If you travel regularly or live in a small space without a washing machine, laundry is probably an ongoing logistical nightmare for you. Going to laundry facilities can be costly and time-consuming, but washing all of your clothes by hand is hardly a practical alternative. You don’t have to resign yourself to either approach, though, thanks to a fairly new and fantastically convenient solution: portable washers.
A portable washer can be a lifesaver for anyone living in a small space like a dorm, apartment, or condo, and portable washers are so versatile that you can even take them on the road to be used in hotels and RVs. A portable clothes washer can truly be used anywhere that you have a few feet of space and access to water.
What Is a Portable Washer?
A portable washer is a compact top-loading washing machine that does not need a permanent water line connection. Many portable washers are less than 3 feet tall and have a depth and width of less than 2 feet. Weight can vary considerably; some models are less than 50 pounds, while heavier ones weigh in above 100 pounds.
Water capacity generally ranges from 1 to 2 cubic feet, or a bit below half the capacity of regular washers. Most portable washers offer a few settings for water level, speed, and cycles, giving you all of the basic options that you need to get the job done.
How Does a Portable Washer Work?
Since a portable washer is not permanently connected to a water line, it must be filled manually or hooked up to a water source via a hose. Some washers are equipped with a hose or at least an inlet, and if you attach the hose directly to a faucet, you can maintain a convenient semi-permanent setup. Washers that lack a hose connection take a little more effort to use, but these can be the best option if you want a washer to take traveling and know that you may not always have a water line to set the washer up next to. Portable washers also have a second drainage hose that can be fed into a sink or drain.
What Are the Different Washer Types?
There are two main categories of portable washers: those with hoses for water hook-ups and those that do not require a connection. The ideal option depends on whether you are more concerned with convenience or mobility.
Of course, water intake is not the only important choice; people interested in owning one of these machines would also want to consider:
- What the weight, dimensions, and capacity are
- What the maximum spin speed is
- How many cycles there are
- Whether cycles are customizable or preset
- Whether the machine has casters and handles for easy moving
Anyone who plans to buy a portable clothes washer needs to think about how it will be used beforehand, since these machines offer so many options.
How Much Clothing Can One Accommodate?
Laundry load size can vary significantly between portable washers. You will want to look at the machine’s water capacity in cubic feet as well as its laundry capacity.
Some companies list capacity in weight — with a typical range of 6 to 12 pounds, a 9-pound capacity is average — while others will describe the number of shirts, pants, or other garments that the washer can accommodate.
What About Drying the Clothes?
A small drawback of portable washers is that they do not have dryers built in. There are portable dryers, but if space and money make buying one a stretch, there are other ways to get by.
To dry your clothes quickly and make them feel soft instead of starchy, try the following:
- Remove the clothes from the washer as soon as they are done to eliminate wrinkles and expedite drying.
- Invest in a drying rack or set up a clothesline, and place it where air circulation is good.
- Rotate or reposition your clothes halfway through drying to speed up the process and eliminate obvious drying lines.
- Try using extra fabric softener or natural softeners like vinegar — but first, check your machine’s instruction manual to make sure that doing so is fine.
A Convenient Laundry Solution at Last
Portable washers are an economical, space-friendly solution for a number of situations. Whether you want to take some of the hassle out of travel or make up for a deficit in your washer-free living space, a portable washer is an option that is well worth looking into, especially considering the growing variety that you can choose from today.