What is a Portable Dryer?

A portable dryer is just what it sounds like, a smaller version of a household dryer used for clothes laundering. A portable dryer does not necessarily need a vent, though some are equipped with them. These dryers hold fewer clothes overall, but do the same job as larger dryers while taking less time and using less energy.

Why do you need a portable dryer?

Portable dryers are great for saving both space and money. These are also capable of being used when traveling in an RV, perfect for dorm rooms, and available for apartments that may have limited space or no hook-ups for washers and dryers.

Since they are smaller and do not necessarily require a vent, these dryers can be moved from room to room and stored when not in use. This also makes it easier to move for those who change locations often or those who live in tiny houses.

A portable dryer will ultimately save you money over going to a laundromat as a weekly trip to wash clothes can add up quickly.

Portable dryers are also great for the elderly who can no longer climb stairs to easily or safely access a laundry room on a different floor.

Choosing the Best Portable Dryer

This article will save you the time and energy of researching tons of portable dryers online by offering the seven top portable dryers available. We will also offer the basic aspects of each dryer and the pros and cons of each brand. The brands reviewed will be based on the best options, price, and convenience. These include:

  • Panda
  • Magic Chef
  • Laundry Alternative
  • Costway

Panda 3200 RPM Portable Spin Dryer

Quick specs:

Weighing capacity: 22 lbs.

Get your clothes almost dry with the Panda 3200 RPM Portable Spin Dryer. Like most portable dryers, Panda Portable Spin Dryer works well to nearly dry your clothing in the stainless steel or white versions.

This saves time for line drying and of hand washing items. Easily plugging into a 110V outlet, this ventless dryer has a high capacity load, yet easy mobility and storage. Weighing in at only 22 pounds, this is perfect for those who are traveling and have limited space to dry clothing or those who do not have dryers in their homes, nor a place to vent them.

As mentioned, the clothing will not get completely dry, but will only require slight line drying as they will come out damp. This dryer is well made and offers gravity draining. This means that you can drain the water into a bucket or outside as needed.


  • Large load capacity
  • Ventless
  • Lightweight


  • Does not fully dry clothing
Panda 3200 RPM Portable Spin Dryer

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Laundry Alternative Nina Soft Spin Dryer

Quick specs:

Load capacity: 12 lbs.

Choose the heat free Laundry Alternative Nina Soft Spin Dryer in either white or black as a way to air dry clothing in small spaces. This dryer is not designed to get clothes completely dry as it offers no heat, but instead, air spins items until the majority of the moisture is removed so they are easily dry when hung up.

The ventless, portable electric dryer offers a 3-year manufacturer warranty with a spin speed of 1800 RPM. Boasting a 12-pound load capacity, laundry is 90% dry in under 3 minutes. Weighing in at only 16 pounds, this little dryer can be placed anywhere an outlet is available and easily stored in a closet after each use.

Imagine how much easier laundry day would be in a dorm or RV when clothes were so quickly dried. Laundry Alternative thought of everything when they added a convenient carrying handle to this tiny, lightweight dryer that is 100 times more efficient than a standard dryer.


  • Lightweight
  • Highly efficient
  • Electric


  • Does not completely dry clothing

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Magic Chef Compact MCSDRY15W 1.5 cu. ft. Dryer

Quick specs:

Load capacity: 5.5 lbs.

This tiny titan of a portable dryer may be small, but it is highly effective. The Magic Chef Compact Electric Laundry Dryer holds up to 5.5 pounds of clothing in a 1.5 cubic foot space with a stainless steel tub and see-through window to monitor clothes.

Complete with two temperature setting for better clothing care and an anti-wrinkle selection that will keep clothes turning on set times after the cycle means your clothes will be dry and as wrinkle free as possible. Though this dryer is ventless, it can be adapted to use a vent to push hot air outdoors. The lint filter will have to be replaced and can easily be ordered when needed.

Due to the dryer’s small size, it can be placed on a table, shelf or wall mounted with a kit. This is the perfect size for a young adult out on their own for the first time or someone who lives in a small space with limited area to spare. Pricing at around $200 dollars this is a useful little machine.


  • Small
  • Efficient
  • Ventless or vented


  • Small load capacity

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Panda Portable Ventless Clothes Dryer Folding Drying Machine with Heater

Quick specs:

Weighing capacity: 8.5 lbs.

This is not what most people imagine when they start searching for portable dryers, but the Panda Portable Ventless Clothes Dryer is an awesome choice for your clothes-drying needs. Priced at only slightly over sixty bucks this portable, foldable dryer is the way to go.

The easy to assemble dryer plugs into a regular outlet with no vent needed. The actual heating unit sits on a tripod while clothes hang on a rack and rotate as the heater runs. This is placed in a tent-like a dome that can easily be folded up for storage. Weighing in at only 8.5 pounds and standing 21 inches tall, this dryer will fit almost anywhere and is certified frustration-free.

Since the clothing is hanging fewer pieces can be dried at once, but the items are easier to iron as they dry nearly wrinkle-free. Simply hang your clothes, set the timer and walk away to enjoy your time.

The outer tent is washable and the entire unit folds down small enough to fit under a bed or be tucked away about anywhere. Since there is no vent it can heat up a room when in use. This would be perfect for those traveling who needed to dry items quickly or those who lived in an RV or trailer with limited room.


  • Foldable
  • Efficient
  • Eliminates wrinkles


  • Can make a room hot

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Magic Chef MCPMCSCDRY1S MCSDRY1S Laundry Dryer

Quick specs:

Weighing capacity: 45 lbs.

Save time, space, and money with the Magic Chef Laundry Dryer with a 2.6 cubic foot capacity and stainless steel inner drum. Though a bit on the heavy side weighing in at a bit over 45 pounds, this dryer can be wall mounted if needed.

It also has leveling legs if you choose to place it on the floor. The entire unit and extra parts are included, including the vent hose if it is used with the vent, which is recommended.

Simply plug this machine into a regular wall outlet and place a load of clothing in to dry. Perfect for dorm rooms or small spaces, this dryer can dry a load of clothing in about 30 minutes if not overfilled.

This is a cost-efficient option for those trying to conserve both energy and money as this dryer will not run up the electric bill like a full-size machine. With a hefty price tag of just over $250 this dryer may be expensive but will save the user in the long run.

The viewing window on the front load dryer allows you to watch your clothes as they dry while you do whatever other tasks you need.


  • Wall mountable
  • Fully drying
  • Cost-efficient


  • Hefty initial price
  • Heavy
  • Needs a vent

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Panda 2.65 cu. Ft. Compact Laundry Dryer

Quick specs:

Weighing capacity: 44 lbs.

Hit the road or stay at home and enjoy some downtime with the Panda 2.65 cu ft. Compact Laundry Dryer. This particular unit is available in two separate sizes, a 2.65 cu. ft. and 3.75 cu. ft. version. Both versions plug into a standard 120-volt outlet.

The smaller version weighs in at only 44 pounds which are light enough to move around a home, dorm, RV, or place in your car to relocate anywhere you need. Though it does take a bit longer for clothes to dry, the small size creates extra space in your home.

The warm air-drying cycle gets clothes dry and ready to wear in the ventless dryer that can be wall mounted or sat on the floor. The transparent lid allows you to watch clothes as they spin and controls are located in the lower corner so if the unit is mounted it is easily reached.

At this price, for the smaller unit, this dryer does have a hefty up-front investment, but the time and money saved not going to a laundromat will more than makeup for the cost.

The Panda has a removable lint filter, mounting brackets, and 4 dryer temperature setting standard with a 1-year manufacturing warranty.


  • Warranty
  • Mounting ability
  • Ventless or vented options


  • Longer dry time
  • Bottom control will be on the ground if not mounted

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COSTWAY Tumble Dryer Electric Compact Clothes Laundry Dryer

Quick specs:

Dryer weighs capacity: 37 lbs.

The creative little space saving COSTWAY Tumble Dryer is a great choice when space is at a minimum and laundry is at a maximum. The portable COSTWAY dryer weighs only a bit over 37 pounds meaning that it can be wall mounted, resting on a table or placed on the floor for quick and easy dryer access.

Holding up to 10 pounds of clothing at once, this dryer is a powerhouse running on 850 watts of power with five separate heat or air settings. Perfect for a small family or for those living alone, this dryer can be easily stored, moved, or packed up for a grand adventure.

No need to worry if you want to set it and forget because the quiet cycle will not disturb guests or your sleep as it runs. Imagine how much money you will save avoiding the dryers at the laundromat with this electric, plugs into any outlet, dryer. The vented compact dryer comes with the hose and lint filter to keep you cool and safe whether you are driving cross country or saving time so you can study for the next big test. Also great for those with limited space or those that can no longer easily climb stairs to get to standard dryers.


  • Comes with vent
  • Quiet operation
  • Large capacity


  • Heavier than most

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Different Types of Portable Dryers

There are many different brands of portable dryers to choose from so you must decide what works best for your lifestyle and situation.

Some portable dryers do not fully dry clothing, but simple use air to get most of the moisture out of the clothing, these often require a place to drain. However, they are typically smaller and use less energy overall.

Larger units use heat to dry loads of clothing in differing sizes until the clothing is fully dry.

Different compact dryers often offer vented or ventless versions as well.

A ventless dryer does not need to be vented outdoors, but will often heat up a room rather quickly.

Vented portable dryers can be vented out a window or door, or if desired, into the room so that the heat is dispersed a bit better.

Obviously outside venting is best when using a vented dryer, but it is not completely necessary.

All the compact dryers on the list are front load and most are mountable or small enough to rest on a table until they are stored.

One, in particular, the Panda folding dryer machine, can be folded up and placed under a bed or in a corner with ease.

Perks and Limitations of Owning a Portable Dryer

There are both positives and negatives to owning a compact, portable dryer. The obvious benefit of extra space is a top selling point as is the ability to avoid having to use a laundromat to dry clothes. Since the laundromat can be avoided, the money will be saved after the initial purchase of the portable dryer. Many people also enjoy the portability of this machine if they travel or camp with electrical service.

Since these dryers can be moved easily or mounted, they can be hidden away or placed off the ground to allow for more storage. Many have timed settings so clothes can be placed inside, the timer set, and the person can walk away.

The downside to a portable dryer is the capacity of the dryer itself. Large and bulky items will not likely fit in this dryer and some are heavier than others. Another issue may come with ventless dryers as they can quickly heat up a room as they work.

Some compact dryers are not designed to fully dry clothing which may be problematic if there is no space to hang up damp clothes to dry, however, these dryers are often much cheaper overall if complete drying is not the goal.

Features to Consider When Buying a Portable Dryer

Capacity vs. your needs

When purchasing a portable dryer, you must first determine your overall needs. If you have a large family or lots of laundries then a full-size dryer may be the best option, but a couple or a family that just needs a bit of extra laundering ability may be well served by one of the compact dryers.

Vented or ventless

You should also determine whether vented or ventless is best. Those who have access to a window or door will not have to deal with excess heat from the dryer with the vented versions, but no outdoor access does not mean a ventless dryer could not be used.

Large, medium or small sized

You will also want to consider size as some portable dryers hold more clothing than others, can be folded for storage, or weigh different amounts to add to portability.

Drying capability

Finally, as mentioned, how much dry you need your clothes must be taken into consideration in order to pick the best unit.

Who is Best Served by a Portable Dryer?

Portable dryers are for everyone, but those who like to travel, who move often, or have limited space are best served by this type of machine. Due to the size, couple, singles, or small families are best served by this type of unit, though a larger family who traveled may also find it useful.

Those who are older and unable to get to a laundry room anymore or those with limited time to spend at a laundromat can also benefit.

This is even appropriate for those trying to save money and conserve electricity as these are greener options than full-sized units.

Portable Dryer FAQs

Why are dryers more expensive than washers?

Portable dryers are often more expensive than portable washers due to the components necessary to make them function. Most have a stainless steel tub and extras such as mounting kits, selection timers, heaters, etc.

The cost of production is higher so the overall consumer price is also higher. Portable dryers are also often heavier than portable washers which account for potentially higher shipping prices.

What is a compact dryer?

A compact dryer is just as it sounds, a smaller version of a full-size dryer. However, some are more compact than others and may serve different functions such as full drying with heat or air drying. Make sure to do research to make sure you are buying a product that meets your specific needs.

Which type of dryer is best?

Based on price and functionality, Panda dryers are the best. Whether considering the compact dryer, portable spin dryer, or folding, heating dryer, Panda is competitive for functionality, options, and price. While the folding compact dryer only costs around $60 the larger heat dryer runs about $250. The portable spinner is about $50, but air spins clothes without offering a full dry cycle.

How much does it cost to run a tumble dryer per hour?

Though there is no way to determine exactly how much it costs to run a compact tumble dryer, it is commonly believed that since it runs on a normal outlet and voltage, energy bills will not see a significant, if any increase. Some people may see a bit of an increase if the dryer is run multiple times each day.

Which is better vented or condenser dryer?

Vented versus condenser dryers truly depend on your personal circumstances. A vented dryer will not cause the room to heat up as much, but if no access to a place to vent the dryer is available then a condenser dryer works just as well.

Many vented dryers can be vented indoors or used as ventless as well, though this is not recommended.

Are heat pump dryers worth the money?

Heat pump dryers are a bit more expensive, but the money saved from not having to go to a laundromat will more than pay for the upfront costs. Additionally, heat pump dryers’ dry clothes faster and more completely than air dryers.

What is the most reliable dryer brand?

Considering buyer opinions and warranty offers, both Panda and Magic Chef dryers appear very reliable. If a problem occurs with either the companies appear very responsive to correcting or helping correct the problem.

How long should a dryer last?

A portable dryer should be comparable to larger version lasting a minimum of 10 years with some lasting much longer. However, damage from constant moving around or excessive use can shorten the lifespan. Lifespan does not take into account replacement parts or poor maintenance practices which may also affect lifespan.


If you are considering a portable dryer and feel you have found one that fits your needs then it will be a sound purchase. Though upfront prices are a bit high, the time, money, and effort saved in the long run will more than cover initial costs.

For those that travel, have limited space, or are just trying to better the environment this is a purchase that will not be regretted. Choose the brand that best fits your income availability and needs to start doing laundry at home very soon.