Thread Number: 21736
Battle of the Portable Washing Machines - Twin Tubs vs Automatic Portables
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Post# 341994   4/13/2009 at 05:04 (3,473 days old) by launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Reading another poster's recent work on a Whirlpool belt driven portable washing machine, set one's mind thinking.

Which is more efficent and or better in dealing with laundry when space is at a premium? A semi automatic washing machine such as a twin tub or even wringer washing machine, or an small but fully automatic portable?

Had a GE Spacemaker washer years ago, and it did the job, lasted decades, and only recently began giving a the family member it was gifted to, problems. Like all small automatic washing machines, capacity was not that great, but one could probably fit two queen sized sheets and a pillow case or two, or five pounds (more or less), of mixed laundry.

My Hoover twin tub is a beast of another colour! Besides requiring more user interaction, the thing is really only water and time efficient if one reuses wash water, and does only spin rinses. This is the only, IMHO one is going to be able to plow though a large amount of laundry (especially flatwork), more quickly than if one used an automatic portable.

Like automatics, since the Hoover uses lots of water for the wash, tend to use it for items with lots of pet hair and other muck one does not want to gunk up the Miele with. However unlike automatic washing machines, the Hoover does not have a lint filter, so all that muck sits in the water.

Now lets open up the discussion. Talk amoungst yourselves.


Post# 342016 , Reply# 1   4/13/2009 at 08:36 (3,473 days old) by macboy91si (Frankfort, KY)        
Oh now you went and done it...

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It's a valid argument, one that I don't think I've seen discussed outside of old magazine articles from the 70's. I have 2 sides to run.

Twin Tubs
I love them, and have always been fascinated by them. I tend to lean towards automatic machines in every light but washers. I like the interaction of the twinnies and the speed of wash, especially with the Hoovers which is by far faster than port-o-matics. Reusing the wash water is a good idea, which I do in both the Maytag and the Hoovers until a certain point (at the user's discretion). Another plus it the lack of specialized plumbing needed, since most auto's need a pressurized connection to the sink/utility so they can be "automatic", with the twin tub, it's just a loose rubber snorkel hose of some sort. True, you can fill an auto that way, but if you have to come back for the rinse it starts losing it's automatic flavor. All of my twin tubs hold ~6lbs of clothes, and while that isn't much it's on par with the mini-matics, and that's just one load. You can do SEVERAL loads in that same water depending on how soiled the clothes are. In terms of water consumption, the twin tubs do use less water, considering you can wash ~24lbs of laundry in the same tub and then do a deep rinse for an auto's 6-8lbs, I'd say yeah, the twins are using less water.

Rinses are a tad bit different stories, and I think this warrants it's own discussion from the Hoover twin-tub crowd. In the basement I have my Hoover collection, they're not my daily drivers, much like a 64.5 Mustang isn't many people's "commuter". I love the little Hoovers, and I use them for fun and enjoyment mainly. I even have some vintage Tide for use in them. My daily driver is a Maytag A50. I use it because... well the damn thing is a tank, and I don't think washing clothes in it every day would break it. It's also VERY quiet, which in the apartment atmosphere is very important. The Hoover would have the neighbors at my door with guns. The Maytag however, doesn't spin-rinse like the Hoovers, it does a full re-fill deep rinse. I like this because I can add my fabric softener easily and it lets me use a tad more soap than in the Hoovers. The Hoover holds more water than the Maytag but does it's rinsing in the spin-can. This is quick, but if you have really absorbent clothing or used a tad much soap, it can take 3+ rinses, which uses a bit more water and electricity (that spinner motor is power-hungry). Also while the Hoover holds more water, the Maytag washes more, possibly because of the dual-impellers. I’m speaking of the square poly-tub Hoovers, now the OLD Hoover 0510 with the metal tub is a whole different beast and it can wash the Maytag out of the kitchen, that single impeller could pull a horse under with it, puts the newer poly-tub Hoovers to shame. The 0510 is the princess in the castle and it doesn't see a lot of use, especially with her bum pump. If the 0510 wasn’t like 40 years old, and didn’t have failing plastic/rubber pieces it would be a laundry beast. Either way, it takes between 30-45 minutes per load on an automatic to do 6-8 lbs. of clothes where in the same time frame you could triple-quadruple the load in the twin tub. Also the twin-tubs’ spinners, while somewhat temperamental, spin much dryer than the autos’ (2000rpm at least usually vs 800-1000rpm) so drying also is a much quicker endeavor. I air-dry my clothes and the twin tubs leave the clothes dry in less than a day with some air-flow.

While I feel that the twin tubs are faster and easier on water, automatics are well, automatic. There is still something nice even to me about the ability to "set it and forget it". If one had a very minimal amount of clothes, it would ideally be nice to just drop it in and poof. I think the size is the major hindrance of the portable auto's, unless you can up the capacity, it's somewhat a waste of water, but that's often the price for an automatic anything. IF and I mean IF, I didn't like "playing" as much as I do, I'd have an apartment auto again. They're great, but from a fun and efficiency standpoint, I'll roll with my twin tubs.


Post# 342075 , Reply# 2   4/13/2009 at 12:41 (3,473 days old) by aquarius1984 (Ripley, Derbyshire)        

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If space was at a premium I would initially choose the twintub but then twintubs take up much more room than a standard UK automatic machine so here its not really an argument,

We still have 12lb loads up to 16lb in larger capacity machines so the only deciding point would be about the spin speed if drying space was at a premium but again a standard Automatic in the UK stood next to a portable spin dryer to boost the spin takes up the room as the twin tub without the work required on the users part.

THe only real convinience of a twin tub is in the fact it can be used anywhere without major plumbing needs.
Even more so with those having built in heaters,

I love both ways of washing. all good fun.

Post# 342076 , Reply# 3   4/13/2009 at 12:42 (3,473 days old) by aquarius1984 (Ripley, Derbyshire)        

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Hotpoint washes cleaner because it cannot tangle clothes

Post# 342078 , Reply# 4   4/13/2009 at 12:44 (3,473 days old) by aquarius1984 (Ripley, Derbyshire)        

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Something puts me off about not having the FilterFLo when washing pet haired stuff.

I cant imagine how Hoovers cope with it lol....

Post# 342098 , Reply# 5   4/13/2009 at 14:04 (3,473 days old) by launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Actually Hoover twin tubs do remove quite allot of pet hair.

I've laundered bed linens with pet hair in my Hoover and while the water is not filtered, there is plenty of the stuff in the wash water. It can be clearly seen when the water is drained away.

In those instances one tends NOT to reuse wash water!


Post# 342195 , Reply# 6   4/14/2009 at 02:30 (3,472 days old) by norfolksouthern ()        

I have two cats, and I have never had a problem with kitty fur with my portable. My Maytag A50 has an action so forceful that it can be tough on clothing if you're not careful. That forceful action can also cause it to spit out some water. You have to be careful with detergent, because it can suds lock if you try spinning the cloths directly out of the tub. Since mine didn't come with an owner's manual, I assume that the tub is drained and then refilled with rinse water before using the spin dryer. A twin tub takes practice before getting it right.

My portables are more semi-automatic. You do have to adjust the water temperature through the sink. They are less prone to leak, and are neater because you don't slosh cloths between the tub and spinner, since it's all self-contained. The older ones do an admirable job and have enough options to give a reasonable amount of control. But the newest Whirlpools and Kenmores are extremely limited in function, giving only two water levels and no drain/spin or extra rinse. I would only buy one of those if there were no other options.

A wringer will fill like a twin tub. The advantage with them is the wringer, which can run continuously to extract water out of the cloths before dumping them in the rinse water. A bath tub will do fine for that purpose. Then they can be wrung out of the bath tub, and ready for the dryer. Or, hang the stuff on an improvised rack. Several loads can be done with the same water, so there is some savings there. The wringer won't dry as thoroughly as a washing machine that spins, so it will take longer for the dryer to finish obviously.

If you are a hobbyist and aren't pressed for time, then either a twin tub or wringer can be loads of fun. They also offer an advantage for those who cannot get the pressure coupling to fit on a sink to run an automatic. For regular use, any automatic that's at least 5 years old would offer the best convenince. A wringer will beat the newest portables in performance hands down, and this is due to the lack of options that yield less control over the results. The rundown:

1. Any Whirlpool or Kenmore portable made prior to 2004. I have a 2002 Crosley that performs admirably and gives full control over the outcome.

2. Wringer; either Maytag or Speed Queen preferred. They are easier to use than a twin tub, but less convenient than an older automatic.

3. Twin tubs are a third choice because they require more user interaction, and have a slightly higher learning curve.

4. Most portables made after 2004. They are at the bottom of the list because they offer so few options. You have little control over the final results. I assumed that General Electric has left the market several years ago, leaving few choices for a new appliance.


Post# 342200 , Reply# 7   4/14/2009 at 03:59 (3,472 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Tough question

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Maytags (assuming that weird belt hasn't died again) are fast, thorough and I also found that pet hair was no problem.
Hoovers - Loud, splashy, newer models were prone to break, older models(metal impeller) were a perfect example that the UK once did do outstanding engineering. I found the spin rinse was very much better in the sense that a shower is better than a bath for getting the dirt off and gone.
No doubt, where hot water is at a premium, these machine can clean more, faster and with less waste.

Portable TL Automatics: The older Whirlmores are great.
The new ones are trash.

No advantages, other than that they are "automatic" which is more than compensated for by the speed of twin tubs.

Ultimately, the faster spin makes the difference to me. I can't hang my washing out to dry (nasty old ladies) and at .20Eurocent/kilowatt, a spin of 2,000 or 2,800 is enormously better than one at 800.

Post# 342370 , Reply# 8   4/14/2009 at 21:17 (3,471 days old) by launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Well all this chatter about twin tubs made one get out "ole Gert" for a workout.

Have to say using a Hoover TT pretty much has to get one out of the front loading washer mindset (with long washes and several rinses), and think top loader.

Read over the owner's manual again, and though it stated that low sudsing detergent was good for "delicates", decided to use some Tide "HE" Free and Clear liquid and launder some sheets and a few bits of clothing covered in pet hair.

Using a small amount of Tide (just to the number "1", inside the cap), produced no suds in the wash, and got two loads of clothing clean, including jeans.

Rinsing was two spray rinses, then one final deep rinse, then a spin dry.

Am confused about rinsing however. The manual cleary states one is supposed to saturate clothing in the spin can until laundry is covered in water, then let things rip. However it has been pointed out to me that such behaviour will ruin the spin motor. Advice?

Did try the above with a small load, that is the spin can was half full, and it worked very well. Can't see doing it with a full load and or one large item such as a king sized bed sheet. It does cause water to go spraying all over inside that spin chamber when the lid is closed though.

Also noticed that the spin will start once the lid is almost closed. This means one can slip a hose down into the spin chamber and do a "spin rinse". DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME CHILDREN, WITHOUT YOUR PARENT'S PERMISSION!

Because the spinner is going quite fast, not sure how much water actually reaches the laundry deep down, versus merely being flug to the sides of the tub as it hits the top of the laundry.

All and in was a good and quick wash day. HE type detergents tend to rinse cleaner in the high amount of water a twin tub uses, thus one got good cleaning and rinsing results in a short amount of time.

Now if there was a way to make the thing a bit more quiet during spinning, and might do it more often.


Post# 342734 , Reply# 9   4/16/2009 at 13:55 (3,470 days old) by launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Rinsing In Twin Tubs

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Was over on the Yahoo twin tub group, and reading the archives of "Which" magazine, it seems pretty much most twin tubs gave only poor to fair rinsing when that process was done in the spin basket.

Results were better with small loads of only several items, but large things such as sheets, blankets and so forth were best rinsed in the wash tub.

This matches up with stories one has heard of persons doing their rinsing either in the bath tub or any other vessel, then extracting in the spin basket. Of course this was for those doing multiple wash loads in sucession, thus not wishing to empty the wash tub of soapy water. If one had only the one wash load, would be better to extract the wash water, then return the load to the wash basket for a deep rinse.

Problem "Which" magazine noted was that with large loads water may never reach items at the bottom of the spin basket, when doing spray rinses. This can cause all sorts of problems, including dull, dingy and grey wash.

Did about 8 sheets and 10 pillow slips last night in the Hoover, but only washed and gave a quick extract. Bunged the items into the Miele (in several loads), and set the machine to the final three rinses of the "cotton" cycle, then final spin. Still was able to get though that ton of washing faster than using only the Miele.


Post# 342748 , Reply# 10   4/16/2009 at 14:58 (3,470 days old) by paulc (Edinburgh, Scotland)        
Rinsing in a twintub

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My Mum always had twintubs until I left home at 17 and bought her an automatic. When rinsing in the twinny my Mum always removed all the items from the spinner and placed them on the wash tub lid, she then used the hose to rinse each item as she placed it back in the spinner, the load would then be spun and the process repeated three times.

Until she had an automatic my Mum said she would never buy one as she maintained they did not wash as well......after owning an automatic she realised that the people she new with them just did not sort their laundry properly.....and thats why their whites were grey, bad laundry habits and not the machine.

Post# 342788 , Reply# 11   4/16/2009 at 15:49 (3,470 days old) by dblrinz ()        
Very Interesting!

My neighbor while growing up had a Hoover TT - Olive green with plastic tub. She would move clothes to spinner to spin from wash allowing sudsy water to return to wash tub. Then filled spin can with clear water for the rinse. At the time(I was very young) I asked her why she didn't fill her kitchen sink to rinse the clothes like my grandmother did with her wringer. She told me that this is how you rinsed in this type of washer; you didn't remove the clothes until they were done. Until this site and Laundress' detailed explanation above, I believed it. Though, she did one rinse by filling the spin can. I would be inclined to do many more than one to ensure thorough rinsing and then wonder why I am having so many problems with the spin motor, pump, etc.

This is a wonderful education! THANKS!

Post# 342795 , Reply# 12   4/16/2009 at 16:28 (3,470 days old) by macboy91si (Frankfort, KY)        
I Rinse in the spin can

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and I've never really had problems with greying and dulling. The newer Hoover's do this better than the old ones, the newer spin motor is much gutsier and that might be why it works for me? 1-3 cycles, and the spin tub doesn't hold much water. I do refill the washtub for a deep rinse on larger items, but usually lighter garments (shirts, khaki's etc) get plenty saturated for the spin rinse. Keep in mind this is intended for lighter garments in the first place for speed and water saving, if you have smaller loads. The manual suggests heavy loads be deep rinsed anyway, but with spin-rinsing and good water pressure, it makes for quick laundry.


Post# 342817 , Reply# 13   4/16/2009 at 18:55 (3,469 days old) by launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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My metal tub Hoover TT has quite a good amount of space between the inner and outer spin tubs. Would take allot of water to fill it up, and am almost sure it would harm the motor if done often enough.


Yes rinsing in the spin tub works well for small loads and or light items, but for heavy things such as a towels and or large items like sheets, it really does not work well, IMHO.

Post# 343020 , Reply# 14   4/17/2009 at 10:40 (3,469 days old) by macboy91si (Frankfort, KY)        
I agree

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I usually rinse whites and towels in the wash tub because they soak up so much soap from the wash that I'd have to do like 5 spin-rinses. The older Hoovers have a smaller, cone shaped metal spin tub, smaller towards the bottom. I've always understood the principal to be water movement. There is more water movement with less water, which is probably why they suggest like 3 rinses, I never go over half full on the spin rinses, I've noticed from experience that too much water does worse than 1/2 full. I usually do 1/3 to 1/2 full depending on the load on the old Hoovers and 1/3 in the newer Hoovers. 1/3 full doesn't necessarily mean that the entire outer tub is 1/3, just the inner tub. The clothes soak up a majority of the water and it takes a little while for all the water to seep out the holes. I have accidentally filled the the spinner up to the brim before, and I agree that I don't think the motor would like that every time, I know the 0510 doesn't like having extraneous amount of suds in the spinner, the pump failed recently and it was a whipped nightmare, I could smell the motor heating up. No damage thankfully, but a good workout. It seems that the spin motors like to be able to "peak" quickly and then run, a lot of load on the initial spin-up makes it seem sort of unhappy. Hoover must have thought it was a good idea at some point though, they even made a fully automatic rinse model that stopped and started on it's own. I don't use the 0510 much right now until I get the pump and drain hose situation under control, but I'd say I will probably do spin rinses, because that wash tub holds a LOT more water than the poly tubs.


Post# 343050 , Reply# 15   4/17/2009 at 12:12 (3,469 days old) by jdinstl ()        
This *IS* a great discussion...thanks!

I've long had a fascination for "twin tubs" as I understand for the most part, the spin speeds are quite high in comparison to a conventional top loading automatic. And they are a slightly different way of doing things -- which always gets my attention.

And Paul, you're Mum is right...a lot of people just don't know how to sort clothes. My mom did, and a friend of mine, his mom did, and between the two they taught me well :-)

Since I recently obtained a portable washer (Whirlpool World Washer) this has been on my mind. The little guy is really handy. Yet for some stuff, I give it an extra spin.


Post# 343261 , Reply# 16   4/18/2009 at 04:28 (3,468 days old) by launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
It's Just All That Noise!

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Think the reason many are eager to get wash day over with when it comes to Hoover TTs (at least)is all the racket the spinner and or pump can make. It is ok the first few loads, but by the third or fourth, or several later one is really at the end of one's leash.

Post# 343262 , Reply# 17   4/18/2009 at 04:33 (3,468 days old) by launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Is a process of dilution. Thus it stands to reason if water cannot reach all items in the twin tub's spinner, they aren't going to be rinsed well, regardless of how well and or often one spray rinses.

IMHO the design of Unimac's modern twin tub washer/spin dryer, with a center post in the spin tub is a much better design. While the tub spins at low rpms, a fine mist is sent out from the center post and literally "passes though" the wash because of circular force. This goes on for a bit, then the water stops and the machine ramps up to spin out the water and muck. Process is repeated several times before the final high speed spin.

Post# 995835 , Reply# 18   5/31/2018 at 19:06 by adam-aussie-vac (Canberra ACT)        

Is that the Unimac 202 the tri tub washer?

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Post# 996208 , Reply# 19   6/4/2018 at 20:24 by Washerlover (Lake County, California: Wines With Altitude)        

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Well I have to say I’m sorry I missed this thread 3K plus days ago, but am really enjoying one of my recent additions with normal, perm press and gentle cycles along with infinite water level and lint filter. Amazing turnover and handles an out balance load with ease! The matching dryer does a pretty good job considering it uses regular household current.

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