Are Portable Washing Machines Worth The Hype?

According to Statista, 20% of people in the United States don't own a washing machine. If you have ever lived without in-unit laundry, you know the struggle of having to haul all of your dirty clothes to the laundromat each week. It's not a journey many people are excited to take, and the hassle alone might leave you considering if that prime location apartment was really worth the trade-off. Thankfully, there's a simple solution that may solve your laundry day lament — the portable washing machine.

Portable washing machines have already begun to infiltrate the world of college dorms and New York apartments, but their relatively low cost and simple design might leave you wondering if it's too good to be true. Before you swear off laundromats for good, take some time to learn about the pros and cons of these simple little machines and whether or not they're the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

What is a portable washing machine?

According to Compact Appliance, portable washing machines work in a very similar way to traditional laundry machines, they're just not permanently installed to a water line. Instead, you fill the machine yourself with a hose or faucet, and plug it in to agitate the clothes like normal. After the cycle is done, simply dump the water and pull your clothes out to dry.

A portable washer may work in a similar way, but it can't handle the same amount of clothing as a full-size washer. To keep the machine easy to transport and store, they're usually only a couple of feet tall and have a capacity of 1 or 2 cubic feet. For reference, a regular washer has a capacity of around 3 or 4 cubic feet (via Best Buy). If you're doing laundry for a family (or you're just a fashionista), a portable washer may be too small to keep up with daily demand.

Are portable washing machines cost effective?

One of the main motivators to do laundry at home is the cost of running loads at the laundromat. The average charge to wash a load at a coin laundry is $2 (via National Laundry Equipment), not including the price of detergent or transportation. On the other hand, a portable washing machine will run you anywhere from $60 to $400, depending on size, brand, and quality. If you're willing to make the initial investment, it can save you money down the line, but it'll take quite a few loads to break even.

When it comes down to it, the decision to purchase a portable washing machine all hinges on preference and convenience. If you're a single person in an apartment who truly despise hauling your items to the laundromat, investing in a machine can save you a headache and get the job done. Otherwise, it might be best to consider other options.