My Quest to Find the Best Portable, Non-Electric Washer (portable washers for emergencies, camping, etc.)

I spend hours... days, even weeks researching things before I purchase them.  When it comes down to it, even though I'm constantly pressed for time, I have more time than money and I can't afford to waste funds on things that are a bad decision purchase.

So here's the research I'm doing right now.  Portable non-electric washing options.

WHY would you want the option to do laundry in a portable, non-electric manner?  Everyone is different and has different reasons.

Apartment living with the laundry room far away or no laundry options

  • loss of water
  • loss of electric
  • only a couple items to wash
  • green and eco-living choices
  • camping
  • broken washing machine
  • traveling
  • hotel stays
  • washing items you don't want to go through the washer
  • emergency preparedness
  • RV living
  • saving money on your electric bill 

How will you keep your clothes clean when washing your clothes suddenly needs to be non-electric and/or portable?

I have been wanting a portable, non-electric options for years!  My husband thinks I'm nuts.  There were always things that were a bigger priority, but it's one of the many things I'm making a priority as we begin 2020 and so... here I am.

Here are the options I'm looking at.   

  • Each have pros and cons.
  • I painstakingly read review after review after review.
  • I look up the products on various and numerous different sites.
  • I go to the manufacturer's pages, retail sellers pages, even forums and message boards.
  • I weigh the wants/needs and issues of the reviewers with my own for apples to apples comparisons.
  • I also look at the skill set and common sense used by the reviewers (because we all know you just can't fix 'stupid'.
I'm going to use the product descriptions from the listings, so the descriptions are not my personal descriptions of the items.  I'm post them for you to read, just as I am reading them as a potential buyer.

Lavario Portable Clothes Washer - Manual Non-Electric Portable Washing Machine for Camping, Apartments, RV’s, Dedicates)
  • PATENTED! Best portable clothes washer in the world. See our 2-minute video. Lavario is the only non-electric clothes washer that can wash jeans & sweatshirts.
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: Hand-powered, non-electric, easy up & down motion, incredible cleaning power.
  • SAVES MONEY! Pays for itself in 4-5 trips you won't take to the Laundromat. No electricity required. Uses only a fraction of the water and detergent used by electric machines.
  • CONVENIENT: Portable, lightweight and easy to use anywhere. Cleans clothes in less than 20 minutes. Great for RV's, camping, apartments, dorms, delicates, exercise clothing, and more. Also ideal when you only have a few items to wash.
  • MADE IN THE USA! Lavario was meticulously engineered for durability & performance, and is proudly made in the USA.

   The Laundry POD, White

  • Washing Device
  • Measures 14.45 by 14.02 by 13.55
  • Easy to use spinning, washing and draining system, clean clothes in less than 10 minutes
  • All you need is to fill about 6 liters of water and 1.5 teaspoon of laundry detergent
  • Portable for Camping, College, Boating, RVing, Apartments and more

The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash Retro Colors Non-electric Portable Compact Mini Washing Machine

  • Non-electric, Hand-crank unit washes a 5-lb. load super clean in just a couple of minutes.
  • New patent-pending E-Z lid lever much easier to use than older lid screw design.
  • Perfect for apartments, singles, boats, RV's and even small frequent loads like hand washables and diapers.
  • Is ideal for delicates such as woolens, silks, knitted dresses and cashmere garments.
  • Uses far less water than even hand washing and no electricity. 3-year warranty. Handle insert won't fall out in 1-2 years like other models.

➔➔➔ My current thoughts on each

Lavario Portable Clothes Washer
  • I did not think I would like this one at ALL.  Almost didn't even consider it.  But?  I think this design is great.  One of the best I've seen of this 'general style' washer.  I don't like that the parts are made from plastic and the reviewers were correct when some complained of breakage/snapping.  This product made with more quality materials would be a sure-fire winner.  It's pretty big!  I was surprised at how large it is when I saw 'real' videos and photos.  But as LARGE as it is, it's probably not a good option for camping, car travel, hotel use, etc.  But at home, as an alternative to the washing machine?  Absolutely LOVE it.  
  • As it is, the price is high for an all plastic product.  It's selling for $124 - $129.  Having said that, I still love this design! I would entertain this idea when I have funds.  As for taking it with me camping or on the road, I guess I could justify that things could be packed 'in' it when I started on my trip and I could use the plastic container as my 'dirty laundry' container in between doing loads.
The Laundry POD
  • This one has 2 immediate things going for it.  Because it works just a like a big salad spinner, you get both the washer and portable spinner in one.  With the others you need to either wring the clothes out by hand the best you can, or invest in a portable spinner or wringer.  I like the size of this one as well but I do have concerns about it snapping off and breaking, it being a pain to crank and turn and it doesn't hold much.  I think you would have to crank clockwise for awhile and then counter clockwise for a while to get some agitating going because there is nothing but 'spinning' going on otherwise. 

    Many reviewers complained that obviously dirty items (like a dish towel) were still dirty no matter what they did.  For items like t-shirts or things that weren't dirty but smelled used, it worked fine because basically swishing in water and detergent is going to make things smell good.  Thoughts:  for lightly soiled, or small items this would work well but I don't think dirty clothes, towels or jeans would get cleaned correctly.  However, right now I've managed to find this at a decent price and for a 'back up' or even a trial, it might be worth if you can get it at a good price.  

The Laundry Alternative Wonderwash
  • I initially thought this would be my favorite, but it's really not.  After looking at my own priorities verses what I'd get for my money, this probably isn't for me.  It can't hold much, which is fine, but it's a lot of physical labor to do the job, the base is wobbly, the suction doesn't hold on many surfaces, and it leaks so you have to be careful where you're using it.  Fill with water, put in the clothes, turn, turn, turn.  Drain the dirty water and then refill with clean water, turn, turn, turn.  Drain.  A lot of reviewers said they almost always had to do two rinses.  Now, you are left with sopping wet clothes to pull out, wring or spin dry in which ever way you wish - most people had to invest in a portable spinner.  (Which is going to be a different post because I'm researching those options as well).  I love many things about this little guy - and love the latest 'retro' color options (blue, green, pink and yellow!) and I THOUGHT it would be my first purchase, but now I'm thinking maybe not. 

I also looked at two different 'foot petal' versions and realized I wasn't even going to waste my time talking about them, as they both had huge CONS immediately and I quit even considering them.  One, was a complete cheap plastic waste from the start and the other I thought might be great because it actually had stainless steel and metal parts, but it's almost impossible to buy in the USA, and a couple people in the USA that ordered direct from their site didn't get their order for TWO YEARS and only by continuing to contact them over and over for those 2 years.

The last option, and ultimately, it might actually be the best (and the most affordable) is so simplistic it's awesome.  Grab a 4 or 5 gallon bucket from Lowe's or wherever, and buy one of these wash plungers.  They sell for about $22 on average and you plunge up and down like you would a toilet, or like the big Lavario washer I posted above does. I did read that some people had issues with the handle where it attaches to the metal but they easily remedied this with a different handle and/or gorilla glue, etc.  Considering you can use the bucket for a hundred other uses, this might be a great option because it stores easily, doesn't take up space, is easy for all ages to use, is inexpensive and the bucket can be used for so many other things, it's not just taking up space for laundry.

Breathing Mobile Washer Classic - Portable Clothes Washing Machine

You might also be interested in........

Most all portable washers are going to leave you with dripping wet clothes that have to be wrung or spun to get a majority of the water out before hanging dry.  I'm currently researching those options as well and really loving wringers or manglers.

WringMaster Clothes Wringer Hand Crank

And of course a way to dry them....

Foldable Clothes Drying Laundry Rack


Tiny Update:  I bought the The Laundry POD and the Lavario Portable Clothes Washer