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Which Is the Best Portable Clothes Washer For RV Use?

Which Is the Best Portable Clothes Washer For RV Use?

A portable clothes washer can be a great option for those with limited space or for any RV that didn’t come with a washing machine… in theory. The problem is that some just don’t perform well. So, in today’s post, we’ll tell you what to look for when choosing a portable clothes washer for RV use.

What Is a Portable Clothes Washer?

As the name obviously implies, a clothes washer is designed to clean/wash your clothing, of course. A portable clothes washer is a small movable washing machine that can be used and stored in a limited space. Some of these can be automatic portables that do a surprisingly decent job.

A quick heads-up right off the bat: portable clothes washers for RVs aren’t the largest washing machines available by any stretch. So don’t expect to do your entire family’s laundry in a portable clothes washer all at once.

But, portable units can provide help you stay on top of laundry when you’re traveling, without having to find a laundromat and spend half a “laundry day” there washing & drying your clothes.

A small, non-electrical bucket-type clothes washer for camping

A portable clothes washer for RV use can agitate a few articles of clothing at a time to clean them. They’re lightweight and compact, so of course, they lack the washing capacity that larger machines can provide.

There are also small “bucket-type” or tub washing machines that’ll do small laundry loads (with your help) without using electricity. This type can be used anywhere you may be camping, even when you’re off the grid with no power available.

These aren’t a whole lot different from hand-washing and rinsing. You’re basically putting some water and detergent in a bucket to agitate and spin. In this post, we’re not talking about those bucket-type washers. We’re also not covering full-size washing machines, or combination washer/dryer units. For those, see our post on washer-dryer combos for RVs.

In this post, we’re just looking at small, portable clothes washers to help travelers stay ahead of laundry by washing and rinsing modest amounts of clothing so you can focus on your camping trip instead of your laundry.

What to Look For In a Portable Clothes Washer for RV Use

What we’re essentially looking for in a small portable washer is a unit that’ll do a small load of laundry to give you clean clothes to wear throughout your travels. They’re perfect for catching up on select items that need cleaning between major wash days.

Wash Capacity

Again, portable clothes washers aren’t going to accommodate the capacity of clothing you’re used to washing in your home washing machine. But you’ll want to compare capacities when you’re shopping for a portable clothes washer for RV use because some are considerably smaller than others.

Note also that if you find a brand you’re interested in, they may be available in more than one size, so check the links for information on larger and smaller capacity washers from the same brand.

Spin Cycle

If you’re going to dry your clothes on a line or drying rack in your rig or outside, you’ll want to be sure to buy a portable clothes washer with a spin cycle.

Just like large residential clothes washers, the spin cycle will basically “wring” the water out of your clothes before you hang them up to dry. The drier the better, so select a washer with a spin cycle and read user reviews to make sure the spin cycle works adequately. Generally, the higher the RPM the better, since centrifugal force is shat wrings the water out.

Spin cycle on a washing machine

A washing machine’s spin cycle essentially spins the water out of the clothing so that it’s significantly drier when removed from the machine.

Twin Tub

Some people prefer a twin tub machine. With two tubs, washing takes place in one tub while the spin cycle occurs in a separate tub on the other side of the machine.

This means that you can be washing a small load on one side while your previous load is spinning on the other side. This saves time, particularly if you’re washing a larger volume of clothing. Keep in mind that many, if not most, machines have smaller spin-side capacities than wash capacities. (You’ll see this noted in our featured items below.)

Also note that twin tub machines are larger (wider) than single tub machines. Not everyone has the space available for a twin tub machine, but if you do, this may be something you’re interested in including on your list of features to consider.

Stainless Steel Tub

Many portable clothes washers have plastic tubs. If you’ll only rarely be using your machine and you don’t want the weight of a stainless steel tub, you may not care about this.

However, clothes washers for RV use with stainless steel tubs not only tend to perform better, but they’re also more durable overall. Higher-end portable washing machines tend to have stainless steel tubs, while less expensive units don’t.

User Reviews On Portable Clothes Washers For RV Use

We include this in our “what to look for” section because real-life user reviews are particularly important with items like this. Many of the models we researched appeared to be feature-rich and promising. But when we scoured user reviews, we’d find 15-20% of purchasers were sorely dissatisfied with their purchase after a fairly short period of use.

So, as always, read user reviews carefully as part of good research. Also, if you want a satisfying experience with any portable clothes washer for RV use, it’s bast to have reasonable expectations.

Portable Clothes Washers for RVs

Now let’s take a look at several different clothes washers for RV use (or for any use where you have limited space).

BLACK+DECKER Small Portable Washer

On the more expensive end of the washers we’re including in this post is this 0.9 cu. ft. unit from Black & Decker. Dimensions of this washer are 17.7″D x 17.3″W x 31.1″H and it weighs 48.4 lbs.

This is a top-loading RV clothes washer with 5 cycles to select from: Heavy, Gentle, Normal, Rapid, and Soak. It also offers three water level choices for small, medium, and large loads.

This unit features a delayed start for up to 24 hours as well as an automatic shut-off and a child lock to avoid accidental engagement.

An excellent feature of this portable clothes washer is its durable, corrosion-resistant stainless steel tub. It also offers automatic off-balance detection, which can be especially important in a small washing machine.

For portability, this Black & Decker portable clothes washer is on two rollers and has two side handles as well as a front adjustable leveling leg. It comes with a quick-connect adaptor, a water supply hose, and a drain hose.

BLACK+DECKER Small Portable Washer, Washing Machine for Household Use, Portable Washer 0.9 Cu. Ft. with 5 Cycles, Transparent Lid & LED Display
  • 5 CYCLE SELECTION—Wash your laundry with this superior BLACK+DECKER best portable washer. Our portable clothes washer (17.3” x 17.7” x 31.1”)...
  • IMPRESSIVE FUNCTIONALITY—With your new washer machine (48.4 lbs.) you have 3 water level choices for small, medium, and large loads with cold water...

Panda PAN356HB Small Portable Washing Machine

This is another high-quality top-loading portable clothes washer with a 1.34 cu. ft. stainless steel tub. With dimensions of 19″D x 20″W x 34″H and a weight of 50 pounds, the Panda has a 10-pound capacity (meaning it will hold 10 pounds of clothes).

This washer offers 5 water levels and 10 different cycles: Normal, Standard, Quick Wash, Heavy Duty, Soak & Wash, Wash, Wash & Rinse, Rinse & Spin, Spin, and Air Dry.

You’ll simply connect the washer directly to your faucet with the included quick-connect adapter kit and place the drain hose in a sink or tub. This unit also has two built-in rollers for easy portability.

Panda Portable Washing Machine 10 LBS Load Volume, Fully Automatic 1.34 Cu.ft Laundry Washer with Built-in Drain Pump, Top Load Clothes Washer for Apartment and Household
  • 𝐌𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐏𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐖𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫-Our Panda portable washer...
  • 𝐋𝐚𝐫𝐠𝐞 𝐕𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐦𝐞 & 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬-𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐞𝐥-Panda 1.34 Cu.Ft. portable laundry washer...

COSTWAY Portable Washing Machine

This is a twin-tub washing machine made of ABS plastic. It advertises a 20-pound capacity but that’s a total capacity number as the washer side holds 12 lbs while the spinner side holds 8 lbs, so that claim is a little misleading.

With the twin-tub design, you can wash a small load of clothes and then move them over to the spinning tub. While that load spins to remove the water from the clothes, you can start another small load in the washer side.

This unit has a timer so you can choose the desired wash and spin time for any particular load. This Costway portable clothes washer is 14″ x 25″ x 28.5″ and weighs 29 pounds.

COSTWAY Portable Washing Machine, Twin Tub 20 Lbs Capacity, Washer(12 Lbs) and Spinner(8 Lbs), Durable Design, Timer Control, Compact Laundry Washer for RV, Apartments and Dorms, Blue+White
  • 💦【Twin Tub Design】Featuring a twin tub washing design, this compact washing machine combines spinning function and washing function as one...
  • 💦【Timer Control】Different from other common washing machines that set a specific time, this premium washing machine is more flexible which...

ROVSUN Portable Washing Machine

This is another twin-tub style washer. While it’s advertised as having a 26-pound load capacity, it’s important to note that the capacity of the washer side is 18 lbs, while the spinner side holds up to 8 lbs. So again, that’s maybe a little misleading, so it’s important to pay attention to the details.

The washer and spinner sides can be run at the same time or separately, and there’s a separate timer control for the wash cycle and spin cycle.

This unit features a built-in pump that drains the dirty water via a 56.3″ long-run drainage tube/hose and a 1300RPM motor. Overall dimensions are ‎27.4″ x 16.1″ x 31.9″ and it weighs in at 26 pounds.

ROVSUN 26LBS Portable Washing Machine, Mini Twin Tub Washer with Washer(18lbs) & Spiner(8lbs) & Built-in Pump Draining for RV Camping Dorm College Apartment
  • 🛒【Large Capacity】You can operate washer or spinner separately, and you can also run two sides on the same time. The two tub design can meet...
  • 🔄【Built-in Drain Pump】Built-in drain pump drains dirty water by more longer drainage tube from washer. Drainage tube dimensions: 56.3", more...

If you don’t have the space (or the desire) for a portable clothes washer for your RV but would like some good tips to keep the annoyance factor as low as possible while doing laundry on the road, check out our post on RV laundry tips.

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Monday 21st of August 2023

We've had the Black and Decker washer (and dryer) in our fifth wheel for two years. For full time living, it's essential. I can put a king-sized blanket in it or loads up to that size. I do 6 loads of laundry a week. Even at the RV Resort where we stay most of the time where the laundry is cheaper, the laundry is $2 to wash and $2 to dry. At $4 a load, that's $24 a week in laundry! The washer and dryer was $800 for the pair. They paid for themselves very quickly!

Mona holt

Friday 22nd of September 2023

@Randy, does your rv have the washing machine hook up? Or do you move it around?

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