The 8 Best Portable Washing Machines of 2020

The benefit of a washer without permanent installation

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Our Top Picks
"This machine has many of the same features as a full-size model, including a see-through top window."
"Despite being tiny, this piece offers two separate tubs for a tailored laundry experience and a dainty price tag."
"With eight cycle settings and electronic controls, you’ll actually want to do laundry in this portable washing machine."
"At 14 x 13 x 20 inches, you could easily store this machine in a closet or cabinet of your apartment or RV."
"This manual washer doesn’t require electricity, so you can clean your clothes on the go."
"The sleek design of this appliance makes it a perfect fit for any room you want to relax or do laundry in."
"When you need to reach your bed, use the rollers on this machine to transport it to a different spot in your RV."
"You power the machine via a hand crank that won’t need to be repaired after multiple uses."

If you don't have the space for a full-sized laundry setup, a portable washing machine can help you cut down on the time and energy you spend on your dirty clothes. Say goodbye to trips to the laundromat, ringing out your clothes over the kitchen sink, and pruney hands. Typically smaller and a little less powerful than traditional washers, portable washing machines use a sink hookup or buckets of water to wash and rinse your clothes, and can be tucked into a utility closet when not in use.

Portable washers come in both electric and manual models, so whether you're out camping or just trying to get clean clothes in an apartment or small home, you can find one that suits your needs. Their capacity usually averages around 1.5 cubic feet, which is about the same size as a pair of jeans, shirt, underwear, and even a set of pillowcases.

We've done the research, and here are the best portable washing machine options on the market.

Best Overall: Magic Chef MCSTCW09W1 Compact 0.9 cu. ft. Portable Top Load Washer

For an affordable portable washing machine that delivers a superior clean and boasts many of the same features as full-size models, you need the Magic Chef Compact Portable Top Load Washer. This appliance looks like a tiny version of a top-load washing machine, and its 0.9 cubic foot capacity is perfect for doing small loads of laundry.

This portable washer features a see-through top window, electronic controls, and a stainless steel inner tub. To use it, just attach the water supply hose to a water faucet. You can then choose from five wash cycles, including normal, heavy, gentle, quick, and soak. Additionally, there are three water level options, which you can tailor to the size of your load to save water and energy.

Best Budget: Costway Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine

Are you looking to purchase a portable washing machine so you don’t have to pay for laundry services in your apartment building? Save your quarters and score the cleanest clothes with the COSTWAY Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub. It’s tiny, but offers tons of features including two tubs: a washing one and a spin drying one. Each tub comes with its own timer, so you can treat your clothes just right. 

To start a cycle in the washing tub, toss in your dirty clothes and fill the tub with water. (Make sure you’re nearby to turn it off, because it won’t do so on its own.) Set the timer, and let the cycle begin. For the spin cycle, follow the same guidelines, making sure your load doesn’t exceed the 8-pound capacity. The spin drying tub will leave your clothes almost completely dry, as this machine runs at 120V, which is the same voltage as portable washers on the more expensive side. It’s an impressive machine, considering its dainty price tag.

Best High-End: GE GNW128PSMWW 2.8 cu. ft. 8-Cycle Top-Loading Portable Washer

Most portable washing machines are pretty small, which can be frustrating if you have a lot of laundry to wash. If you’re willing to pay more for a larger, more advanced portable washing machine, the GE Portable Washer will make laundry day a whole lot easier.

This high-end portable washer has an impressive 2.8 cubic foot capacity which is almost three times larger than many comparable products. It has electronic one-touch controls, and you can choose from eight different cycles, including delicates, towels, and sheets, and four wash temperatures. The machine features caster wheels so you can easily move it around your home, as well as a stainless steel basket that resists rust and won’t harm your clothes. The water input hose easily connects to a standard kitchen or bathroom sink, which makes installing this piece a breeze and it so worth the higher price tag.

Best Mini: Costway 23104-CYWH Mini Washing Machine with Spin Dryer

You may not have much storage space in a small apartment or RV, which can make it challenging to find room to store a portable washer. Luckily, there are products like the COSTWAY Mini Washing Machine, which are small enough to stash in a closet or cabinet.

This mini washing machine measures just 14 x 13 x 20 inches. Its compact design makes it an ideal product to bring on long road trips or purchase while you’re in-between living spaces, although it doesn’t fit much so don’t be surprised if you need to do multiple loads. The single tub washes and spins small loads of laundry, and you can choose how long to wash items for using the timer. Once you’re finished washing, simply drain the dirty water out the bottom via the included drain house. A typical load will have a 10-minute wash and five-minute spin routine. That is very convenient for anyone who needs to wash their clothes quickly before heading off to a new destination.

Best for Camping: Lavario 1204 Manual Portable Clothes Washer

The Lavario Portable Clothes Washer is the perfect gadget to take with you on camping trips. This compact, manual washer doesn’t require any electricity, and will still get out the toughest grime. It’s hand-powered which is eco-friendly, but will require some energy on your part. If you purchase it, you can look forward to a simple and straightforward design that’s only 14 pounds and 19 x 19 x 24 inches.

To use this patented gadget, simply load up the basket with the clothes you want to wash. Pour water and detergent into the bucket, then submerge the basket by pumping it up and down. Within 20 minutes, your clothing will be completely clean, and you can refill the bucket with clean water to rinse. Wring excess water out of your garments, then hang them up to dry. Since this portable washer is powered by you, it’s particularly great with delicates or clothes with mesh—say, your workout leggings—and may be something you want to use at home.

Best for Apartments: Black + Decker BPWM09W 0.9 cu. ft. Portable Top-Load Washer

Finding a portable washer that doesn’t mess up the decor or layout of your apartment may seem tricky, but the Black + Decker 0.9-cubic foot Portable Washer will make you think otherwise. It has a sleek design with LED displays, and a viewing window on the top lid that’ll allow you to casually check in on your laundry from the other side of the room. Although it has a smaller capacity than some portable washing machines, it’s a good fit for apartment living because you are able to choose between five cycles and three water levels, and can easily tend to this machine while watching TV or working from home.

Do you want to slip this piece into a different room so you can complete multiple chores at once? You can because it’s easy to move around, despite not having wheels. Put it in your living room while you fold your dry clothes and watch a show.

Best for RVs: Panda PAN6320W Portable Washing Machine

Whether you’re living in an RV for an extended period of time or just for a weekend while you explore nature’s sights, one thing is clear: your clothes are going to get dirty. The Panda Portable Washing Machine will be your new sidekick, delivering lots of space and 10 washing cycles that’ll tackle your tough stains. This model also has two built-in rollers so you can move the machine around when you’re cooking, or trying to access the bed at the back of your RV.

Toss your clothes into this portable washing machine daily, or your sheets and pillows after a post-hike nap. The 1.34 cubic foot, stainless steel tub is large enough for a load made of sheets and pillow cases, or at least your entire outfit from the day. The cycles run quietly and with total ease, and there is even a fabric softener dispenser.

Best Non-Electric: The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash 0.7 cu. ft. High Efficiency Portable Washer

If you’re living off-the-grid, you’ll probably need a portable washing machine that doesn’t rely on electricity. In this case, you should definitely consider the highly-rated Laundry Alternative Wonderwash Portable Washing Machine.

This manual washing machine weighs just 6 pounds, and it can clean laundry in a matter of minutes. You power the machine via a hand crank, and the tub can fit up to 10 T-shirts at a time. It’s gentle on clothes, and naturally will last you a long time since it doesn’t have any motorized parts that would typically need repairs. Since it doesn’t rely on electricity, it’s perfect for those living off-the-grid or anyone who’s trying to cut back on their bill while also scoring the cleanest clothes.

Final Verdict

If you're in the market for a portable washing machine, then head straight for the Magic Chef MCSTCW09W1 (view at Home Depot). It's affordable, and has a wide selection of both water temperatures and cycles to choose from—much like a full-size model. If you want to spend a little less, the Costway Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub (view at Walmart) is a great pick and allows you to wash and dry your clothes, although its interior isn't very spacious.

What to Look for in a Portable Washing Machine

Capacity Portable units are smaller that most traditional washers, and many won't be able to completely replace a traditional washer or going to the laundromat entirely. While most full-sized washers are over 3.5 cubic feet, portable options can be less then a cubic foot, so if you are planning to wash a lot of heavy clothing or sheets and towels, look for a large drum.

Power Source Some portable washing machines can be plugged in and programmed like a regular washing machine, while others need to be manually cranked or spun to create the agitation needed to get your clothes clean. Electric ones tend to be bigger, but they also take up more space in your apartment or RV.

Water Management Similar to power sources, some portable washers are more hands-on when it comes to getting water in and out of the machine. While there are high-end options that can be hooked up to kitchen or bathroom sink faucets, for most you'll need to fill and empty the tub at the start and end of each cycle, and to rinse your clothes.

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