Washing dishes in an RV can be a challenge. That’s because there’s not a lot of kitchen space to work with. Often, the amount of space dictates the size of essentials, like having a tiny sink rather than a regular-sized one.
In an RV, the average size of the sink may not be bigger than an average pot. That creates problems when you add all the usual prep items and utensils. They can stack up quite easily if you leave them around and eat up more space again.
There are also not enough places to hang things in an RV. When you’ve finally gotten around to washing dishes and wiping them dry, there’s nowhere to dry the dishtowel inside without making the kitchen atmosphere really muggy. Even a regular portable dishwasher might take up too much space.
That’s why an RV Dishwasher is really a useful appliance for anyone living the RV lifestyle. It’s very convenient because not only does it saves space by also functioning as a storage area for your clean dishes but it’s also water efficient.
Unlike hand washing dishes, which can use up to 20 gallons of water, a countertop RV dishwasher can use around 2 to 3 gallons of water in just one cycle. It’ll also free up your time so that you can do other things for leisure, which is the whole point of going camping anyway.
RV dishwashers are categorized into three types: the countertop, the compact, and the dishwasher drawer. The most popular is the countertop model because it’s small enough like a microwave oven and is portable so you can move it anywhere you choose.
The compact dishwasher is the closest in design to a home unit dishwasher. Most of this type function as built-in dishwashers; you need to free up a narrow space in your tiny kitchen in order to install this. The ultimate space saver though is the dishwasher drawer, which can fit an RV cabinet drawer and still take in a large load of dishes.
Of these three, the countertop is the one that doesn’t need a professional plumber to set it up. In fact, most RV owners conveniently place the dishwasher next to the sink so that they can easily attach it to the faucet.
It also usually has many of the same features found in standard sized dishwashers. Features like a dry cycle for sanitizing, auto shutdown and delayed start settings make it a useful and solid appliance for RV living.
And while most of these dishwashers may be expensive, you can still get a reliable one while on a budget. Here are my top picks for the five best RV dishwashers.
The Best RV Dishwashers
- Portable Countertop Dishwasher
- BLACK+DECKER Compact Countertop Dishwasher
- SPT SD-2225DS Compact Countertop Dishwasher
- Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher
- Furrion 18″ Built-In RV Dishwasher with Double Rack
1. Portable Countertop Dishwasher
This product can hold 4 full place settings and will even accommodate 12-inch sized dishes as long as they're loaded at an angle. Its double layer design will easily meet the dishwashing requirements of a family of 4.
It uses only 1.3 gallons (5L) of water in a normal wash cycle, which is 75% less water than dishwashing by hand. It also supports a 2 water supply mode: a water tank mode and a faucet mode. A water inlet hose is also included with the package.
It has 5 wash cycles: Normal, Speed, Eco, Baby Care/Heavy, and Fruit. A Dry Mode feature provides extra 60 minutes of hot air for drying dishes. Every 3 days, there’s also a 15-minute automatic ventilation that will run every 75 minutes. The Dry Mode can be turned on separately or used with any wash cycle except for the Fruit mode.
The dishwasher is also equipped with an interior LED light that automatically turns on when the glass door is opened and turned off within 2 minutes when the door is closed. It functions primarily as an indicator light.
It’s easy to use and operates quietly. This product comes with a limited 45-day no questions asked refund policy, an 18-month warranty, and lifetime technical support.
- Responsive aftersales service
- Tank-fill option
- Might be too small for some users
2. BLACK+DECKER Compact Countertop Dishwasher
This countertop dishwasher has a spacious interior that can accommodate up to 10-inch sized plates. It’s designed for a countertop, but its compact size makes it an easy fit under a kitchen cabinet.
It’s easy to use; it has a slide-out dish rack and a removable utensil basket. It also uses electronic touch controls and an LED display which shows its 7 wash programs clearly. You can pick from Intensive, Normal, Eco, Glas, 90 Minutes, and Rapid & Soak settings.
Its special features include a Delayed Start Option for up to 24 hours and a Child Lock Safety feature. It’s also Energy Star certified and has High Efficiency Rating.
This product includes hoses for intake and discharge, plus an adapter that fits most kitchen faucets. It comes with a warranty of 1 year (12 months) for labor and 1 year (12 months) for parts (manufacturing defects only).
- Has a Dry cycle
- Child lock feature
- Bulky and heavy, not for lifting by senior citizens
3. SPT Compact Countertop Dishwasher
This dishwasher can fit 6 place settings and includes a universal faucet adapter for quick and easy connection to most kitchen faucets.
It’s easy to use; its LED display shows the current running state or remaining time left. There’s also a water supply warnning indicator and a rinse aid warning indicator.
It has 6 wash cycles; you can choose from Heavy, Normal, ECO, Glass, Speed, and Rinse. For added convenience, it is equipped with a Delay Start function for up to 8 hours.
This product comes with a warranty of 1 year.
- Dry cycle
- Not to be connected to undersink plumbing
4. Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher
This is a portable countertop dishwasher that can fit up to 12-inch sized dishes. At best, its good for a 2-person household.
It’s easy to use; it comes with a water tank so that you don’t have to hook it up to a faucet. A water hose is also included with the package in case you want a direct hook up later.
Its LED display shows you a clear view of its control settings and there’s an automatic water level indicator that alerts you when the right water level is reached.
There are 5 wash cycles in this product: Normal, Rapid, Fruit/Vegetable Wash, Baby Care and Glass. It also comes with an automatic air circulation feature that helps speed up the dish drying process.
A fruit basket accessory is included in this product. This item has a 1 year warranty.
- Automatically heats up the water
- Automatically shuts down after the cycle is done
- No drying cycle function
- Some users reported that this product has an unreliable warranty
5. Furrion 18″ Built-In RV Dishwasher with Double Rack
If you’re looking for a built-in RV dishwasher, this product might interest you. It’s designed to work in a moving RV so it’s made of durable stainless steel. You can mount it easily into a prepared cabinet.
It has a double loading rack ; the top and bottom racks include a utensil basket and a folding cup shelf. The shelf can also be used to fit small cups.
It has a fully integrated light-touch electronic control. It has a low water usage per cycle, and has been tested for performance in extreme climates. It’s also equipped with a flowmeter water sensor and a three part plastic and stainless filter that prevents food debris from getting into the water pump.
This product comes with a 12-month warranty.
- Easy to install
- No heat drying cycle
- Some user complaints about unreliable aftersales service
Buyers Guide To Picking Your Ideal RV Dishwasher
RV dishwashers come in all kinds of designs and colors. Naturally, you’ll pick one that will look good and matches well with your RV’s interior. But don’t get sidetracked with how beautiful it looks. Here’s what you should also look out for so you don’t end up with a stylish dud of an appliance.
If you’re not living alone in an RV, pick a dishwasher with the largest capacity but can still fit inside your RV. A washer that can fit up to 6 place settings is ideal enough for a family of 4.
Some modern RVs today are much smaller so you might have to settle with a smaller dishwasher that can accommodate a lesser number of place settings. One way of working around this is to look for one that offers some versatility in the placement of dishes. For example, some large dishes can be washed in small RV washers as long as they placed at an angle.
Having more wash cycles isn’t necessarily a great feature especially if you can’t find any use for them. For instance, if you don’t have a baby in your household, what use is a Baby Care setting?
The most important wash cycle settings, IMHO, are the Normal, Fast, Eco and Glass settings. Beyond these, you can evaluate whether the other features are useful for you and are worth the added cost.
Most experts, however, will recommend one with at least six cycles. That will give you an entire range of washing possibilities for your dishes.
You might also want to consider a unit that has a Dry Cycle. Not only will it automatically dry your dishes but the steam can also have a sterilizing effect on your dishes.
Take note also of the time it takes to finish a single cycle. The average is usually around 80 to 150 minutes. Some will have quicker cycle times, others will have longer ones. The quality of cleaning won't be affected by the length of time it takes to clean the dishes. It’s just a matter of choosing what is more convenient for you.
Water and Energy Consumption
RV washers are generally water and energy efficient but the actual efficiency varies per brand. The best one is that which has the lowest consumption of both energy and water and yet is still capable of cleaning your dishes properly.
Pick the ones with LED screens, since they are easy to use. Some cheaper models will feature buttons instead; if you choose this type, pick the unit that has at least 3 push buttons and a rotary selector for controlling the wash cycles.
If you plan on doing dishes while the RV is in transit, you might consider getting a dishwasher that’s made from stainless steel. It’s durable and can withstand vibration from your moving vehicle.
Otherwise, the usual hard plastic is fine for countertops.
Various design features make an RV dishwasher more convenient to use. Things like a Child Lock feature or an Auto Shut Down option can make life easier.
The addition of a built-in water heater or a loading aid are also useful design features that make. Some high-end ones even have dirt sensors which enhance a unit’s cleaning capabilities.
While most modern dishwashers generate low to moderate (30dB-4dB) noises when operating, the water discharging process can be startlingly loud. If it’s something you can live with, you won’t have to worry about purchasing a loud one. Otherwise, read through the user comments on the product’s Amazon page to find out which one has a really noisy discharge.
The standard warranty is one year and some brands might even offer an extended warranty. All of these is fine and good but when it comes to appliances like this, a more important factor is whether or not a brand is reliable enough to fulfill the warranty.
So check the product page and look for user comments on whether the brand’s warranty is solid. If you encounter more than a couple of complaints, you’re better off looking for another brand.