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Home > Q & A > Questions and Answers - Index > Questions and Answers 15

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Q15 Washing Machines for caravans - what are the options? 

A. What do you need?  Built in or portable?  Front or top loader?  Will you be running it from mains power, generator or use an inverter from on board 12 volt batteries?  Will you be on a water source such as at a caravan park, or will you be collecting water from a stream?  Do you need a washing machine? 

 

Will portable that can be used outside be easier for you than one in the bathroom or under your bed?  A portable will be easier of you are bucketing water from a stream of lake to supplement you tank water supply.  Portable machines can be purchased for around $100 to $150, considerably less than built in machines. 

 

If choosing a portable machine, which is better, twin tub or single?  A twin tub may be more convenient if you want to use spin cycle only.  The spin capacities of most portable twin tubs are less than the capacity for the wash bowl. 

If inbuilt, do you want a top loader or front loader?  A front loader is likely to be heavier and not result in a saving on water usage. You will also need somewhere to mount it where the door can be easily opened and allow room for you to remove the clothes when washed. 

 

Most of the following will run from a generator or small (eg 300 watt pure sine wave) inverter with adequate battery power.

 

While there are others, the main brands which can be built in can be seen at  Caravans Plus and this will give you a guide to the current prices for these brands.

 

Various models available through Caravans Plus and other sources: 

 

Top loaders

 

Lemair 2.2. kg requires 300 watts.  This unit weighs eighteen kilogrammes and is 438 mm wide x 438 mm deep x 735 mm high.  Cycles times range from 23 to 64 minutes. 

 

Sphere 2.5 kg requires 200 watts for washing and 230 w for spin cycle.  It will run from a 300 watt pure sine wave inverter.  It has high water consumption at up to 60 litres per load for the maximum setting.  Choice of two water levels. Cold wash only. This unit weighs eighteen kilogrammes and is 410 mm wide x 420 mm deep x 640 mm high.  Average washing time 38 minutes.  Spinner alone can be used as a separate cycle.     

 

Sphere 3.0 kg has high water consumption at up to 60 litres per load for the maximum setting.  Choice of three water levels.  This unit weighs nineteen kilogrammes and is 410 mm wide x 420 mm deep x 740 mm high.   Average washing time 38 minutes.  Spinner alone can be used as a separate cycle.  

 

Camec 2.5 kg weighs 16 kg and Caravans Plus state it uses 15 litres to 20 litres according to cycleThis unit is 410 mm wide x 420 mm deep x 640 mm high.   

 

Camec 3 kg weighs 18 kg and Caravans Plus state it uses 20 to 26 litres of water according to cycle and comes with the option of hot water.  Dimensions 470 mm wide x 465 mmdeep x 820 mm high.  It draws 235 watts on cold cycle or 1,035 for hot. 

 

Front loadersFront loaders are generally considerably heaveir and more expensive than top loaders, and water use is not comparatively much lower.

 

Camec 4 kg front loader uses 42 litres of water on standard cycle.  This unit weighs 47 kgs and is 510 mm wide x 430 mm deep x 700 mm high.  Power usage is 230 watts for cold water and 1,300 watts for hot water cycles. 

 

Dometic 3 kg front loader.  This is really a compact home appliance and it is much heavier than the above listed machines at 54 kilogrammes, and much more expensive than the top loading caravan washing machines.  It has a long cycle time and uses up to 45 litres of water on maximum cycle.  It is the largest at 495 mm wide x 515 mm deep x 670 mm high.  The Dometic front loader will require a 2 kva generator or a large inverter and adequate power when away from mains power.  It is also the most expensvie option. 

 

Daewoo Mini Drum is a wall mounted mini front loading washing machine with full spinner function.  2 kg load capacity. The washer uses 24 litres of water on normal cycle.  Power draw is 100 watts for cold water cycle and 1,500 watts for a very hot water cycle. This unit weighs 16.5 kg and is 550 mm wide x 292 mm deep x 600 mm high.  Currently available with some New Age caravans costing over $1,000, it can be purchased from eBay stockists or AliExpress but is not a cheap option.  Update:  Daewoo Mini is now available in a 3 kg model, and most on eBay are advertised as 3 kg capacity, however their dimensions and weight are the same as the 2 kg model. 

Small Portable Washing Machines

 

Caravans Plus also stock a portable twin tub which uses 150 watts for the 2 kg wash tub and 80 watts for the 1 kg spin tub.  This weighs ten kilogrammes and is 590 mm wide x 365 mm deep x 585 mm high. Washing time fifteen minutes for wash and spin minutes for spin.  No longer listed

 

Small portable washing machines can be purchased from some camping stores and a number of eBay sellers, and from time to time on line discount stores such as Catch of the Day andCrazy Sales.  Quick washing time, light weight and water efficient.  These twin tub portable machines include models from 2 kg capacity with 1 kg spinner to 5 kg capacity with 3.5 kg spinner. 

 

As an example, the Gecko, a twin tub from eBay sellers, is a 5 kg capacity machine with 3 kg spinner, using 30 litres for a maximum cycle.  Measurements are 650 mm wide x 390 mm deep x 730 mm high, it weighs 12 kilogrammes', and draws 240 watts for the wash cycle and 120 watts for the spinner.  Quick wash takes fifteen minutes. 

 

Search on eBay for portable washing machines; there are many single tubs that include a spinner than twin tubs as well as twin tubs.  They vary from two to four kilogramme capacity.  

 

Some caravan parks will not permit the use of washing machines in caravans, or may charge extra.  When bush camping a good water source or supply needs to be considered, and adequate power either from solar charged batteries via an inverter or by using a generator. 

 

If you are using water from an outside source such as a lake or stream, a portable machine will be an advantage over a plumbed in one that draws water from your tanks.

 

Power free options as an alternative to  hand washing in a bucket include the manual EzyWash and the Laundry Pod is periodically available from Catch of the Day.  Another product on the market is the Scrubba Washing Bag which being compact may be suitable for hikers.

 

2013, and products last updated November 2017

tn_plunger1.jpg tn_washday.jpg
A simple plunger and a bucket enables washing to be done by hand quickly and effectively. 
Washing day beside Old Policeman's Waterhole in the Davenport Range National Park, Northern Territory.  Note that washing water was taken away from the waterhole for disposal.  Washing was done where the water was drawn for convenience and a clean place to sit.  After wringing the washed clothes out in a towel, they dried quickly on a line strung between two trees.  Towels were also washed in the buckets here, but the sheets were left until we could use a laundromat.
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