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Apartment Size Washer and Dryers

The most cost-effective apartment size washer and dryers

One of our favorite compact appliances is the apartment size washer and dryer, but let’s dismiss some misconceptions about these portable washing machines before we say anything more. Because it’s the opinion of some of the writers on this site that portable washers and dryers get a bad rap from big box stores that want consumers to buy their larger (and, of course, more expensive) cousins.

Our favorite three apartment size washers and dryers

Compact washer and dryers can be useful in many different living situations, including people who live in cabins, mobile homes, and freestanding guest houses. However, compact washers and dryers are compact lifesavers for many apartment dwellers, due to the time they save waiting for open washers or dryers in the shared laundry space. So if you live in an apartment and are searching for the best apartment size washer or dryer that still fits within your budget, here are three of our favorites:

Midea MAE50-1102PSS Stainless Steel Top-Loading Portable Washer

Price: $247.22

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This Midea top-loading washer is 1.6 cubic feet in capacity, and only weighs 68.3 lbs. For apartment size washers, we love top-loading designs, because with top-loaders, you don’t need to worry about the space in front or back of the unit as much, meaning you can do your laundry in an even smaller space, with ease!

The Midea’s dimensions are: 20.7 x 20.3 x 37 inches. With the door open, the top rises to 48 inches. While the machine has two rollers on its back so you can tilt and move the machine easier around your apartment, a pro tip if you’re concerned about the weight or unwieldiness is: purchase a small dolly (or find one used on Craigslist or a garage sale), to make the machine even easier to move.

Why do we love this Midea? Because it’s stainless steel! You’ll find apartment size washers that are made of plastic (albeit strong, treated plastic), but the Midea’s stainless steel body means you’ll be able to use it for years, and as often as you need.

The Magic Chef MCSTCW16W3 Top-Loading Compact Washer


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Another great apartment size washer is The Magic Chef. Again, this washer holds 1.6 cubic feet in capacity, and is around the same price as the Midea. However, a few features differ. The Magic Chef’s control panel is a bit easier to read, with fully electronic controls and an LED display. The Chef comes with 6 different pre-set washes, and 6 different water level selections. This is great for if you need to do a small load of dish towels or baby clothes, or you’re looking to wash a respectable amount of adult-size clothes.

Something special about The Magic Chef? While, like any apartment size washer, it can be used without washer/dryer hookups, it also CAN hook into your W/D hookup, if you have one.  The Magic Chef also has a relatively large capacity for its size, plus with its different settings, you can be even more exacting in your water usage or conservation.

Size-wise, The Magic Chef can easily be stored away in most closets while not in use. So you can forget about it until you need that next load of laundry done!

The Panda Portable Dryer with See-Through Window


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Not to be biased, we thought we’d include one standalone apartment size dryer in our list, for those who are looking for that type of unit. This Panda is a great option, as it’s only 48 lbs. with a stainless steel drum and see-through window. You can EVEN mount this on the wall if you like, and it’s safer than some dryers, as it runs at 110V rather than 220.

Yet even with its compact size, this dryer can hold up to 13 lbs. of clothes – enough to effectively dry your sheets, linens, and clothing – without taking up a ton of room in your apartment. The unit is so lightweight and portable, it’s often a favorite RV addition, or on longer camping trips where you might want warm, dry clothes.

Whether you want to vent this dryer is up to you – and also depends on where you live. If you live in a humid location, you might consider using an indoor venting kit, or attaching a hose to the dryer, and letting that hose wind towards the outdoors. However, the dryer was not designed to need venting, and does not require this to work well.

While these are some of our favorite apartment size washers and dryers, they are by no means the full list. We encourage you to peruse the site if you’re looking for a washer or dryer (or washer dryer unit) for your next purchase, as you’ll hopefully find one here that matches what you need from it, for your particular living situation.

Some misconceptions about apartment size washers and dryers

Here are some misconceptions about portable washers and dryers that we’ve heard:

  • “Apartment size washers and dryers don’t do enough laundry to be worth the cost.”
  • “Portable washers use up too much water.”
  • “Apartment size washers and dryers can damage your floors.”
  • “They’re dangerous”

Let’s take these one by one, and wring out the truth in each.

The Truth: Apartment size washers and dryers offer several load options, with enough capacity for most apartment dwellers or compact family homes

Have you ever loaded your clothes into a laundromat washer and noticed all the extra room? Unless you’re trying to overstuff a load of clothes + sheets + towels, if you’re an apartment-dwelling individual, or a couple, you probably don’t need to wash a large amount of clothes frequently. And even if you do, one of the benefits of a portable washer is that – because it is conveniently located in your apartment – you can do smaller loads more often, so that the smaller capacity is never a problem.

In fact, these washer and dryer units are incredibly popular with new parents, because baby clothes are small in size, but often big in stains. And when your child’s clothes get dirty, you often can’t wait too long to wash them. Apartment-size washers with 1.65 cubic feet can comfortably hold around 10 lbs. Of clothes, suitable for most couples and small family’s needs.

The Truth: Small washers use less gallons of water per year than big washers

Helpfully, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star program has run numbers on the differences in water consumption between small and large washers. The official designation in their studies for a “small washer” is one with less than 2.5 cubic feet of capacity. Your average portable washer has around 1-2 cubic feet of capacity.

According to the Department of Energy’s studies, an apartment-sized washer uses an average of 8.35 gallons of water per full wash load, or 3,274 gallons per year. Compare this to your average 4 cubic foot large washing machine… even an energy efficient one. That big washing machine will use an average 11.75 gallons of water per full wash load, or 4,606 gallons per year.

Additionally, standard-size washing machines often require a lot of electricity to run. In fact, the Department of Energy lists these standard washing machines as the fourth biggest energy waster in a home. This number rises to the second biggest waster, if your home doesn’t have a pool.

The Truth: Apartment size washers and dryers can damage your floors

Some apartment size washers come with spin cycle drying, or several different wash types of speeds. Understandably, before you purchase a portable washer, you want to make sure it won’t scuff up your floors. To this end, we recommend you always check into washer and dryer units that have rattle guards, or you pick up an inexpensive rubber mat to place under your washer when it runs.

Some tips: running your washer or dryer in a room with tile or linoleum might be better than running on marble floors, or wood. However, even if your entire apartment or cabin has wood flooring, your washer and dryer should be fine if you test it out, and prepare for the possibility of a bit of movement.

The Truth: Apartment size washing machines and dryers are not more dangerous than any other compact appliance

As with any appliance, apartment size washing machines and dryers always run the risk of danger if used improperly, or in rare cases. That said, these compact appliances have no history of being any more dangerous than other appliances.

Some helpful safety tips to consider while using (or before using) any electronic appliance:

  • Only leave your washer and dryer unattended after you’ve run it once at least under supervision – know your voltage, and always use a grounded outlet
  • Never leave the apartment entirely for long periods with your apartment size washer or dryer running. If you’ve never run your dryer cycle, make sure you check in on it to make sure it’s venting properly and the timing is correct
  • Test out different times for your wash and dry loads – remember that with apartment size washers especially, the time it takes to do a load will be much less than that of a traditional washer
  • Always make sure that you unplug the unit before you move it around, and watch out for water on the floor before you let a cord drop