The 8 Best Portable Washing Machines of 2021

Compact, convenient washers for any location

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The Rundown
"A sturdy and efficient, large capacity washer from a trusted name."
"A reasonably-priced, two-in-one portable washer and spinner dryer."
"Added features, premium quality wash, and a sturdy design make the GE washer a solid investment."
"An extremely lightweight, travel-friendly and affordable washer."
"Perfect for off-grid living or emergency power-outage situations."
"The ZenStyle quickly and effectively washes small loads of clothing for a fraction of the cost."
"This larger unit can be used as a substitute for a traditional washing machine."
"A certified energy-saver, this washer costs very little to run."

If you’re tired of hauling laundry down the stairs of a walk-up apartment or waiting at a crowded laundromat for your clothes to clean, a portable washer can be a convenient alternative. These small washers can be used almost anywhere by connecting to a kitchen sink or bathroom faucet, and since the loads are smaller, there’s less water waste than if you were to put the same micro-load of wash into a full-sized machine.

Even the most energy-efficient washers have an annual energy use of 80 to 120 kilowatt hours per year, where a portable washer, in comparison, uses around 25 to 40 kilowatt hours per year. Portable washers are a fraction of the size of traditional washers, so they’re not ideal for every household, but for individuals or couples living in spaces without a laundry hook-up, portable washers can be a huge time saver.

Here are the best portable washers:

Best Overall: Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 1.6 cu. ft. Compact White Top Load Washing Machine

The Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 1.6 cu. ft. Compact White Top Load Washing Machine has a stainless steel tub.

Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet | Dimensions: 20.7 x 20.3 x 36.6 inches | Weight: 70.5 pounds | Warranty: 1 year

The Magic Chef Compact Top Load Washing Machine is a high-quality product at a reasonable price point from a trusted brand, with several features that set it apart. The settings are similar to a standard unit: a soak, wash, rinse, and spin option plus, six different cycles for various types of clothing (heavy duty, delicates, etc.).

You can pause cycles, set the timers, and adjust the temperature settings with the LED display panel. The washer has a clothing capacity of nearly 11 pounds, making it one of the larger portable washing machines available.

Good to Know

Portable washers require significantly less detergent than a traditional washer, so it’s best to do a test run to gauge the proper amount. It’s important to keep in mind that larger items like fluffy comforters, pillows, and other large items should still be taken to a laundromat and don't do well in any portable unit. Do not try and overfill the washer.

Before use, make sure that hoses are tightly secured and if the hose is draining directly into a sink, weigh the hose down (so you don’t end up with water all over the floor).

Best Combo: Tacklife 17.6 lbs Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine

Tacklife 17.6 lbs Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine

Capacity: 11 pounds for the washer, 6.6 pounds for the spinner | Dimensions: 25.6 x 14.2 x 28.8 inches | Weight: 28.7 pounds | Warranty: 2 years

The Tacklife washer and spinner combo is reasonably priced, yet effectively cleans and removes moisture from the clothes (but they’ll still need to hang dry for a couple hours to be thoroughly dry). The washer can handle up to 11 pounds, which is about as much as a small load of laundry in a traditional machine.

There’s also a separate spin dry that can hold up to 6.6 pounds of clothing and takes just five minutes to spin dry. There’s also a soaking function for those tough stains or extremely soiled clothing. This top-loading unit weighs around 29 pounds, making it fairly portable.

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

GE 2.8 cu. ft. Capacity Portable Washer with Stainless Steel Basket

Capacity: 2.8 cubic feet | Dimensions: 24.5 x 24 x 37.4 inches | Weight: 99 pounds | Warranty: 1 year

If you’re looking to invest a little more in a portable washer, the GE 2.8 Cubic Foot Portable Washer is loaded with extra features commonly found a standard, full-sized fixed machines, plus it has a large washing capacity. With eight different wash cycle settings and four different temperatures, there are plenty of options for cleaning a wide range of garments.

Four caster wheels under the washer allow it to roll with ease, and an open-designed, stainless steel basin can hold towels, small blankets, and bed sheets. Due to its larger size and nearly 100-pound weight, the washer is not a travel-friendly option like some of the smaller units, but is ideal as a substitute for a traditional, in-home washing machine.

Best Compact: Kuppet Mini Portable Washing Machine

Kuppet Mini Portable Washing Machine

Capacity: 7.7 pounds | Dimensions: 14.2 x 13.4 x 20 inches | Weight: 12.12 pounds | Warranty: Defective units can be returned within 90 days

If you plan on traveling, a lightweight and compact portable washer like the Kuppet Mini Portable Washing Machine is the way to go. It’s one of the most lightweight electric-powered washers on the market and is perfect for RVs, dorms, hotels, or campsites.

It’s a powerful little space-saver that works best on delicate garments and light loads of up to 7.7 pounds (about four to five shirts). The unit is quiet to operate and has a clear exterior shell and lid to easily check progress (washes take 15 minutes using the timer). There is no spinner setting with this washer, so clothes still need to be wrung out and hung out to dry.

Best Manual: Lavario 1204 Manual Portable Clothes Washer

The Lavario 1204 Manual Portable Clothes Washer is perfect for camping, due to its non-electric design.

Capacity: 0.7 cubic feet | Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 24 inches | Weight: 10 pounds | Warranty: Manufacturer will replace any part that is damaged or missing

If you’re living off grid, are doing some backwoods camping, or would like a back-up way to wash clothes in case of a power outage, the Lavario Non-Electric Portable Washing Machine is both cost effective and eco-friendly. Made in the United States, this manual, hand-powered washer is simple to use, requiring just 10 “up and down” motions for wash and rinse on the easy grip handle.

One of the smallest and lightest devices on this list, the washer can be easily toted on trips or moved to different rooms in the home. It’s worth noting that garments still remain fairly wet after use, so they’ll still need to be hand-wrung or combined with a manual spin dryer.

Best Budget: ZenStyle Portable Washer Compact Twin Tub

ZenStyle Portable Washer Compact Twin Tub

Capacity: 5.5 pounds for the washer, 4.4 pounds for the spinner | Dimensions: 25.19 x 22.04 x 14.96 inches | Weight: 22 pounds | Warranty: None

If you’re in the market for a portable washer but are on a tight budget, consider the ZenStyle Compact Washing Machine, a top-loading machine that delivers a solid bang for your buck. Weighing just 20 pounds, the washer features a practical two-in-one design for washing clothes and spinning them dry and both sides can run simultaneously.

With a capacity of 5.5 pounds of clothing in the wash, it’s possible to wash a pair of jeans and a few pairs of underwear and socks in a single load. Each load takes about 20 minutes for both cycles, but clothing comes out nearly dry—just hang it on a drying rack after removal—no need to wring anything. The device also has a built-in lint trap and timer settings.

Best for Apartments + Renters: Comfee' 1.6 Cu.ft Portable Washing Machine

Comfee' 1.6 Cu.ft Portable Washing Machine

Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet | Dimensions: 20.7 x 20.3 x 36.6 inches | Weight: 70.5 pounds | Warranty: 1 year

With a larger wash capacity, and loaded with extra features, the Comfee Portable Washer is ideal for apartments that aren’t equipped with traditional washers and dryers. Powered by an energy-efficient motor, the sleek, gray unit has both hot and cold water input, a stainless steel tub, and quick-close glass top (no slamming the lid shut).

For families with little ones, there’s a child lock feature that freezes the control panel. Plus, the pause setting adds time so you can add any forgotten articles of clothing. The extremely quiet washer (and built-in spinner) can hold up to 11 pounds and can accommodate towels and thin blankets. One drawback is that it weighs around 70 pounds—although it can be moved if needed using carry handles. So when it's time to move, this washer can be packed up and taken to your next place.

Best for Tiny Homes: hOmeLabs 0.9 Cu. Ft. Portable Washing Machine

hOmeLabs 0.9 Cu. Ft. Portable Washing Machine

Capacity: 0.9 cubic feet | Dimensions: 17.7 x 18.1 x 31.5 inches | Weight: 48.5 pounds | Warranty: 2 years

The Homelabs washer isn’t as lightweight as some of the other options, although its two roller wheels allow it to move from room to room with ease. The stainless-steel drum can hold up to 6 pounds of clothing, and for maximum energy savings, there are five different washing programs and three water levels. The feet are adjustable, to help it sit steady on slightly uneven surfaces.

There’s an LED panel to adjust the wash settings (heavy, gentle, normal, rapid, and soak), with a wash time of around 20 minutes (including spin dry cycle). The unit is ETL certified for energy efficiency with an estimated annual cost of just $3 to operate.

Final Verdict

The Magic Chef Compact Top Loader (view on Amazon) is our top pick overall for its sturdy, more traditional design and larger capacity, but if you need something that you can easily move, the Tacklife Twin Tub Washing Machine (view on Amazon) is a lightweight alternative with a spin dry feature. If you don’t have an electric hookup, the Lavario Non-Electric Portable Washing Machine (view on Amazon) is a great choice for going off grid.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Portable Washing Machine

Washing Capacity

Some portable washers can only fit a few small articles of clothing while others can handle the equivalent of a standard, small to medium-sized load. Also consider what types of clothing you wash the most frequently, as larger items, like towels and blankets, may not fit the smaller portable washers.

Spin Dry

The more affordable washers (and manual washers) often do not have a spin dry option. This means you’ll be hand-wringing the water out of the clothes, and they’ll take more time to dry (particularly if you don’t have an outdoor clothing line) than the washers that have a spin dry. If you do choose a washer without a spin dry, you may want to consider purchasing a spinner or portable dryer separately.  

Size

While these washers qualify as portable, some of them are very heavy. If you plan on toting the washer with you to campgrounds or hotels, opt for a smaller model or a medium washer with wheels. 

Connection

Most washers run on 120 volts, but there are some non-electric options on the market. Additionally, you’ll need a place to drain the wash water and the proper adapters to hook up to the faucet (for electric powered ones). Not all washers include hoses and adapters, so you may need to purchase some minor parts separately.

Why Trust Treehugger?

The author, Amber Nolan, lives off-grid and is constantly researching and testing products that are more sustainable.