Want to clean your clothes but don’t have access to a regular washing machine? Look no further than a portable washing machine.
These appliances are built with exploration in mind, so they’re lightweight and compact and allow you to wash your clothes while you’re on the go.
A portable washing machine can come in handy if your camping, caravanning, or living in student accommodation and can’t use a regular appliance.
But what’s the best portable washing machine to buy? Keep on reading to find out.
The Best Portable Washing Machines in the UK
1. FitnessClub Portable Twin Tub Washing Machine
Dimensions: 60 cm (H) x 54 cm (W) x 34.5 cm (D)
Wash load capacity: Approx 3 kg
Spin load capacity: Approx 2 kg
Weight: 10 kg
If you’re after a portable washer that can wash and spin clothes, FitnessClub’s Portable Twin Tub Washing Machine could be a good choice.
This reasonably priced top-loading machine is one of the most basic models, and it’ll do a great job of washing your dirty clothes!
The blue and white mains-powered appliance comes with two tubs. One is for washing clothes and the other for spinning.
Each tub has its own controller knob, and you can use both tubs simultaneously. This could be a useful time-saving feature.
The cycles on this portable washer are much shorter than on a traditional washing machine.
A wash can run for up to 15 minutes, and a spin cycle can last 5 minutes. This is quite a short time, which is great if you’re in a pinch and need to get your laundry sorted out.
Of course, the short cycles mean that sometimes you’ll have to put heavily soiled clothes through an extra wash to ensure they’re clean. But even if you have to do this, the process will only take half an hour! Which isn’t much time.
The portable washer’s exterior is made from plastic (anti-corrosion and moisture-proof cover), and its interior is made from stainless steel.
This makes the appliance relatively lightweight in comparison to other washers. Its small size means that it can be carried around easily and used in some of the smallest locations, including but not limited to university digs, canal boats, apartments, and caravans.
It’s also not complicated to use. The machine comes with three dials: ‘Wash’, ‘Spin’, and ‘Drain’. You just turn the appropriate dial to start the cycle you need.
There’s one water inlet and one drain hose. You just need to hook the water supply up to a tap and ensure the drain hose empties into a drain!
The only downsides to this portable machine mainly revolve around its inlet and outlet pipes. The water inlet pipe is 120 cm long, which is ample in most cases, but it can be a pain to attach to a tap!
Sometimes, you can’t get the hose to attach to a tap, so you must manually fill the tub or purchase an adapter.
Unfortunately, the user handbook isn’t always forthcoming with information on this topic either – it may be a case of trial and error!
Also, the drain pipe, which is a measly 65 cm, isn’t always long enough to reach a drain.
Plus, the machine relies on gravity to draw out the liquid from the appliance, but because the drain pipe sits so close to the floor, the water doesn’t always flow out of the machine.
So, you have to help things along yourself, which can be messy (and unnecessary) work!
2. Think Gizmos Portable Washing Machine
The Think Gizmos’ Portable Washing Machine is ideal for caravan and camping enthusiasts because there’s no permanent plumbing required!
The lightweight washer is small enough to be tucked away in a tent or cupboard and isn’t too heavy to move around.
So, you can pull the machine out when you want to use it and keep it hidden when you need extra space.
The top loading machine is primarily made from plastic and comes in a black and white colour.
It’s quite aesthetically pleasing and tends to blend it with its surroundings. You could say that the machine resembles traditional washing machines because they tend to come in these colours.
Like other portables, this appliance comes with dials that you turn to operate the machine: ‘Wash timer’, ‘Spin timer’, and ‘Action required’ (soft/normal cycle or drain).
The cycles are short and similar to what other portable washers offer. A wash cycle can take up to 15 minutes, and a spin dry cycle can take up to 5 minutes.
Such short cycles are a huge benefit because you can clean multiple small loads of washing over a period of time!
It also means you can return to enjoying your holiday instead of worrying about your undies.
After a wash, clothes generally come out clean. However, if you’ve got extra dirty outfits to maintain, you’ll likely have to run them through an additional cycle (maybe more than two!).
As a bonus, this washer gives you a free laundry bag and lint trap. So, you can pack your smalls into the laundry bag to keep control of them in the wash, and the lint trap can grab onto fibres and loose threads during the washing cycle.
This model is one of the most expensive ones available, but it’s still not without problems.
Issues you can expect to face revolve again around the inlet and outlet pipes! Namely, the water inlet pipe can feel flimsy, doesn’t always fit onto a tap or comes loose mid-wash, thus causing a small leak.
As with other models, the drain on this portable relies on gravity to remove water from the machine.
However, this doesn’t always work out as planned, and you have to intervene to shift the water from the washer. There is supposed to be a drain pump fitted, but again, this doesn’t always help.
3. Display4top Portable Washing Machine
Dimensions: 58.9 cm (H) x 55.6 cm (W) x 37.5 cm (D)
Wash load capacity: Approx 3.5 kg
Spin load capacity: Approx 1.5 kg
Weight: 11 kg
If you’re looking for a backup washing machine while waiting for a new washer to arrive, consider Display4top’s Portable Washing Machine.
This jazzy-looking appliance is bright purple, is pretty much see-through and has a lacquered effect (so it’s easy to keep clean). And to top it all, it’s one of the cheapest options about!
The eye-popping portable is mainly made from plastic and is simple to use. It comes with three labelled dials: ‘Wash timer’, ‘Selection’, and ‘Spin timer’.
All you need to do is attach the water hose, secure the drainage hose, load the machine with laundry and detergent, and select the cycle you want to use. It’s as easy as that!
You can clean various garments in the wash compartment, including jumpers, baby clothes and underwear. Then, you can spin it dry in the second compartment.
A wash cycle can take up to 15 minutes, and a spin dry cycle can take up to 5 minutes. However, you can repeat these cycles if you need to.
Moreover, the machine comes fitted with a lint filter that can be removed and cleaned, so there won’t be any hair floating around in your washer for long!
The only negatives are that the inlet and outlet hoses are short, so you may have a small spillage to mop up if you’re not careful! It’s not exactly ideal.
Also, you must ensure you don’t overload the spin compartment. The compartment isn’t exactly huge as it is, but if you add too many items to it, the machine may cut out under the strain.
In turn, your clothes may not be spun effectively, and you may have to squeeze the liquid out of the pieces yourself.
4. Leisurewize Twin Tub Washing Machine
Dimensions: 57 cm (H) x 60 cm (W) x 35 cm (D)
Wash load capacity: Approx 3 kg – 3.5 kg
Spin load capacity: Approx 2.5 kg
Item’s weight: Approx 10.6 kg
Leisurewize is one of the UK’s main caravan and camping equipment sellers, so it’ll be no surprise to hear that they sell a highly-rated portable washer.
But don’t be fooled into thinking you need a caravan or a motorhome to get one of these portable washers; anyone can purchase one! For example, if you can’t get to a launderette, this washer would be ideal for you.
The washer on offer is reasonably priced, and its price aligns with the cost of other portable washers. It’s also small in size, can be transported with ease, and doesn’t weigh too much.
On the topic of moving, the blue and white top loading machine comes with an ergonomic handle attached to it. So, you can carry the tub around with you.
However, you must ensure both tubs are empty (free from laundry and water) before you do this. You don’t want to strain the machine unnecessarily.
As with other portable washers, the Leisurewize Twin Tub is simple to use. There are three dials on the top of the machine, and you use these to operate the appliance.
The basic display is labelled, so you know what each knob does without looking in the user manual.
You will see the following dials on the display: ‘Drain selector’, ‘Wash timer’, and ‘Spin dry’. Wash cycles can be 15 minutes long, and spin cycles can be 5 minutes long.
You can, however, re-run cycles if you want to. And you can use the wash and spin features at the same time.
There are two compartments on the portable washer: a wash compartment and a spin compartment.
Both compartments are covered with an easy-to-lift-up lid with hand holes to simplify the opening/closing actions. This makes the laundering process a little less fiddly!
As you’d expect, when cleaning clothes, you’ll have to connect the water inlet hose to a tap.
This, however, may not be as easy for some of you because the pipe doesn’t always attach to a tap.
As a backup option, you can pour water directly into the washing tub, but this requires more input from you.
Similarly, you may have trouble with the drainage hose. The hose is short, so you’ll have to put the end of the pipe in a bucket to ensure the water drains out of the machine effectively.
In addition, after a washing cycle, you’ll have to run the laundry through a rinse cycle to remove the suds from it. And before you put the laundry in the spinner, you’ll have to squeeze the moisture out of every item.
The laundry will still feel wet after the spin cycle if you don’t do this. All of this amounts to extra work for you, and doing the washing may take a little longer.
Finally, try not to overload each compartment, as this will make the washing/spinning cycle less effective.
Remember that you can’t wash and spin the same amount of laundry when using this machine.
So, you’ll likely have to run additional spin dry cycles to ensure your wet washing is relatively dry.
5. COSTWAY 2 in 1 Portable Washing Machine
Fancy getting a portable washer that looks like a traditional washing machine and has multiple cycles to choose from? COSTWAY has the answer for you.
The COSTWAY 2 in 1 Portable Washing Machine is one of the heaviest portable washing machines mentioned on this list.
It weighs in at 18 kg! Some of you may think this weight is too much for a portable machine. And to some degree, it is pretty beefy. However, the device has integrated grips, so you can move it around freely.
That being said, it may be better suited to small apartments and uni digs so that it doesn’t have to be moved around quite so much!
In addition to its mighty size, it has a wealth of programs and features you can utilise. So, it’s quite different from other portables that come with three dials!
The top loading washing machine has an LED display panel (where the washing timer is displayed), a push/pause button you can press, and you can choose what cycle you’d like to run from the following: ‘Soak’, ‘Rinse’, ‘Wash’ and ‘spin’. You also get to choose your water level: ‘Low’, ‘Middle’ and ‘High’.
By selecting what type of cycle you want and how much water to use, you can choose a suitable cleaning program for the clothes you want to wash. This will lead to a better overall clean!
Of course, this does mean that the cycles will be longer. But for the sake of a more effective and suitable clean, you can accept this.
One drawback is that you cannot wash and spin laundry simultaneously because the COSTWAY is a 2 in 1 machine.
So, if you did want to clean multiple loads of laundry, you’d have to wait for the machine to finish. But this isn’t a deal breaker!
The portable washer is aesthetically pleasing. It’s a tall, slim design made primarily from aluminium, stainless steel and plastic.
The item comes in white, so if you wanted it to match other white goods in your home, it would fit in well.
It also has a honeycomb inner tub, a lint filter and adjustable feet. And can be used to clean various types of laundry, including bedding, curtains and clothes.
In contrast to other portable washers, the machine comes with a long drain hose and power cord. But you’ll likely need an adapter for the tap when you fit the hose onto it.
6. TANGZON Twin Tub Washing Machine
Dimensions: 87 cm (H) x 74 cm (W) x 43 cm (D)
Wash load capacity: Approx 7.5 kg
Spin load capacity: Approx 3 kg
Weight: 18 kg
The TANGZON Twin Tub Washing Machine is a compact, top-loading white and grey portable appliance that can be used in university dorms, caravans and small apartments.
It’s neither the lightest item on this list nor the cheapest. It’s actually one of the most expensive ones.
That being said, this machine comes with a massive 7.5 kg washing tub, which can only mean one thing: you can do lots of washing.
You can even wash bulky items in the tub. So, the beefier price tag may be justified from this point of view.
What’s more, you can run the 3 kg spin compartment and the 7.5 kg washing compartment simultaneously. So, you can effectively manage up to 10.5 kg of laundry at once!
For the hefty price tag, you’d expect to get loads of fancy features spread across a luxury display unit.
The machine, however, comes with a basic display unit with three dials – much the same as you see on cheaper versions!
The dials are all labelled ‘Wash selector’, ‘Wash timer’, and ‘Spin timer’. A wash cycle will run up to 15 minutes, and a spin cycle will run up to 5 minutes.
As you can see, there’s nothing hugely different to a cheaper portable washing machine.
The TANGZON Twin Tub does, however, come with two mighty motors built inside it that ensure energy-efficient laundering: a 300W washing motor and a 140W spinning motor. When these two get to work, they can make short work of the cleaning!
The machine’s main drawback is that it has a 97 cm inlet pipe and a 59 cm drain pipe. Both are pretty short and can be a pain to manage.
Is a Portable Washer Worth It?
Unfortunately, there isn’t an answer to this question because personal preference and circumstance(s) will dictate the answer.
A portable washer is worth it if:
- You’re going travelling.
- You live in a small apartment with limited space.
- You don’t have too much laundry to do regularly.
- You want to keep running costs down (shorter cycles).
- You’re environmentally conscious (reduce electricity and water).
- You live far away from a laundering facility.
- You’re looking for a cheaper alternative to buying a traditional washing machine.
A portable washer isn’t going to be worth it if:
- You need to do lots of washing at once, say you have a big family.
- You need to use different washing cycles to clean all your clothes.
- You live in rented accommodation, (if the landlord isn’t happy for you to use the machine).
- You live in a busy home and need to keep your water points open (the sink, for example).
- You need to clean heavily soiled clothes.
You may find a portable washing machine worth it, depending on your needs. There are, of course, undeniable benefits to using such a machine.
However, there are a lot of people who would rather use a standard washing machine or a launderette service.
Where Do You Drain a Portable Washing Machine?
When it comes to draining the dirty water out of your portable washing machine, you’ll have to attach a drain hose to the machine and stick the hose down a drain, in the sink or in a bucket. The water will then empty out of the washing machine.
How Many Clothes Can You Fit Inside a Portable Washing Machine?
How many garments you can put inside a portable washer depends on the machine’s load capacity and how much your laundry weighs. Let’s look at this in more detail.
Load capacity refers to how much laundry you can put inside the machine. As a guide, a portable washer’s load capacity will be much smaller than that of a full-size washing machine.
Before you use a portable washing machine, you should check what load capacity the machine has.
- If you’re using a 2-in-1 machine, there’ll be one load capacity listed.
- If you’re using a twin tub, there’ll be a load capacity for the washer compartment and a load capacity for the spin compartment. The spin compartment’s load capacity will be smaller than that of the washer compartment.
Take a moment to check the load capacity on your appliance.
Now you’ve checked your portable washer’s capacity, you know how much laundry can be put into it (in each compartment).
For example, your portable machine has two compartments. The washer compartment has a load capacity of 3 kg. This means that you can add 3 kg (or less) of laundry to the compartment.
The spin compartment has a load capacity of 1 kg. This means that you can add 1 kg (or less) of laundry to the compartment.
How many clothes, 1 kg or 3 kg, boils down to depends on the weight and size of your clothes.
The easiest way to determine how much your laundry weighs is to weigh it. There are two ways you can do this:
- (EASIEST METHOD) Stand on a scale and weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding the pile of laundry. The difference between the two weights is the weight of the laundry.
- Weigh the laundry on a scale (this is trickier, and the pile usually topples over!).
After weighing the laundry, you’ll have a better idea of how many items you can add to the machine.
Let’s stick with the example above and put this into action:
Your portable washer has a 3 kg load capacity (washer side). A single pair of jeans weighs 0.5 kg.
Based on this information, you could potentially put six pairs of jeans inside the 3kg washing compartment.
After the wash, you’ll need to repeat the steps above to weigh 1 kg of clothes out so you can add them to the spin compartment.
Remember: The above is only an example. Expect the figures to change when weighing your own clothes and assessing your machine’s load capacity.
Note: You shouldn’t overfill your portable washer because this puts unnecessary strain on the appliance. It also means your laundry won’t be cleaned effectively, and you may have to rewash your clothes.
If we had to pick just one portable washing machine to recommend, it would be FitnessClub Portable Twin Tub Washing Machine because it’s reasonably priced, lightweight and compact.
It’s also easy to operate and can clean a fair amount of laundry. There may be some minor issues to manage, but on the whole, this portable washer performs very well.
That being said, Display4top’s Portable Washing Machine is also a good option if you’re looking for a ‘stop-gap’ when choosing a new washing machine.
The model is one of the cheapest entries on the list; it’s smaller than other machines and can be used and moved around easily.
Although the spin compartment is one of the smallest noted, the machine’s overall power and cleaning abilities more than make up for this.
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!