Just because you live in a van doesn’t mean you need to have live in dirty clothes. With our ultimate guide to the best campervan washing machines we’ll help you choose the right product for your lifestyle.
Life outdoors is bound to get dirty. No matter where the road takes you, there will always be chores to get done, and tackling your laundry on the go will require a bit of creativity.
Our ultimate buying guide will walk you through tips and tricks to help your search and find the perfect campervan washing machine for your needs.
Through trial and error, we’ve learned how important a water and energy-friendly laundry system is for van life.
And while machines for washing clothes doesn’t always make the list of top campervan essential items, we think you’ll want to consider adding it to your van before your next adventure.
Unless you want to spend every Saturday at laundromats across the country, a lightweight washer will become an essential part of your camper van.
Read on and examine all aspects of portable washing machines. We’ll look at best-in-class options and understand what to look for in a portable washer so you can make sure that no matter where you head next, you’ll have some clean underwear.
WHAT WE LIKE
THINGS TO CONSIDER
PANDA COMPACT WASHER
The Best Campervan Washing Machines
It isn’t easy to be considered one of the best washing machines on the market.
We examined machines of all shapes and sizes and selected only those with the best wash options, load sizes, electricity consumption, affordability, and efficiency.
There’s no debate – the Scrubba is the best in the business for van lifers.
Weighing in at less than 5 ounces, you can take this nifty manual washing machine wherever your next road trip takes you.
Without requiring power, electricity, or plumbing, the Scrubba is the best portable wash bag for van life, backpacking, or camping.
- Efficient water use
- Packs down to nothing
- Very simple wash
- Small load capacity
Wash your clothes by filling up the bag with your dirty laundry, a splash of water, and a bit of detergent.
Once you’ve filled it up, clip the bag shut and apply pressure onto your dirty clothes for about 2 minutes. This allows your clothes to go through the wringer and come out clean.
Finally, give your clothes a quick rinse and hang them up to dry.
The flexible internal washboard makes the Scrubba stand out in the crowd. While it may seem like simple hand washing, this lightweight washer is a camper’s dream.
It won’t completely replace trips to laundromats, but a bit of soap and fresh air combined with this bag provide an environmentally friendly dirty clothes solution.
EXCLUSIVE – Use the Code “vanlifetheory” at checkout to get 10% off your Scrubba Washbag!
|Load Capacity||5 Shirts|
The Porsche of the washing world, pimp out your camper van with this high-class washer dryer.
The Drumi requires no hand washing and no electricity – a fantastic combination.
A leisurely foot leaver starts the laundry process, and the machine takes care of the rest.
- High-tech and manual
- Drying system
- Expensive for a manual washer
This machine holds between 5 and 7 pounds of clothing and provides an effective cleaning process that will be sure to help you skip your next trip to the laundromat.
The Drumi is also easily cleanable, as the interior washing drum is removable and stainless. Fill up the drum and work the foot pedal through a wash and spin dry cycle.
While we still recommend you hang your clothes up after they’ve been through the dryer, this high-tech manual and portable washing machine makes van life easier.
|Load Capacity||6 lbs.|
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A portable washing machine doesn’t have to be some sort of fancy contraption.
This simple Wonderwash is a hand washer operated by a handle, with a nice-sized clothing drum ready for work.
You can fit up to ten t-shirts inside the miniature washer, and the electric-free operation provides clean clothes wherever you park your van for the night.
- Affordable and efficient
- Use little water
- Load done in 5 minutes
- It’s a workout
- Difficult size to store
Take one look at the compact Wonderwash, and you’ll understand how it works. Fill up the portable washing machine with laundry, add water and detergent, and spin away.
Once you’ve gone through a cycle, add a fresh batch of water for a rinse cycle before hanging your laundry up to dry.
You can carry it with you wherever your next road trip dictates, and the wonder wash won’t take up too much space in your storage or budget.
|Load Capacity||10 shirts|
Mini is an understatement. You can store this portable washing machine no matter the camper van and wash your clothes without taking too much power.
The Costway Mini is the best portable electric washing machine on our list. Thanks to its affordability and efficiency.
Full-time van lifers of all shapes and sizes can slip these compact washers into storage and never stray too far from clean clothes.
- Affordable for an electric washer
- Drying system
- Small load capacity
- The dryer is even smaller than the washer
With a peak of 170 Watts during the washing cycle, you won’t need a high-capacity power bank to clean your next load of laundry, and you won’t have to spend a day searching for a laundromat.
This compact washer dryer combination can clean 5 pounds of clothes in 15 minutes.
While you may want an electric washing machine to take on more clothes, the low price point of these compact washers more than makes up for it.
|Load Capacity||5 lbs|
Panda Compact Washer
The last portable washing machine on our list can handle a load of up to 11 pounds, enough to say goodbye to the laundromat for good.
At 63 pounds, it may seem a bit heavy compared to most portable washing machines.
But if you want a permanent solution for washing clothes on the go, you’ll have to have more than a typical wash bag.
- Highest load capacity in its class
- 6 different washing methods
- Made out of durable materials
- Not suitable for smaller vehicles
- Expensive and still no dryer
Full-time van life now comes with plenty of clean clothing, thanks to the high-tech power provided by the six different washing programs in this washer.
There is no dryer cycle included in this washer, but at the end of each run, the Panda drains water and initiates a spin to get your clothes on the way to dry.
Clean your laundry in style from the comfort of your van without fuss with this portable washing machine that will make your van feel like home.
|Load Capacity||11 lbs|
Choosing the Best Campervan Washing Machine
From deciding on which RV you want all the way down to choosing camping spots, van life is full of options. Washing your laundry is no different, with portable washing machines of all shapes and sizes ready to take your clothing for a spin.
It can be hard to find the perfect companion for your next camping trip with all these choices.
Now that we’ve seen some of the best portable washing machines on the market, we’ll explore some factors that will help narrow down the field.
Answering the questions below will help guide your search towards the washing machine perfect for your camper.
Do I Need A Dryer?
Cleaning your clothes is usually considered only half of the process. At home, you’d probably expect a machine that would give your clothes a good wash and a heated spin dry.
On the road, you may be better off relying on the free reusable energy provided by solar. Most campers will be better off hanging their laundry on a line and letting the air take care of the rest.
If you plan to travel with the whole family or frequently move from place to place, you may want to invest in a portable washing machine that can also dry.
It all comes down to how you envision your van life. If you want to invest in machine technologies across the board that makes your van feel more like a home, your laundry should be no different.
However, if you plan on living off-grid, skipping out on a dryer is a great way to save energy and money.
Most camping trips won’t require a dryer, and as long as you expect to be in one place for a while, you’ll easily be able to hang your laundry out to dry.
Or do what we do and hang the clothes inside the van while you drive around!
Electric Or Manual?
There are real positives and negatives to both of these options. It comes down to what is already available in your RV.
If your van already features a decked-out electrical system and inverter that can easily handle the power draw of a typical washing machine, electric washing is efficient and hands-free.
On the other hand, a manual machine will let you wash your laundry wherever you have water.
If you plan on camping or living off-grid, a manual washing machine makes the most sense for your needs.
If you’re living in your van full time, washing laundry will become a weekly chore. Instead of spending some serious time at the laundromat, it may be worth investing in an electric wash machine to save water and time.
How big does my Washing Machine need to be?
The best washing machine on the market is worthless if you can’t fit it into your van. This straightforward question will have to be at the forefront of any decision.
If you are shopping for something to take camping, remember that everything you bring with you will eventually have to be carried by hand.
A lightweight washer may not provide the power needed to tackle big loads, but every ounce counts when packing your life into a van.
How Much Do I Need to Wash?
You’ll have to balance your desire for a lightweight washing machine with the amount of clothes you’ll need to wash.
Some of the smaller wash bags on our list, like the Scrubba, can wash clothes with ease but may not fit in sheets or other parts of your bed.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a smaller washing machine, but it does mean that you may still have to hit the laundromat now and then.
It’s simple, effective, and affordable. If you’re gearing up for an outdoor adventure, every inch of space matters.
The Scrubba takes up no more space than a plastic bag while washing two sets of clothes to top the charts of campervan washing machines.
All you’ll need to do is add water and hang your clothes out to dry.
BEST QUALITY CHOICE:
Panda Compact Washer
If you need to call in the big guns to get the laundry done, this electric portable washing machine is here to help.
Efficiently powered by electricity, this machine has multiple wash cycle settings and even comes with a spin dryer, saving water while washing more.
You won’t find many portable washing machines that can take on larger laundry loads than this tank.
There are thousands of different trips being planned every day, so there is no such thing as the best washing machine for all campers.
Think about where you will store your machine, what kind of load you expect it to carry, and your water and electric capabilities before you decide which machine gets the privilege of washing clothes next time you’re off-grid.
You’ve done the research by following this guide to help you find a great washing companion for your lifestyle.
The washers on our list are all efficient, easy-to-install, and powerful. Once you’ve found the best portable washing machine for your rig, all that’s left to do is pack some soap and hit the road.
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