The Best Portable Washing Machines Under $250

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A woman holds a stack of laundry in front of an RV parked in the desert. She can use one of the best portable washing machines anywhere she parks in her tiny space!

Camping can be a dirty adventure. Depending on your trip length, you might find yourself needing a laundromat.

While these facilities are nice, sometimes they aren’t conveniently located, and the costs can quickly add up.

But what are your options if your RV doesn’t have washer hookups? What if you don’t even have electricity?

That’s where the best portable washing machines for your RV come in. 

What Is a Portable Washing Machine?

You can use a portable washing machine when a traditional washer and dryer don’t work with your setup. A mobile unit is typically smaller and less powerful than a standard washer but great for RVs and boats.

You can pull them out when needed and tuck them away when done. Some are single tubs while others are twin-tub washing machines.

Do Portable Washing Machines Really Work?

While you shouldn’t expect the same results as a traditional unit, portable washing machine users are usually impressed with how effective these little machines can be. Due to their petite nature, they’ll take on smaller loads, but you’ll still end up with clean clothes. 

You’ll likely want to use a good stain remover solution before putting your clothes in, as the reduced power reduces the agitation. It’s an excellent option for when you’re on the go, though! 

What to Look for in a Portable Washing Machine

You don’t want to waste your money on a portable washing machine that doesn’t do the job. Here are a few things to consider before making your purchase.


Even though they’re typically on the smaller side, there are various size options within the portable washing machine category. A solo or even couple traveler can get by with a smaller unit, while larger families will want a higher capacity washer. 

Power Source

Keep in mind your access to a power source. The last thing you want is to get a fancy new washing machine to find out you can’t power it!

The most common appliance voltage is 120V. Ensure you can access the proper electrical connections to run your machine before buying. 

Water Management

Will you be camping with full hookups, or do you often go boondocking? You’ll have less water available when you’re boondocking and need to be extra mindful of that when deciding on the best portable washing machine.

Water conservation is never bad, so choosing a low water solution may still be ideal. 

Best Overall: Magic Chef Compact Portable Top Load Washer

Magic Chef White MCSTCW09W1 0.9 cu. ft. Compact Washer
  • 5 wash cycles; 3 Water levels; Electronic controls with digital display
  • See-thru Glass Lid; Detergent Dispenser; Adjustable Legs

This top-loading portable washing machine feels similar to something you’d find in a house or apartment. It features five wash cycles and three water levels, giving you exactly what you need from a wash. It holds 0.9 cubic feet of clothing. (A traditional washer can hold 3-4 cubic feet of clothing for reference.) 

The Magic Chef portable washing machine has electronic controls and a digital display. It weighs 44.1 pounds and stands at 33.1” tall, 20.5” wide, and 20.5” long. You’ll need 120 Volts to run it, but it’s an excellent affordable machine that will last a long time.

Best Budget: KUPPET Compact Twin Tub Portable Mini Washing Machine

KUPPET Compact Twin Tub Portable Mini Washing Machine 26lbs Capacity, Washer(18lbs)&Spiner(8lbs)/Built-in Drain Pump/Semi-Automatic (White&Gray)
  • 🛒【Large Capacity】You can operate washer or spinner separately, and you can also run two sides on the same time....
  • 🔄【Built-in Drain Pump】Built-in drain pump drains dirty water by more longer drainage tube from washer. Drainage...

If you want a budget-friendly portable washing machine, the KUPPET Compact Twin Tub Portable Mini Washing Machine is worth a look. Once you’ve completed your 15-minute wash cycle, move the clothing to the spin compartment to speed up the drying process. 

The title states this option is a twin-tub washing machine. This portable washer will hold 18 pounds of clothing in the washing drum and 8 pounds in the spin cycle compartment. KUPPET portable machine is 31.9” tall, 27.4” long, and 16.1” wide and weighs 37.5 pounds. The voltage is 110 Volts.

Best for Camping: Lavario Manual Portable Clothes Washer

Lavario Portable Clothes Washer (Manual Non-Electric Portable Washing Machine for Camping, Apartments, RV’s, Delicates) (Blue & White) (Made in the USA)
  • PATENTED! Best portable clothes washer in the world. See our 2-minute video. Lavario is the only non-electric clothes...
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: Hand-powered, non-electric, easy up & down motion, incredible cleaning power.

Those camping without access to power still have an option for fresh clothes with the Lavario Manual Portable Clothes Washer. The user manually manipulates the unit to start the wash cycle. You fill the basin of clothing with water and detergent, manually agitate the clothing, and rinse. 

This option requires more work but gives you fresh clothes with no energy usage. You can even wash jeans and sweatshirts in this washer, showing that sometimes a bit of work pays off in the end. 

The Lavario holds 5 gallons of materials and weighs 10 pounds.

Can You Use Tide Pods in a Portable Washer?

While Tide Pods are a popular laundry detergent option for traditional washing machines, they may not be the best choice for portable washers.

Portable washers have smaller capacities and use less water than traditional washers, making it difficult for Tide Pods to dissolve completely. If the pods do not fully dissolve, they leave a residue on your clothes and the inside of the washer.

To avoid this, it is recommended to use a liquid laundry detergent specifically designed for portable washers or is biodegradable. This type of detergent is formulated to dissolve completely in less water and provide effective cleaning in a portable washer.

Make Laundry Day Easier

Ultimately, having access to laundry is essential for a successful lengthy trip. Having your own portable washer makes it even easier and saves you money over a laundromat. Is it worthwhile to you?

Last update on 2024-04-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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