What Is A “Hand Crank” Washing Machine?

In these days of high energy bills and rising prices, we’re all looking for ways to save money. Your washing machine might not be the most power consuming device you own but it all adds up.

If you’re looking for ways to save electricity, water and money you could do worse than invest in a hand crank washing machine. These clever devices are smaller than conventional electric washing machines, require far less water and the only energy used is the power of your arm.

In this article we take a look into the fascinating world of hand crank washing machines, keep reading to find out more.

What Is A Hand Crank Washing Machine?

As the name implies, a hand crank washing machine uses a crank that you power by hand to rotate the drum and agitate the wash load. Some hand crank washing machines are larger than others, but the smaller ones resemble a salad spinner and work in much the same way.

They consist of an outer tub with an inner basket, a lid and a crank handle. Some have a detachable drain pipe that fits to the bottom for ease of drainage whilst some others need emptying by lifting and pouring the washing water away.

There are some models that resemble a barrel which rotates to clean the clothes. The one thing all of these models have in common, is they are powered purely by hand power.

Is A Hand Crank Washing Machine A New Innovation?

You may not be surprised to learn that a hand powered washing machine is not a new idea. The first hand crank washing machine, known as the cataract washer was created in 1831 and used a hand crank to rotate the clothes inside the drum.

Of course these early hand crank washers were much larger than the modern variants, made from wood with a metal handle.

Today’s models are smaller, made from plastic and far more lightweight. Making them much more convenient to handle, use and store away after use.

How Do You Use A Hand Crank Washing Machine?

Hand Crank Washing Machine

A hand crank washing machine is quite simple to use. All you do is put your dirty clothes in the machine along with your regular detergent (in a smaller quantity) and water. All you then need to do is lock the cover and start cranking.

It takes around 3 to 5 minutes of cranking to get the clothes clean (which means you’re getting a bit of a workout too). After which all you do is drain the water from the washer using a hose and bucket.

You then need to add fresh, clean water and crank again to rinse the clothes. This takes another 2 to 3 minutes of cranking after which you drain the water away via the hose and bucket.

Then crank for another couple of minutes to spin excess water from the clothes and hang the clean clothes on a washing line to dry.

What Is A Hand Crank Washing Machine Good For?

A hand crank washing machine won’t suit everyone due to their small capacity of around 2 kg of laundry. But they are ideal for camper vans, caravans on off-grid living. 

With an average of 2 kg capacity, the hand crank washing machine might not suit a large family. However, with ever increasing energy bills, a wash load currently costs around 45 to 50p. 

Multiply that by twice or three times a week and the hand crank washing machine would pay for itself in a very short while. However, the hand crank washing machine is a very hands on means of washing clothes.

More convenient than the old wash tub and dolly of yesteryear, but it still requires a substantial physical effort to operate. Not forgetting that a hand crank washer can only deal with around a quarter of the capacity of a standard (8 kg) washing machine.

This means if you decide to replace your electric washer with a hand crank model, you’ll be doing at least four loads for every one in the electric appliance. But think of the money you’ll save and how fit you’ll be.

Our Pick Of Hand Crank Washing Machines

It wouldn’t be CheckAppliance if we didn’t show you our top pick of the hand crank washing machines readily available in the UK.

Yino Manual Portable Turbo Washing Machine Spin Dryer

Manual Portable Turbo Washing Machine Spin Dryer, Hand Cranked Turbine Washer Non-electric Travel Laundry Washer Spin Dryer Combo for Camping Apartments Dorms RV Business Trip
  • Portable & Manual: This portable washing machineis hand-cranked, so you can use it without electricity. It's perfect for dorms, camping, and apartments.
  • Efficient & Powerful: Thanks to its hand-cranked turbine, this washer completely removes dirt and stains, leaving your clothes fresh and clean.

This hand crank portable washing machine can take up to 2 kg of laundry and is easy to carry and store away after use. It weighs just under 6 kg and has a maximum spin speed of 200 RPM.

Leisurewize LW569 Eco Washer

Leisurewize LW569 Eco Washer – Blue, 2L, Portable Manual Washing Machine, Hand Cranking, Dual Wash Cycles, Compact Design
  • PORTABLE WASHER: Leisurewize Eco washer is an ideal appliance to carry along when travelling in your caravan, campervans, boats, or motorhomes. It makes clean clothes easily accessible while on the go. It proves to be very useful and handy in outdoor locations where living space and resources are limited.
  • POWERFUL PERFORMANCE: The freestanding washing machine makes sure that clothes are cleaned perfectly for a spotless result. It spins both ways providing a deep clean function to the users. A rinse and spin feature is also included in the travel-friendly washer for an all-round performance.

This hand crank washer from Leisurewize has a 5 kg capacity and suckers on the bottom for stability. It uses less water and only weighs 2.7 kg making it easy to carry and store away after use.

Cocoarm Portable Mini Hand Crank Washing Machine and Spin Dryer

Portable Mini Hand Crank Washing Machine and Spin Dryer for Dormitory Apartment, Manual Hand Clothes Washer for Sock,Underwear
  • Versatile Cleaning Solution: Experience the convenience of our Portable Mini Hand Crank Washing Machine. Designed for small items like clothes, underwear, socks, and towels, it offers versatile functionality to meet your laundry needs effortlessly
  • Efficient Hand Crank: Equipped with a dedicated speed handle, this mini washing machine can reach a remarkable 1200rpm, effectively removing excess water from your clothes. Say goodbye to manual wringing and hello to quicker drying times!

This hand crank washing machine from Cocoarm boasts a top spin speed of 1200 RPM which will reduce drying times no end. It is compact and easy to carry and store away after use and weighs less than 3.5 kg.

Other Money Saving Ways To Wash Clothes

Money

For most people a hand crank washing machine isn’t practical. They might be great for camping, caravanning and motor homing. But for the average family where both parents are out working every day, you’ll have neither the time or the energy to use a hand crank washer three to four times a day.

However, there are other ways you can save money and reduce your energy bills. Modern washing machines are far more energy efficient than they’ve ever been in the past. Which means you’ll be seeing a reduction in your energy bills simply by replacing your old washing machine.

Plus if you go for a larger drum capacity, you’ll be able to wash more in one go saving even more on energy usage. However, new energy efficient washing machines cost more than less efficient models. Which means it will take a while for any savings to become apparent.

But with good quality detergents that can be used at lower temperatures and energy efficient cycles, it won’t take too long to recoup the cost price of the new washing machine.

Is It Worth Investing In A Hand Crank Washing Machine?

If you’re a single person or in a two person family, a hand crank washing machine might suit your needs. However there is not currently a hand crank washing machine available that can cope with an average family’s wash load in one go.

This makes a hand crank washing machine not really viable for many households. If you own a caravan, camper van or go camping regularly, a hand crank washer could well be the answer to your laundry needs.

SEE ALSO: Best Portable Washing Machines

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the hand crank washing machine invented?

The hand crank washing machine was invented in the 1830s. The Cataract washer was created in 1831 and used a hand crank to rotate the clothes in the drum.

How does a hand crank washing machine work?

A hand crank washing machine works by manually filling the tub with washing, detergent and water. You then turn a hand crank to rotate the drum and agitate the wash load. After cranking for 3 to 5 minutes, you then drain the water away via a hose and bucket, refill with fresh clean water and hand crank for another 3 minutes or so to rinse the laundry. Then drain the water away and hand crank for another minute or two to remove excess water.

How much washing can you do in a hand crank washing machine?

The amount of laundry that can be washed in a hand crank washing machine varies from make to make. But the average is around 2 kg or four items.

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