Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Small washing machines are a lifesaver for many consumers. Because if you don’t have too much space in your own four walls or you’re often on the road and want to do your laundry on your next camping holiday, these machines are really worth their weight in gold. But what do you have to look out for when buying one?

With our big small washing machine test 2022 we would like to help you find your personal test winner. To do this, we have compared several models and types and filtered out the advantages and disadvantages for you. We hope that this will help you with your purchase decision.


  • The washing performance of small washing machines can certainly be compared with the performance of their larger competitors. A big advantage, however, is that the single washing machines are clearly more space-saving and can be accommodated even in the smallest student flat.
  • Perfectly designed for a one- to two-person household. The small washing machines are also a perfect alternative for camping enthusiasts among us.
  • They are more than just a stopgap solution and serve as a second machine in many households, mainly to wash allergy or pet laundry separately.

The best Small Washing Machine: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a small washing machine

How much does a small washing machine cost?

The price ranges are immense. A small washing machine can cost between 40 and 500 euros.

It depends on the purpose for which you want to buy a washing machine. There are already travel washing machines for about 60 euros, which are ideal for camping.

The capacity plays a big role in the price. The more capacity available to the consumer, the more expensive the product will be on the market. The functions and special features also determine the price.

Kleine Waschmaschine-1

What could be better than freshly washed laundry? Buying a small washing machine can be quite easy if you know what to look for.
(Image source: / Frantisek Duris)

The price of an electric washing machine with a capacity of 3 to 5 kg is currently around 400 euros. If you compare this with the prices of classic washing machines with a larger capacity, you will see that the single washing machines are not exactly cheaper. The reason for this is that manufacturers are focusing on developing larger models so that smaller households are also more likely to buy a larger machine with an automatic volume control.

This allows a machine to work efficiently even when it is not fully loaded. However, if there is not enough space for a larger model, what else is there to do but stick to the small washing machines.

Type Average price
2-3 kg capacity 60 euros
3-5 kg capacity 400 euros

Who are single washing machines suitable for?

The target groups of campers and single households are certainly addressed here.

The main goals of the interested parties are primarily:

  • Space-saving storage
  • Saving money
  • Wash independently of water and/or electricity
  • Wash only a small amount of laundry

As the name might suggest, these appliances are also excellent for a one- to two-person household. Of course, if you play in a professional football team and have to train once or twice a day, there will logically be more laundry than for the average person. Therefore, you should always be aware of whether a significantly smaller washing machine capacity is sufficient for you.

For example, if you’re looking for a small washing machine that fits perfectly in your student flat because you don’t have much space anyway, these practical alternatives are ideal for you.

They are more than just a stopgap solution and, depending on the model, they even complement the washing machine at home. Because many people want to wash certain laundry separately, such as pet blankets if you are a pet owner.

The versatility clearly speaks for a small washing machine, which means it can be used in different places. For example, in the bathroom, in the garden or when camping and certainly in many other places.

What programme equipment is needed?

In addition to the standard programmes, which every manufacturer now offers, there are also additional special programmes. So what is important, what do I have to look out for before buying a small washing machine?

We would like to point out that sometimes less is more and that washing programmes that exist but are never actually used are much more expensive than they are useful. What do you want with a washing machine that has 15+ more programmes if you always wash your laundry at 30 degrees Celsius anyway?

One tip is to take a closer look in advance and find out what programmes the small washing machine has to offer and which ones you ultimately need to make the purchase worthwhile for you.

By the way, the most common wash programme that is not used is the 90 degree Celsius wash. This is actually much too hot and requires an enormous amount of energy, whereas the 60 degree Celsius wash has a comparably good washing result.

Which functions and which programmes are right for you? We would like to answer this question in this article and have therefore tried to provide you with an overview that is as comprehensive as possible.

It quickly becomes clear that all small washing machines have the same basic programmes:

  • Wash coloured and boiled laundry and cotton at 60°C
  • Coloured and boiled laundry and cotton at 40 degrees
  • Easy care at 40 degrees
  • Gentle programme for silk and delicates at 30 degrees
  • Wool programme at 30 degrees

Normally, these programmes are completely sufficient. They can be used to wash garments such as delicate silk blouses as well as heavily soiled work trousers. The result is satisfactory. There is nothing better for you than the smell of fresh laundry? Then you don’t have to do without it even if you buy a small washing machine, because the basic programmes will make your laundry clean, pure and fresh again.

Kleine Waschmaschine-2

Whether for cotton or silk – the small washing machines have the perfect programmes for you.
(Image source: / Dan Gold)

If that’s not enough, you should take a closer look at the special programmes and compare them with each other. In addition to the basic programmes mentioned earlier, manufacturers also try to distinguish themselves from each other by offering different additional programmes.

The special programmes always differ in terms of the amount and temperature of the water used, the washing time, the number of revolutions and whether the laundry is spun. So there are quite a few elements that need to be coordinated and adapted to the nature of the textiles.

One of the most important and perhaps most interesting programmes for you is the economy programme. Here, too, the manufacturers offer different versions and techniques, but all of them are intended to fulfil the same purpose: Saving energy – both water and electricity. Manufacturers often label their particularly energy-efficient appliances with an ECO label, which means you can assume that although these appliances are more expensive to buy, they are also much more efficient in the long run.

Which manufacturers are there?

A small washing machine is not just a small washing machine. Of course, you should bear this in mind before buying a washing machine in this segment, too. Some manufacturers have been selling washing machines fairly, honestly and inexpensively all over the world for decades. It is not for nothing that they have successfully established themselves on the European and German markets.
Important and, above all, large manufacturers should be mentioned at this point, such as:

  • AEG
  • Bosch
  • Miele
  • Samsung
  • Siemens

What alternatives are there?

As already mentioned above, manufacturers are focusing on the development of larger models so that smaller households are also more likely to buy a larger machine with an automatic volume control. This makes it possible for a machine to work efficiently even if the filling volume is not fully utilised.

Of course, the larger washing machines with an automatic volume control are an alternative for many consumers. These have a capacity of 7 to 12 kilos of laundry. However, these models are not desirable for most people because of the lack of space in the home. Another reason for not using a conventional washing machine is the lack of freedom to do laundry while travelling.

Decision section: What types of single washing machines are there and which is the right one for me?

Before you buy, we would like to introduce you to a basic distinction between two types of small washing machines:

  • Small top loading washing machine
  • Small front-loading washing machine

You should answer certain questions before buying: Do you prefer to be able to remove your laundry from the top – as is possible with a top loader? Or do you want to use the washing machine’s surface area, as with a front loader? The common feature of these small machines is their compact design, so they can fit even in very small and cramped spaces.

In the following section we would like to simplify the decision for you, to give you a better overview of the respective advantages and disadvantages.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a small top-loading washing machine?

Unlike front loaders, top loaders do not have a porthole. This means that these small washing machines are opened from the top and filled with laundry. A big advantage of these models is that they are usually a little narrower than front loaders and can therefore be better integrated into premises where space is particularly limited. In addition, these models are certainly very useful for older people, as you do not have to bend down all the time.

It should be mentioned that there are rather fewer offers of top loaders than front loaders on the market.

  • Space-saving
  • Back-friendly – laundry can be removed from above
  • Rare water damage
  • Freestanding
  • Make up only 10% of market share, not much variety
  • No storage space on top of washing machine
  • More expensive than front loaders
  • Little stability when standing
  • Cannot be underbuilt

What are the characteristics of a small front-loading washing machine and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Front-loaders are small washing machines with a porthole on the front. This is usually made of transparent glass and is also the opening and door to the washing drum.

It is worth knowing that these models can be underbuilt, as the opening is at the front. This means that even the smallest space can be used effectively.

  • Storage space
  • Easy loading and unloading (laundry basket can be placed in front of the opening)
  • Larger selection of models
  • Can be installed underneath
  • Requires more space
  • More back strain due to bending when putting away and taking out
  • Water damage to the porthole can occur

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate small washing machines

In the following section, we would like to go into more detail about some important criteria that you can use to make your decision when looking for a cordless hoover. This will make it easier for you to decide on the product of your choice.

We would like to explain the following criteria in more detail at this point:

We explain what you should pay particular attention to before buying.


First ask yourself the question: “How much space do I actually have available?

One reason why many people choose a small washing machine is the lack of space available. In addition, only a room with a water connection comes into question. Following on from this, you might ask yourself whether the washing machine should be integrated into a kitchen unit or bathroom cabinet, or whether it would be better to leave it free-standing.

The size of the washing machine depends very much on the type, namely whether it is a front-loading or top-loading washing machine. You can choose between a standard width of 44 to 46 cm and a standard width of 59 to 61 cm. The heights and depths differ depending on the model and manufacturer.

Top loaders are always up to 15 cm narrower than front loaders.

Your hands are tied and you only have a limited amount of space available to accommodate your new washing machine? No problem! Small washing machines come in models that are between 40 and 50 cm wide. This makes single washing machines particularly attractive. They are ideal for small bathrooms or small student flats.

However, this does not apply to you and you are looking for a way to clean your dirty laundry on the road in camping and caravans? Here, too, there are specially developed mini washing machines that have been designed primarily for travelling. It is important to mention that they can simply be operated by a power generator and do not require a permanent connection. Such machines were designed especially for the small space; however, they have just as many extra functions and special features as the classic larger machines.

Why is size still so relevant? Washing machines only work effectively and, above all, ecologically and economically, if they are filled with a sufficient amount of dirty laundry. Because every wash cycle in which the washing machine is only half full consumes unnecessary energy, in the form of water, electricity and washing powder.

Questions about questions, which you should answer in advance so that you can finally decide on a washing machine model.

Capacity, capacity

Before buying a small washing machine, you will probably also be interested in the capacity. When we talk about a small washing machine, we are also talking about a smaller drum. A distinction is made between two subdivisions:

Some machines are designed for camping trips only, which can hold up to 3 kg of dirty laundry. Others are designed for one- and two-person households and can wash 3 to 5 kg.

Some of us may simply want to buy a small second machine to wash certain laundry separately, for example for allergy or pet laundry.

If you only want to wash clothes once in a while, then a mini washing machine is usually enough. Do you play in a football team and train four to five times a week or have small children at home? Then you have to assume that a larger washing drum is needed.

But how much washing capacity you need generally depends on how many people live in your household and how often dirty laundry is produced, so we have put together a brief overview for you here:

Number of persons Required capacity
1-2 persons 3-5 kg
3-4 persons 6-8 kg
5 and more persons 9-12 kg

Energy consumption (energy efficiency class, power consumption)

Of course, the energy consumption of a washing machine plays an enormously important role. Although today’s modern, small washing machines can no longer be compared to the former energy giants of a few years ago, there are still big differences in consumption and sustainability.

What is the point of buying a cheap small washing machine if its consumption is much more expensive in the long run?

Sometimes it is better to invest more money when buying a washing machine to avoid a big shock at the end of the year when it comes to the electricity and energy bill.

How energy-efficient such a small washing machine actually has to be in relation to the purchase price depends on how well you know your own washing behaviour and can assess which investment is justified.

Today’s washing machine manufacturers are subject to strict regulations and energy requirements that they must meet with their products. How energy-efficient they have to be is regulated by EU directives and regulations. There are different energy efficiency classes in which small washing machines are classified according to their energy consumption.

Only small washing machines with energy classes from A to G are sold on the market. The energy label with its colour scale from green (very efficient) to red (inefficient) has been informing consumers about energy consumption for years. The minimum standard for new washing machines coming onto the market, according to the EU regulation, is A.

Tip: You can also easily calculate the electricity consumption for one kilogram of laundry: To do this, read the energy consumption from the label of your washing machine and divide it by the load of your machine.

Water consumption

But it’s not only the electricity that’s important when buying a washing machine, but also the water needed to wash your dirty laundry. When buying a small washing machine, it is important to make sure that the machine is equipped with an automatic load control. This means that the machine automatically calculates the required water level depending on the amount of textiles. This is economically very clever and makes perfect sense!

We would like to remind you that the energy label says nothing about water consumption.

What factors influence the hourly water consumption of a washing machine? These include the age of the washing machine, the amount of laundry and the programme selected.

Of course, newer washing machines consume less per wash cycle on average, about 45 litres, than older models with about 60 to 70 litres.

If you want to know your exact water consumption, we recommend an online washing calculator. This will take into account the age of your machine, how often and with which programmes you wash and how much the electricity currently costs. This may help you to estimate how much water your machine will consume in the long term and make a better choice.

Performance/ spin speed

How many revolutions make sense for your new single washing machine depends on several factors. You can usually find small washing machines in the shops with speeds of 160 to 1400 per minute. However, a high speed is not always helpful. Particularly delicate fabrics like silk or wool are easier to clean at lower speeds.

Basically, you should remember:

  • The higher the spin speed, the more moisture is squeezed out of your laundry.
  • So the harder you spin your laundry, the drier it will be.
  • The spin speed per minute that makes sense for you depends mainly on how you dry your laundry and the type of laundry.

Noise level

Do you live in a flat or have small children who take their midday nap? Then of course you should also make sure that your future single washing machine does not make too much noise.
Washing machines can still be very loud today, even if they are nowhere near the noise levels of a few years ago. Today, manufacturers have to label their appliances with the respective noise level, which can be found on the respective energy efficiency label.

Here you will find two values: the volume during the wash cycle and the volume during the spin cycle.
A tip before you buy a new washing machine is to pay attention to these values before you annoy your neighbours if you make a mistake.

Image source: choreograph/