfee does also offers portable washers with capacities of up to 2.4 cubic feet for those who tend to generate a lot of laundry.
Easy access to a sink can be tough to come by when you’re in the middle of the woods. Even if there’s a restroom nearby, other campers won’t appreciate you hogging the water supply to do your laundry. The WonderWash lets you get a quick and easy washing done without the need for a constant hook-up. Simply add up to five pounds of clothes, along with your soap and water and then crank the handle to wash your gear. As you churn, excess water will be filtered out the side. While this device requires more manpower than other portable washers, it’s a nice machine to have when your laundry options are limited.
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Reviews for this portable washer consistently say the same thing: It’s quiet. The Magic Chef has a 1.7 cubic feet capacity, which is slightly larger than average for a portable washer. (Worth noting: This machine goes up to 3 cubic feet, when they’re in stock.) Flip through six wash programs, three water levels and even a delayed start feature in case you want to wait to kick things off. An 800 RPM spin cycle squeezes out excess water with ease, while a see-through window and LED display make it effortless to select your options and keep tabs on your wash as it happens.
The best portable washer is ultimately one that meets your needs. If you’re looking for a great all-around portable washing machine, we recommend the Black + Decker Portable Top Load Washing Machine. It has a solid 0.9 cubic feet capacity and five wash cycles, giving you options when you do laundry. Need something larger? The GE Space-Saving 2.8 Cubic Feet Portable Impeller Top-Load Washer can handle up to 2.8 cubic feet—about half the load of a conventional washing machine. But, if you want a washer you can take camping or on the road, you’ll want to consider one that doesn’t require electricity, like the WonderWash. Basically, you can find the right washer for you once you know how you plan to use it—and how much you’ll fit inside.
It depends on your circumstances. If you live in a home with a hook-up for a conventional washing machine and have the space for it, it doesn’t make sense to get a portable washer. After all, these appliances have a smaller capacity than stationary washers and require you to set them up each time you need to do your wash. However, there are plenty of situations where a portable washing machine can be a valuable appliance. “Portable washing machines can be a good option for anyone tight on space such as students living in dorms, tiny home dwellers or really anyone in a smaller household,” Micetich says. “They’re also a good choice for folks who don’t have a lot of laundry to do or are looking for an emergency option at a laundromat.”
In general, yes, you can wash sheets in a portable washer. “You can wash sheets provided you get a unit with a large enough capacity,” says Wilson. Just read the manufacturer’s instructions first to make sure the machine you’re interested in can handle that load, he says. Keep this in mind, too, per Micetich: “If you’re planning to wash heavier items or sheets, you’ll want to opt for a larger machine.” If you know you’ll be washing sheets regularly, consider the GE Space-Saving 2.8 Cubic Feet Portable Impeller Top-Load Washer. It can handle a sizable amount of laundry (as far as portable washers go), including bulkier sheets.