The Best Compact Washer and Dryer (2024)

The research

  • Why you should trust us
  • Who should get this
  • How we picked
  • What to know about ventless dryers
  • Our pick: Bosch 300 Series compact washer and dryer
  • Flaws but not dealbreakers
  • Runner-up: Electrolux ELFW4222AW and ELFE4222AW
  • Upgrade pick: Miele WXD160 and TXD160
  • The competition
  • What about portable washers?
  • What about hand-crank washers?
  • Consider a drying rack

Why you should trust us

This guide builds on hundreds of hours of research put into evaluating washers and dryers. We’ve been evaluating compact laundry machines since 2017. Liam McCabe wrote previous versions of this guide. Staff writer Andrea Barnes contributed a new round of research in 2023.

For this guide, we’ve done the following:

  • We’ve interviewed repair technicians from around the country, and representatives from all the major washer brands and a major detergent company.
  • We’ve read reviews on other review sites (, CNET), as well as countless emails, comments, tweets, message board posts, and user reviews.
  • Most of what we’ve learned about full-size washers is relevant to compact laundry machines. For additional insight, we’ve spoken with Chaim Shanet, a repair technician and owner of Mr. Appliance of Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York, where compact laundry is common, and Steve Sheinkopf, CEO of Yale Appliance in Boston, another city where compact laundry is relatively widespread. We also spoke to George Tjoumakaris, a product manager for Miele.

Who should get this

Compact washers and dryers are primarily for people who can’t fit a full-size set into their home.

In the US and Canada, a full-size washer or dryer is usually 27 inches wide, 30 inches deep, and at least 36 inches tall. They need hot- and cold-water plumbing hookups and some kind of drainage for the washer, plus a 240-volt outlet and ventilation for the dryer.

If your laundry area doesn’t have enough space, or anywhere to ventilate the dryer, a compact washer or dryer might work instead. Most models are the size of a dishwasher, but some are even smaller. Small apartments or condos, tiny houses, or older homes built before laundry rooms became standard are all common settings for compact laundry machines.

Compacts, even the best models, do have downsides: They usually have around half the capacity of today’s full-size machines. So extra-large items like comforters won’t fit, and mega-loads with a week’s worth of clothing from a family of three or four are out of the question. Compact dryers almost always work slower than full-size ones. And despite those trade-offs, compacts often cost more. So if you can fit standard models, they’re usually the better value.



How we picked

We focused on 24-inch (or European-style) compact washers and dryers. That is, the chassis of each machine is a maximum of 24 inches wide, about 24 inches deep, and around 33 inches tall—about the size of a dishwasher. The washing machines are all front-loaders, and the dryers do not require ventilation.

This style of laundry machine can fit in more places around more types of homes than standard-size machines: side by side under a kitchen counter or stacked in a small laundry closet, to name the most common examples. It’s the typical type of washer and dryer in Europe and works pretty similarly to modern American laundry in most respects (though the dryers are a bit different).

Compacts like these still need most of the same plumbing and electrical requirements as a standard washer and dryer, including hot- and cold-water hookups, a 240-volt outlet (though one of our picks can be plugged into a 120-volt outlet), and a drain nearby.

We also decided to limit our recommendations to matching pairs. They look better together, are easier to stack, and sometimes actually work better as a set.

The most important features in any appliance are reliability and helpful customer service. Both of these are difficult to predict—especially in a category like compact laundry machines where there’s very little public information available. But we’re basing our recommendations on user reviews, the breadth of the brands’ service networks, the brands’ reputations in other, more popular appliance categories, and wisdom from retailers and repair technicians. We typically look toward J.D. Power for more information about reliability and customer satisfaction, but it doesn’t publish information about compact machines.

Other important factors, in rough descending order of importance, include:

Washer cleaning performance: Based on our testing of full-sized washers and dryers, we're able to draw some conclusions regarding the washing and drying performance of compact machines. Compacts present a few more limitations, particularly if the dryers are ventless, which will extend drying time. However, overall we expect a brand's compact washers and dryers will perform similarly to their full size counterparts.

Washer spin speed: This is a good proxy for how dry your clothes will be when they come out of the washer, which means they’ll need less time in the dryer. A higher number means drier clothes. It’s fair to expect a minimum of 1,200 rpm. Since ventless dryers are relatively slow, this can be a real time-saver.

An accelerated wash cycle: That is, an option to run a normal cleaning cycle in about half the time as usual—typically at the expense of being a little rougher on clothes, or less efficient with water or energy. Regular cycles in front-loaders usually take somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 to 120 minutes, so this is another big time-saver. However, it’s not a common feature.

A dryer reservoir: Ventless dryers usually need to be hooked up to a drain, but some models can also store evaporated water in a reservoir, which needs to be emptied regularly for the dryer to work properly.

An easy-to-reach dryer filter: Ventless dryers have a primary lint filter that you should clean after each cycle (just like a vented dryer), as well as a secondary filter that you should clean monthly (particularly if you use fabric softener). Primary filters are always easy to reach, but some models stash their secondary filters on the back or bottom of the machine, so it can be an ordeal to do that bit of routine maintenance.

Capacity: Most models comfortably fit around 10 pounds of laundry (though we were able to fit 12 pounds in the set we tested), which is small if you’re washing for a family. But a few are slightly larger, which is useful because the space is so tight.

Low noise and light vibration: This really depends on your home. Most people have no trouble at all with either, but some people find that even with low-vibration models, their floor vibrates like a drumhead when the spin cycle starts. So this played only a minor part in our decision.

And then the features that didn’t factor into our decision at all include the number of cycles (most people use three at most anyway), an extra-hot wash option (it’s nice, but few people ever use it as it turns out), and efficiency (it’s pretty similar across the board, with a few exceptions among dryers).

What to know about ventless dryers

Most compact dryers are ventless. Unlike most full-size dryers, they don’t require a vent to blow exhaust through a window, wall, or duct. This allows for more flexibility for where you can install a washer-dryer pair in your home.

Ventless models do still have a few special requirements. These dryers are always electric and never gas-powered, and they often need to plug into a 240-volt outlet, just like a standard dryer (though some models require only a 120-volt outlet). If you’re setting up a new laundry space for an old building, you might need to call an electrician to rig a new connection. Many ventless dryers will also need to connect to a drain, though some collect water in a reservoir.

Brace yourself for longer cycles. Ventless dryers take longer (depending on the model, sometimes twice as long) to dry clothing. A typical drying time for a load of cottons in a ventless dryer is around 90 minutes. This dry time might be shortened if laundry is coming out of a washing machine with a very fast spin cycle. Clothing might also dry a little faster in low humidity, but dry times will be longer in high humidity.

Most ventless dryers, including two of our picks in this guide, rely on a condenser to get the moisture out. Just like a regular vented dryer, condenser dryers pass heated air through a spinning drum, causing the moisture in clothes to evaporate. But though a vented dryer would blow the steam out through a hose, a condenser dryer circulates the steam over a passive heat exchanger—essentially a matrix of metal coils that can stay cool even when the air around them is pretty hot. The steam condenses into water on the coils and is then pumped through a drain hose or into a reservoir. The process repeats until the humidity in the drum falls below a certain point, as measured by a moisture sensor.

Condenser dryers use roughly the same amount of energy as vented dryers, give or take, depending on the weather. It’s not clear whether they’re gentler on clothes. has found that they run cooler than vented dryers, which means that they should cause less heat damage. But because they tumble longer, they cause more mechanical damage. Condenser dryers also radiate some heat and humidity into your living space, which might be nice in the winter but not so great in the summer. (Vented dryers might actually be worse for climate control, though, because they blow your heated or cooled air out through the hose, creating negative air pressure in your home so that outdoor “infiltration” air gets sucked in.)

The other type of ventless dryer uses a heat pump, as in our upgrade pick. This is better technology. It relies on an active heat exchanger, filled with refrigerant, to remove moisture very efficiently. Though the dry times are about the same as in condenser dryers, heat-pump dryers use about half as much energy and are much gentler on clothes because they work at much, much lower temperatures than any other kind of dryer. They have almost no effect on your home’s climate control either.



Our pick: Bosch 300 Series compact washer and dryer

The Best Compact Washer and Dryer (1)

Our pick

Bosch 300 Series WGA12400UC

The best compact washer

A solid 24-inch washer with a reputation for reliability and helpful customer service, plus a shorter wash time, and a fast spin cycle to dry clothes more quickly.

Buying Options

$1,249 from Lowe's

$1,249 from Home Depot

Bosch WTG86403UC

The matching compact Bosch dryer

This ventless condenser dryer matches our favorite compact washer, and also lets it piggyback off the power supply, so you’ll need only one 240-volt outlet.

Buying Options

$1,149 from Lowe's

$1,149 from Home Depot

Most people who need a 24-inch (European style) compact washer and dryer should be happy with the Bosch 300 Series WGA12400UCwasher and WTG86403UC dryer. (The WGA12400UC washer is an updated version of the model we originally recommended, which is now discontinued.) Of the few models that fit our criteria, these in particular have most of the features that matter, including a fast spin speed and a shorter wash cycle. The brand also has a strong reputation for reliability, service, and performance.

As far as we can tell, the 300 Series washer and dryer seem like sturdy machines. They’ve been out for a few years, and out of several hundred user reviews online, we found only a handful of major mechanical malfunctions. A handful of those reviewers noted that they were replacing Bosch machines that lasted 10 or 15 years, which is good for modern laundry.

Bosch covers its laundry products with the industry-standard one-year parts and labor warranty, plus a second year of coverage for all parts, and the total cost of replacement for the control board and motor. Other brands tend to offer longer cost-of-parts warranties for their models.

We’re also confident that Bosch is better at customer service than other brands in North America. Again, this is based on anecdotal data from user reviews, and from our experience covering Bosch dishwashers (not laundry). But we have not seen a pattern of bad feedback about long waits for service, frustrating phone-tree escalations, or unfulfilled promises.

The Bosch has one of the higher spin cycle speeds we found: 1,400 rpm (only our upgrade pick, the Miele, is faster, at 1,600 rpm). Though we don’t have data on real-world performance, a faster spin speed usually means that clothes are less moist coming out of the washer, which translates to less time in the dryer. The spin speed is also adjustable, so you can turn it down if you’re line-drying and can’t deal with clothes being so heavily wrinkled.

And it’s also one of the few compact washers with an accelerated normal wash cycle—finishing an 8-pound load in 60 minutes rather than 100. This is a big time-saver. Because we haven’t tested the machine, we’re not sure if the speed comes at the expense of fabric care or efficiency.

As for the matching WTG86403UC dryer, owners have mixed reactions. (The WTG86403UC dryer is an updated version of the WTC86400US, which we originally recommended and is now discontinued.) Those who need a ventless dryer, and understand that it doesn’t work like a full-size vented machine, seem to be satisfied with it (it’s much better than having no dryer). Those who bought the set because of the brand name, not because they really needed compact, ventless equipment, seem less happy with it.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The washer’s power supply could be a potential dealbreaker: Unlike most washing machines, the WGA12400UC needs a 240-volt outlet. Now it can plug into the WTG86403UC dryer and piggyback off that connection. So if you’re stacking the machines or installing them side by side, this is not an issue. But if you’re installing the machines across the room from each other, you’ll need two 240-volt outlets—this is not a common setup. Contrary to the claims in some user reviews, though, it is not required that you plug the washer into the dryer. The washer works fine on its own as long as it has the right power supply. Be sure to check that the outlets you plan to use are wired for 240 volts—and don’t necessarily assume your installer will know either—as many of the negative user reviews cite this as their main problem with the Bosch. If you need to use 120-volt outlets, you should consider our upgrade pick, the Miele WXD160 and TXD160.

The manual notes that chlorine-based and color-safe bleach cannot be used in the Bosch, as it will damage the washer. Oxygenated bleach is fine to use.

The dryer also needs to be near a drain. Most of the time, this is a nonissue, because the dryer will be installed next to or on top of the washer, which obviously also needs to be near a drain. But some compact ventless dryers (like the Electrolux or the Miele) can drain into a self-contained, manual-empty reservoir, so that they don’t need to be near an actual drain.

The Bosch 300 Series is one of the more expensive sets we considered. At typical prices, the cost of the washer and dryer, plus the stacking kit and any delivery and installation fees, tends to be a couple hundred dollars more than our runner-up. Bosch products don’t often go on sale, either. We still think it’s worth the extra cash.

The drum in the WTG86403UC dryer is made out of an aluminum-zinc alloy, rather than stainless steel, which is the standard material in most dryers. We’re not sure what the implications are; it probably won’t impact the durability or performance, but it may mean that the dryer runs a little louder than it otherwise would.

Some user reviews mention that the wash and dry cycles can be very long. This is not wrong, but it’s also true of any front-load washer or ventless dryers. In our experience, most of the people who are surprised by the long cycles are upgrading from old agitator top-loaders and vented dryers.

Other reviewers don’t love the interface. In our experience, this is really a matter of personal taste: For any machine, you’ll find a few people who love it and a few who hate it, and most people are fine with it and learn to live with it. Senior editor Marguerite Preston has used the Bosch 300 washer and dryer with some regularity since 2016 and notes that “the touch controls aren’t super sensitive”; sometimes she has to hit the start button several times before the cycle will begin. A handful of online reviewers do note that the controls on their specific machines can be finicky as well.



Runner-up: Electrolux ELFW4222AW and ELFE4222AW

The Best Compact Washer and Dryer (4)


Electrolux ELFW4222AW

A slightly larger washer

This washer gets excellent reviews for cleaning and can plug into a regular outlet, but it seems to have more reliability problems.

Buying Options

$948 from Home Depot

Buy from Lowe's

May be out of stock

$950 from Best Buy

Electrolux ELFE4222AW

The matching Electrolux compact dryer

This ventless condenser dryer can run off of its own power supply—no need to hook up to the washer.

Buying Options

$948 from Home Depot

$948 from Lowe's

May be out of stock

$950 from Best Buy

The Electrolux ELFW4222AW washer and ELFE4222AW dryer are the next-best pair if the Bosch’s washer voltage and dryer drainage requirements are a problem. The Electrolux pair gets good ratings for cleaning power and has a slightly larger washer capacity than other compact models but the same fast spin speed as the Bosch. And this is a better option if you don’t want to hook up the dryer to a drain, or if you have access to a 120-volt outlet only where you want to install the washer. However, we found an uncomfortable number of reviews about poor reliability and customer service, and it’s also missing an accelerated-wash option. (We originally recommended the Electrolux EFLS210TIW washer and matching EFDE210TIW dryer, both of which have been discontinued.)

The ELFW4222AW washer has some similarities to the latest generation of Electrolux full-size washers, which are also known to have some of the best stain-removal capabilities today. The evidence suggests that when it comes to very stubborn stains, the ELFW4222AW has an advantage over the Bosch 300 Series model (though the real-world results could be swayed by tons of factors, including cycle selection, detergent, and pretreatment).

The ELFW4222AW also has the largest capacity we’ve seen in a compact washer. The drum is 2.4 cubic feet, which can help it hold a few more garments than the 2.2-cubic-foot Bosch 300 Series.

The Electrolux pair allows more installation flexibility. The washer can plug directly into a standard 120-volt outlet, whereas the Bosch washer needs to plug into either the dryer or its own 240-volt outlet. And the Electrolux dryer can either collect its condensed water in a reservoir or send it directly down a drain. The Bosch has no reservoir, so it needs to be installed near a drain.

The ELFW4222AW also has the same 1,400 rpm spin speed as the Bosch 300 Series.

We’re not comfortable making the Electrolux pair our main pick, though, because a previous version, the EIFLS20QSW, had a few too many troubling reviews about reliability and customer service. The reviews for the EFDE210TIW dryer (the ELFW4222AW’s predecessor) are less favorable than we like to see. Some of the negative reviews cite faulty machines, but others mention the long drying times and heat and humidity produced in drying that are typical of condenser dryers.

TheELFW4222AW also has no accelerated normal-cycle option, so jobs will take about 100 minutes (typical for front-load washers).

Upgrade pick: Miele WXD160 and TXD160

Upgrade pick

Miele WXD160

Built to last

This compact washer is effective at lifting stains while still being gentle on fabrics, and Miele makes some of the most durable appliances around.

Buying Options

$1,499 from Abt

$1,499 from AJ Madison

Miele TXD160

The matching Miele dryer

This ventless heat-pump model can plug into a standard 120-volt outlet and is more efficient than even condenser models.

Buying Options

$1,599 from Abt

$1,599 from AJ Madison

We originally evaluated an earlier version of the Miele WXD160 washer, and it performed better than many of the full-size washers we tested it against. It has a faster spin speed than the Bosch or Electrolux, so it’s more effective at removing moisture from a load and, consequently, at reducing drying time. Like our top pick, the Bosch WAT28400UC, the WXD160 also has an express wash cycle. The WXD160’s companion dryer, the TXD160 (an updated version of the model we originally tested), is a heat pump model, which is more energy-efficient than the Bosch or Electrolux condenser models. And unlike our other picks, which require a 240-volt outlet, the Miele set plugs into a 120-volt outlet, so there’s a lot more flexibility in where it can be placed. it. Miele has rightfully earned a reputation for producing durable appliances and providing excellent customer service.

We included an earlier version of the Miele set in our testing of full-size machines. It removed more of the stains on our stain strip than all but our full-size pick. And it did so with the same size load in a smaller drum—and thus had less room for the water and detergent to circulate. The WXD160 was also the gentlest on fabrics in our tests.

The WXD160 spins at 1,600 rpm, which is faster than either the Bosch or Electrolux. In our testing, the Miele extracted more water—at least two cups—than all of the full-size models we tested.

In the dryer tests we ran, the TXD160 proved effective but slow. It took about 1.5 hours to dry our 12-pound mixed load (some items were still damp when the cycle completed). The vented dryers we looked at took about 40 minutes to an hour to dry the same load of clothes. But ventless dryers always take longer than their vented counterparts, so the Miele isn’t any different from the Bosch or Electrolux in that respect.

As for installation, the Miele set offers even more flexibility than the Electrolux. Each machine can be plugged into a regular 120-volt outlet. Like the Electrolux dryer and unlike the Bosch, the TXD160 collects moisture in a water tank that must be emptied periodically. Or you can connect a hose and drain water out as you would with a washing machine. Because the TXD160 relies on a heat pump and not a condenser, it does not emit heat or moisture, which means it can be installed in a closet. It also works well in hot and/or humid conditions.

Miele has a reputation for making high-quality, reliable appliances. Yale Appliance named Miele one of the “Top 5 Most Reliable Compact Laundry Brands for 2023,” with an 8.5 percent service rate, as well as one of the “Most Reliable/Least Serviced Appliance Brands for 2023.” Miele appliances are engineered to endure 20 years of regular use. If your Miele appliance does break, however, finding a qualified technician can be tricky if you don’t live near a major mainland metro area. So if you order it online, check that there are qualified technicians in your area.

There are six variants of the W1 washer: The WXD160 is the base model. All the upgraded variants are equipped with Wi-Fi and a steam cycle, among other bells and whistles that we consider unnecessary. In our experience, steam functions generally aren’t a real substitute for a clothes steamer or iron. The T1 dryer similarly comes in four versions. As with the washers, the upline models perform the same as the base model but come with features like Wi-Fi and extra dry cycles.



The competition

Now that GE Appliances makes the ventless GFT14ESSMWW dryer, we may consider giving it a closer look for a future update of this guide.

Similarly, we may also take a closer look at the Samsung WW25B6900AW compact washer now that the company makes the DV25B6900HWheat pump dryer.

Besides Miele, the maker of our upgrade pick, the other top-end laundry brand with (relatively) wide distribution in the US is Asko, a Swedish company. We have not looked into why, but the brand doesn’t seem to have the same kind of loyal following as Miele, nor quite as much availability.

Even if you can install one, you’ll find that there aren’t very many vented compact dryers. This is because they have trouble passing the fire-safety test from Underwriters Laboratory, requiring a dryer to contain a fire for at least seven hours, so most manufacturers don’t bother making one. And among those that you can buy, the user ratings are mediocre to poor, for reasons that we don’t really understand.

What about portable washers?

If you can’t install a regular washing machine, or your landlord won’t do it, you could consider a portable washing machine (video).

We looked into 19 portable washers, and we’d previously recommended one from Panda. But it went out of stock, and we don’t feel comfortable recommending another one until we can test some out ourselves.



What about hand-crank washers?

One last washer option to consider is a hand-crank washer like the Wonderwash. It doesn’t need any hookups at all—you just fill it with a few garments and hot water and a bit of detergent, tighten the lid to pressurize the interior, spin the crank at a modest pace for a few minutes, and then insert a drain tube. Repeat, minus the detergent, to rinse. Reviews indicate that it’s more effective than it sounds, thanks to the high pressure. The downside is that you can wash only a few garments at a time, and there’s no spin cycle to speak of, so they’ll take a long time to dry. Unless you can line-dry your clothes outdoors, this probably isn’t a practical way to do your laundry.

Consider a drying rack

Though there are small, 120-volt automatic dryers, most of them require a vent, which is a dealbreaker in most apartments, and the ventless models take so, so long to work that it’s almost always more practical to just hang-dry your clothes. So if you’re dealing with a difficult laundry situation, we think a drying rack is the way to go.

The Best Compact Washer and Dryer (9)

We like the Polder 2-Tier Mesh Top vertical drying rack, which is small enough to fit in a bathtub. And it can be folded up and moved around while it’s loaded with clothes. If a vertical rack won’t work, we have a couple of other recommendations for hang-drying your laundry, in our guide to small-apartment gear.

Annie Chou contributed to this article.



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