If this is your first time hearing about portable clothes dryers, welcome to the club. Prepare to have your mind blown by the endless conveniences and advantages they offer, arguably even more so than their better known older brother, the conventional dryer.
What is a Portable Dryer?
A portable dryer is simply a clothes dryer that is designed to be easily moved and transported. While conventional dryers are fixed in a stationary location in the house, portable dryers can be wheeled or carried to anywhere they are needed. They can be plugged in anywhere…the laundry room, a bedroom, kitchen, garage, or anywhere else that best suits your drying needs. When you are done, they can be moved back to their storage place.
Is a Portable Dryer the Right Fit for Me?
Some rental apartments and homes don’t come with a washer or dryer, so portable options offer a great alternative solution. Others who already own a conventional dryer may find that purchasing a portable dryer offers solutions that traditional dryers don’t offer. Since portable dryers are compact and light in size, they can be easily transported to other areas around the house or be packed up for a trip.
What are the Benefits of a Portable vs. Traditional Dryer?
Portable dryers are much less expensive than traditional dryers. They also tend to use much less electricity. Although they are considered to be equally effective for drying clothes, portable dryers are much gentler on clothing, as many of them do not have a spin cycle but instead dry clothes using a fan or heater. Some portable dryers work by using alternative sources of energy, such as solar power or a hand-crank, which makes them suitable for camping or off-grid use.
Why Not Just Use a Laundromat?
It’s a common option for those who don’t own a washer or dryer to make weekly or bi-weekly trips to the laundromat. But according to raw data collected by thesimpledollar.com, the cost of doing a load of laundry at home is $0.97, whereas the average cost of doing laundry per load at a laundromat is $3.12. Although the initial investment costs of purchasing a washer and dryer can seem like a lot–around a thousand dollars or more usually– in the long run, you are almost always saving money by doing your washing at home verses at a laundromat.
In the case of purchasing a portable dryer, even more money is saved up front, since they tend to be significantly less expensive.
How We Evaluated
- Versatility: This is based off how many modes and settings each dryer offers, as well as the different types of clothing materials that can be effectively dried in each portable machine.
- Drying capacity: The volume of each machine to dry clothes.
- Size: The outside dimensions, or how much space it requires.
- Features: The features and specifications for each dryer.
- Drying time/Effectiveness: The length of time it takes to dry a load of clothes. Also, if the clothes are completely dry at the end of the cycle.
- Value: This is a tradeoff between cost and effectiveness.
Recommended and Highly-Rated Dryers
Panda PAN40SF Portable Clothes Dryer
This compact, portable dryer actually looks strikingly similar to a traditional dryer, except it only weighs 44 pounds and it can be transported around easily thanks to its lightweight design. Its compact size makes it perfect for small apartments, dorm rooms, RV’s, or tiny houses.
It can hold up to 8.8 pounds of clothing in its stainless steel drum body. The door is transparent so you can see the clothes inside. Conventional dryers use 220v to dry clothes, and this dryer uses half of that, 110v, so it will take longer to dry clothes.
Here’s what reviewers loved most about the Panda Portable Cloth Dryer:
- Great for apartments and small spaces
- Very effective for drying clothes. Clothes come out unwrinkled and fresh.
- Uses less electricity but dries clothes with the same effectiveness as a normal dryer.
KASYDoFF Clothes Dryer Portable 3-Tier 1.7 Meters Foldable Drying Rack Energy Saving Clothing Dryer
This unique standing foldable drying rack clothes dryer can dry up to 35 pounds of clothes at a time and can be easily folded for convenient storage when it’s not in use. Clothes are hung inside of the dryer, which is gentle on sensitive textiles and helps clothes to dry wrinkle-free. There are 12 hanging bars.
The drying process is noiseless and works using low heat to avoid overheating. Depending on how many clothes are placed in the dryer, it can take a few hours for clothes to be finished, but it is extremely gentle on the clothes. This portable dryer comes with a remote to wirelessly operate the dryer within range. The intelligent touch screen control is waterproof and includes various drying settings.
Things reviewers love about the KASYDoFF Portable Clothes Dryer:
- Dries clothes in just a couple of hours
- Wireless remote for easy operation
- Easily folds and stores for convenience
Panda Portable Ventless Clothes Dryer Folding Drying Machine With Heater
The convenient design of this portable ventless clothes dryer makes it easy to assemble and disassemble whenever needed. It uses a 120v outlet, and is compact in size enough to fit in a dorm room, RV, apartment, or any other small living space. The easy-to-operate control panel makes it easy to operate the various settings and functions.
The design of this portable dryer consists of a fan-like shape of hangers at the top of the device where clothes can be hung. Towards the bottom of the device is a heating unit which blows heat directly above onto the clothes, until they are dry. When the dryer is not in use, it can be easily folded for convenient storage.
What reviewers love about the Panda Portable Ventless Clothes Dryer Folding Drying Machine:
- No vent is needed
- Easy pack-up for convenient storage
- Easy to assemble
- Works effectively to dry clothes
Panda 3200 rpm Portable Spin Dryer 110V22lbs Stainless Steel
This portable spin dryer uses gravity and the high spin rate (3200 RPM) to remove excess water from your clothes. It does not heat the clothes in order to dry them. Instead, it works to make clothes nearly dry, but not 100% dry.
It is mainly designed for people who rely on handwashing or who are looking for a quicker alternative to air drying clothes. After the clothes are removed from the spinner, they are only ever-so-slightly damp, and air drying them will have them completely dry in just a fraction of the time it would take without the help of the spinner.
Things reviewers noted and loved about the Panda Portable Dryer
- Functions as a spinner more than a conventional dryer
- Extremely effective at squeezing water out of clothes
- Drastically reduces the time that clothes need to hang dry after the spin cycle
- A pan or a hose is required for the water collection
The Laundry Alternative Nina Soft Spin Dryer
This compact and lightweight dryer works to remove the majority of excess water from clothes in under 3 minutes by spinning at a speed of 1800 RPM. This spin dryer is more of a spinner than a dryer and does not claim to get clothes 100% dry. The small, 16.7 pound design can hold up to 12 pounds of clothing and makes it easy to transport or easily fit in an apartment, RV, condo, or other space-limited living space.
Although the clothing is not 100% dry after it is spun through the machine, they will dry significantly faster afterwards compared to being air dried from the start. It functions by simply closing the lid, which results in the machine automatically turning on. There is a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty included with the purchase.
This is what reviewers love about the Nina Soft Spin Dryer:
- Lightweight and compact design
- Works to dry clothes very quickly and efficiently by removing water
- Simple to use
- Easy to move around
- 3 year warranty
- No venting required
- Clothes are 90% dry in 3 minutes
Concise Home Electric Clothes Dryer 1000W
This ultra-handy portable dryer resembles a wardrobe and works by hanging the wet clothes in the upper compartment which is heated by the mechanism located on the lower compartment. When the device is not in use it can be used as a wardrobe for clothes to hang in. It is designed with a sturdy stainless steel frame. A wireless remote is included to use the device remotely within 10 meters.
Up to 35 pounds of clothing can be hung and dried on the stainless steel hanger racks. Clothes are unwrinkled when finished, since they are hung and dried in an upright position. The machine is ultralight weight, only 8.85 pounds, and can be moved or transported effortlessly.
This is what reviewers love about Concise Home Electric Clothes Dryer 1000W:
- Warm air mechanism dries clothes quickly and efficiently.
- Easy to put together
- Wheels offer easy transport
- Remote control can operate up to 10 meters away
Magic Chef 2.6 cubic foot Laundry Dryer
This portable laundry dryer is designed with a stainless steel inner drum, as well as adjustable timer control. It looks strikingly similar to a traditional dryer. Runs off a 110V outlet, and is compact in size, perfect for small living spaces, apartments, dorms, or RV’s. It weighs 48.4 pounds, making it fairly easy to transport and move around.
Installation is quick and simple. A medium sized load of laundry can be dried in an average of 45 minutes.
Things reviewers love about the Magic Chef Laundry Dryer:
- Quiet when running
- Easy to use
- Works just as well as a traditional dryer
- Can dry a full load of laundry between 45-60 minutes
- Adjustable timer control
- Wall mountable
- Swinging door with viewing window
Portable Clothes Dryer Blue Mini Folding Ventless Electric Air Clothes Dryer
Designed to quickly dry clothes, hats, shoes, and any other wearable items. Any kind of textile, including silks, undergarments, and delicates can be safely and gently dried in this machine. The compact and lightweight design makes this dryer suitable for use in just about any small space, including apartments, dorm rooms, hotels, gyms, RV’s, and boats.
The clothes are essentially hung inside of a bag, and the electric dryer is placed on the bottom, continually releasing hot air to dry the clothes. The hot air pump runs on a timer between 30 and 180 minutes.
Things reviewers love about the Portable Clothes Dryer Blue Mini Folding Ventless Electric Air Clothes Dryer:
- Can dry any wearable items, including shoes, hats, undergarments, and delicates
- Heats up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dries clothes wrinkle-free on the inner hanging racks
- Small and compact enough to fit in any small living spaces
Tips and Tricks for using a portable drying machine:
- How to get clothes to dry faster?
- One of the ways to optimize the efficiency of a portable dryer is to lighten the load. The more clothes you try to stuff inside of the machine, the longer it will take. If you are in a pinch and need just a couple items to dry quickly, then throw those items in by themselves and save the rest of your unprioritized wet laundry to be dried afterwards.
- How to address any musty smells?
- Among all of the portable dryers we’ve covered in this article, quite a few different brands included reviews from people claiming that the dryer gave off an unpleasant or musty smell. Some reviewers found the solution to this problem by dousing a small cloth with essential oils (lavender, chamomile, or another non-pungent scent) and placing it inside the dryer along with the clothes while the dryer was doing its thing.
- Replacing any ventless filters periodically?
- Some ventless dryers require filters to be changed periodically but this depends on the design and specific product. Some ventless dryers do not require filter replacements at all. It is best to check the specifications before purchasing. If a ventless filter needs to be replaced, it is usually easy to find and purchase on the web.
- Other maintenance?
- Depending on the product and its specifications, some general maintenance may be required to ensure that the device maintains its effectiveness and functionality. Refer to your device’s user’s manual for more specific information regarding maintenance.
- Making sure the clothes have gone through a thorough spin cycle first, or use a wringer to get the most out of the wetness first
- Since portable dryers use less electricity and power to dry clothes, it can require more time to ensure a load gets fully dried. To optimize the effectiveness of your portable dryer, don’t overload the machine. Also, it helps to fully dry the clothes in one cycle if clothes have been spun or the majority of water has been removed from clothes beforehand.
- Don’t expect these to work like a full-sized dryer
- Portable dryers don’t use as much electricity as traditional dryers, so it may take more time to get a load of laundry completely dry.
- You may need to take some extra steps to maximize their effectiveness, such as not overloading or removing excess water before placing clothes inside of the device.
- Since portable dryers use an average of half the amount of electricity as traditional dryers, it will significantly cut down on energy costs.
Perhaps a portable dryer isn’t for you but you still need a drying option…
Some apartments simply do not have the space even for the smallest of portable dryers and washers, or maybe you are trying to save on electricity costs and dryers just make your bills skyrocket. Here are some natural, effective, and electricity-free clothes drying alternatives:
Calliger Hand Crank Clothes Wringer 14” Rollers
Wringing out wet clothes by hand can be exhausting and can result in very sore hands very quickly. The Callinger Hand Crank Clothes Wringer does all the hard work for you. Since it operates by the crank, it works much faster than wringing each piece by hand. It does not use any electricity, the device operates purely manually. It works on all types of clothing, including thick fabrics, delicates, and jeans.
The device is zinc plated and powder coated with steel roller shafts to guarantee a long life-span and to prevent all forms of water degradation. The 16.4 pound design makes it sturdy and strong, but at the same time portable and easy to transport from place to place.
Rosefray 36 Wires Laundry Rack, Stainless steel Clothes Racks for Hanging Clothes
This durable, stainless steel laundry hanger is sturdy and can accommodate an assortment of clothing types, including towels, jeans, socks, hats, and more. The neck of the hanger can rotate 360 degrees, making it easy to hang laundry from all directions.
This multifaceted hanger makes drying clothes outside quick and easy. It can hold up to 36 items at one time, and is strong enough to not bend or break even when completely full.
Household Essentials outdoor Parallel Style Clothes dryer with Steel Arms
This 6 foot parallel steel clothes dryer features thirty lines for air drying clothes outside. Since it does not use any electricity it saves money and conserves energy. The 30 drying lines offer 210 feet of total drying space and a rotating top for easy access. It can hold up to 100 pounds of clothing.
The arms and body are made of steel to prevent rust and to ensure durability. It is easy to use and install, and is recommended to install the base in concrete for an extra sturdy base.
Commonly asked questions about portable dryers based on user reviews:
- How long does it take to dry clothes on average with a portable dryer? This is an “it depends” question as it depends on so many factors, including the specific device and its capabilities. As a general rule of thumb, the more electricity a device uses, the faster clothes will dry. Also, overfilling the unit makes clothes take longer to dry. Filling any unit with a very moderate amount of clothing should take between one and two hours on average to dry.
- Does it need to be vented to the outside? If you are using a portable dryer that has a ventilation system, you will need to hook it up to your pre-existing ventilation system. If you do not already have a ventilation system built into the wall, you will need to route the hose out of a window or door. Ventless portable dryers are a good option for those who do not wish to worry about this extra step.
- How does it handle water? Does it collect the water internally or do you need to attach the hose to a pan? Depending on the device, some portable dryers will need to be wired to a hose or a pan. Other dryers will collect water that can be drained into a sink or toilet after use.