When living off the grid, finding the best off grid washing machine to suit your specific needs is essential. There are multiple types of off grid washers, such as non-electric, manual, and washboards.
Off grid washing machines are self-sustainable for cleaning your clothing while reducing environmental impact. Each type of off grid washing machine has its pros and cons, but they all effectively get the job done.
Luckily, we live in a time where we do not need to spend hours doing laundry by hand because there are more modern approaches. Off grid washing machines are almost as essential as kerosene heaters on your homestead as they can both be used in emergency situations to get you by.
The main components you will need to do your laundry include water, laundry soap, and agitation, which all do not require the use of electricity. Using an off grid washing machine does have some perks, like saving some space and being able to do laundry without having power. Here are our top choices for the 8 best off grid washing machines.
Best Manual Off Grid Washing Machine
- A whole load of laundry takes under 20 minutes to wash
- Made entirely in the USA
- Effectively cleans clothing, including jeans
- Slightly bulky
- It does not remove excess water
The Lavario Portable Clothes Washer is the best large manual washing machine for various reasons. It is made entirely in the USA and can effectively clean your clothing. One load, which fits about six to seven articles of clothing, can be washed in less than 20 minutes.
A whole load of your laundry requires only about ten gallons of water. Half of the water is used to wash your clothes, and the other half is used to rinse them. The Lavario Portable Clothes Washer does not use a crank handle but uses an up-and-down movement and requires minimal arm strength.
This machine firmly forces water flow through the fabric of your clothing and effectively removes any dirt from them, including clothing with thick material, like jeans. A drain cap at the bottom of the machine makes it simple to rinse your clothing.
Your clothes will be soaking wet once the wash is completed, so you will have to let them drip dry or wring them out. This portable washer is durable and robust but can seem slightly bulky compared to other washers.
Best Runner Up
- Lightweight and compact
- Energy efficient
- Powerful washing performance
- Can be loud
- The drain pipe is somewhat short
The Garatic Portable Mini Twin Tub is the runner-up for the best off grid mini washing machine. This twin tub is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry and store. You can use this mini washing machine living off the grid, in a dorm, in a camper, or in a tiny house. There are control timers on both the washing side and the drying side.
Once you have filled it with water and added your laundry detergent, you don’t have much more work than putting it on the drying side. The Garatic is as quiet as you can hope for with a portable washing machine, but it can be a little loud if you try to relax in the same room. It can be even louder if you use a generator to power the washer.
This twin tub washing machine can handle about eight pounds of laundry, which is about the same as a small load. However, it can only spin up to five pounds of clothes, which makes it more time-consuming to dry them.
When draining the twin tub, you will notice that the drain pipe is somewhat short compared to other portable washers, but you should still be able to make it work. The Garatic Portable Twin Tub is energy efficient and affordable and can even be adapted to run entirely off solar or wind-generated energy.
Best Lightweight Washer
- It does not consume much power
- Effectively cleans clothing
- Requires no installation
- Can seem loud
- Clothes may not dry all the way
Gizmos Twin Tub Portable Washer is the best lightweight mini washing machine for homesteading and off grid laundry. This twin tub is compact and extremely lightweight but limited in its capacity. It can wash a load of laundry weighing around 7.9 pounds at a time and dry a load weighing about 4.4 pounds.
The Gizmos Twin Tub Portable Washer effectively cleans your clothing during a single cycle, removing any dirt and stains from your clothes. This washer requires no installation but access to water, drain facilities, and power. While it uses power and water, it is still considered energy efficient.
Minimal manual work involves filling the tub with water and setting the cycle to wash and dry your clothing. You may notice that your clothing did not get completely dry once the drying cycle has been completed, but it can completely dry depending on the load. Overall, this lightweight off grid washing machine is efficient and effective.
Best Power Washer
- Powerful wash
- Completely automatic
- Energy efficient
- It uses a lot of water
- It can be loud if it is overfilled
The Magic Chef Compact Washer is the best power washer for those living off the grid. While this washing machine does not consume as much power as your typical domestic washing machine, it does use a lot of water, which makes it unsuitable for those living in areas that experience frequent droughts.
If you use the quick wash cycle for clothes washing, water usage is minimal. However, every other wash cycle uses more water than necessary because it will rinse your load twice. Even though it uses more water than we would like, it is still considered energy efficient compared to domestic machines and does not require manual intervention.
The Magic Chef Compact Washer is not a powerless washing machine, as it is entirely automatic and can be loud if you overfill it. When using this washer, your clothing will get clean, and any dirt or stains should come out quickly.
Best Powerless Washing Machine
- Quickly washes in less than ten minutes
- Easy to use
- Expensive compared to other powerless washing machines
- Challenging to get replacement parts for
The Yirego Non-Electric Washer is the best powerless washing machine. It quickly and effectively will wash and spin your clothing in less than ten minutes and can hold up to 4.4 pounds per load. This no electricity washing machine is easy to use, compact, and requires no installation.
There is a pedal you push down with your foot to control the washing and spinning motions, similar to a foot pump you use to blow up an air mattress. The Yirego Non-Electric Washer is more expensive than other powerless washing machines, but it is likely more costly because of how well it works.
It requires minimal effort, reduces your carbon footprint, and is compact enough to fit in small spaces. This washing machine is also difficult to order parts for, so it can be problematic if something happens and you need a replacement part. Your clothes will come out clean in this machine without you putting in much effort.
- Requires no electricity
- Simple to use
- Rust resistant
- It requires a lot of effort
- You must wring out your clothes yourself
The Behrens Galvanized Washboard is the best washboard for many reasons. Old fashioned washing boards for hand washing, like this one, are perfect for those living off the grid because they do not use electricity and are simple to use.
Washboards are one of the most effective methods for stain or dirt removal because you remove the dirt yourself by hand. The Behrens Galvanized Washboard is durable and rust-resistant, but it does require a lot of effort to wash your clothes. The wooden area at the top is where you set your soap bar.
You will need to put your dirty laundry in a tub of water with soap, swishing it around the tub. Wet the metal surface of the washboard, and using your bar of soap, rub the grid. Take every article of clothing and rub it on your washboard. Apply more soap to the washboard every time.
Once you have scrubbed all your clothing, put them back in the tub and swish them more. You then must drain the tub, wring out your clothing, and refill the tub again to rinse the clothes. The washboard is effective in helping you to clean your dirty clothes and remove stains without using any electricity.
Best Budget Option
- Effective in helping to clean clothing
- It does not take up much space
- It might be too small for oversized clothing
- You must wring out the clothing yourself
The ZYAMY Antiskid Mini Washboard is the best budget option for washing your clothing off the grid. This DIY mini washboard is exceptionally inexpensive and budget friendly, as you can usually purchase this board for less than $8.
It is tiny, so it doesn’t take up much space and can be stored easily. It is effective in helping clean clothing, but it might be too small if you attempt to wash large clothing articles on this board. This washboard might be best for clothing that isn’t bulky and isn’t large since it is a small board.
While using a mini washboard is energy efficient and does work to remove dirt and stains from clothing, you do need to put in the effort to wring out the clothing when you finish washing it.
Best for Minimalists
- Requires no electricity
- Simple to use
- Extremely compact
- Can clean clothes in just one to two minutes
- It can be time-consuming if you need to wash a lot of clothes
- It can be heavy to crank if you are washing a full load
The WonderWash Portable Washing Machine is the best off grid washing machine for minimalists. It is a small canister washer mounted on suction cups, and you use a crank to spin it by hand. The WonderWash Portable Washing Machine is as basic as it sounds. You just need to put in your clothing, fill it up with water and your laundry detergent, and seal it shut.
Once you seal the machine, you begin to crank it by hand and spin your clothes around in the soapy water. It is simple to use and drain once you are finished washing. You will need to wring the clothes out, but it is an easy way to do laundry.
The WonderWash does not require any electricity and is very compact. It is about the same size as a crockpot. It can be challenging to crank if you wash a load of clothes. This is a basic way to do laundry without wasting energy.
Why Use an Off Grid Washing Machine?
There are a few reasons why using an off grid washing machine is necessary.
What are Off Grid Washing Machines?
An off grid washing machine is an energy-efficient way to wash your clothing, either entirely powerless or energy efficient.
Many off grid washing machines are operated using a hand crank and can clean up to five pounds of clothing at a time. A typical load in an off grid machine is equivalent to a small load in a standard washing machine.
Why Are Off Grid Washing Machines Used for Off Grid Living?
People living off the grid use off grid washing machines because they allow you to effectively wash your clothes while using less water and less power. Some of the machines can even run off solar or wind-powered systems, so you do not need to use any power at all.
They are perfect for small loads of laundry that consist of only a few items and do not weigh any more than five pounds. Those who live off the grid need a way to wash their clothes too, and off the grid washers allow them to wash their clothing using limited resources.
How Much Electricity Do Off Grid Washing Machines Save?
Due to many factors, off grid washing machines can save you a lot of electricity. Many off grid washers are entirely powerless, so you do not use electricity.
Other off grid washing machines are energy efficient and use little power, saving you somewhere between 400 to 800 watts of energy per usage.
How Do Off Grid Washing Machines Save Water?
Off grid washing machines do not use a lot of water and typically use about four gallons of water per cubic foot.
Using a washing board, you may use more water because you need to put your clothing in a tub full of water, wash them, drain the water, and fill it back up again. Off grid machines typically use less water because they are designed for small loads and are eco-friendly.
Choosing the Best Off Grid Washing Machine
There are a few things to remember when choosing the best off grid washing machine. The number of people in your household could impact which off grid washing machine best suits your needs. For example, the load size will almost always be small for these machines.
However, a power vs. manual washer might make a difference if you have a family to wash clothing for. It might be more beneficial to wash clothing for multiple people using an energy-efficient power washing machine versus a manual one. With a manual, you need to be readily available to use the foot lever to control the machine during the washing cycle.
You could also use a washboard, but know that a washboard does require some additional effort. Laundry can be time-consuming when using a washboard because you need to separately let the clothes soak in a tub with soap, then use the washboard to clean them, let them rinse out in the tub, and then you need to wring them all out manually.
All off grid washing machines are effective in washing clothes and helping you to be more green, but one option might be more beneficial to you than another.
Off grid washing machines can help make your life a lot easier when you live off the grid. They make laundry much simpler and less time-consuming, using little to no power or a ton less water.
No matter what off grid washer you choose, we know the task of doing laundry will become a lot easier when using one of these options.