When you go off camping or caravanning, you’ll want to make sure that your clothes are kept clean. For shorter trips, you can probably pack enough to last you but if you’re going on a longer vacation, you’re going to need to pack one additional piece of equipment; a portable washing machine.Now, if you’ve never heard of these devices, you could be forgiven for thinking how on earth can a washing machine be portable? Yes, the one in your utility room at home is a large, bulky appliance that is about as portable as Mount Everest. But there are compact, portable washing machines that are great for trips away.
After reading this guide, you’ll feel confident in choosing the best portable washing machine for you and your family. We’ve also put together a handy list of some of the best products on the market so you don’t need to spend time narrowing down your options.
Do I Really Need A Portable Washing Machine?
Have you ever been on a camping trip for a long time and ended up having to wear dirty clothes because you didn’t pack enough? We’ve all been there but we learn from our mistakes. If you’ve felt this pain then there is hope and that comes in the form of the portable washing machine.
These compact appliances are ideal for when you’re on the go and can make packing for a lengthy trip so much less stressful.
One thing you do need to keep in mind, however, is that you’ll need to have access to water and electricity. So, if you’re wild camping where there is no electric hook up, then this isn’t an appliance you’ll be able to take and you’ll have to resort to more traditional methods of cleaning your clothes. But then, if you’re wild camping, you’re probably looking to ditch the creature comforts anyway, am I right?
But for those headed to a campsite, a portable washing machine is an excellent option. Even when you’re at home, you might find a use for this piece of equipment. For example, some people who live in very small apartments or studios find a portable washing machine invaluable. You can still do your washing at home without having to worry about having space for a full sized machine.
The Pros and Cons Of Portable Washing Machines
The biggest advantage of a portable washing machine is that it is compact and lightweight. Even on the go, they don’t take up a huge amount of room.
Unlike a full sized washing machine, the portable version is very easy to set up. We’ll give you a guide on this later in the article.
Portable washing machines are very affordable, especially when compared to a full sized machine.
Portable washing machines do not perform as well as larger, full sized versions.
It’s very difficult to come across a portable washing machine with a drying function which means you will have to air dry your clothes.
You can’t fit as much into a portable washing machine.
Portable Washing Machines - Our Top Picks
You’d be surprised at how many portable washing machines are out there so choosing one can feel a little overwhelming. Especially, if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out our top picks of portable washing machines; there’ll be something for you.
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re looking for a portable washer that is ideal for camping then this is a great choice. It’s lightweight and very easy to use as well as having a good loading capacity which makes it excellent for families.
The washing machine weighs just 12kg so while it doesn’t sit on wheels, it’s easy enough to move around. And on the subject of ease, the three dials located at the top of the machine make it incredibly easy to operate even if you’ve never used this type of machine before.
Moreover, the Think Gizmos portable washing machine is large enough for bigger loads since it has a 3.6kg capacity on the wash side of the machine and a 2kg capacity on the spin side. What’s more, it takes just 15 minutes to get through one wash so you won’t be waiting around for ages to get your clothes clean.
There’s a drainage pump included but you do have to load it with water before use and you’ll also get a free lint filter.
A++++ energy rating
We couldn’t find anything wrong with this portable washing machine
Easy to use
Good loading capacity
Drainage pump and lint filter included
With a 3kg load capacity, the Artist’s Hand washing machine is great for families where there’s a slightly greater need to wash more items. But despite it’s decent size, it still only weighs 5kg when unloaded so it’s beautifully easy to move around. Moreover, it boasts a tall, slim design that’s easy to fit into even the tightest spaces.
We love that this portable washing machine is so user friendly. It comes with a simple dial so there’s no complicated controls and there’s an intake and drainage hose so you won’t find yourself in a mess trying to get rid of that dirty water.
If you’re conscious about doing your bit for the planet then you’ll love this washing machine. Not only is it A+ energy rated but it’s also made from eco-friendly materials that are kind to the planet and help save energy. It’s a win-win all around!
But what really sets this one apart from the rest is that it comes with a drying basket. This is ideal for families that need clothes cleaned as quickly and conveniently as possible. There are a selection of programs between one and ten minutes for the washer and up to three minutes for the dryer so it’s also super fast!
Doesn’t dry clothes completely
Easy to use controls
Separate wash and dry tub
Fast washing in just ten minutes
We’re all looking for a good bargain and you won’t find anything much better than this portable washing machine from Leisure Direct. It’s got a 3kg loading capacity which is more than enough for your day to day needs when camping and it boasts a spin dry function.
The machine only weighs around 5kg and is compact enough to fit on a worktop or table so you won’t have to use up floor space. This makes it a great option for smaller caravans and tents. You can even use this in the home if you don’t have room for a larger washing machine.
If you don’t have access to plumbed water then it’s no problem as this washing machine requires filling up at the start of each cycle. It’s easy to operate and comes with a timer that can be set to wash for up to fifteen minutes. Furthermore, if it’s an energy saving device you want then this is one of the best options on the market.
Spin function is lacking
Good sized loading capacity
Lightweight and compact
Easy to use dials
BEST FOR TIGHT SPACES
It’s no secret that being in a tent or caravan isn’t the most spacious thing you’ll ever experience. You need to be creative when it comes to using as little space as possible while still having everything you need. But there is some good news and it comes in the form of this brilliant little desktop washing machine.
At first glance, you might not think this is anything more than just a storage box as it has an unassuming and inoffensive design. But open it up and you’ll find 3.8 litres of space to wash your clothes.
It weighs less than 1kg when unloaded so it’s perfect if you need something lightweight and with such an affordable price, you’re getting excellent value for money. We’ll admit, it’s not the most powerful machine but it is ideal for under garments, baby clothes and other small items when you’re on the go. Similar to hand washing, it’s gentle on your clothes and gets them wonderfully clean.
Not the most powerful portable washing machine on the market
Great for small spaces
Brilliant value for money
BEST FOLDING MACHINE
If you’re short on space then you’ll need a more compact machine. This one is ideal as not only is it compact enough to put in a corner so it’s out the way but it’s also got a smaller load capacity so it’s ideal for single people, couples or washing baby clothes.
What’s more, the portable washing machine will fold away so it’s just 5 inches in height; small enough to stow under furniture or in a cupboard. It weighs just 2kg so it’s one of the lightest machines on the market. Even if you have to walk to your camping spot, you won’t be weighed down.
Operating the washing machine is super simple thanks to a touch control and you have the choice between three wash cycles that take no longer than 15 minutes. The machine features a drainage port but there’s no need to tilt or tip it as it’s designed to easily drain. Being a powered machine, there’s no need for manual work, just set the machine and go.
Not suitable for larger loads
Folds away between uses
One touch control
Three wash cycles
What Do I Need To Look For When Choosing A Portable Washing Machine?
It’s all well and good picking one of our top portable washing machines and hitting the ‘buy now’ button. But even though we’re confident in the quality of each washing machine we have chosen, not all of them are going to be suitable for everyone. That’s why it’s really important to further narrow down your choices by comparing features and making sure that the washing machine has everything you need.
When looking at any type of washing machine, one of the first things you’ll look at is how much you can fit in at once. However, this is even more important when choosing a portable washer as they’re generally much smaller so you’ll need to make sure there’s enough room for your needs.
Normally, a full sized machine would have around 5.4 cubic feet of space inside whereas the average portable washer only has 3.5. It’s quite a difference but then it really depends on how much you intend on washing. If you’re just looking to keep your undies clean when you’re adventuring then you’ll want something markedly smaller than if you were looking to wash blankets, towels and other heavy items.
You could be fooled into thinking that all portable washing machines are powered by electricity. But that is a common misconception. Sure, there are those that plug into power and do the hard work for you but there are also those that are not powered.
The electric versions are pretty much the same as a large washer in that they connect to power and a water source and away you go. Of course, if you’re camping or caravanning, you’ll need to make sure you have a hook up.
But what if you want to go off grid? Well, there is a solution. A non powered portable washing machine works with hand power so it’s up to you to spin the clothes. Yes, it’s more effort but it’s a lifesaver when you don’t have access to power.
As well as hooking your portable washing machine up to power, you’ll need to give it access to water but how this works is vastly different between machines. There are some that can be connected to a tap in the kitchen or bathroom and these are very convenient.
On the other hand, you might choose one that needs to be manually filled up and emptied before and after each use. This is less convenient but again is great if you’re off the grid and don’t have access to plumbed water. You’ll need to think about where you’ll be camping in order to choose the right option for you.
All portable washing machines come with a different number of extra features. They’re not all essential but they can make life easier when using your machine.
For example, some portable washing machines are fitted with caster wheels which makes them much easier to move around. You’ll normally find that this feature is reserved for bigger electric models.
Other portable washing machines come with features that might normally be seen on a full sized washing machine. A delay start function allows you to prep the machine and hit start but it won’t actually turn on for a predetermined amount of time. This is great if you’re looking to be more considerate of how much energy you are using.
Finally, a lot of portable washing machines come with a viewing window located at the top of the machine. Again, this is not a necessary feature but it does give you the opportunity to monitor what’s going on inside.
How Do You Use A Portable Washing Machine?
One of the best things about a portable washing machine is how easy they are to install. If you’re using a powered model that connects to a water outlet then it’s merely a case of plugging them in and hooking the pipe up to a tap.
In any case, you will need to make sure that you have somewhere for the waste water to be disposed of. This is unless you are using a machine that requires emptying manually after use.
When you’re on the road for a holiday in a tent or caravan, you don’t always have those home comforts. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Rather than having to pack every item of clothing you own or end up wearing dirty clothes, why not invest in a portable washing machine?
They give you a viable way of keeping your clothes clean on the go and are easy enough to transport thanks to how compact they are. It’ll change the way you travel forever!