Estimated Energy Usage
Design & Portability
Cycles & Wash Settings
Ease of Use Features
Help & Support
Portable Washing Machine Review
Which Is the Best Portable Washing Machine?
After evaluating several portable washing machines, we found that the GE WSLP1500HWW, the Haier HLP24E and the Magic Chef MCSTCW16W2 are excellent models to consider.
Our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner, the GE WSLP1500HWW, gives you an exceptionally large washing capacity for a portable washer. With a 2.6 cubic foot interior, you can get plenty of laundry done each time you put in a load of clothes. It also provides eight different wash cycles and seven water level settings, so you can easily adjust the machine to correctly wash particular kinds of fabrics.
The Haier HLP24E earned our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award. It is the lightest portable washer in our comparison, which means you can move it with less effort when you want to stash it away in a closet or some other out-of-the-way spot. It is designed with a noise reduction plate built into the front and its maximum spin is a powerful 800 rpm, so this washer will extract more moisture from your laundry and cut down on drying time.
The Magic Chef MCSTCW16W2 won our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for its all-around benefits. You get six wash cycles and six water levels, so you have many choices for cleaning different types of clothing. This comes with a handy faucet adaptor so it can be hooked up to any nearby faucet, and it is equipped with four adjustable feet to keep it in place and help reduce noise while the washer is in operation.
What We Evaluated, What We Found
Although all washing machines have some principles and design elements in common, portable washing machines have unique features that separate them from other models. While you are looking for the best portable washing machine for your situation, keep the following in mind.
When you purchase any large appliance, energy efficiency and annual energy costs should play a role in your final decision. Although portable washing machines are not as energy-efficient as many full-sized models, you can still save some money by finding one that doesn't use as much electricity. If you want to save money in the long run, look for a portable washer that uses less energy.
Design & Portability
One of the first elements to consider when you look for a portable washing machine is its design and, of course, its portability. You don't want to have to lug an awkward, heavy machine around the house every time you need to do a load of laundry. Look for a unit that is lightweight but also includes design elements that make moving it a painless process, such as casters that allow you to wheel it from room to room and cabinet handles that make it easy to carry. In addition, consider the dimensions of the washer, as you'll want to store it in a closet or cabinet when you're not using it.
Good quality portable washing machines come with a faucet adapter, which allows you to connect the washing machine to a kitchen or bathroom sink to run a load of laundry. This item is critical if your apartment or home doesn't have washer hookups. Before purchasing a portable washing machine, make sure to check your faucets to see if they have threading, which allows you to use the faucet adapter. Another element to consider when searching for a portable washer is noise reduction, which can be important if you live in a small space.
You'll want to consider the capacity of each portable washer to make sure you can fit a regular load of laundry inside of it. Portable washing machines are by nature smaller than full-sized washers, but if you tend to wash large loads of clothes, look for a machine with a high load capacity. Additionally, the faster a machine can spin your clothes during the cycle, the better. This removes excess moisture from your clothes, which means it takes less time for them to dry.
Cycles & Wash Settings
Every washing machine has different wash and cycle settings that allow you to use the machine for different purposes. For example, every machine has a normal wash cycle, but not every machine has a delicate cycle that washes clothes more gently. Look for a machine that has numerous wash cycles and water level settings, as this gives you more versatility and more control as to how well your clothing will be washed and, in time, how long they will last since heavy-duty churning in a washing machine can wear out delicate fabrics.
Every washing machine we reviewed comes with a few additional features to make your life easier. For example, some models we reviewed come with an LED time-remaining indicator, which gives you an estimate of how much longer you must wait before the cycle is over. Many portable washing machines also include a delay-start feature, so you can prepare the machine in the morning, set it to start in the afternoon while you're at school or work, and have it complete the cycle when you walk in the door in the evening.
Other features to look for include an end-of-cycle signal, which alerts you when the cycle is over so you don't forget your damp clothes in the washer. Dispensers that drop detergent, softener and sometimes bleach at the appropriate time in the wash cycle are also helpful features.
Help & Support
Every model we reviewed comes with a one-year labor and parts warranty, so you don't have to worry about finding the machine with the best warranty. These companies offer an online user manual in case you misplace the hard copy that comes with the machine. All but one company in this lineup has a FAQs page to answer some of the most common questions their customers ask, which can be useful if you run into issues and need quick answers.
What differentiates companies in help and support is how you can contact them if you run into any problems or have general questions. The best companies offer numerous means to contact them, including live chat, email and phone support. Look for a company that offers the level of contact you are most comfortable with, whether that's over the phone or through a computer.
Is a Portable Washing Machine Right for You?
Portable washing machines are ideal appliances if you live in an apartment or small house and installing a full washer is not an option. Portable washing machines are designed to move from a storage area, such as a closet, to a kitchen or bathroom where you can hook one up to a faucet and start washing clothes. However, this type of washing machine may not be the appliance you need, especially if you have room for a large washer – or if you have a large family that needs a lot of clothes washed at once.
Front load washing machines tend to use less water than any other washer design because the drum is set horizontally in the machine and doesn't cover all the clothes in water. Instead, the drum fills with less water, and as the drum spins, it pulls clothes out of the water and drops them back in, so every piece of clothing gets drenched without the machine using nearly as much water.
Because front loading machines don't use a central agitator to mix clothes in the washer, they tend to have more room for clothes. This allows you to wash larger loads at one time, which means fewer loads. Additionally, these machines spin at higher speeds, pulling more moisture out of your clothes before you throw them in the dryer, which means they spend less time in the dryer and you save energy there too.
Although front loading machines can save you in the long run through energy efficiency, they tend to carry a higher price tag, which may not be the best option for you. Top load washing machines are the traditional-looking washers that typically use an agitator in the center of the drum to churn the water and force it through your laundry. Generally speaking, machines with agitators are less energy-efficient because they use more water and you can't fit as much clothing in the tub. However, many high-efficiency (HE) top load models replace the agitator with a pulsator, which is a low-profile wash plate that sits at the bottom of the tub and spins back and forth. These HE models are very energy-efficient because they use less water and you can fit more clothes into them.
If you are in the market for a washer that stays in one spot, you might also want to check out our reviews and recommendations on the best clothes dryers. If you'd rather have a single appliance to wash and dry your clothes, take a look at our reviews of washer and dryer combos.
While they vary as far as specific features, the portable washing machines in our comparison offer easy maneuverability, compact sizes for storage, and several cycles and settings so you can be assured you are cleaning different fabrics correctly. Choosing the right portable washing machine for your needs will cut down on the hassle of doing laundry and ensure that your clothes are clean and fresh and will last.
Contributing Reviewer: Linda Thomson