Portable Washing Machines: An Overview

Portable washing machines (or caravan washing machines) are extremely popular appliances and we will be covering a few of their basics here now.

What is a portable washing machine?

Often used by caravan campers and individuals with limited space in their homes, portable washing machines are smaller, lighter versions of standard washing machines.

Generally measuring only approximately 3 feet in height and 2 feet in width, they can be easily transported and/or conveniently hidden in a pocket of unused space. 

Although each model varies in its exact load capacity, most can generally handle loads weighing anywhere from 1.5kg to 5kg. While these loads are relatively small when compared to a standard home washer, the larger 5kg models should still be able to accommodate a family during a caravanning trip.

Do I need a portable washing machine?

While caravan washing machines are not necessary to go caravanning, many campers still benefit from the convenience that they provide. If you often find yourself camping in caravan parks equipped with laundry facilities, you probably won’t need one; but, some people generally enjoy the “roughing it” experience of washing their clothes. It’s all up to the individual in question. Because camping can be a messy activity, people tend to go through more clothes than they anticipate, especially when travelling with children. In these cases, a portable washing machine can be a good investment.

How do I use a portable washing machine?

*Always read your instruction manual prior to use

Because these accessories were largely developed for convenience, using a portable washing machine is really quite simple. “Installation” consists of simply connecting the portable washer to a water source and, later, a power source. Once everything is connected, you should fill the portable washing machine with the appropriate amount of water and add a small amount of detergent-- liquid is generally preferred. Once the tub water is ready, you just need to add the clothes, plug the washer in and turn it on. Some twin-tub washers require that the camper move the clothes into the rinsing bin once the wash cycle has completed, while others need you to drain and add new water for each cycle. Once your clothes have been washed, they can easily be hung outside or dried with a portable dryer.

How much does a portable washing machine cost?

A portable washing machine can be bought for anywhere from $80 to $800, depending on the model in question. Basic portable washers can often be purchased for approximately $80 while a more “standard” model is generally sold for $300.  Prices above $300 can generally be attributed to a larger number of features (such as wash cycles, speeds, and settings). Therefore, it’s important to be sure that the features you are purchasing are worth the added price. Now that you know a bit more about portable washing machines, you need to examine your camping habits and preferences to determine whether you could truly benefit from purchasing one.


DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.