There are some things in life you can't do without. A washing machine is one of these!
Sometimes, having a full-size one is a bit of a problem. You could be away in a caravan, on a boat, or staying in a bedsit for a
short undetermined amount of time (I've been there!).
In such cases, a mini washing machine makes a lot of sense. They're small, portable and best of all - they're cheap.
We took at look at the best portable washing machines on the UK market. Here are the top 7 you can buy in 2023 (scroll down for reviews).
The Best Portable / Mini Washers For 2023
Last update on 2023-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
***Read Our Reviews Here***
Our Top Portable Washing Machine Pick
Our best portable/mini washing machine of 2023 is the OneConcept Mini-Camping Washing Machine.
This is the perfect washer for a caravan, boat, or short-stay accommodation. It's a twin-tub (with spinner) that can wash 2/3 pairs of gains and couple of t-shirts very easily.
- Camping washing machine with separate spin chamber | 250W rinse / 120W spin | 2 programs for delicate and normal washes
- Comparatively light weight – just 10.2kg | Side handles for easy transport
- Wash timer (0 to 15 minutes) | Spin timer (0 to 5 minutes) | Fixed drainage pipe
Last update on 2023-11-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
How Does A Portable Washing Machine Work?
Portable washing machines work a little differently to their full-sized brethren.
You usually need to fill them with hot (or cold) water to start washing clothes. The larger models come with a hose you can hook up to a tap. The smaller ones you can put in a sink or use a bucket or hosepipe to fill.
Draining is also slightly different. Most of these models don't have an automatic pump. Some use gravity and a hose to drain the water. So you'll need to put the hose in a drain or sink. The smaller models can just be emptied out once your finished.
Portable Washer Features To Watch Out For
Here are a few things you need to consider when looking at the different mini / portable washing machines on the UK market.
Size – this is the defining factor of these portable models.
You need it to be small enough to be placed on a table top, for example, or in a very small space in your caravan, boat, bedsit or wherever you need it.
Among the five models reviewed, you will see that we provided the size, so you can check if it is small enough for you – we reckon all of these will pass the test!
Capacity – you are never going to match the load capacity of a standard washer, but you still want it to be able to launder a load that will get you through the holiday, for example.
We’ve given you the capacity of each one in the description, so you can compare and decide.
Simplicity – ease of use is of paramount importance with these appliances.
You don’t want to be fiddling around with complex controls when you have limited time and space, so being able to simply set it to wash and leave it to do the job is an attractive option.
Portable – Another key feature. You want something that you can either take on holiday or with you when you move.
Some of these have built-in handles that make them easier to move around. You should also check the overall weight of the item.
Functions – don’t expect all the features and functions from your home machine, but still look for the best range of features for you.
If it’s for holiday use, for example, a good fast-wash feature is a bonus.
That’s a few of the things you need to consider when comparing the models on our list, now let’s have a look at them in greater detail.
Mini / Portable Washer Reviews
When considering the best mini washing machines of 2019, we kept in mind all the key features that we outlined above.
We're confident you'll find something on our list that fits with your budget and space.
The Costway 2 in 1 is design that many people with boats and caravans love.
Well, first off it's fully automatic so it will save you a lot less hassle. There's 6 programs and 3 different water levels to chose from. After that, it's off and running.
To give you an idea of how efficient it works, if you select the "Medium" program it will perform a wash, rinse and spin in around 40-minutes.
The LED panel clearly displays the cycle time and will beep to let you know it's done. It will also automatically adjust the water level if it gets too low.
It's 3.5KG size means it can handle a couple of pairs of jeans and towels, but while a double duvet cover will be o.k a king-size might be pushing it (especially when spinning). To be honest, this is the same as most of these mini-machines.
However, unlike the other designs where you tip the water in, this Costway design comes with a tap hose and it's a gravity drainer.
A lot of people put use it in their shower units so the water can just drain away. Another option is putting the outlet house into a sink or bowl.
The unit measures L43CM*W43CM*H75CM. This means it's about 15cm shorter and 17cm slimmer than regular washing machines.
It weighs 18KG so you can get it into a boat or a caravan without too many problems. But it's possibly too heavy for a single person to carry up a flight of stairs.
However, the extra weight means that it doesn't bounce around too much when spinning and it's reasonably quiet when working.
All in all, if you're looking for something that is "semi-fixed" that you can move in and out of a boat, RV, or temporary accommodation - this one ticks all the boxes.
The first on our list is a a great choice for a boat, caravan or RV. It's made by Electric Star - a German company, but does that mean it's any good?
Single duvet covers are o.k - but anything larger than that and you may well struggle.
At 10.5kg it's light and portable. It measures 57cm x 58cm x 35cm so it takes up a really small amount of space.
Here's a video from the manufacturer showing it in action.
As you can see, there are 2 wash programmes - "Soft" and "Strong" and a timer up to 15-minutes. It's quick due to it's small size and because you don't need to heat the water.
The 2nd drum is for spinning and that's also fast with a timer that goes up to 5 minutes.
It comes with all the hoses but there have been a few reports that these aren't the best quality. To get round this, many people use a bowl or a bucket and tip the hot water in.
All in all, this is an ideal if you're going camping and want to wash and dry a few items quickly.
This model from the Syntrox, a German brand that makes a number of very neat such appliances. It comes with some impressive credentials.
Measuring just 41cm x 67cm x 38cm, it's compact enough to fit on a table top or inside any caravan.
With a weight of just 8kg it is also surprisingly light, making it entirely suitable for carrying around between locations.
It has also been awarded with Energy Rating "A" efficiency - which is high for this style of washer.
Another big plus is you can get a full 4kg load inside. That’s enough for a single person home, and more than enough for a holiday machine.
There are two timer settings: one is for the wash cycle (0 - 15 mins), and the other for the spin (0 - 3 mins), which gives you a 300rpm speed. Please note you can only spin half-loads (2kg) though.
The spin speed is a fraction of a standard washer, but seeing as most don't have a spin-cycle it's certainly better than nothing!
This is one of the more expensive on our list, but for German engineering and those who want a portable washer that doesn't look too cheap - it's ideal.
Many people love the "Twin Tub" design and they're very popular outside of the UK. This model is compact, yet it's pretty powerful with a large capacity.
The extra size is put to good use though. You can wash up to 13 lbs (just under 6kg) in the two tubs. 8lbs ( 3.6kg ) in the washer and 5 lbs (2.4kg ) in the spinner.
Best of all, the spin speed is 1300 rpm, which is about the same as a regular washing machine.
So with this one, you get a fairly decent capacity and a spin speed which will really cut down the drying time.
Both the washer and the spinner are controlled by a timer, which up to 15 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.
People love this particular design as it doesn't need to be plumbed in. There are 2 hoses, one for the intake (about a meter long) and one outflow hose. You also have the option of filling with a bucket, too.
If you have a bit more space to play with and won't be moving it anytime soon, this is an excellent choice.
If any on our list can lay claim to being truly "mini"; this is the one; it measures just 21.9" by 14.8 by 23.2" - and is just 60cm from floor to top. This means it should fit easily into most kitchen cabinets.
What's really impressive about this one is it has a relatively large washing capacity - 3.5kg. You'd probably get away with 3 T-shirts and 4 pair of jeans, or a lot of socks and pants!
It has a 220V electric motor which is pretty quiet when it's working. You wouldn't get any complaints from neighboring caravans.
There is a spin dryer, too. This is smaller at 1.5kg and a few users have commented that it's not the best (while praising the washing function).
You can fill this little washer using either a hosepipe or bucket. Some people also use it in their bath tub. It gravity drains and you can put the hose into a sink or drain.
For the price, this is a fantastic mini-washing machine to take care of your essentials.
Our final choice is the second twin-tub model in the selection, and while not as portable as some of these, it uses its size to great effect.
It can handle a 5kg wash load and a 3kg drier load. This is more than ample for a student or single-person home, or for caravan or boat use.
The drier also spins at 1300rpm, which is as good as some standard machines.
Again, this is a model that would be best placed where it is going to stay. It would suit somewhere like a static caravan, a motor-home or University halls of residence.
It’s also sensibly priced, so worth adding to your shortlist.
We had to include this Candy Aqua model - even though it's more expensive than many regular-sized washers.
To give you an idea of how far the 3.5kg capacity goes, it could wash 4 t-shirts and 3 pairs of jeans. At a stretch, it might handle a couple's clothes for the weekend!
Candy also claim the Aqua features are in-line with it's larger cousin, and to some extent that's true.
There are 18 programs including a 32 minute quick wash, a wool and dedicates program and the choice of either a 3,6, or 9 hour timer-delay.
In terms of energy-efficiency, it's rated A+ and put out 78db during high-spin and 56db during normal operation. Again, this is about the same as an average 7kg washer.
Still, if you want a front-loading washing machine for a caravan or small space, this one is the pick from a small selection (no pun intended!).
If you're interested in this one, it's worth checking out Appliances Online as they have this at a good price.
And finally....time for something a little bit different....
Great if you want to keep fit while doing your chores!
There's a 3kg capacity and happy buyers report it can even handle a king-sized duvet!
Once you've placed the clothes inside there is a pressured lid you screw on top. It looks and works just like a cement mixer!
Once you've cranked it for a few minutes the detergent will have dissolved and your clothes will be clean.
Simple attach the supplied funnel and the water drains away when you're finished.
Unlike cement mixers, it's made of plastic so it's easy to lift onto tables and sinks. This does mean the base is a bit flimsy, but I guess that's a trade-off for having something that's truly portable.
Here's a great video of the wonder wash in action:
I love this design and think it would be perfect to take camping or on a boat. Quite a few people are also using it as an emergency washing machine, too.
You need to be aware that clothes take a lot longer to dry using the wonder wash. However, using a spin dryer could cut this time in half.
Portable Washing Machine FAQs
Are portable mini washing machines any good?
Portable mini washing machines are ideal for boats, RVs, caravans, and people who want to save energy and money. They are also much quicker (and a lot less hassle) than hand-washing.
What is the difference between a portable washer and a regular washer?
The two main differences between a portable washer and a regular washer are the size and power. These mini washing machines are typically 3KG-5KG and operate at a much lower spin speed.
Do portable washing machines use a lot of electricity?
Portable washing machines are a lot more energy-efficient as they're smaller and have a slower spin speed than regular washers. They also work out a lot cheaper than going to the launderette.
Can you manually fill a portable washing machine?
Yes, you do need to manually fill most portable washing machines with hot water as they are not plumbed in.
Can you use fabric softener in a portable washing machine?
While there isn't a fabric softener dispenser, you can add softener before the rinse cycle. It's recommend to add 1 parts softener to 3 parts water to ensure it doesn't stick to your clothes.