Best Portable Washing Machine 2024

Most houses have a washing machine that’s plumbed into the main water supply and is therefore a permanent fixture. If you live in a studio flat or enjoy getting away for long camping trips, you might not have the space for a full sized washing machine. Maybe it’s time to buy a portable washing machine.

They are called portable washing machines but that doesn’t mean you can carry them around in a suitcase. What it does mean is they can be lifted easily, used and then stored away out of sight when not in use. And although a portable washing machine is much smaller than it’s full size counterpart, they can wash a surprising amount of clothes at a time.

Some even incorporate a spin dryer so you can wash and dry your clothes at the same time. They also come with a choice of power options, either electric, or manual. The choices don’t end there though, you can get portable twin tubs, toploaders, front loaders, cold water washers, and some have hot water washers.

We’ve put together this guide to give you all the information you’ll need to make an informed choice of which portable washing machine is best suited to your lifestyle. So whether you live in a small flat, apartment,shared house, or whether you spend most of your time camping or living in a campervan, you’ll choose the best portable washing machine for your needs.

Best Selling Portable Washing Machine UK

SaleBestseller No. 1
TANGZON Twin Tub Washing Machine, 8KG Portable Washing Machine and Spin Dryer Combo with Timer Control & Drain Pipe, Small Washers for Camping Dorms Apartments RVs (5KG Washer 3KG Drying)
  • POWERFUL DUAL-MOTOR SYSTEM: Featuring a high-power dual motor system (450W for washing and 150W for spinning), this semi-automatic washing machine can wash and spin dry clothes efficiently, which saves your time and energy.
  • LARGE CAPACITY & SEPARATE CONTROL: The washing tub can hold up to 5kg of clothes and the spin tub can hold up to 3kg. There is a spin cap to prevent the clothes being thrown away under high-speed spinning. What's more, the washing timer, spinner timer and wash/drain switch bring much convenience.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Display4top Electric Mini Portable Compact 3.6KG Capacity Washer Washing Machine Spin Dryer Laundry (Purple)
  • Portable washer and dryer ,Featuring spin wash and spin dry
  • Washing Capacity: 7.7 lb, Spin Capacity:3.3 lb
SaleBestseller No. 3
Portable Washing Machine, 11L 2 in 1 Mini Washer Machine and Dryer Weighs 1.8kg, Foldable Small Smart Laundry Machine with 3 Cleaning Modes for Baby Clothes, Underwear, Camping, RV, Travel
  • Portable Washing Machine: tips for daily life: Washing clothes separately can avoid cross infection. This mini washing machine is designed specifically for small clothes. It is used to wash clothes that require separate cleaning, such as underwear, socks, baby clothes, diapers, towels, vests, toys. The mini washing machine and dryer can makes your clothes cleaner and hygienic. You can say goodbye to hand washing, exquisitely care for your little laziness.
  • Small Washing Machine and Dryer: This is a semi-automatic Laundry washing machine that integrates washer and spin dryer. The portable mini washing machine has 3 deep cleaning modes: 10min Standard Washing, 5min Soft Washing, and 3min Semi Dehydration. It is easy to use, touch the electronic panel, washing with one click. The 360 ° deep washing of positive and negative wave wheels can effectively remove various stains. Protect your and your family's health, say goodbye to stubborn stains~
Bestseller No. 4
Portable Twin Tub Washing Machine 8.5 KG Total Capacity Washer And Spin Dryer Combo Compact For Camping Dorms Apartments College Rooms 6.5KG Washer 2 KG Drying Black&White
  • Time control design ,there are two timer switches ,You can control the washing and dry time whatever you like,the washing tub that you can set between 1-15 minutes for it. And the other dry tub which can set between 1-5 minutes
  • Simple to use,only need put in your clothes and fill with water, then set the timer and start washing, with a drainage tube which allows you to easily drain out dirty water, it is environmentally friendly and energy saving
Bestseller No. 5
8L Portable washing machine, Camping washing machine, Mini washing machine for Washing Baby Clothes, Underwear, Suitable for Camping, RV, Travel, Small Spaces, Lightweight(UK power)
  • 🎽【Portable washing machine】Our washing machine is 26*26*27CM/10.23 x 10.23 x 10.63 inches when unfolded and 26*26*14CM/10.23 x 10.23 x 5.51 inches when folded, Weight is 2KG/4.44 LB. Made of environmentally friendly ABS and TPR materials. It has an internal capacity of 8L, Can carry 2 kg (water) clothing weight.
  • 🎽【SAFE AND ENERGY SAVING】Portable washer machine using TPE and food grade silicone material is a great choice for your personal items, baby items, patients' families! The washing machine only needs 0.01 kWh of electricity for 1 hour, With a power of only 10 watts, it is not a replacement for a large washing machine. Please lower your expectations of her.

How Do Portable Washing Machines Work

Portable washing machines work in a similar way to plumbed washing machines, but with a few differences. Firstly as they are not plumbed in (connected to the mains for water feed and drainage) most come with hose attachments. You fit the hose to either the hot or cold tap, or both in some cases, with another hose that is placed in the sink for drainage. 

Others have no hoses and these have to be filled with a bucket or large jug, and emptied by tipping the water out after the washed clothes have been removed. Whether they have a drainage pipe or you have to tip the water out, the portable washing machine relies on gravity to empty. So the models with drainage pipes fitted will need to be sat on a surface that’s higher than the sink to drain the water away.

Most are powered by electricity so as well as placing near a water supply they also need an electrical socket close by. Others however, are powered manually, by means of a turning handle on top of the machine, or on the side, that you have to turn by hand. Other manual models are operated by means of a foot pedal that needs to be pumped to work the machine.

What Are The Benefits Of A Portable Washing Machine

Let’s have a look at the many benefits of having a portable washing machine. In no particular order the benefits are,

Space Saving

The first benefit has to be the space saving design of a portable washing machine, once you’ve finished using it, just store it away out of sight. If you are tight for space and don’t have room for a full size washing machine a portable is the obvious choice. 

Energy Saving

Depending on the make and model, and whether you choose electric or manual, you will always be saving energy. Portable electric washing machines tend to have smaller capacities which means it takes less energy to turn the drum. Plus they also have shorter wash cycles which also means less electricity usage.

Manual models use no electricity at all, so the only power you use will be your own physical power, which takes nothing from the national grid.

Water Saving

As portable washing machines are much smaller than their full size relatives, they use less water. In fact as you have to fill them manually, you are in full control of the temperature and the quantity of water used.

Portability

Many portable washing machines are on wheels, making them easy to maneuver around the home. As they are portable they are also comparatively light as well.

Cost

Portable washing machines are much cheaper to purchase than a full size washing machine. They also use less power and less water. Plus there are no installation costs to worry about either.

Convenience

No need to visit crowded launderettes, with a portable washing machine you can do your laundry in the comfort of your own home.

Ideal For Camping

Whether you camp under canvas or in a camper van(RV) taking a portable washer with you Allows you to pack less clothes. There are even portable washing machines that attach to the wall or inside the door of a campervan.

Ideal For Use On A Boat

Another place that usually doesn’t have room for a full size washing machine is a boat. 2 weeks cruising around the canals, or mediterranean sounds like fun, but you’ll still appreciate the convenience of a portable washing machine. Especially one that has a spin dryer as well.

Portable washing machines For Student Accommodation

If you are in temporary accommodation or a student, changing home regularly, then a portable washing machine is much more convenient to move than a full size, plumbed in model.

washing line with clothes pegs

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Portable Washing Machine

The portable washing machine has a few disadvantages, most of which are pretty obvious. Their compact design means they have less clothes capacity than a full size washing machine. Manual machines are time consuming and sometimes hard work.

Electric models have less programs than conventional washers and you have to manually control temperatures too.

You also have the inconvenience of attaching the hoses to taps and arranging the drainage hose, or manually filling and emptying. But if the alternative is either hand washing or a trip to the laundrette a portable washing machine is a great option.

How To Use A Portable Washing Machine

Once you get the hang of it portable electric washing machines are simple to use. Just connect the hose to a tap, usually the cold tap,(sometimes both hot and cold taps are connected to the appropriate taps). Drape the open end of the drainage pipe into the sink (or bath), plug into the power socket, fill with washing, add detergent, select cycle, and turn on.

Manual machines differ slightly, as there is no outside power, you have to provide this yourself. Either by turning a handle on the top of the machine, cranking a handle on the side, or some models are operated by a foot pedal.

The smaller portable machines don’t connect to the water supply at all, but are filled using a bucket, and emptied by pouring after the washing has finished and been removed.

Pulsator Vs Agitator Vs Drum Washing Systems

Pulsator is a relatively new innovation in the world of washing machines, and that technology is being featured in the portable washing machine market too. But what’s better? Pulsator, drum or Agitator That’s for you to decide, but here are the facts.

How Does The Drum Washing System Work

This is the traditional way of washing clothes in a washing machine. The spinning action causes the clothes to continually tumble and the system of ribs on the surface of the drum causes the washing to remain untangled until the washing cycle is complete and the clothes are clean. 

The advantages of this system are less water consumption, and there is less risk of clothing becoming tangled.

The disadvantages are, they are noisy, use a lot of power and take a long time to run through their program.

How Does The Agitator System Work

Agitator machines work by the rotation of a central rod in the centre of the tub, backwards and forwards agitating the washing in the process. 

The advantages of this system are that clothes are thoroughly cleaned but they are noisy, create heavy vibrations and can damage some delicate clothing.

How Does The Pulsator Washing System Work

Pulsator washing machines use a small disk that pulsates, creating movement in the water. The disk rotates much like an agitator but is much smaller. This system is very quiet and produces a small amount of vibration. They are also relatively inexpensive and the problems encountered in earlier models like laundry damage and tangling have been overcome by using a direct drive system as opposed to the original clutch driven systems.

Portable Washing Machine Buyers Guide

Before purchasing a portable washing machine there are a few points worth considering, we’ve listed them in no particular order.

Capacity

For obvious reasons the portable washing machine has a smaller capacity than a regular machine. They tend to range from a capacity of 1 kg to around 7.5 kg this is dependent on make and model. Plus twin tubs tend to have a larger capacity for washing. All portable washer dryers can dry less washing than they wash.

Manual portable washers tend to have less capacity than electric, and as a general rule manuals don’t have a dryer.

Types

Apart from manual and electric portable washing machines, there is also the design to consider. The 2 main types are:

  1. Twin Tubs
    These have 2 compartments, one for washing clothes and another for spin drying.
  2. Single Tub
    These generally don’t have spin drying capabilities but just a single washing drum.

Other Design Features To Consider

There are 4 types of design that you will need to consider, they are

Top Loading Portable washing Machines

The door to load the clothes in the machine is located at the top of the machine. This type of machine doesn’t usually come with a glass door so it’s not possible to see the washing when in use.

Portable Front Loading Washing Machine

These tend to have glass doors and the door is situated in the front of the machine. Front loaders also tend to use less water, and as the drum has no agitator (as mentioned above) more items of clothing can be washed at one time.

Sonic Soak-Ultrasonic Wave Washing Unit

Not strictly a washing machine this one, but definitely portable. It comprises a hand held unit and a head unit connected by a cable that produces ultrasonic waves that can be used for washing clothes and much more. Extremely portable, this unit will fit in a suitcase and not take up any more space than an electric razor.

It uses up to 40 times less water,15 times less energy, removes 99.9% of the dirt and bacteria, it’s quiet, and gentler than hand washing.The main downside to this unit is it’s a relatively new technology so it can lack a reliable warranty.

Portable Manual Washers

These are the most energy efficient when it comes to portable washing machines, as they use no power at all. Apart from human power, either a crank handle on the side of the machine, a handle on the top that has to be turned, or a pedal at the base that has to be used like a treadle.

There are also some collapsible portable washing machines available for the ultimate space saving especially useful when camping.

Durability

The durability of the machine is dependent on a number of things, the make and model but also the materials it’s been manufactured from. 

The most durable have a stainless steel drum, these can also stand high speed spinning, a very useful feature in washer dryers.

Next comes those with plastic drums, these tend to be lighter but won’t last as long as a stainless steel drum.

Lastly are the porcelain-enamel drums that tend to rust easily and the porcelain coating tends to chip as well.

Functionality

Portable washing machines are available with either manual controls or digital controls. Some have LED display panels, some have temperature controls, end of cycle alarms, delay cycles, and energy efficiency. Some have multiple wash cycle options and some have only one cycle.

You need to decide what functions are important for you, if for instance, you’re only going to use the machine for holidays, do you need multifunctions? The frequency you’re planning to use the machine will also play an important factor in the functions, if it’s to be your main source of washing machine then maybe the higher priced multifunction machine with spin dryer is most suitable.

Water Supply

Some portable washing machines are supplied with water by means of hoses attached to taps, and drain via a hose placed in the sink. Others have to be manually filled with a bucket and emptied by hand. As with most products, convenience comes at a price so the more hands on machines tend to be cheaper than the more automated ones.

Size

Portable washing machines come in a variety of sizes, and some are more portable than others. Consider how much washing you generate, how much space you have, and how much you can physically lift. Portable washing machines vary in weight by some considerable amount, from around 2 kg to a whopping 18 kg.

The drum size tends to dictate the load capacity, with larger drums holding more washing, but remember, all load weights quoted are dry weights and will be quite a lot heavier when wet.

Brand

Buying a portable washing machine from a well known manufacturer is always recommended, as they have many years of experience and usually have better customer service departments in case of any faults.

Warranty

Any warranty or guarantee is only as good as the company that issues it. An unheard of company will often go out of business and disappear leaving any warranty no more than useless. Which is why it’s always better to buy from a reputable brand.

 How Much Is A Portable Washing Machine

Prices for portable washing machines start at around £11 for a turbine washer that has to be placed in your own barrel or bucket. Rising to a staggering £4730 for a top of the range fully automatic portable washing machine and dryer. Sensibly priced portable washing machines can be purchased from around £100 for a decent twin tub with a wash load capacity of 21lbs and a dryer capacity of 13lbs.

With ultrasonic wave washing units starting at around £15 and rising to around £360 depending on functions and brand.The lowest priced ultrasonic models are commonly made by unknown companies and powered by USB cables, and the dearer models often feature wireless charging,99.9% cleaning in 10 minutes, and no need to use detergents at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a portable washer machine?

Portable washing machines are similar to regular washing machines but can be stored away tidily as they are not connected to the main water supply.

Is there such thing as a portable washer and dryer?

Portable washer dryers are popular with campers and campervan owners. As they are compact, easy to use and need no main water supply.

Are washer dryer combos worth it?

If you live in a small flat, a washer dryer combo could be the perfect solution for your laundry needs.

How does a portable washer drain?

Portable washers fill with water via a hose or by bucket, and drain either by a drainage hose or by manually tipping the water away. This is dependent on particular models.

What are the disadvantages of a front loading washing machine?

You need to bend to load a front loader, and the way the door seals, can cause mold to grow.

Do all front load washers have mold problems?

Mold problems with front loading washing machines are very common but regular cleaning of the seal and door will go a long way to preventing this.

Which is better top loader or front?

Front loading portable washing machines tend to clean better and be more energy efficient than top loaders.

Should you leave your washing machine door open or closed?

After your washing machine finishes, always leave the door open to allow moisture to evaporate. Leave open for at least 4-5 hours.

Is washing machine mold dangerous?

Like all mold, mold in the washing machine can make you ill. Depending on the variety of mold, it can cause lung infections and if left untreated, death.

What kills black mold naturally?

Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray all areas affected by mold. Leave for a few hours and rinse with water.

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