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Luxury RV Appliance: RV Dishwasher Pros and Cons

AN RV Dishwasher May Sound A Bit Too Luxurious For Some, But A Must Have For Others

An RV dishwasher is a tempting upgrade that many RVers have considered. This makes sense, considering that not many people enjoy hand-washing dishes. That said, you will want to know all of the RV dishwasher pros and cons before making such a purchase. 

Below we have outlined both the benefits and the drawbacks of owning an RV dishwasher, as well as some of the other things you may want to know before purchasing. While we think the appliance is worth looking into (depending on your camping style), some of the cons may make it a no-go for you and your RV. 

Let’s take a look.

RV Dishwasher Pros and Cons

Let’s start with a straightforward RV dishwasher pros and cons list. This list is to the point and helps make it easy to decide whether or not an RV dishwasher might be for you. 

The Pros of an RV Dishwasher

First, the pros. What are the benefits of owning an RV dishwasher? Will it dramatically improve your camping experience, or is it actually more trouble than it’s worth?

Read on to learn the top 4 benefits of owning an RV dishwasher:

  1. Easier to clean up after a meal. The obvious benefit of owning an RV dishwasher is how easy after-meal cleanup can be. Simply scrape the dishes off, throw them in the dishwasher, put in some soap, push a button, and you’re done. 
  2. Sanitized dishes. Washing dishes by hand takes effort, and even the most experienced person can miss spots, especially when trying to conserve water. An RV dishwasher will ensure your dishes are 100% clean and sanitized every single time. 
  3. Know how much water you’re using. You can go through a lot of water washing dishes by hand. You can control this to some extent of course, but it’s hard to know exactly how much you’re putting down the drain. An RV dishwasher uses the same amount of water every time, so you’ll always know how much fresh water you used and how much went into your gray tank. 
  4. Dirty dish storage. Sometimes there are just a few dirty dishes laying around. These tend to end up in the sink and aren’t very pretty to look at. A dishwasher gives you a place to store dirty dishes out of sight until it’s time to wash them. 
RV dishwasher with wine glasses inside

The Cons of an RV Dishwasher

Moving on, let’s address the cons of RV dishwashers. The benefits seem pretty fantastic, but will they be outweighed by the drawbacks? The answer depends a lot on your camping preferences and the size of your rig.

Below are the top 4 cons of owning an RV dishwasher:

  1. Electricity is needed. Because there are no 12-volt RV dishwashers out there (yet), you will need an inverter and a large amount of battery power to run your dishwasher while boondocking. For this reason, most people opt to save their RV dishwasher usage for when they are connected to shore power. Of course, this could be a problem if you spend the majority of your time boondocking. 
  2. No control over water usage. As mentioned before, those who wash their dishes by hand have some control over how much water they use while doing so. This is ideal when camping without hookups, as it means you can use less fresh water and fill your gray tank more slowly. Unfortunately, most RV dishwashers don’t give you any control over how much water you use. Again, this is really only a problem for those who dry camp frequently. 
  3. Space consuming. RVs aren’t exactly the roomiest of places. While RV dishwashers are smaller than traditional dishwashers, they still consume a lot of space. The smaller your rig is, the more annoying this might be. 
  4. New leak potential. If you’ve ever dealt with water damage in an RV, you know how terrible it can be. Installing any appliance with running water in your RV introduces new connections that could leak, which will need to be watched and maintained. That said, as long as you install your dishwasher correctly and winterize it each year, you really shouldn’t have an issue. 

How Much Water Does an RV Dishwasher Use?

Many people wonder, “How much water does an RV dishwasher use?” Lots of RVers assume the amount is extravagant and dismiss the idea of owning one entirely because of this. However, it may not be as much as you’re imagining. 

Generally speaking, an RV dishwasher uses 4–6 gallons of water per cycle. If you weren’t showering or washing hands, it would take something like 8–10 dishwasher cycles to fill a large gray tank! This isn’t too bad at all, and we’re betting some of you use more water when washing dishes by hand. 

How to Winterize an RV Dishwasher

We talked about winterizing your RV dishwasher above. This is incredibly important to do each year before the first freeze. You see, like the water lines in your camper, the water lines in your RV dishwasher could potentially freeze, causing cracks in the lines and problems with the connections, ultimately resulting in big leaks when you pull your camper out again in the spring. 

To winterize your RV dishwasher, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This process should be done when you winterize the rest of the rig. 

How to Install an RV Dishwasher

If you do decide to take the plunge and buy a dishwasher for your RV, you will need to know how to install it. Many people purchase countertop units that simply sit next to the sink and can be installed in a matter of minutes. If you prefer an under-the-counter option, check out the video below to see how one family installed theirs.

Is an RV Dishwasher Right for You?

So is an RV dishwasher a good choice for you? Ask yourself these questions to determine whether this might be a good purchase for your RV:

  • Do you have the skills to install a dishwasher?
  • If not, will a countertop unit fit in your space?
  • Is the dishwasher in your budget?
  • Do you camp without sewer hookups regularly?
  • If so, do you have the tank capacity to run a dishwasher without dumping daily?
  • Do you tend to camp without electric hookups?
  • If so, do you have the battery capacity needed to run the dishwasher?

Generally, if 1) the dishwasher is in your budget, 2) you are able to fit it into the space, and 3) you will have the water/tank/electrical requirements to run the appliance most of the time, an RV dishwasher can definitely be a worthwhile purchase. This is even more true if you are a full-time RVer, or if you are a family that goes through many dishes each day and spends a significant amount of time in the camper. 

Be sure to install the appliance correctly and keep an eye out for leaking connections, and you’ll be good to go!


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1 thought on “Luxury RV Appliance: RV Dishwasher Pros and Cons”

  1. How long is a cleaning cycle? You probably don’t want to have dishes left in the dishwasher’s racks while driving because the dishes and/or the dishwasher can get damaged. You may end up hand-washing them anyway because it’s faster. Personally, I prefer using the space for an oven, but coaches with LP are getting harder to find. Most coaches don’t have enough counter space as it is, so using a counter-top dishwasher makes even less sense, plus where will you store it between uses?

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