7 Best Portable Washing Machines of 2024 for Every Budget

These tiny appliances take a load off without taking up much space.

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Updated on January 17, 2024

Our Top Portable Washing Machine Picks:

Ever wish you could shrink your washing machine? How about your utility bill? The tiny appliance movement is growing as homeowners, renters and #VanLife travelers all search for more energy-efficient, water-saving appliances. And amid the pandemic, the portable washing machine exploded as urban dwellers needed an alternative to avoid the laundry mat and wash clothes at home. But portable washing machines have been around for years and come in handy for so many reasons, such as creating a new laundry station if you're remodeling your home and can't access your regular water hookup to a savvy way to conserve water on RV road trips to a godsend way to wash kid's stained clothes on vacation. Many of these nifty little tumblers don't even require electricity or a water hookup. Here are our top picks for portable washing machines, from compact washers to non-electric manual washing machines.

What Is a Portable Washing Machine?

A portable washing machine is like a mini fridge. It does the same job, it's just a lot smaller. An electric portable washing machine with a water hookup operates just like a regular washer except it's about half the size in cubic feet capacity than the most compact of washers. It's basically a machine for small loads only. And a manual portable washing machine, sometimes called a non-electric portable washing machine, can have an even smaller capacity. And these appliances operate — AKA agitates the clothing — by a manual crank or foot pump. It's basically a giant salad spinner for your clothes. And, yes, a portable washing machine cleans clothes just as effectively as a fancy washer with high-tech features. In fact, some people prefer to use a manual compact washer to wash delicate items such as heirloom linens and undergarments to better control the amount of agitation during the wash.

What to Consider When Buying a Portable Washing Machine

The most important thing to consider when shopping for a portable washing machine is the water hookup. The portability of these machines means you don't need a permanent water hose, however, for electric machines and many larger manual machines, you do need access to some kind of water faucet — ie. the kitchen sink, a bathroom, etc. So, it's important to consider the room or space where your portable washing machine would need to be. Another important factor is weight. Manual, compact washers are easy to travel with for road trips, boat trips or toting up and down stairs. However, larger electric portable washing machines are more bulky and less convenient for moving. And like shopping for washers and dryers of any size, always check the product description for the maximum load capacity as portable washing machines range in size from the ability to tackle small loads to only one item of clothing at a time.

Best Portable Washing Machine

In the sliding scale of features vs. price, the BLACK + DECKER Portable Washer hits the sweet spot. At less than one cubic foot capacity, it can't handle as many items as other electric portable washing machines, but it has five wash cycles including a heavy cycle. At nearly 50 pounds, this isn't the type of portable washing machine you'll be toting around frequently, but it's perfect for long-term spaces such as an apartment or mother-in-law suite where you'll be using it as an alternative to trips to the laundry mat. And at 300 watts, this smaller model is more generator-friendly than other larger portable washing machines, so it's great for tiny homes and other accessory dwelling units.

Best Budget Portable Washing Machine

If you don't want a manual washing machine but are on a strict budget, don't worry. You can still find an electric model for under $100. The SUPER DEAL Portable Washing Machine doesn't have the sleek design of the BLACK + DECKER, but for $89 it gets the job done. And for the price, it still has a couple of cycle modes available. Plus, the twin tub design means you can wash one load while spinning another at the same time. At 22 pounds, it's one of the lighter electric models. So, if you do plan on lugging it from a storage closet to the kitchen faucet, it's not as cumbersome as larger electric portable washing machines.

Best Manual Portable Washing Machine

Don't you love it when a restroom door has one of those foot pedals to slide the door open without touching? The Yirego Drumi has a similar hands-free design that blows other manual portable washing machines out of the water. No more churning your clothes like butter — and that can seriously save your arms. Most cycle instructions for portable washing machines last 10 minutes with on-again, off-again intervals of agitating or turning the washer which means hand cranking may not be the best option for those with arthritis or low mobility. The beauty of the manual foot pump is that those with arthritis can wear shoes while agitating the washer for more stability and even those who work from home can multitask with a washer under their desk!

Best Budget Manual Portable Washing Machine

While we love the Yirego foot pump, we don't love the price tag. If you're on a budget, The WonderWash has a cult following, and it's under $70! Just look at the more than 5,000 Amazon reviews. People have praised this machine for its consistent, thorough cleaning ability. And we love that it comes in a couple of fun colors, too. It is slightly heavier than other manual portable washing machines and some complaints say the bingo machine-type handle can get tiring so this may not be the best option for seniors or those with low mobility.

Best Splurge Portable Washing Machine

If you want all the bells and whistles of a regular-size washing machine, this is your buy. At 2.8 cubic feet, the GE Portable Top Loading Washer is somewhere in between a compact washing machine and a portable washing machine. It would actually make a great energy-saving alternative to a regular-sized washing machine for someone who only does small loads as it's just large enough to support a tiny stacking dryer, too. However, it's pricey for a pint-sized appliance. But it comes with smart features such as delayed wash, water temperature levels, a digital display screen with a timer and more. If you're going through a home renovation and plan on needing a portable washing machine for an extended amount of time, this one has more creature comforts than others.

Best Compact Portable Washing Machine

This is the portable washing machine for road trips, boat trips or anywhere where you're limited on your water supply and highly limited by space. This little cube (which was inspired by a salad spinner!) is less than five pounds, uses less than three gallons of water and is less than 15 inches wide. Its light, compact design also makes it a great choice for homeowners with low mobility looking for an easy-to-use portable washing machine. Unlike other manual portable washing machines with bingo machine-type handles, the hand crank for the Laundry POD sits on top of the lid and revolves around for less heavy stirring.

Best Portable Washing Machine for Travel

While we love the compact, cube-shaped Laundry POD, it's still too big for travel adventures such as backpacking and camping. Enter the Scrubba Portable Wash Bag. It's like a dry bag but in reverse. In fact, you can use it as a dry bag when not doing your laundry so it's perfect for paddle trips, too. Like an old-fashioned washboard, the interior lining of the nylon features a series of raised points to gently scrub clothing against and agitate dirt and oils. And when not in use, the 5.3-ounce bag folds up into a tiny square you can toss into your carry-on. You might not think about doing laundry on vacation, but if you travel with kiddos, this wash bag can be a godsend for surprise chocolate ice cream stains or potty-training accidents. And if you prefer to pack light, this bag can help you outfit repeat or wash your airport outfit for the trip home.

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