After living in an RV for about 6 years, my number one want in life seemed to be a dishwasher. Luckily my dreams finally became a reality one day when we finally installed an RV dishwasher! Yes, they exist and might seem to some like a frivolous luxury in an RV. However, if you build a rolling home with everything, including the kitchen sink, a dishwasher doesent seem so crazy!
Since we have tested and done research on this topic today, we will take a look at dishwasher options for RVs.
What Is An RV Dishwasher?
An RV dishwasher is pretty much the same appliance that you would find in a home, just in most cases a more compact size. Many times RV’s utilize a drawer-type dishwasher that can be built right into cabinetry. Since many RV kitchens are on slides, these dishwashers are shorter than a full-size unit and can easily ride on the slide.
Since these dishwashers are not specially designed for RVs they do require AC power, and many people only run them when they are fully hooked up. However, when compared to hand-washing, these small dishwashers can sometimes save water, depending on your washing style. In fact, we run our dishwasher on our batteries using an inverter even when were off the grid. We found as long as it’s full, it uses as much water as we would washing dishes. We have even started it before driving and let it run while we drive!
Most RVs do not come with RV dishwashers and are typically only found in higher-end RVs. While we found our unit is water efficient, it still uses quite a bit of electricity and would not be good for boondocking without hookups without a solar power system or generator. When not in use, they can also double as a great storage location.
Types of RV Dishwashers
Usually, you’ll choose between two basic dishwasher types: built-in and countertop. Factors such as personal preference and your RV size can determine what version may be right for you. Let’s look at the differences between the two styles.
Usually, this dishwasher style will be pre-installed in your RV. You can often find a more discreet design in contemporary RVs, which mimics a countertop and cabinet look.
Seamlessly adding a built-in dishwasher can be challenging, so it’s best to consult a professional before making any repairs or performing an installation. However, doing an installation job yourself is possible!
You’ll have to consider the dimensions of counter space you’ll need (and that you’ll lose in drawers or other appliances). You’re also going to need to be able to connect your RV dishwater to the water supply. This will most likely be right next to your kitchen sink.
In contrast to the built-in RV dishwasher, the countertop dishwasher is a perfect addition to just about any space. You’ll likely want to place it near a sink where you have ample counter space.
Depending on how your water is run, you might even be able to install a countertop unit permanently, as these folks did:
You can also use a countertop dishwasher wherever you have access to water, and you can take it in and out of storage as needed.
Can You Use Any Portable Dishwasher in an RV?
For the most part, the answer is yes. Your RV’s storage capacity will affect whether or not you can use a portable dishwasher on the road. Additionally, you must consider factors such as the weight and dimensions of the dishwasher as well as how much water it uses. Making sure it can actually connect to the water and power is also a big concern.
Personally, we thought of getting a dishwasher with our first RV but just couldn’t justify the lost space as well as make the water hookups work.
Tip: Looking for a portable clothes washing machine? Take a look at the 5 Best Small Washing Machines for RV Living.
What RV Types Come With Dishwashers?
Large fifth-wheels will also sometimes have dishwashers. However like mentioned above dishwashers can be added to most RV types if you are adventurous enough and can find the space. In addition RV’s usually need large tanks and power systems to run them.
If you are considering installing a dishwasher remember the weight in addition to the space. Also how the water and sewer lines will hookup are important to figure out.
5 Best RV Dishwashers for Making RV Life Even Better
Now that you have some background on RV dishwashers types, let’s learn about the five best models that will surely make RV living even better!
If you’re getting tired of eating on paper dishes or hand-washing, these RV dishwashers might be a multi-beneficial addition to your RV life.
1. Fisher & Paykel Integrated DishDrawer + Sanitize
Fisher & Paykel DishDrawers are considered the gold standard in RV dishwashers. You’ll find these models in many Class A motorhomes, but you can also order these aftermarket and DIY install as long as your cabinetry configuration allows a fit close to your sink and plumbing.
These dishwashers are available in two height options, 16.5″ for the standard and 17 7/8″ for the tall version to accommodate larger dishes. They have 6 different wash modes: Delicate, Eco, Fast, Medium, Heavy, and Rinse. It uses about 2.4 gallons of water per cycle on average, about half of a traditional dishwasher. The Eco mode uses less, at as little as 1.9 gallons.
When running in your small space, its quiet 44dB noise level on gentle won’t bother your movie viewing or sleeping.
This is the type of dishwasher we installed and it has been working extremly well. Not only does it wash well but its as quiet as top of the line residential dishwashers. We run ours on eco when off grid and it uses about the same ammount of water as hand washing.
2. Vesta Built-In RV Dishwasher
If you appreciate the look of a slick, spotless, and polished kitchen, then the Vesta Built-In Dishwasher might be just for you.
The black exterior design with a stainless steel door and interior make this one of the most modern options in today’s market. Amazingly efficient at only 1.7 gallons of water per load, the noise is kept to a minimum while in use at a low 49dB.
Inside, you’ll find an easy-to-use loading basket for your dishes before you select from the six available wash programs. This mighty dishwasher can clean up to six place settings at one time with the highly-efficient filter design.
Learn About More Interesting RV Appliances:
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3. Vesta Countertop RV Dishwasher
Similar in many ways to the Vesta built-in dishwasher, their countertop version offers a few distinct differences.
- Maximum performance, minimal consumption
- Quick and easy to install
- Saves space and water
This RV dishwasher can clean up to six place settings. It weighs a moderate sixty-five pounds and is compact enough for many RV floorplans. This Vesta dishwasher also uses 1.7 gallons of water per cycle and offers seven customizable wash settings,
When comparing Vesta’s built-in model versus their countertop, note two prime variations.
First, the countertop version has an additional wash setting for a total of seven programs. Second, the exterior appearances vary greatly. The countertop style is jet black with a touch of stainless steel. The built-in version is stainless steel in the door and interior.
4. Edgestar Built-In RV Dishwasher
Edgestar’s Built-In RV Dishwasher ranks #3 for built-in RV dishwashers, and it’s among the top 100 appliances on Amazon.
- Accommodates up to eight (8) place settings and features a...
- Six (6) Wash Cycles: Heavy, Normal, ECO, Glass, Rapid, and Rinse;...
- At only 17.75 inches wide, using this unit to replace an older...
Semi lightweight at 52.9 pounds, this dishwasher is a smidge louder than some of its competitors, with a 52dB noise level. Offering more opportunities to wash dishes simultaneously, this model can comfortably hold up to eight place settings.
Measuring only 17.75 inches wide, this machine can replace a slender, outdated appliance quite easily. There are six wash cycles as well as three drying options.
This dishwasher also has a leakage sensor, which automatically ceases water flow if it senses a leak. You can walk away from your dishwasher while it’s running with peace of mind that it won’t flood your rig!
5. Farberware Countertop RV Dishwasher
One of the lightest options on the market is the Farberware Countertop RV Dishwasher, weighing 44.1 pounds. It has a simplified installation process with a straightforward connect system that includes accessories and adapters to attach to your faucet.
- COMPACT AND PORTABLE: This mini tabletop dishwasher is great for...
- VERSATILE CLEANING OPTIONS: The Farberware countertop dishwasher...
- TIME-SAVING CONVENIENCE: With just 45 minutes, hookups, water,...
Furthermore, there are seven washing programs as well as optional self-cleaning and speed wash settings. Those who travel with children in their RV will enjoy the child lock function to ensure that dishes are safe and secure from curious hands.
Finally, the external LED display controls are easy to identify and use. Thanks to their stainless steel interiors, these dishwashers are durable enough for everyday use. You can use any form of dishwasher detergent, but the manufacturer recommends tablets during long wash cycles.
6. Furrion Built-In RV Dishwasher
On the higher side of the spectrum cost-wise, the Furrion Built-In RV Dishwasher is energy star certified and designed with RV living in mind.
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This model offers a double rack to stack dishes, a separate carrier for utensils, and a shelf for cups. It weighs just shy of 70 pounds and is very durable with a stainless steel finish.
The controls are touch-activated and resistant to vibration. The dishwasher can withstand abrupt climate changes too.
How Do You Install An RV Dishwasher
Installation can be quite complicated if the RV was not originally designed for a dishwasher. A portable unit might work but keep in mind that the drain and water supply still need to get hooked up.
Its important to determine fit and design before you begin. For our installation we started by framing out the cabinet that we reconfigured from a different storage design. We also built a new drawer under our unit to retain as much storage as possible.
Next you need to figure out hookups. Your waste line needs to connect to a vented drain. We cut our sink drain line but had to make a PVC to ABS pipe transition to get correct fittings to install the dishwasher. This is possible but requires special glue.
You will also need to T into a hot water line. Ours was a particularly hard transition as the pipe sizes did not match. Many fittings later we got it to connect and added a water shutoff valve as well. You need to be able to turn the dishwasher water line off seperate.
We also had to tap into existing wiring to install an electrical plug for the dishwasher. Because its a dishwasher it required a GFCI plug. The first GFCI did not work with our inverter and we had to switch types.
Lastly, we had to route our dishwasher’s air vent line (they dont all have them, under the drawer we built and connect it to the unit as we slid it into place. Power water and drain lines all had to get routed at the same time. Once secured in place it was basically ready to use. While I would not consider this an easy job, we were able to complete it in a few days of work.
Is an RV Dishwasher Right for You?
It’s not hard to understand why RV dishwashers are an awesome upgrade to your RV. They save you time so you can spend more time enjoying your RV trip!
However, they do have some drawbacks that are difficult for RV life, such as taking up valuable weight capacity and counter space. They also make noise, which, in a small space like an RV, can be quite annoying at times.
However, much of the reason people transition to RV living is for its minimal, simplistic way of life. Most RVers yearn for ways to make daily chores easier so they can enjoy the serenity of RV life. A pile of dirty dishes that need hand washing can serious cramp that vibe.
If you’re considering investing in one of these models, we recommend doing your research to make sure your choice fits into your RV and living style.
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