Tiny Washer – 6 Month Review

Costway 13.2 lb washing machine. 4 year old for size reference 😉

Six months ago we gave away our traditional, large, American washer and dryer set and purchased a Costway 13.2lb ‘apartment’ automatic washing machine.  To put things in perspective it’s about the size of a wine cooler, and holds about as much laundry as you could fit in 2, 5 gallon buckets.  Or, in my experience, what I could wash on “small load” in my old top-loader.  You can check out more specs here on our Amazon Affiliate link: http://amzn.to/2rUn1aj

They also have the same washer in several smaller and one larger size if you’re interested, but this size isn’t right for you!

Why We Switched 

We made the change for a few reasons:

  1. We want to go solar in the near future, and needed a machine with a smaller motor.  While you CAN run a traditional machine on solar, the initial ‘kick’ to start the agitator is a pretty big energy suck.  That means that you might only need a little electricity to actually run a whole cycle, you need a LOT of it at one time.  As solar goes, that means you need more expensive equipment and more panels to handle the surge.  To see actual electric readings, check out our video review.  I use a watt meter during the cycle: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amSZf8PgZAI&t=238s)
  2. We want to save water.  This washer uses less water and has more water level options than my old washer.  Baby poops all over new outfit?  I can run a super duper small load that only uses a couple of gallons total.
  3. I wanted the closet space.  Your laundry room/closet has some valuable space in it!  The only problem is it’s all taken up by 2 huge, energy sucking machines.
  4. I rarely used the dyer.  Dryers use a lot of electricity.  I was spending about 50 cents a day running a dryer when we lived in town!  Now I hang all our laundry outside (even in the winter), or on a rack by the wood stove.


So six months in, I still really like the washer.  Really do not miss the old washer/dryer combo except in a few pretty specific instances you’ll see in a minute!



What We Really Like

  1. The size.  It’s so much smaller!  My former laundry closet is now a modified root cellar, has a clothes hanging rack for drying, has all my unused canning supplies, AND all my cleaning supplies.  #awesomesauce.  Especially since we live in a 100+ year old farmhouse that has almost no closets to begin with.
    A hanger for extra clothes drying space and a shelf for cleaning supplies

    My dad built these extra storage shelves to make the closet into a make-shift root cellar. Potatoes on the bottom, squashes and more potatoes in the middle. Canning and cleaning supplies where ever I can squeeze them in!
  2. The efficiency.  It uses much less water and detergent.  I didn’t expect the detergent savings.  It only needs a tablespoon to clean a large load and it still gets clothes really clean.  I bought a box of Tide (you’re supposed to use powdered with it, and all my homemade stuff was liquid, so I got lazy and bought a small box to try in the new washer) and in six months I’ve used maybe half of it.  Maybe.  That’s probably a stretch.
  3. It’s short enough our 3 and 4 year olds can load it and start it.  And since the buttons are different colors I just have to yell “black, gray, blue” across the hall to get them to start it.  Enough said.
  4. Has lots of different cycle and water level options.  My last washer was the most basic model available in the traditional sized washer category and it had 3 settings.  I couldn’t soak.  Or do a heavy duty cycle.  Or a delayed cycle.
  5. It cost $179.  Brand new.
  6. It fits exactly how many diapers as I can cram in my dirty diaper barrel.  Perfect size.
  7. It’s QUIET.  Sometimes I think I forgot to turn it on and go over to discover it’s running just fine.  Our last washer sounded like an airplane taking off!


What We Don’t Like

  1. The washer doesn’t have a central agitator, which means you have to be careful not to overload it with heavy items or it won’t wash (the bottom and the walls of the washer do the agitating, not a central stick.  If it’s too heavy the bottom won’t do it’s shimmy dance).  This means even though I could squeeze my kids’ twin comforter in there, it’ll be so heavy when it’s wet it can’t get washed.  So really bulky blankets (like comforters) have to be washed by hand.  I use a wonder washer stick and my bathtub.  Kind of a pain, but not the end of the world.
  2. If weather’s really crappy several days in a row, but not cold enough to run the wood stove, it’s pretty much impossible to dry clothes without a dryer.  (Without a HVAC system it’s as humid inside as it is outside, so several drizzly summer days in a row = lots of damp clothes).
  3. Doesn’t have a hot/cold switch.  So we bought a hose splitter and choose water temp manually.


How Much Laundry Do We Do?

Some people ask if we just do twice as many loads as we used to (thus negating energy and water savings).  The answer is ‘no’.  BUT we had to make some lifestyle changes.  No more plush towels.  We re-wear jammies and play clothes until they are truly dirty.  Our middle child sleeps with a toddler sized comforter incase of a bed wetting accident so I don’t have to do a ‘bathtub load’ at 2AM.

I ideally do one load of clothes every day.  One load of diapers every 3rd day too.  And a load of dirty cleaning rags every 7-10 days.  When we have 2 in diapers again it’ll be diapers every-other day.

Honestly, especially in the winter, that’s about all you can do and hope to have dried by the end of day when you don’t have a dryer.  So perfect size for us!


Final Thoughts

That’s been our experience!  I hope it helps anyone who might be poking around at a more efficient or smaller washer.  This would also be a GREAT washer for apartment living when you don’t have a washer hookup.  It’s light weight and cold easily be rolled over (or pushed if you don’t have want to buy a wheels attachment) to your kitchen sink.

Hopefully it lasts us several years.  One of my biggest ‘concerns’ is that, since all the buttons are computerized and not manual switches, we’ll have some sort of stupid electric short and the washer will meet it’s maker too soon.  But fingers crossed!  Six months in and doing great so far!