If you’re in the market for a small washing machine, this guide is for you! Small washing machines are great if you’re short of space or have a small family.
In the UK, washing machines that are small in size and capacity can be hard to find. Finding a good one can be even trickier. After searching exhaustively for the best options available in the UK, we settled for five top-rated machines with load capacities ranging from 3-6kgs.
To assist you in your choice let’s take a detailed look at what they have to offer and what they may be lacking.
If you’re in a hurry, we recommend you check out the Haden HW1206 – our overall top small washing machine in the UK. You can jump to this section by clicking its entry in the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
What is a small washing machine?
There are several definitions for small washing machines. After all, what I consider small could be big for you, right? At Washing Wizard, we qualify a washing machine to be small if its physical size is smaller than standard and if the load capacity is 3-6kg or smaller.
These machines are designed for small households of 1-3 people. Also, they’re best suited for homes where space is limited given their small frames which allow them to fit in more compact spaces. The 3kg and 5kg capacity machines are the rarest to find. On the other hand, there’s a big pool of 6kg machines to choose from. Indeed, it’s no coincidence that 3 out of 5 of those selected here fall into this category.
If you’re not sure about which size of machine best suits your needs, here’s how to estimate the size of your average load of washing:
1kg of laundry = 5 shirts OR 1 shirt + 1 pair of denim OR 2 bath towels
Using this estimate:
3kg washing machines can hold 15 shirts OR 3 shirts + 3 pairs of denim OR 6 bath towels
4kg washing machines can wash 20 shirts OR 4 shirts + 4 pairs of denim OR 8 bath towels
6kg washing machines can clean 30 shirts OR 6 shirts + 6 pairs of denim OR a dozen bath towels
The physical size and weight of these machines may also differ slightly from each other based on the load capacity. Expect a 6kg to occupy a bit more space and weigh heavier than a 3kg machine. Washing machines with bigger capacities are also likely to have more features and programmes than their smaller siblings.
Why choose a small washing machine?
When space is in short supply and laundry has to be done, a small washing machine can be the perfect solution. Small homes such as condominiums, vacation getaways, and studio apartments often lack a dedicated laundry area or ample space to accommodate full-sized washing machines. This is where their smaller alternatives come in.
The following are five reasons you might want to go for a small washing machine.
1. Space Saving
Most small washing machines are the size of an average dishwasher, which means they can fit in tiny spaces quite seamlessly. This explains why their rising popularity among apartment dwellers and owners of other smaller homes.
The vast majority of small washing machines are cheaper to buy than traditional washers. They’re also generally more efficient and will help you save a lot of money in utility bills in the long run.
3. Suited to small families
The most common size of households in the UK is two people, while the second most common is one person. Such small homes have less laundry, meaning a small size washing machineis a more pragmatic acquisition for them.
4. Energy saving
Most small washing machines are designed to consume less energy. Even then, be sure to check the energy rating label and only go for those with high ratings – preferably A or B. It will save you money down the road.
Are you looking for ways to save floor space in your jampacked home? How about stacking your small washing machine on top of other machines like a dryer. However, you’ll need to consider a few factors, including your height, the height of the ceiling and whether your machine is a front or top loader.
The disadvantages of a small washing machine
Like anything else, small washing machines, despite offering multiple benefits as we’ve seen earlier, come with their fair share of downsides.
1. Not suited to large families
Do you have a mid-sized or large household of four or more people? A small washing machine will likely not cut it for you. Chances are you pile up a ton of laundry every week, and this could be more than the recommended capacity the machine can wash.
2. Washing large items
Yours could be a small household of 1-2 people, but if you want to wash large items like bed sheets, blankets and duvets, a small washing machine might not help much. For example, a king-size duvet is best washed in a 9kg-13kg washer, while the smallest washing machine has a capacity of only 3kg.
If you’re reconsidering your decision to buy a small machine, check out our guide on the best integrated washing machines in the UK. These come with bigger capacities whilst still offering you huge savings both in space and energy.
What to look for when buying a small machine?
When buying a small washing machine, you should be guided by several factors to ensure your choice suits your unique needs and preferences. Here are four essential features you can’t afford to ignore.
Front or top loader?
When buying a small washing machine, you can choose between a top loader and a front loader. Front loaders generally consume less energy and water than their top loading equivalents. However, they’re more expensive and have a shorter life span.
On the other hand, top loaders are gentler on fabrics and therefore slow down wear and tear on clothes. The best small size washing machines are top loaders.
Power bills are every washing machine user’s biggest worry. When shopping for your washer, be sure to look at its energy efficiency class. A is the most energy-efficient while G is the least. A small machine with an A label will be more expensive than its G-rated equivalent. But the energy savings you’ll get with the former in the long run will be worth more than the extra price you paid for it.
Yes, you’re buying a small washing machine, but that doesn’t mean it should be too small to do any good. Take some time to ensure that the machine you’re about to buy matches the amount of washing you usually need to wash.
Just because you’re going for a small washing machine doesn’t mean you should compromise on the performance. Most of these machines pack just as many top of the range features as their bigger siblings including:
Quick wash – a useful feature that helps you wash your not-so-dirty clothes for between 14-30 minutes.
Child lock – a safety feature meant for households with small children. It prevents them from opening the drum or changing programmes mid-cycle.
Load balancing – most advanced small washing machines can automatically detect the size of the load and control the amount of water, detergent and time needed to wash them clean.
No 1: Haden HW1206
Haden HW1206 model details
Water usage (litres)
Spin speed (rpm)
Load Capacity (kg)
Quick 15 minute wash, Delicates, Prewash
H85 x W59.5 x D47
The Haden HW1206
The HW1206 from Haden is a well-built, affordable machine ideal for smaller homes of 1 to 3 people. Haden isn’t one of the most well-known brands for washing machines, but they’re a family firm with over 150 years of historical involvement with British engineering. They started their company in 1958 and since then have been developing their range of sturdy, functional appliances.
Priced at less than £250, the build quality of this washing machine is exceptional. However, despite having only 6kg of drum capacity, it’s still only a little smaller than a standard-sized model. What more than makes up for this is its functionality which comes in the form of 23 programmes and several useful settings. They include a quick 15-minute wash, extra rinse and no spin button, a 9-hour delay and a pause function.
When it comes to compact machines that get the job done and go the extra mile, then the Haden HW1206 just won’t be beaten.
The Casart Automatic washing machine loads from the top and can hold loads of up to 4.5kg. There are ten washing programs and you can choose from 8 water levels to get the most efficient results. When completely full, the Casart can hold 45 litres of water.
At 85cm tall and 50cm wide, it’s not the smallest machine on this list, but because the door is on the top, it’s ideal for squeezing into smaller spaces. The LED display is bright and easy to read and there’s a child-lock fitted to prevent little hands from interfering with the controls.
Although this appliance could be described as a portable washing machine, it’s much more suited to homes that just need a small convenient washer to do laundry for one or two people.
Quick Wash, Auto Half Load Function, 24-Hour Delay Timer
H67 x W49.5 x D51.5
The Zanussi ZWC1301
Zanussi, a renowned Italian brand, recently entered into the small washing machine space with its ZWC1301 model. The machine has the smallest size of all models we’ve reviewed here at H51.5 x W49.5 x D67. This means you can fit it in compact spaces such as in cupboards or under the sink and counters. We also found it to be a very quiet machine producing just 73db noise level during high spins and 53db noise level in low spins.
Its 3kg capacity can wash around 15 t-shirts at a time, and this makes it a suitable pick if you live alone or with a partner. A spin speed of 1300rpm is pretty impressive for a machine this size while its class A energy efficiency rating will mean you won’t need to worry much about utility bills going up. Indeed, with an average usage of 125Kwh of electricity and 8,580 litres of water annually, this front loader is among the most efficient small washing machines around.
Now let’s have a look at the unique features that set Zanussi ZWC1301 apart from the competition. For starters, it comes with 15 standard programmes that complement its modern design and look.
Want to clean a small portion of your laundry to finish off your work week? Just throw the selected items into the drum and leave Zanussi ZWC1301 to do the rest. The machine’s auto half load function will control the amount of water and energy required depending on the load size. And if you want to pre-set a programme cycle for later cleaning, the 24-hour delayed timer ensures you can do your laundry any time you feel like.
The compact WME610 from Amica is an absolute steal at slightly less than £200. It has a 6kg drum capacity and the spin can reach 1000rpm. It’s not the most powerful small machine we’ve found, but if you’re short of space and on a budget, it’ll still do a great job.
There are an impressive 23 preset programs which is more than enough to find something to get your clothes sparkling clean. The energy rating of E seems low, but the average annual energy consumption of 75kWh shows that it’s still an eco-friendly contender. One thing that may not suit some people is that when in full spin, it can reach up to 80dB.
Despite a couple of small snags, this is a well-made piece of kit that’ll look great in any small home.
Finding a small washing machine that suits your available space, budget and laundry needs can be a challenge for anyone. Remember to think carefully about what you need before making your choice. Having a clear idea of what you’re looking for will help you get a great deal and a machine that’ll last for many years to come.