Portable washing machines tend to get a bit of a bad rap. They’re convenient and affordable, but people often worry their clothes won’t come completely clean. If you’re in this situation, there’s no need to stress. Our product guide will help you find a portable washing machine that works well. We’ve carefully examined the products on the market to find some excellent washers that do a great job. The four products on our list have all the perks of a portable washing machine with none of the drawbacks.
What Is a Portable Washing Machine?
Most people think of washing machines as heavy, bulky appliances that are permanently installed indoors. However, these bigger washers aren’t your only option. Portable washing machines are light and compact, so you can move them around quickly. Even if you’re not super strong, you can pick up one of these machines with ease.
The other identifying characteristic of portable washers is their setup. They’re designed to work with basic plumbing and electricity. You don’t have to mount them in a specific spot or hook them up to a certain type of pipe. This type of washer can run in a variety of situations, and the setup won’t permanently alter your home.
The 4 Best Performing Portable Washing Machines
Now that you know a bit about portable washers, let’s take a closer look at individual products. The absolute best washer will depend on your personal needs, but you can’t go wrong by buying any of these options.
Costway EP24460 Description and Specifications
This Costway top load washer machine is a 0.79-cubic-foot model. It comes in white and has a small, round lid. The impeller-style machine cleans clothes by tossing them against each other, then it spins to drain the laundry. Unlike some other models, the Costway EP24460 doesn’t have a matching dryer. However, it’s still got plenty of great perks, including a built-in drain pump and fully automatic cleaning modes. This washing machine is available for sale through The Home Depot.
|Dimensions||29.5″ x 16.9″ x 29.5″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||23 kWh|
|Steam Function||No Steam|
|Wash Cycles||Speed Wash|
Why the Costway EP24460 Is Great
The Costway EP24460 is perfect when you want something small, reliable, and convenient. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy features or multiple washing speeds. However, unlike some other washers, it’s fully automatic. Once you start the machine, you don’t have to manually adjust water levels at all. You can connect it to any basic sink, and toss the drain line near any drain. As the smallest washer on our list, this is ideal for dorm rooms, RVs, or other tight quarters.
- Small footprint
- Easy setup and drain
- Entirely automatic
- No matching dryer
- Only 1 wash cycle
- Won’t hold large loads
- Less durable plastic drum
Costway EP24460 0.79-Cu. Ft. Top Load Portable Washer
RCA RPW160-C Description and Specifications
The RCA portable washer has a rectangular shape and a gray and white finish. It’s an agitator-style washer, so it uses a rotating post to help get clothes extra clean. Though this washer comes with multiple wash cycles, it’s easy to use. A simple LED control panel lets you adjust your settings easily.
|Dimensions||21″ x 21″ x 37″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||61 kWh|
|Steam Function||No Steam|
|Wash Cycles||Heavy Duty, Standard Wash Cycle|
Why the RCA RPW160-C Is Great
The construction of the RCA portable washer really stands out. It has a stainless-steel tub that won’t chip or rust plus an electronic control panel. The motor is extra-quiet, but it’s still powerful enough to reach an 800 RPM spin speed. This washing machine is on the large side for a portable washer. However, it does have wheels and leveling legs, so moving it isn’t too tricky. When you want a washer with all the bells and whistles, this is an excellent model.
- Very quiet
- Many wash cycles
- Useful control panel
- Simple setup
- Large and heavy
- A little pricey
- High energy consumption
RCA RPW160-C 1.6-Cu. Ft. Top Load Portable Washer
Magic Chef MCSTCW09W1 Description and Specifications
The Magic Chef MCSTCW09W1 prioritizes thoroughly cleaning your clothes. Multiple wash cycles and other settings help you get the right wash for every type of laundry.
This mid-sized portable washer from Magic Chef has a sleek design. It pairs a white exterior with a transparent window you can view your clothes through. This washing machine uses an impeller design, which can be a little more energy efficient. Unlike many other portable washing machines, this product does have a matching dryer you can add to your order. This Magic Chef washing machine is available at The Home Depot.
|Dimensions||18.1″ x 17.7″ x 31.5″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||23 kWh|
|Steam Function||No Steam|
|Wash Cycles||Cold ,Delicates, Heavy Duty, Soak, Speed Wash|
|Warranty||1- year (Parts and Labor)|
Why the Magic Chef MCSTCW09W1 Is Great
This washing machine has almost as many settings as a traditional model. In addition to multiple wash cycles, it also lets you do things like pausing the cycle or starting your cycle on a timer. Setup is fairly easy since this model comes with a hose that connects it to the sink. However, it doesn’t have a dedicated drain pump. Nevertheless, if you want to get your clothes as clean as possible, this is the washer for you.
- Sturdy steel drum
- Many wash settings
- Compact shape
- Energy efficient
- Easy-to-use controls
- Wheels don’t work well
- A little noisy
- Uses a lot of water
Magic Chef MCSTCW09W1 0.9-Cu. Ft. Top Load Portable Washer
Black + Decker BPWM09W Description and Specifications
Made by Black + Decker, this is a solid, reliable washer. It’s an impeller-style top-loading machine that’s simple and easy to set up.
The Black + Decker washer pairs white sides with a black top and a glass lid. It has an electric control panel that offers some options for adjusting your washing machine. Altogether, this machine has a nice selection of features for the low price. It doesn’t have a matching dryer. It is available for sale at The Home Depot.
|Dimensions||18.2″ x 17.69″ x 31.5″|
|Annual Energy Consumption||23kWh|
|Steam Function||No Steam|
|Wash Cycles||Delicates ,Heavy Duty, Normal, Soak, Speed Wash|
|Special Features||Adjustable Legs, Door Window|
Why the Black + Decker BPWM09W Is Great
This Black + Decker washer is one of the most durable options on our list. It’s a midsize model that holds a decent amount of laundry, and it has a few helpful wash cycle settings. If you don’t have a lot of money but want a washer that lasts for years, give this one a try.
- Durable stainless-steel construction
- Simple setup
- Multiple wash cycles
- No installation required
- Built-in safety features
- Accessories included
- Slower spin speed
- Slightly finicky drain hose
- Cold water use only
- Requires HE detergent
Black+Decker BPWM09W 0.9-Cu.Ft. Top Load Portable Washer
How to Choose Which Portable Washing Machine Is Best for You
As you can see, different models of washing machines work best for different people. The Costway washer is ideal for people who really need a small machine. The RCA is great if you want to be able to wash more laundry. If you prioritize affordability, the Black + Decker model is a nice choice. Meanwhile, those who want extra features and extremely clean clothes will enjoy the Magic Chef washer.
Ultimately, there are pros and cons to every portable washing machine. It’s up to you to find the one that suits your lifestyle. Try to think carefully about your laundry habits and your clothing types to find a washer that works for you. You’ll also need to closely consider where you want to place the washing machine and how you want to use it. This will help you select a model with the right design and features for you.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Portable Washing Machine?
Ultimately, portable washing machines come with a few key benefits. People like them because they:
- Are easy to move while traveling
- Are small enough to fit in compact spaces
- Won’t alter a rental home
The portability of these washing machines makes them ideal for people on the go. If you’re planning a long road trip, a portable washing machine can keep your clothes clean. You can set it up in a variety of situations, so it even works when camping. All you need is a basic electrical outlet and a standard faucet.
Portable washing machines are useful in all sorts of situations beyond travel. Since they’re so small, they can be ideal for compact homes. When you’re living in a studio or mother-in-law suite, a little washing machine can easily fit in a tiny nook. If you don’t have enough space to leave it by the sink all the time, you can move it around. Many people like to tuck their washing machine in a closet and pull it out as needed.
You might also think about buying a portable washing machine if you’re renting. Since they don’t need special hookups, you can install them in any apartment. You won’t have to alter the apartment or do anything to bother the landlord. And when it’s time to move to your next home, they’re quick and easy to move.
How Do Portable Washing Machines Differ From Others?
Portable washing machines come with some basic differences like being smaller and having simpler connections. Due to their design, they operate a little differently from standard washing machines. First of all, keep in mind that you cannot wash quite as much. You may need to do sheets individually or only wash a few towels at a time.
Electric portable washing machines also handle water differently. They don’t necessarily add water to the machine manually or drain water automatically. Some designs might require you to pour in water or dump out the machine afterward. Others will need you to run a temporary connective hose to a faucet. Depending on the design, the machine might pump drain water out or use gravity to let it pour out the bottom.
A big challenge of portable washing machines is that some models don’t perform that well. Since these machines are so lightweight and compact, people occasionally notice their clothes aren’t quite clean. This typically happens when you pick poorly designed models that don’t spin quickly enough or agitate clothes thoroughly. To find a portable washing machine that cleans your clothes properly, you’ll need to do a bit of extra work. Try to find models that still use a regular spin system, a full-sized motor, and an integrated drain pump.
To sum it all up, the main differences are that portable washers:
- Use simpler connecting hoses
- Hold fewer items
- Might not automatically adjust water levels
- May clean clothes less thoroughly
What Should You Look For in a Portable Washing Machine?
Portable washing machines can be very helpful, but they don’t all work well. You’ll need to do your research to find a good model. This helps you get all the benefits of portable washers with none of the downsides. When shopping for portable washing machines, you need to look for these basics:
- Electronic controls
- Automatic drain pumps
- Steel washing machine drums
- An appropriate capacity
- Easy-to-use hookups
First of all, take a close look at how the machine handles power and water. Most electric portable washing machines just plug into a standard 120-volt outlet which is nice and simple. However, don’t forget to consider the controls. Machines tend to be easier to use if they have electronic controls and LED displays. This is especially true if you get a model with multiple wash cycles and settings. Setting up the water system is a little trickier. Look for washing machines that intake water automatically instead of requiring you to adjust water levels during the cycle. Ideally, you’ll want a machine with a drain pump that can push water up a hose to your sink. Ones that just let water drip downward can be hard to use unless you have a floor drain.
Next, consider the machine’s construction. Washing machine drums come in plastic and steel. Plastic is cheaper, but steel is generally the better choice because it’s more durable. Another thing to choose is whether you want an agitator or impeller washer. Agitator washers have a central post that rubs against your clothes to clean them. Impeller washers basically toss your clothes against each other to clean them with friction. Agitator washers clean better, but impeller washers are gentler on clothes and use less water.
Have any other questions about portable washing machines? Here are a few details to pay attention to.
This will vary based on which model you get, but it’s typically an option. Just keep in mind that you might need to use an adapter to make the hose fit the different pipe sizes.
The typical 1-cubic-foot washer holds roughly 4 pounds of laundry. This is usually around three to seven T-shirts, three pairs of jeans, or a queen-size sheet set.
The typical portable washing machine runs on regular detergent. Just keep in mind that some might not work well with high-efficiency detergent.
Most portable washing machines are designed to move around a lot. It’s usually fine to lay them on their side while you transport them. However, they’ll need to be in the upright position when you run them.
This will depend on the precise terms of your lease. Many apartments that don’t allow traditional washers are fine with you using a portable one. However, some may not let tenants use any type of washing machine.
If you’re planning on traveling to a place without running water or electricity, consider your washing machine carefully. First of all, make sure the washing machine can run without constant input from a faucet. You’ll also need to find one with a power supply compatible with your generator.
This will depend on the washing machine you select. Most portable washers don’t have space for a separate spot to put the bleach or fabric softener. However, some styles will let you pour your add-ons directly into the drum.
Check with the manufacturer to see what accessories they carry. Many will have adapters that let you lengthen your hoses.