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How a portable washing machine can improve your life

In a small living space, such as an apartment, you rarely have enough room for a full-size washer and dryer. Even if there is a washer and dryer in the building, waiting for the machines to be open, saving up quarters endlessly, and carrying your loads to and from the laundry room takes a lot of time. 

Traveling to a laundromat isn’t much better.

One solution is investing in a portable washing machine. A portable washing machine not only makes your living space more manageable, but it can also add time and money to your budget.

How does a portable washing machine work?

A portable washing machine is a compact appliance that works the same way a full-size washing machine works: It has a tub with an agitator. You put your dirty laundry in the tub, fill it with the appropriate amount of hot or cold water, add detergent and turn it on. When the cycle is complete, you drain the tub, rinse the detergent from the clothes and linens, and drain again. Some portable washers also have a drying feature (or a secondary drying tub) that removes water by spinning the clothes and linens until they are mostly dry.

Three benefits of a portable washing machine 

  • Saves space: A portable washing machine is only a fraction of the size of a full-size washing machine. You can move it to whatever location you’d like — even stick it in a closet between uses.
  • Puts you in control of your laundry: A portable washing machine means you can do as much or as little laundry as you want whenever you want.
  • Saves time: You no longer need to take your laundry to another floor (or another location) and wait for it to be done. You can drop your laundry in, turn on the machine and come back when it’s done. No more hours spent traveling and waiting.

Key features of a portable washing machine

The key features of a portable washing machine are size, single or dual tub, and the controls.


The larger the portable washing machine is, the larger your loads can be. This also means the more space the unit will take up. Carefully consider how much room you have — bigger is not necessarily better when space is a priority.

Single or dual tub

A dual tub means you can wash and dry different laundry loads at the same time. It also means the unit will be considerably larger.

Features and controls

At the low end, you might only have a couple of knobs: a timer and a wash/dry/drain selector. More expensive models will offer a variety of controls and features, such as a child lock, a digital display, water level selection, load selector, temperature control, a detergent drawer and more. Your budget will be the determining factor in how many bells and whistles you get. Interestingly, the one feature that disappears as you climb the price ladder is a built-in dryer.

Best portable washing machines for small living spaces

GE Portable Washer

GE Portable Washer

This is a high-end, large-capacity (2.8 cubic feet) portable washer with a small footprint. It has eight wash cycles, four wash temperatures and features one-touch controls with an LED display. 

Sold by Home Depot

Costway Portable Washing Machine

Costway Portable Washing Machine

The twin-tub design of this model makes it considerably larger than other options, but it streamlines your chores, allowing you to wash and dry different loads at the same time. The simple controls make it easy to operate, yet it is versatile enough for all your laundry needs.

Sold by Amazon

Magic Chef Portable Top Load Washer Machine

Magic Chef Portable Top Load Washer Machine

This sleek-looking unit is designed for apartment use. It is packed with user-friendly features, is affordable and has a compact design.

Sold by Home Depot

Black Decker Portable Washer

Black & Decker Portable Washer

The Black & Decker Portable Washer is a classic washer that features a compact design for people who have limited space. It has eight cycles, an automatic shutoff (if the lid is opened mid-cycle) and a digital display.

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Wayfair

The Laundry Alternative Mini Washing Machine

The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash Mini Washing Machine

If you need a budget option, this manual washer is the answer. It has a 5-pound capacity and cleans small loads in under two minutes. This option is best suitable for travel and camping.

Sold by Amazon

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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