Are RV Washers and Dryers Worth It? (Ultimate Buyer’s Guide)


One of the worst parts about long RV trips is finding laundromats, then finding an ATM, and coin machine. But some RVs do actually come with, or can be fitted with washers and dryers. But are RV washers and dryers worth it?

Here’s what I’ve decided after a month in our RV:

A washer and a dryer in your RV is worth it. Having a washer & dryer in your RV means avoiding the stress that comes with having to find out if your destination has the facilities for you to do your laundry. It also means that you won’t have to run around looking for the nearest laundromat, ATM, and coin changer.

But there’s a big difference between buying an RV with a washer & dryer and deciding to add one to your RV.

And not all RV washers and dryers are created equal. Some even have so many problems they might not be worth it. So let’s take a detailed look at the whole situation.

That way you can decide what’s best for you.

How do you wash clothes in an RV?

When it comes to washing your clothes in an RV, there are multiple options, and most of us will be familiar with most of them.

Here are the best ways to get laundry done while living in your RV:

  • Use an RV washer and dryer: An RV washer & dryer is often 1 unit that does both jobs. While it will require a water source and power, most are ventless and don’t require a dryer vent.
  • Hand washing & line drying: This is a more labor-intensive method, but for some, it is their go-to option. Simply do laundry on-demand using your kitchen or bathroom sink and then extending a clothesline at your campground for drying; no power needed.
  • With a portable washer: A portable washer/dryer combo is simply a smaller version of the standard RV washer/dryer. Inexpensive and easily connected and disconnected in your RV. Great for doing small loads on a semi-regular basis.
  • Use the laundromat at your campground: Most camping grounds, especially ones that cater to RVs, have washing machines that you can use. While there are a few that take credit/debit cards, most do require you to get cash from an ATM and then use a coin machine to get quarters for the machines.
  • Go to the nearest laundromat: No RV washer & dryer and no laundry facilities in your campground and don’t want to do the laundry by hand? The last resort is to Google the nearest laundromat and hope you can park your RV there while you do laundry.

Those are just some of the methods that most RV enthusiasts are familiar with.

I must say, once you have weighed up all the pros and cons of placing a washer and dryer in your RV, that is when you will learn how inconvenient most other methods of doing laundry are.

But when you do find those rare RV parks where the laundromats take credit/debit cards, you’ll jump for joy!

Can an RV have a washer and dryer?

Yes, you can have a washer and a dryer in your RV. Your RV obviously needs to have a sufficient amount of space. The RV also needs to have all the plumbing requirements, which a professional can always add if you do not have one.

The brands most likely to have washers and dryers in their top of the line models include:

  • Forest River
  • Coachmen
  • Jayco
  • Fleetwood
  • Heartland

But they aren’t the only ones.

It is important to note that a lot of RV manufacturers are starting to include washer and dryer combinations into their RVs.

If your RV doesn’t come with one, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck though.

Depending on the size and configuration of your RV and the washer/dryer unit you plan to buy, it may not be that hard to add one. And if a standard RV washer/dryer isn’t going to work, a portable washer/dryer may still be a better option than hunting laundromats.

More on adding them to existing RVs in the next section.

Can you add a washer and dryer to an RV?

Yes, you can add a washer and a dryer to your RV. Again, you need enough space and recognize this may mean giving up a closet or other space. But it will also need a power source, water source, and drain.

So just know that building one into your RV after the fact will require either a licensed technician or a lot of DIY skill on your part.

It’s much easier to have one added at the time of purchase.

However, places that sell RVs, such as Camping World, do typically install washer/dryers for around $600. However, if yours was not preconfigured to add a washer/dryer, that install price could be a lot higher.

And that will be on top of the cost of the washer/dryer which is likely at least $1,100.

Want to add a small washer/dryer combo to your RV for cheap?

I love the option of using the Giantex Portable Mini Compact Twin Tub Washing Machine/Dryer (click to see it on Amazon).

It’s just over $100 and has over 6,000 awesome reviews!

Now, you aren’t doing massive loads here, and it does require a little more involvement than a standard washer & dryer.

But it’s a great option if you don’t have $2,000 lying around to install a regular washer/dryer combo in your RV.

At 28 pounds, you can easily just bring this outside your RV when you’re ready to do laundry.

Plug it in, run a garden hose from the water pump, and then set the drain hose into your campsite’s sewer drain and you’re all set.

At 25″ x 15″ you can easily stow this in a corner in the RV when not in use.

Where do you put a washer dryer in an RV?

One of the closets in the master bedroom is the most common place to add a washer & dryer to your RV. Most RV washers and dryers are either stackable units or just 1 unit that does both jobs.

If you are adding a washer and dryer to a brand new RV, then they will obviously suggest the best (and possibly only) options.

They will know where the best place for it is. If you are doing it by yourself, there are several areas that you can place them in.

However, before you can even think about putting a washer and dryer in your RV, there are things that you need in order for the RV to accommodate the washer and dryer.

You should place your washer dryer in an area where these four things are accessible:

  • A power outlet
  • A place for the dirty water to drain into.
  • Water outlets
  • Vent (If applicable)

Those are four things that your washer and dryer need. With that being said, not everything is as plain and simple as that. Also, some of those things do have special workarounds that you can do, which I have learned over time and with experience.

So, let’s take a look at all of these things in a little bit more detail.

Here is a step-by-step of how to add a standard RV washer & dryer to an existing RV:

Step 1 – Find a good place to put it

The average RV washer/dryer is a combo unit, meaning 1 unit does both jobs. They vary in size, but a good rule of thumb is 33″ high x 24″ wide x 23″ deep. So you may want to install yours in a closet in the master bedroom.

But if you don’t need the seating, removing the dining car table and bench seats could work also.

Alternately, if you don’t need the sink in your bathroom, that could be an easy spot (assuming you can get the unit into the bathroom) as it’s already got hot & cold water plus a drain-source and nearby power outlets.

Step 2 – Does it need to vent to the outside?

Many RV washer/dryer combos don’t require venting, but some do. Find out if yours does, and if so, obviously, that means cutting a hole in the wall of the RV where the vent will need to go.

The easiest way to cut a hole will be to use a 4″ hole saw bit on the end of a drill.

But you’ll need to know where you can drill before you start so you don’t cut into the frame of the RV. Use an Exacto knife to cut into the wall near where the dryer vent should go to ensure you have an unobstructed spot for the vent hole to be drilled.

Chances are the hole saw won’t go all the way through the exterior wall, but the pilot drill bit likely will. So finish the hole by placing the pilot drill bit in the hole on the outside of the RV and continue drilling until you have a 4″ hole all the way through the RV wall.

Step 3 – Install the dryer vent (if needed)

The dryer vent should come with a flapper valve which can be mounted on the outside of the RV where the hole is. Measure how far it comes on the inside of the RV, and cut off excess if needed as you will likely want the washer/dryer as close to the wall as possible.

Clean the outside wall of the RV around the hole with rubbing alcohol. Then apply a bead of silicone around the back of the flapper valve and fit into the hole.

Lastly, screw the valve into the outside wall of the RV with screws. If you don’t have self-piloting screws, it will work better to drill screw holes (after marking) on the RV wall first.

Step 4 – Run water lines and drain to the location of the washer/dryer

This will obviously be easy if you are replacing the bathroom sink with the washer & dryer as then it will likely just be a matter of connecting the hoses that come with your machine, to the connectors where the sink was.

If not, you’ll have to figure out the nearest water source (some RVs are made with possible additions in mind), and run both hot and cold water lines to your destination.

Then for the drain, you ideally want to connect it to your gray water tank, so you’ll need to tap into the nearest sink or shower drain area.

Step 5 – Power

Many RV washer/dryer combos will be electric meaning they just have to plug into the nearest outlet which makes it easy.

Step 6 – Connect the dryer vent (if vented)

The last step is to connect the dryer vent. You could certainly do this easier, but most likely, you’ll need to trim the excess from the standard dryer vent tube so that it can sit as close to the wall as possible.

By definition, that means you can’t connect that before connecting everything else.

What is the smallest RV with a washer-dryer?

The smallest Class A RV with a washer/dryer is the 32′ Forest River FR3 30DS. The smallest Class C RV with the washer/dryer is the 32′ Thor Quantum KW29. For travel trailers, it’s the 34′ Highland Ridge Light LT275RLS, and for 5th wheels, the 34′ Forest River RV Wildwood Heritage Glen LTZ 286RL has it as well.

So as you see here, the likelihood of finding an RV under 30 feet in length that has, or can have, a washer/dryer, is unlikley.

When buying one of these RVs, you choose to have the washer and dryer combo included. When it is installed, they install it within one of the wardrobes in the main bedroom.

While obviously cheaper to add one later yourself or with the neighborhood handyman, it’s obviously a lot less hassle when you have the dealer do it before you take possession of the RV.

There are many other campers out there that are small that come with a washer and dryer.

If I were you, I would rather shop around and make sure that you get something you are comfortable with. At the end of the day, laundry isn’t the only reason why you’re buying an RV.

And always remember, the space taken up by the washer-dryer is space that you likely would be using in other ways, so there’s always a trade-off.

How much are RV washers and dryers?

The cost of a washer and dryer combo for an RV will vary between $1,200 and $1800 without installation. For stackable units, expect to spend between $600-$800 per unit. Installation can add an additional $600 or more depending on where you want to place the washer/dryer and if your RV was preconfigured to add one.

Splendide is one of the top manufacturers of RV washers and dryers.

If you opt for 1 combo unit, that price range will be $1,200 up to $1,800 or more. But if you opt for individual units that stack, expect to spend about $600-$800 per unit.

The Splendide WD2100XC (click to see on Amazon) is one of their most popular combo models.

This one is vented, but only takes up 23.5 inches in width, and 23″ in depth, so it’s a great option to add that won’t take up a ton of your space. The height is just under 34″.

It also offers “Super-silent technology” to ensure it’s not creating a ton of noise. More on this one below.

What is the best washer and dryer for an RV?

The best combo vented washer/dryer for an RV is the Splendide 2100XC at approximately $1,500. The best ventless option is the LG WM3488HW. The ventless doesn’t require drilling a vent hole in the wall of the RV but will be less efficient in drying.

But let’s explore both of those options in greater detail.

The Splendide 2100XC Washer-Dryer Combo: Just over $1,500

The 2100 XC is marketed as more of a multi-family household washer and dryer but if you have enough space in your RV, this machine is perfect, especially considering the fact that it does your washing and your drying in one.

Well over 4-stars and hundreds of reviews, so this one is a great choice.

  • Dimensions: 33-1/8″ Height x 23-1/2″ Width x 22-5/8″ Depth
  • Super-silent technology
  • Self-cleaning filter removes lint automatically. 

CLICK HERE to see it on Amazon

LG WM3488HW Ventless: Just under $1,400

Again, we have chosen to go with a washer and dryer combo as we know that this saves space.

When it comes to this LG there is a lot we can talk about but some of the most standout features for me are the anti-vibration and turbo wash features. It also has a stainless steel drum which prevents any rust from building up in the machine.

Ventless simply means it uses the same gray water exit for the lint and steam from the dryer rather than requiring its own vent like your dryer back home does.

Over 4-stars and over 100 reviews, so this one is well worth considering.

  • 25.5 x 24 x 33.5 inches

CLICK HERE to see it on Amazon

Conclusion

That brings us to the end of this article and wow, did we go in-depth or what.

The thing is, it is the small little things such as the laundry that can make what should have been a great day and turn it into a day that we would sooner want to forget. When you have that convenience of being able to do your laundry whenever you want, that convenience isn’t always as appreciated as it should be.

I think the reason for this is, bad memories make stronger impressions on us than good ones. So when everything is running smoothly you will definitely accumulate great memories but those good memories won’t have as big of an impact as the bad ones.

Having a washer and a dryer in your RV will help you avoid those days where you just can’t find a laundromat or the campground’s laundry facilities were full, or you simply didn’t have time to do the laundry by hand.


Photo which requires attribution:

Cruise in Style by tdlucas5000 is licensed under CC2.0

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell travels on and off with his 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. He writes extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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