Washing machines take up a ton of a space. Washing clothes in a tiny house requires additional creativity.
Electricity – washing machines use a lot of juice. If you rely on solar or batteries, you might be better off with a hand washing system. Traditional washing machines use larger 240-V connections instead of the standard 120-V connection. Washing machines do not require a CFCI outlet unless a sink is within six feet of the unit.
Plumbing – high-efficiency, larger washers still use between 14 to 25 gallons of water per load. If you are planning to be off the grid, that level of usage might not be feasible. A small hand operated Wonderwash uses 90% less water. The trade off is that it can only wash 10 t-shirts or 2 pairs of blue jeans at a time. Plumbing can also be a major expense when building a tiny house. You might want to stick with the hand operated machines to simply eliminate that cost.
Size – traditional washing machines are 27 inches wide and about 30 inches deep. Even if you have stackable units, that is still a lot of space for most tiny houses.
Hand Operated Option
- Wonderwash – I am absolutely in love with this machine. You can buy it for less than $50 shipped on Amazon! The reviews are stellar. Given the tiny size, the capacity is impressive (10 t-shirts, 8 dress shirts, or 2 pairs of blue jeans). The entire unit only weighs six pounds. It only takes a few minutes of spinning for your clothes to clean. Make sure you watch the below video from Casey Friday if you are considering the Wonderwash. The dimensions are only 12 inches x 12 inches x 16 inches.
– Price: ~$50
Small Electric Options
- Miniwash – this is made by the manufacturer of the Wonderwash. The difference is this machine plugs into a standard 110 voltage wall outlet. The entire machine weighs 14 pounds. The dimensions are 12 inches x 12 inches x 20 inches. It has far fewer reviews than the Wonderwash since it was only released in September, 2014. The only negative reviews are people who messed up using it the first time and got water all over their place. It might be good to read the setup instructions on this one.
– Price: ~$80
- Panda Mini – this is a great option for someone who is looking for a smaller automated machine. It is similar to the Miniwash, but it has been around longer. There are almost 400 reviews on Amazon with a stellar 4 star rating. The unit weighs 11 pounds with a 5.5 pound capacity. The unit is 14 inches x 14.6 inches x 19.3 inches.
– Price: ~$90
- Wonder Washer – this machine has a great price and equally good reviews. The entire unit weighs 8 pounds with a 7 liter laundry capacity. This is the most compact of the small electric options with dimensions of just 13 inches x 10 inches x 13 inches.
– Price: ~$50
Compact Electric Options
- Panda Pan30 – If you need to do more laundry than the Panda Mini feasibly allows, look at the Pan30. It is a great bridge machine. I refer to it as bridge machine because at 28 pounds it is far more substantial than the smallest options, but it isn’t nearly as big a combo washer dryer. Unlike the smaller units, you will need to connect this machine to your sink. The other great part about this machine is that in addition to being able to wash 6 to 7 pounds of clothes, you can also use it to dry 3 to 3.5 pounds of clothes. The manufacturer warns that a little bit of work is involved, but I am confident you will still view this machine as a life saver if you need it. The dimensions are 22.83 inches × 14.17 inches × 25.59 inches with a 43 inch sink hose.
– Price: ~$210
- Laundry Alternative LAFA5.5 – this is another innovative option by the manufacturer of the Wonder Washer. The washing capacity is 5.5 pounds. This unit weighs a little more than the Pan30 at 35 pounds. From a space perspective, you are looking at 16 inches x 17 inches x 25 inches.
– Price: ~$230
- Haier HLP21N Pulsator – This model has more than 500 reviews on Amazon with a 4 star rating! The estimated operation cost is only $38 per year. The build quality is excellent with a steel tub. The capacity is 6 pounds. Casters are included with this unit for increased mobility. The total weight is 59 pounds with dimensions of 36 inches x 23.2 inches x 23.2 inches. Be careful not to be confused if you read the Amazon description of this item. The description makes it sound like it operates on AAA batteries, which is laughable. It plugs into a standard 110 volt connection. Overall, this is a great choice for those who have the space and budget.
– Price: ~$300
Combo Washer Dryer
Combo washer dryers are ventless and use standard 110 volt wall outlets. They still need dedicated plumbing. These units are a huge step up in price. They are much closer to the standard washer and dryer most of us are used to with the major exception of time. To wash and dry a load of laundry you are looking at 3-4 hours. It still beats the old days of doing everything by hand, but you will be disappointed if you don’t anticipate how long the process takes with these machines.
- Sekido SK 4000 – this is your standard off brand unit. Most of the sub 1000 dollar units (Midea, Meridian, Edgestar) are going to be about the same. The build quality isn’t stellar, but if you get a good machine and know what to expect int terms of how long they take, you will be satisfied. At 160 pounds, this unit isn’t portable by any stretch of the imagination. The 13 pound capacity is the biggest selling point. It is always great to be able to wash and dry clothes in one machine.
– Price: ~$900
- LG WM3477HS – LG is the gold standard in washer dryer combos. Unfortunately, they are also priced like an ounce of gold. The big advantage of this machines is that it uses standard 110 volt power connections and doesn’t need to be vented. It has five temperature settings and a stainless steel drum. LG stands behind this product with a 10 year warranty on the motor. The great part about an LG warranty is you know that you won’t have any problems using it. The only real knock I have on this machine is that the $1400 price tag is out of reach for many. It is also too big for many tiny house situations with dimensions of 36 inches x 32 inches x 30 inches.
– Price: ~$1500
Doing laundry in a tiny house doesn’t need to be a pain. Easy to use options exist for all price and size ranges. Do your research and laundry will be a minimal concern.