When it comes to saving space, the best portable washers are a great solution. Smaller than your typical washing machine, these appliances still help you whizz through your laundry pile with ease.
Compact models such as GE, Insignia, or Magic Chef portable washers, have most of the bells and whistles you’d expect from one of the best top load washers (opens in new tab), such as quick spin speeds and multiple washing modes. The difference is, you can expect portable washing machines to have extra handy design features such as built-in wheels, making it simpler to slide the appliance away when you’re not using it.
While they’re more compact, the best portable washers come in all different sizes and the models we’ve included have capacities from 1.6 to 2.8 cubic feet. So before you buy, assess how much laundry you typically burn through and the number of people living in your home. Depending on the size you go for, it’s possible to get a reliable portable washer for around $200, making them far more affordable than one of the best front load washers (opens in new tab).
For other laundry day alternatives, check out our guide to the best washer dryer combos (opens in new tab).
Best portable washers
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We've rounded up the best portable washers you can currently buy. While we do our best to review every product that we highlight, there are some washers below that we haven't been able to review yet. We're currently in the process of doing this, but in the meantime, we've summed up the specs, key features, pros and cons – plus, we've rounded up user reviews to help you make the right choice for you and your household.
Best portable washers
The Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 is one of the best portable washing machines you can buy. Firstly, it's extremely energy efficient, using just 63 kilowatt hours in an average year. That beats all the other portable washing machines we looked at by a considerable margin. Its initial price is also well below average, at less than $300, and it only costs around $8 a year to run.
It's also very good at cleaning your clothes. The Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 has six wash cycle options, including delicate and heavy loads, though some competitors offer as many as 11. You can delay your start and add an extra rinse to the end of whichever cycle you choose as well. We particularly like the very fast spin speed (800RPM), which means your clothing will come out drier and take less time to dry fully.
Bear in mind that there isn’t a specific fabric softener dispenser, so you'll have to manage that yourself. At 1.6 cu.ft, it may be a little too compact for large families too. However, if you're looking for an all-round excellent portable washing machine, the Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 is a very good choice.
- Read our Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 portable washer review (opens in new tab)
The GE GNW128PSMWW is a nice option for anyone who needs a compact and portable washing machine but still need to be able to tackle normal-sized loads. It offers a 2.8-cubic-foot capacity, which is much larger than most of the machines in our comparison, but it’s still considered a small machine next to conventional washers. We like that you can fit laundry for more than one person at a time. It is markedly heavier than the other ones we looked at, but that comes with the territory of more capacity, and the wheels still make it pretty portable.
The GNW128PSMWW isn't terribly efficient, which is hardly shocking considering its relative bulkiness. It costs about $17 per year to run. That’s more than any other portable washing machine we compared. However, it does come with a fourth water temperature – hot, warm, cool and cold – which means you can control energy use to some extent. The GNW128PSMWW also boasts a relatively fast spin speed. It's the most expensive option in our list of the best portable washing machines, but if you need a larger capacity it's worth a look.
- Read our GE GNW128PSMWW portable washer review (opens in new tab)
What makes the Insignia NS-TWM16WH9 stand out is its affordability when compared to some of the top rated portable washers. This mid-size washer also has an average warranty, average energy cost, and average capacity. That being said, it is super reliable, and users love that it has an LED control panel with extra rinse and spin settings, as well as cycles for Quick Wash, Delicate, Normal, Heavy Duty, and Bulky Items.
The Insignia NS-TWM16WH9 has two inlets, so you can attach to both your cold and hot faucet and customize the temperature of your wash. With a 1.6 cubic foot capacity, it will struggle with king size comforters or large loads of clothing and bedding, but for smaller households (or those who won’t mind doing more weekly washes) this is an excellent, low-cost choice.
- Read our Insignia NS-TWM16WH9 portable washer review (opens in new tab)
If smaller dimensions and capacity suit your needs, how about this mini washer from COMFEE.
This washer has an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Amazon, out of over 3,300 global ratings. Positive reviews mention that this washer can do "multiple rinses" and that it gets clothes "fabulously clean". However, one user complains that the unit tangles up their clothes, saying that it took them "five minutes just to untangle three pairs of jeans".
In terms of size, the COMFEE' CLV09N1AMG is a great diminutive size and is also super lightweight at 44.1lb, making it an ideal choice for people with reduced mobility.
Small certainly doesn't mean inferior, and the CLV09N1AMG comes with an impressive spec sheet that includes five preset wash cycles, a bunch of customization options and an 850RPM maximum spin speed that's up there with the best. In terms of energy efficiency, this miniature dynamo uses just 23 kWh. That means you can get a whole year's worth of laundry done for a paltry $3.
Before you get too excited, though, you should know that buying this machine on Amazon will incur hefty delivery and import costs.
Read our COMFEE' CLV09N1AMG portable washer review (opens in new tab)
The Costway EP24403 portable washing machine is a modestly sized and lightweight machine that is light on its use of both electricity and water.
It will take a small sized load, suitable for a single person or small families and it is easy to set up and run with clear controls and it has a pretty good spin speed. It’s ideal for those who live in very small homes, especially for trailers and RVs or even college dorms. It does not need to be plumbed in permanently and can be pulled in and out when needed.
The drum does not have a large capacity and it can vibrate if not placed on a good, flat surface though you can adjust the individual feet to set it straight. It has a good range of wash cycles – more then you will need - and a handy lint trap though there is no soap dispenser.
Buyers of the Costway EP24403 say that they are surprised at how well the machine washes despite its small size and low price point. They like the spin speed being efficient enough to get the clothes pretty dry and they are also happy that the machine is small and light enough to be easily moved. Many said that the supplied hoses were too short, leading to several adding extensions or replacing the hoses and people liked the fact that the machine uses small amounts of both power and water.
Read our Costway EP24403 portable washer review (opens in new tab)
If you're looking for a portable washer that's a great all-rounder, then this offering from Black+Decker could be just the ticket.
Amazon users have giving this washer an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, with over 2,800 reviews. One user mentions that it's the "best $250 I've spent" and that for sporty people who generate a lot of laundry who would otherwise use a laundromat, "it pays for itself in six months". However, a common theme in negative reviews is that the washer doesn't operate correctly from the get-go.
It features five different cycles, including Heavy, Gentle, Normal, Rapid and Soak, and there are also three water level choices for small, medium and large loads. This portable washer is perfect for washing baby clothes and reusable diapers, making it perfect for those with a new family member.
Some of our favorite features include a delayed start of up to 24 hours, an auto shut-off safety feature and child lock protection. There's also an auto unbalance detection feature that's designed to ensure that your laundry is being cleaned as well as possible. With a capacity of 0.9 cubic feet, this washer contains a stainless steel tub that's designed to be durable and rust- and corrosion-resistant. Meanwhile, the quiet-close and transparent top-load lid is a great way to check on your washing mid-cycle.
If you know that you'll need to be regularly moving your washer, you'll be pleased to learn that it features two rollers, two side handles and a front adjustable leveling leg for easy transport.
Buying advice for the best portable washers
How do portable washers work?
Portable washers work by connecting a hose to your sink tap and plugging in the machine at an electric socket. Once you turn your tap on, the washer will fill with water. You'll need to place the outlet hose in your sink so that the waste water can drain away. It’s important to make sure the hose is securely attached so that water doesn’t leak.
Portable washers are compact which means you have to put the detergent in with your clothes, rather than in a drawer or dispenser. Once you’ve added your detergent and clothing, the machine will get to work cleaning by using an agitator to force water in different directions around your clothes. An Agitator is a moving column in the machine and it will also rub against your clothes to get them clean. Most portable washers have a spin function that will rid your clothes of excess water. After this stage, you can switch to the draining setting so that the water empties out into your sink or bathtub.
Are portable washers worth it?
Portable washers are a great solution if you don’t have enough room for a standard-size washer, and you’re tired of taking trips to the laundromat. What’s more, portable washing machines are very efficient and can cost as little as $5 in energy costs per year.
Most portable washers are fitted with wheels so that you can put them away when you’re not using them. As you might expect, portable washers have smaller capacities than a normal washing machine, and that means that you’ll only be able to do small loads at once.
How to choose the best portable washing machine
Not sure where to start? Here are the main features you need to look at before buying a portable washing machine.
These machines are meant for use in small living quarters, so they’re designed to do quite a bit of work without having a big footprint. It’s important to get the dimensions for the machine you are considering, since you’ll need storage space, easy maneuverability to a sink and enough room to position hoses.
If you are in the market for a portable washing machine you are likely concerned with both size and price. These machines are generally priced below what larger, non-portable units cost. The best sellers on sites like Home Depot and Lowe's cost an average of about $450, while the best-reviewed units in this category average about $350. You can generally buy a great portable washing machine for less than $500.
You can save a considerable amount of money if you buy a well-designed machine that is energy efficient. Models we examined ranged from costing approximately $12 a year up to $17.
The greater the number of cycle and water settings, the better. Having more choices means you can extend the life of your clothes by washing them with the correct amount of force to really clean them but not wear out fabrics.
Certain features, such as having handles on each side and rolling wheels on the bottom, can make a huge difference when it comes to actually using your portable washer. A noise reduction plate can also go a long way toward making apartment or condo living more enjoyable while you get the laundry done.
How much do portable washing machines cost?
The average cost of the washing machines we evaluated was $423. We found full-size washers available for around $500, so if you’re willing to spend a little more and space isn’t an issue, we recommend shopping around for a full-size option. On the other hand, if you don’t have much room, these washers work really well.