Best Portable Washing Machines of 2019

We researched portable washing machines for more than 60 hours in order to find the best options available. Our top selection is the compact and budget-friendly Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4. This machine is energy efficient, costing approximately $8 a year to run. The fast spin speeds also save money and time on drying your clothing after using it. It is a little over 20 inches wide, so it can fit in even the tiniest kitchen or closet for storage when not in use. This machine has six wash cycles and three water temperatures. It also includes common cycle types like heavy and delicate, which will help you wash your clothing the way you want.  

Best Overall

Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4

Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4

Energy efficient.
Fast spin speeds and quicker dry times.
Low initial price and operation costs.
The compact size might be too compact for families.
No fabric softener dispenser.
Limited cycle options.

All of the portable washing machines we considered will save energy when compared to a full-sized machine but the Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 was particularly good for that.

All of the portable washing machines we considered will save energy when compared to a full-sized machine, but the Magic Chef MCSTCW16W4 was particularly good for that. Its initial price is well below average at less than $300, and the cost to use it is only about $8 a year. It is estimated to use just 63 kilowatt hours in an average year. This unit also has a very fast spin speed, so the clothing will come out less damp, which will save you on drying times, whether you use a dryer or just hang the laundry.

You have several wash cycle options with this machine, including delicate and heavy loads, though there were competitors that offered more. You can also delay your start and add an extra rinse to the end of whichever cycle you choose. There isn’t a specific fabric softener dispenser, so you will have to manage that yourself. Another thing it lacks is wheels, but there are compatible dollys available for as little as $20 so you can more easily roll this to and from the faucet.

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Best Value

Danby DWM060WDB

Danby DWM060WDB

Light weight
Reasonable price
Narrow and easy to store.
Not very energy efficient
Slow spin speeds
No dispensers

The Danby DWM060WDB is incredibly lightweight and compact compared to other machines. It’s also easy to use. There was one unit that was cheaper, but this is a budget-friendly option at less than $500. The Danby DWM060WDB weighs just 66 pounds and has wheels, so it will be very easy to take it to and from faucets. This was not the smallest for overall dimensions, but it was still small. It is only 21 inches wide, so it should be easy to find a storage spot for it.

The DWM060WDB is not a superstar for energy efficiency. It will cost about $16 a year to run. It won’t do you any favors on dryer efficiency either. The spin speed was the slowest in our comparison, so clothing will be coming out pretty damp. This unit also lacks a few other features that we value, like dispensers for detergent and fabric softener. It does boast quite a few cycle types, however, so you can differentiate between a heavy and a delicate load easily enough.

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Best for Large Loads

GE GNW128PSMWW

GE GNW128PSMWW

Large capacity
Fourth water temperature option
Fast spin speed
Heavy
Not very efficient
Expensive

The GE GNW128PSMWW offers a nice option for those that need a compact and portable machine but still need to be able to tackle normal loads. The 2.8-cubic-foot capacity is much larger than most of the machines in our comparison, but it’s still considered a small machine next to conventional washers. And 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 is not terribly efficient, which is hardly shocking considering its relative bulkiness. It will cost about $17 per year to run. That’s more than any other we compared. It is also the most expensive we compared. It does have a relatively fast spin speed, that way clothes will spend less time in the dryer, however. And this machine comes with a fourth water temperature – hot, warm, cool and cold.

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Most Wash Cycles

Danby DWM045WDB

Danby DWM045WDB

It has an overfilling protection mechanism.
It maxes out at 740 rpm.

The Danby DWM045WDB has low operating costs and the most washing cycles of any portable washing machine we researched.

The 11 washing cycles help you customize this washer to clean everything from blankets and towels to delicate garments thoroughly. It also costs $15 per year to run this portable washing machine, which is more affordable than going to a laundromat. This washing machine is also rather light at about 70 pounds and it moves easily atop its rolling casters. The outside is made of rust-resistant steel while the rub and drub are stainless steel. The maximum spinning speed is unimpressive at 740 rpm, but the number of washing cycles make this a great machine if your wardrobe consists of many different fabrics.

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Best for Families

Kenmore 44422

Kenmore 44422

It runs at 850 rpm.
It weighs more than 200 pounds.

This portable washing machine isn’t playing around.

The Kenmore 44422 runs up to 850 rpm and has an interior of 1.6 cubic feet, so it’s powerful and large enough to handle your family’s clothing. The incredibly fast spin cuts your drying time substantially. This machine is similar in size to most portable washers at 37 inches tall, 23 inches wide and a depth of 21 inches. It also weighs 225 pounds, making it as heavy as a full-size washer. It's made of heavy duty stainless steel inside and out to withstand any abuse and wash your clothes thoroughly. It has six washing cycles ranging from heavy to delicate and even one for cleaning the machine's insides.

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Why Trust Us? 

During our research on portable washing machines, we read blogs and various articles, compared competing machines to see which had the most useful features and eliminated machines that required manual work, such as hand cranking or foot pumping. Instead, we opted for electric-only models, since these seemed to be the most popular and preferred models on the market.

We also watched user videos to see how real people coped with these devices, and we paid special attention to how they appeared to feel about the machines and what they said, especially regarding the effort they had to put into getting their machine ready, using it and putting it away.

How We Researched 

We spent 60 hours researching portable washing machines, carefully evaluating each model to find the best options. We wanted to find excellent, compact portable washing machines and looked for a range of capabilities, sizes and prices.

We examined the dimensions, ease of use and performance. We found general information about portable washing machines on the internet and on manufacturers’ websites. After that, we looked for specific information about particular models that looked appealing, paying close attention to consumer reviews, blogs and the level of satisfaction – or disappointment – expressed by people who had actually used the machines. In addition, we examined a range of prices so that you could have a large array of options.

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.

How to Clean a Portable Washing Machine

Over time, the interior of your portable washing machine can build up soap, dirt and mineral residue. If you let it sit like this, it's possible your washer could start to grow mold or other bacteria. After all, bacteria love warm, wet places. Remove bacteria by running a cycle with either vinegar or bleach. Never combine vinegar and bleach together. Carolyn Forte from Good Housekeeping states, “Together, they produce chlorine gas, which even at low levels can cause coughing, breathing problems and burning, watery eyes.” Remember, safety first.

To clean your device, make sure it is empty. Then, run a cycle of hot water with no detergent added. Once the tub is filled, pause the unit and dump 4 cups of either bleach or vinegar into the water. Remember, do not mix the two. Let the cycle run for a few seconds so that the water can mix with the bleach or vinegar. Then, pause the cycle for an hour. The chemicals will do most of the work for you. After an hour has passed, allow the cycle to finish and drain. While the interior is still damp, use a rag to remove any of the grime left behind.

To learn other cleaning techniques for portable washing machines, check out Danby’s website.

What Features to Look For in Portable Washing Machines 

Size
These machines are designed 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.

Pricing
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. Even the best-reviewed units in this category are relatively inexpensive, averaging only about $350. So, you can generally get a great machine for less than $500.

Energy Use
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.

Cycle Settings
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. 

Design
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.