When looking for a washer, I was almost getting ready to buy a small 5lb capacity countertop and a spin dryer. It was then that I ran across twintubs. My husband said it only made sense to have both units in the same piece.
Twin tub washers are apparently very common in the UK, but mostly non existent here. After wondering in Amazon for a while unsuccessfully, I switched to Ebay and the Twin Tub Panda mini appeared. (Update: Amazon is selling it now, click here for the listing)
It was everything I needed. A nice tub, a spin drier and a drainer! not having to drain manually was a huge plus, and the price was right, it was cheaper to buy this beauty than to buy a spin dryer and any small washer. The catch? it was just released into the market and no reviews were made.
When buying online, you rely on what others' experiences are. If you lack that, it becomes a little dicey, but I went with my guts and after not being satisfied with anything else, I made the purchase.
Since there are still no to little reviews, here's mine.
If you want to see the machine and all its features (which I'm too lazy to write) watch the video by the manufacturer:
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This beauty costs what a spin dryer would cost by itself. No way you can beat it.
I've had this machine for over 3 months now. It works just like the very first day. The requirements that it has is cleaning the tub, which takes 5 seconds, specially if you have a towel hanging in front of your face, some cleaning of the lint trap (which is useless pretty much), and cleaning below the joints once in a while.
Go to My FAQ for washing diapers on a Panda!
Honestly, I don't know if I could do cloth diapers in a regular laundry setting. This machine won't drain unless you switch the rinse knob so I can forget that I left clothes on it and they won't get sour. I toss the hanging wet bag into the tub. It takes several filling and draining, but I only have to walk 10 steps in order to do so (did I mention I have it inside my bathroom?), and I can leave it filling, washing or draining (if I forget that it was filling, it won't flood the bathroom, the excess water will drain itself).
The only problem is that it doesn't have the capacity to wash more than one day's amount of diapers (with 2 kids), but I don't have the budget to have more than a 2 day stash anyway. The spin drier leaves them to the point that the covers are usable within the hour, and the cotton stuff within a few hours, and that's considering that it's winter time in the East Coast.
I got this machine because I was drowning in dirty clothes. Not only has it washed all the clothes I would usually not send to the laundromat, it washes everything. If it had a timer in the drain, I could appreciate it, as well as a not so strong cycle. Otherwisye, it's decently sized and hard worker. I love this product!
Before you buy
Be aware of certain things, I got this washer because it is EXACTLY what I needed, but it's not what other people may need.
- It is heavy. Not as portable as the smaller ones, and it does not come with wheels. I can lift it and put it in the closet if the super comes (no, I don't think it would qualify for breech of lease contract, since I don't pump water in the drainage or have any plumbing directly installed into it, but still, I avoid the debate). But it's not as easy to bring, put water and then put away. Mine is always in the bathroom.
- It's short. When it arrived, we didn't have space in the bathroom yet (first we switched the orientation of the door and now it opens to the outside) but in the meantime, I was washing in the hallway. Bending to pour water, bending to pick clothes, bending to put the drain hose in a bucket, it's a lot of bending, and it can turn into a pain in the back (literally!). We had a custom made bench, 15 inches high, to place it and that seemed to be the ideal height for me. Now I operate it as if it was a regular size machine. Plus, the drainer works better and the pump is faster, even when I forget the hose inside the tub and the water reaches the top level, it automatically drains into the bathtub without the need of the pump, thanks to that lifting.
- It's not automatic. Washer and spin dryer come with a timer, so they turn off by themselves, that's it. For a regular load, you need to fill it up with water (it comes with hoses, but I use the shower hand held hose), set up the timer, then come back, drain, fill it again, set the timer again, drain again, transfer clothes to the spin dryer and set the timer again. I don't mind it since my bathroom is 10 steps from the living room and I just leave the shower head filling and do other things. I also start filling up a bucket while it drains and save time.
- It can be noisy. Spin dryers are super powerful. If the load is unbalanced, the whole washer will start dancing all around (you can use it as a vibrator too) Just wait until it catches full speed and if it makes horrible noises and moves like crazy, open it and reaccommodate the last piece of clothing and the disk. Contrary to the washer, the more you fill it and stash it, the better it works and the less noise it will make. And remember always to put the disk with it, otherwise the noise will bother you and it won't work .
- It creates lint. I admit I would be happier if I had a clothes dryer. The lint trap in this washer doesn't work very well (that's an understatement, it is a total joke), and sometimes I get lint lines in cotton clothes. I can remove them with a vacuum cleaner or a lint remover, but still. I usually put a trap in the drain to keep stuff from going in and throw it in the garbage instead. It still does marvels with my bathroom mat (just need to clean the bathtub afterwards). What has worked best is to separate clothes and wash cotton towels and mats apart from anything else, and use like colors in those.
- It can get very moldy. That's been one of the biggest problems. It has a compartment in which you cannot reach to clean, and it can create a limitless supply of black and beige little friends, that will make your clothes stink more than they did before they got into the washer. In order to keep it low, I try leaving the tub dry and open overnight, and I run a wash with only hot water and bleach about once a month, plus my high pressure hose (aka shower at massage mode) can get a lot of it out by pointing the water at it directly.