Updated August 07, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

The 10 Best Portable Clothes Dryers

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. If you live in a small apartment and are tired of having to trek to the laundromat or wait forever for clothes to dry, try one of these portable dryers. They take up very little space, often need no special hookups, and speed up the process without taking a chunk out of your monthly budget. They're equally handy for use in an RV, on a boat or at a campsite. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best portable clothes dryer on Amazon.

10. Avalon Bay EcoSpin

9. Panda Ventless

8. Concise Home Electric

7. Panda Compact Tumbler

6. Manatee Drying Rack

5. Household Essentials P1900

4. Nina Soft Spin

3. Calliger Wringer

2. Whirligig Solar

1. Panda Spin

A Brief History Of Clothes Dryers

Innovations like timers, exhaust ports for wet air, and cool-down cycles were soon made, and negative-pressure systems hit the market in 1958.

For most of human history, if you wanted your clothes to dry, you had to just leave them in the sun and wait. Of course, you could blow on them really hard or ride a horse as fast as he'd go to try to expedite the process, but for the most part, you had to be patient.

Until about the 18th century C.E., the only real innovation in this area was the advent of the clothesline and the wringer. However, around that time in France, ventilators were created. These were large, hand-cranked drums with holes in them that could be turned over an open fire — kind of like a rotisserie for your clothes.

While these machines certainly sped up the drying process, they also had their (rather obvious) drawbacks, such as leaving your clothes smelling of smoke and, you know, causing them to catch on fire.

On June 7, 1892, an American named George Sampson patented his spin on the ventilator. It was essentially the same thing, except using a stove instead of an open fire.

Meanwhile, in North Dakota in the early 20th century, an inventor named J. Ross Moore was quickly growing tired of having to hang his clothes out on a line in the frigid cold. Ignoring the obvious solution — move out of North Dakota — he instead built a shed on his property, put a stove inside, and hung his clothes on a rack next to the stove.

At this point, since most people couldn't build an entire separate house on their property for the purpose of drying clothes, he switched his attention to improving on a drum-style model. Over the next 30 years, he tinkered with his design, until finally he engineered an electric model that he called the "June Day" in 1938.

After WWII, demand for automatic washers and driers skyrocketed, and as many as 60,000 units per year were being sold by the early 1950s. Innovations like timers, exhaust ports for wet air, and cool-down cycles were soon made, and negative-pressure systems hit the market in 1958.

Since that time, there have been quite a few improvements made, but the basic dryer largely remains the same. Today, the focus tends to be on improving energy efficiency, and solar dryers, compression dryers, and even models that use microwaves are expected to revolutionize the way we suck the moisture out of our clothes.

Riding a horse really fast while sopping wet remains by far the coolest way to get dry, however.

Benefits Of A Portable Clothes Dryer

It may seem strange and redundant — buy another dryer to take with you on the road, while you have a perfectly good one right here at home?

The fact is, for most people, that's absolutely correct. If you're only gone a few days out of the year, then your laundry can definitely wait until you get back home.

However, if you're constantly on the road, or if you like to spend a few weeks at the lake house every summer, then buying a portable dryer could be a smart idea.

However, if you're constantly on the road, or if you like to spend a few weeks at the lake house every summer, then buying a portable dryer could be a smart idea.

Obviously, the main benefit a portable dryer offers you is the opportunity to do laundry wherever you happen to be. This is especially helpful when you're vacationing in rural areas, or when there's a late-night mishap in a town without a 24-hour laundromat.

If you're traveling across the country in an RV, having a portable dryer in your rig is practically a necessity, as it gives you a ton of freedom in terms of planning your travels, as well as reducing the number of clothes you need to pack.

You don't necessarily have to be away from home to enjoy one, however. If you live in a tiny apartment, you can store one in your closet, giving you on-demand laundry without dominating your living space. Plus, they suck up less electricity (and in some cases, none at all), saving you money on your utility bill, as well.

Most portable dryers won't be able to offer you the same level of service that you'd get from a larger, stationary model, but they can be convenient for certain situations. And, since they're usually a fraction of the price, the value they represent can be fairly massive.

Most importantly, though, they free you from the constant terror that one of your annoying neighbors will move your clothes in order to free up a dryer.

Things To Never Put In Your Dryer

We know how tempting it is, when you're doing laundry, to just throw everything in the dryer and forget about it. It's the adult equivalent of shoving all your toys underneath your bed when it's time to clean your room.

There are a few things, however, that should never find their way into your dryer.

Oh, and don't put that pleather leisure suit in there, either — mainly because you should never take it off.

One of the most important things to screen is any garment with beads, baubles, or bling on it. Not only do these run the risk of melting all over your shirt (and everything else in the dryer), but the attachments can come loose, damaging the dryer or getting stuck in the lint trap.

For similar reasons, avoid drying anything with Spandex. Even if it doesn't melt, it will likely lose its shape (as will lingerie), rendering the garment loose and unwearable. This includes bathing suits, so just toss them over the shower rod when they're out of the washing machine. Workout pants, on the other hand, are usually made with Lycra, which can be dried (but always check labels first).

If you wash a rubber-backed bath mat (and you should), dry that the same way you would your swimsuit. Otherwise, the heat of the dryer will break down the backing.

It's totally fine to dry dress shirts, shoes (but not Uggs), and even feather pillows, so you can still get plenty of mileage out of your dryer. Oh, and don't put that pleather leisure suit in there, either — mainly because you should never take it off.

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Lydia Chipman
Last updated on August 07, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience -- with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist -- she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new. Lydia holds a master of arts in English from Georgia Southern University, and a bachelor of arts cum laude in integrative studies from Clayton College. Her expertise is in the areas of robotics, electronics, toys, and outdoors and computer equipment.


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