Portable & Cool - The Ultimate Buying Guides for Portable Devices
 

Compact Portable Washing Machines: a comprehensive buying guide


One day you will wake up and realize that you definitely need a portable washing machine. Seems unbelievable? Don’t jump to hasty conclusions - this is a true life-saver if you are living in a condo or just going on vacation. We will prove that there are many reasons why this little helper might come in handy in any situation regardless of a person’s income and housing conditions. Having read this article, you will have no doubts how useful it is.


Table of contents

  1. Portable washing machine: origins.
  2. Who needs a portable washing machine?
  3. Benefits of using a portable washing machine.
  4. Drawbacks of portable washing machines.
  5. Kinds of portable washing machines.
  6. Where can I buy a portable washer?
  7. How to choose a portable washing machine.
  8. Reviews of popular models.
  9. Conclusion.

 

1. Portable washing machine: origins

19th-century washing machine

The history of washing machines began in 1791, when the first prototype of a mechanical washer was presented. Washing machines that look more or less like those we see today appeared in 1937, when the first automatic washer was introduced. It didn’t have the same frontload appearance that we’re used to, but it included features still found in modern models.

That was how these machines were installed in the first basement laundry rooms.

The invention was constantly being enhanced, which resulted in equipping them with electronic parts. They were designed to ease the process of using a washer and to implement new features for better quality of washing. US appliance manufacturers contributed a lot to the way washers look today. Implementation of microcontrollers in the 90s made these wonderful labor-saving helpers cost less. Since then developers have been striving to achieve two primary goals:

  1. Reduce the amount of water and energy used;
  2. Make washers as compact as possible.

That is how portable washing machines gradually obtained their current shape. The first portable model was presented by Kaercher in 1984, but it was still far from being convenient. Models capable of being transported easily appeared in 2000s.

2. Who needs a portable washing machine?

  • Those having to use laundromats and common laundry facilities. Living in an apartment building or a condo can be tedious in terms of constant need either to use laundry rooms in the basement or searching for it somewhere else if there is none. In order to avoid such routine, use a portable washing machine. It is your own little laundry that makes it possible not to depend on any other facilities or services. What is more, it saves money!
  • Avid travelers. If you’re a keen traveler you know what it is like to rush upon arrival to a new place in search of a place where you can clean your things. For those who cannot stay in one place for a long time there are plenty of opportunities to keep clothes clean without the necessity of spending precious time on searching for laundry. There are portable appliances that can easily be transported (in case you prefer travelling by car) or even tiny bags that make it possible to wash ketchup spills on your white shirt… in an airplane!
  • Busy moms. Even if you have a full-size washing machine, a compact portable washer will prove to be useful if you have a baby. Being a mother always means lots of tiny baby clothes that must be washed very often. Portable washer fits best for such purposes, as it is ideal for washing ‘on the spot’. You can use it to clean small portions of dirty clothes right when it is needed without having to wait until you have lots of mess to load your full-sized washer. Also, portable washers cost less that their luxury ‘big brothers’, which means you can save some money.

3. Benefits of using a portable washing machine.

Portable washing machines are invaluable if you do not have enough space or want to use very often. Here is a list of why portables can be called life-savers:

  • One of the most important advantages of a portable washer is its size. You can roll it out if you need to have your clothes cleaned and hide it again afterwards;
  • Such space-saving features mentioned in the previous sentence also benefit for its capability of being easily transported. Just place it your car trunk and here you go!
  • Small washers are generally cheaper than full-sized ones;
  • Portable washers provide high-quality washing despite its size;
  • Most models come with convenient handles that make it easy to carry;
  • Many small washing machines are equipped with the same high-quality parts that are used for full-sized machines - smaller doesn’t mean worse!
  • Portable washers come in different shapes and colors;
  • Since they are small, such washers are effective in terms of energy cost;
  • Most portable washers come with a faucet adapter that makes it possible to connect it to a kitchen or bathroom sink. No need to deal with washing hookups!
  • Portable washers pay for themselves in several months, as you don’t have to spend money in laundromats any more;
  • There is no need to assign certain place for a washer, since it can be put on a counter.

4. Drawbacks of portable washing machines

Of course, no tiny washer will compare to full-sized washing machines in terms of efficiency, but the drawbacks are not that crucial as it may seem.

  • If you have a large family, a portable washer is not an option since you cannot load all of your dirty clothes and linen there at once;
  • Users of small washers often complain about the fact that there are always things hanging all over. Since the portions are small, there will constantly be things drying. It should be mentioned, though, that it is true only of those that use portable washers instead of full-sized ones on a regular basis;
  • Portable kits differ, so before buying make sure it is easy to carry your washer;
  • Some people find it difficult to assemble such washers, but this drawback is easily overcome if your washer is supplied with a detailed instruction.

5. Kinds of portable washing machines.

When it comes to designs, prepare to face a wide variety of washers!

Just like washing machines of standard size, portables can be front-load and top-load.

  • Front load washing machines generally need less water, since it has a drum positioned horizontally, so when it spins it pulls clothes out of the water and then back in. Also, there is no central agitator that serves for mixing clothes, which means you can load more things in. The speed in front-loads is also higher, so your clothes won’t be that wet when you get it out. If you use a dryer afterwards, this will help you save additional energy. It is worthy of note that due to such benefits front load washers cost more than top-loads;
  • Top load washing machines are more traditional. They are equipped with a central agitator that does the laundry. As is evident from the previous point, top loads consume more energy as well as water. Obviously, the central agitator takes some space that otherwise would be used for clothing. But don’t fret - top-load washer developers have designed a special feature that can replace such an agitator. That is a pulsator, a low-profile part that is placed at the bottom. Such design leaves more room and makes the device energy-effective;
  • Good news for those travelling - there are types of washers that do not require any source of electricity! Such thingies are called pedal-powered (or human-powered, if some other similar mechanism is used). The mechanism spins your clothes as you use the pedal. Of course, there are more convenient models that use electricity and do not require your direct participation;
  • Washers can also be divided into types by the way you supply it with water. There are two major options: some washers are connected to your sink in a bathroom or a kitchen with the help of a faucet adapter; others can be loaded with water right from a bucket or whatever you have for carrying water.

 

Example of an electric-type portable washer

Human-powered portable washer placed on a counter.

6. Where can I buy a portable washer?

The best way to ensure quality of the good you are going to buy is to contact its manufacturer. Since this process can be quite tedious, a good option is to use popular services, like Amazon.com. This global trader is responsible for everything it sells, so you can always claim a refund if you are not satisfied with something.

Another way to buy a portable washer is to use stores like Walmart. Prices are moderate and you always can get in touch with their staff if something goes wrong.

Beware of those websites that offer goods which have Chinese origin, like Alibaba.com. It happens quite often that the quality of things being sold leaves much to be desired, and vendors do not take any responsibilities for cases when delivered things prove to be broken or counterfeit.

So, when choosing a place to buy a washer, stick to these rules:

  • Buy only in those stores and from those vendors that can prove their goods are certified;
  • Your washer must come with a guarantee;
  • If possible, buy goods directly from their manufacturer.

7. How to choose a portable washing machine.

Now we have come to the most important part. Here are several tips that may help you choose a portable washer that will become your loyal friend!

  • Evaluate how many things you generally need to wash at once. Having completed this step, consider the ideal washer’s size. Try to model how often you will need to use it and how many people are going to clean their clothes with it;
  • Think about additional appliances. Depending on the kind of model you aim at and what budget you have, you may want to consider buying a dryer. Estimate the amount of money you have for each of these purposes (or whether you have enough money to buy a portable washer with drying options);
  • Decide whether you need a front load or a top load washing machine. Advantages and drawbacks of both these types were described above. Consider a model’s cost-efficiency and the amount of water you can use;
  • Make sure you make the right choice when buying a human-powered or electric washer. This also depends on where you are going to use your washer. If you intend to install it in your apartment or any other place with electricity sources available most of the time, try using an electric washer. If you want a portable for going to the county, hiking or if you don’t have an opportunity to charge it any other way, go for a human-powered one;
  • Consider the way you want to supply your washer with water. In case you have a sink to which you can connect a washer using a faucet adapter, choose models that come with such a feature. These are generally electric washers. If you have only simple buckets or whatever you can you to carry water, the best option for you is mechanical washers;
  • Size matters. Here we mean not only the amount of clothes you can wash at a time, but a washer’s height. Think of where you’re going to store it. If you have to cope with severe lack of room, go for models that are no bigger than 13 inches (33 cm) tall;
  • Design preferences should also be taken into account. There are many models and all of them are designed in different ways. Some are cubic, some are egg-like, others are round. Tastes differ, so take your time to choose the one you will fall in love with!

8. Reviews of popular models.

Portable washing machines are presented in a variety of models. Since this kind of equipment is widely used, there are many options. Let us consider the most interesting ones.

This model has wonderful reviews and proves one of the best options among all electric washers. Is it rather expensive, but really efficient and can handle a lot of clothes at once. It is equipped with a pulsator, which means it’s energy-effective and requires less water.

Its features:

  1. Available from Haier.com (right from the manufacturer!), Amazon.com , Target.com, so it is easy to obtain;
  2. It is faucet-controlled. This washer has an inlet valve that can be connected to a water hose. Water temperature is determined by the faucet;
  3. Easy assembly. Haier comes with a sink adapter that makes setup fast and easy;
  4. Heavy duty casters.This washer is supplied with heavy duty casters that can be attached to it on order to move the device with ease. It is especially convenient if you intend to move your washer often from its storage location to your bathroom or kitchen and back;
  5. The basket is made of stainless steel.This device is made of high-quality durable materials;
  6. The washer will notify you with a signal upon the end of cycle;
  7. It comes with a 1-year warranty;
  8. Electrical requirements: 120V/60Hz;
  9. It can both wash and spin;
  10. Capacity: 28 liters;
  11. Weight: 61 pounds (27.6 kg);
  12. Dimensions: 36x23.2x23.2 inches (91.4x59x59 cm);
  13. Price: 227$.

This egg-like machine is quite simple. It is cheaper than the previous one, but obviously its features are worse:

  1. Available from Amazon.com and Laundry-Alternative.com;
  2. No spin cycle;
  3. 2.2 lb(1kg) washing capacity, which means it fits best for washing socks and underwear;
  4. This washer comes with a 2-year warranty;
  5. Voltage: 110V;
  6. A countertop machine that rinses automatically;
  7. It is really quiet;
  8. Unique design;
  9. Weight: 13 pounds (5.9 kg);
  10. Dimensions: 18x12.5x12.5 inches (45.7x31.7x31.7 cm);
  11. Price: 115$.

This model is characterized by good reviews. Though quite expensive, it is a high-quality washer that is worth the money spent.

Its features include:

  1. Available from Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Homedepot.com;
  2. Full-size functionality - this washer works with the same efficiency as standard washing machines;
  3. Comes with a digital display and a touchpad;
  4. Running is really quiet and does not exceed 72 dB;
  5. Remaining wash cycle time is displayed on an LED screen;
  6. Pulsator-baseddesign;
  7. 6 wash cycle programsand 3 water level selections;
  8. Capacity: 1.6 cubic feet (0.045 cubic meters);
  9. Weight: 68.2 pounds (30.9 kg);
  10. Dimensions: 24.4x23.6x39.4 inches (62x58.4x100 cm);
  11. Price: 229$.

It is an expensive, though high-quality substitute for a full-size washing machine.

Its features include:

  1. Available from Amazon.com , Walmart.com, Homedepot.com;
  2. 8 washing programs;
  3. Capacity of 11.02 lbs(5 kg);
  4. Features electronic controls;
  5. Tub and drum are made of high-quality stainless steel, which means the device is durable;
  6. Quiet operation;
  7. Safety lid and water overflow protection;
  8. Voltage: 120V;
  9. Weight: 70 pounds (31.7 kg);
  10. Dimensions: 21.6x21.4x33.9 inches (54.8x54,3x86.1 cm);
  11. Price: 349$.

This model is available in two different sizes of 6lbs (2.7kg) and 10 lbs (4.5kg). It is distinguished by a built in spinner which makes it unusual.

Its features include:

  1. Available from Amazon.com , Newegg.com;
  2. It has drainage pump out, all you need to do is to hang nook over side of sink or toilet;
  3. Voltage: 110V;
  4. It comes with a 1-year warranty;
  5. It is easy to operate. If you don’t want to mess with hoses, simply fill it with water manually;
  6. This double-sided device can be used for washing (one side) and spinning (the other side);
  7. Weight: 28 lbs (12.7 kg);
  8. Dimensions: 20.9 x 12.6 x 26.4 inches (50.8 x 30.5 x 66 cm);
  9. Price: 150$.

 

Here is another panda willing to live with you! It is a substitute for Haier, but get ready to pay more.

Among its features are the following:

  1. Available from Amazon.com and Newegg.com;
  2. See-through lid;
  3. Pulsator-based mechanism;
  4. This device is connected to a hose with the help of a special adapter;
  5. Touchpad controls and LED indicators;
  6. Delayed start option!
  7. 6 wash cycles;
  8. Fully automatic operation;
  9. Two rollersmake it easy to move;
  10. Weigh: 81.1 pounds (36.7 kg);;  
  11. Dimensions: 20.7 x 20.3 x 36.3 inches (52.5 x 51.5 x 92.2 cm);
  12. Price: 299$.

This is a model for those who cannot access electricity sources. This compact but useful device has the following features:

  1. Available from Amazon.com and Laundry-Alternative.com;
  2. Does not require any electricity at all;
  3. Weight: 5 pounds(2.2 kg);
  4. It is a hand-crank washer that has a unique pressure system;
  5. Ideal for diapers and those who travel a lot;
  6. This washer comes with a 2-year warranty;
  7. Consumes less water than handwashing;
  8. Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 12 inches (40.6 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm);
  9. Capacity: 4.84 lbs (2.1 kg);
  10. Price: 44$.

The last but not the least - welcome our special guest Scrubba! It is an invention that makes it possible to wash your tiny clothes anywhere - even in an airplane!

All you have to do is to fill this waterproof bag with water and cleaning material, seal the bag, expel all the air that is left inside with the help of a special valve, place it on a surface (floors will do too) and rub it against the washboard for 30 seconds. And voila - your things are clean!

  1. Available from Amazon.com and TheScrubba.com;
  2. Extremely tiny - this ‘washing machine’ weighs 5 oz (140 g)!
  3. Great for camping, travelling and other trips;
  4. Can also be used as a dry-bag;
  5. Dimensions: 12.6 x 0.2 x 21.3 inches (32 x 0.5 x 54.1 cm);
  6. Capacity: 3-4L (~1 gal) - optimal for washing;
  7. The most compact washing machine in the world!
  8. Price: 50$.

9. Conclusion

So we have reached the end of our journey into the world of portable washing machines. To sum it up, it is an invaluable device for those who do not have enough space for a full-sized washer or those who travel a lot. It provides great opportunities and can works very efficiently. Such washers are great in terms of convenience too, especially if you buy one with a built in dryer! 

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