Portable washers are smaller, use less water and don't need permanent laundry hook-ups. Instead, they use special hoses and adaptors to attach to faucets on available sinks. These washers vary in size, from models that roll on casters to models that are small enough to fit on kitchen counters.
These small washers come in handy for apartment dwellers and for those living in homes that don't have the hook-ups or space for regular-sized appliances. In some cases, the designated laundry area is so small that a portable washer is the only a viable option. Additional fittings allow portables to be hooked up in the normal fashion.
The machine is either wheeled or carried into place and hooked up to a faucet. Then it plugs into a regular outlet. If the washer fits on the counter top, gravity allows the water to drain into the sink at the end of the wash. Floor models have pumps that assist with drainage.
Most portables are top-load models and have either an agitator or a pulsator. The latter spins the clothes using a propeller-like action. Since it sits in the bottom of the drum, the washer can handle larger loads. Capacity for even the largest portable washer is about half that of a traditional machine. Not all portables have spin cycles. The ones that do spin usually turn at a lower RPM than standard machines.