Why Do I Need A Dish Washer In My RV?

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October 19, 2008

Innovative ideas to make RV living and lifestyle more convenient and home-like are common place in today’s motor home or trailer choices.  One of these options is to have a residential type dish washer made by Fisher&Paykel.  The Fisher&Paykel DishDrawer can be found in many newer custom homes throughout North America.  There are two different styles or types, the double drawer model, generally used in homes and yachts, and the single drawer unit, found now in homes and recreational vehicles.  Fisher&Paykel also make refrigerators and clothes washers and dryers.


Is this option a waste?  Is this just going overboard?   Well, let’s look at the value of having this option in your trailer or motor home.  First, it will certainly reduce, if not eliminate, hand washing of the dishes.  It also serves as a great storage for dirty unwashed dishes and cutlery.  If, like many RV travelers, settings for two people are used, it takes several meals to dirty all your dishes.  This makes the dish washer ideal and saves from needing to wash dishes after each and every meal without the alternative, a sink full of dirty dishes that rattles on every bump in the road.

 But, it can not be all wine and roses.  The dish washer, albeit compact, takes away a good volume of kitchen cupboard storage.  This makes it not necessarily available in all makes, models or floor plans. 


Does it save water compared to hand washing?  Well, specifications stating the water use are not available on the manufacturer’s website, but I believe the following.  If you had a six place dinner set with the appropriate flatware, glasses and cups, the hand washing would probably use less water than the automatic dish washer.  However, if you hand washed the individual pieces used after each meal, the water used would certainly exceed that of what the dish washer would require to do the entire set.   The dish water also wins the health issue as it washes using water at around 150 degrees F. and rinses at nearly 165 F.  The hand wash, however, scores a point for needed energy.  Other than the heated water and obvious pump operating, no extra energy is required.  The dish washer needs about 4 amps of 120 volt AC.

Now let’s just summarize what we have found.  We will compare the “Pros and Cons”.


  • Reduces hand washing of dishes
  • Great out of sight storage for dirty dishes
  • Dishware and cutlery may be more sanitary in hotter water
  • May use less water overall and reduce the washing frequency
  • May increase resale value


  • A fairly expensive option
  • Uses up valuable cupboard space
  • Requires 120 volt power to operate
  • May increase future maintenance costs

Well, you really have to make your own mind up, if in fact the dish washer option is available on the model you are purchasing.  I can say, the Fisher&Paykel dish washer is a top of the line product with the results to prove it.  My wife claims it performs equal to our at-home top of the line Kitchen Aid.  That being said, I doubt you would be disappointed with the service and operation of the unit.  The other points, or trade-offs, that we discussed,  however, may need to be carefully weighed.  Is this a waste or going overboard?  I don’t think there is one answer here.  For some, perhaps, for others not.  This isn’t a one size fits all, as there are many individual lifestyles and needs.


A Squeaky Clean Idea,      –       Lug_Nut        –         Peter Mercer


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  1. dweymouth, There are several sizes of units. I have a double drawer unit that has a small drawer and a much larger one. The smaller one is smaller than the single unit in my motor home, while the larger one is much larger than the one in the coach.
    I believe the locking mechaniism can be reprogrammed. Mine, in the coach, requires AC power, then you must push a button to open it. So when no AC is present (it is not wired to the inverter) it will not open.
    Thank you for your great input.

  2. dweymouth

    Our new class A came with a Fisher & Paykel dish drawer. I am quite happy with how well it cleans and it certainly uses less water than I do washing dishes by hand. The downsides are that if you wash anything other than flat dishes and regular glasses, the dish drawer’s capacity is quite limited. It just doesn’t handle bowls and larger items efficiently. Also, make sure you check the size of any new dishes you might want to buy for your rig. Some of the larger style plates simply don’t fit in the drawer. The most unexpected problem we have found is that the drawer’s electronic locking feature is overridden when AC power is turned on and then off again. This means that if you turn the generator on for air conditioning on a hot travel day, that the drawer may fly open while you are still driving. I am looking for a good looking manual latch to install to solve this problem. All that said I still like the drawer for the reasons listed previously on this thread.

  3. I know what your wife is talking about, my wife had a similar comment too, at first. Of course it does, however, really store anyway. It stores the dirty dishes until there are enough to wash, then it stores the clean ones. We also have the double Fisher Paykel on our boat. Best of luck.

  4. Fourfurz

    I’m really interested in installing one of these in my MADP. It’s wired and plumbed for it, also comes as a standard option.

    The problem is my wife. She says we already have a dishwasher (me) so why waste cabinet space by installing one.

    I guess I have some lobbying to do before I can get one.

  5. Kristi, It’s great the information was of interest to you. The sharing of information like this is a good method in helping us all to make wise discissions. Of course, taking one only opinion is not always wise, but, I believe you would be more than pleased with this brand of this appliance. Thank you for your input.

  6. John, Glad my article helps with your justification on adding a dish washer. I hope, and trust, you will be pleased.

  7. I loved this article! I have just the spot for one and What a relief ! I wont have to look forward to a lifetime of washing dishes… I’m new to RV living, and it’s full time now that my husband travels to work= a union welder. I THOUGHT- whats a few dishes, until breakfast turned into lunchand guess what, dinners coming up next. Maybe its me. I manage to mess up alot of utinsels,bowls etc. when I’m cooking..Hey its worth it! But Im also the type to clean as I go…I thought thats good, BUT uses up LOTs of water…Maybe I should go with a dishwasher_YA! Talked myself into it !! =I read they are leak-proof= Good idea for an RV. Looking forward to that article on Combination Washer/Dryers=YES!!

  8. John

    Hi Lug_Nut,

    I am gratefull for the persuasive comments (amunition) in the article. I have now convinced my wife that we need the dishwasher. What a relief, I thought I would have to do them by hand!
    She was wondering if in the future you plan to do an article on combination washers & dryers and stackable units as well?


  9. Hi John, Happy to hear the Fisher&Paykel was a topic of interest to you. I’m trying over a period of time to somewhat review many of the popular options found today in RV’s. Many of these are very innovative and made for our specialty needs. Not all, however, meet these specific needs. So this way we can all share in real experiences that may or may not, support the purchase of same.
    Thanks, as always for your great input.

  10. John

    Hello again Lug_Nut,

    After reading your last article on keyless entry I was wondering if you would soon write an article on Fisher&Paykel dish washers. And next thing I know…..there is your article on it! Just the info my wife and I have been looking for. We at first thought it was a bit much, my wife said it was no big deal to wash a few dishes.
    I personally hate doing dishes which I think developed when I was a young kid and worked at a high end restaurant washing dishes after school and on weekends. One weekend on Mothers day it got so busy that dishes were literally stacked and completely surrounded me in my workstation. That was the last weekend I did a job like that. When I think back to that time I laugh about it.

    We have been wanting to hear comments from people that have used this brand of washer and your wife kindly provided that info which we greatly appreciate.
    You also point out the pros and cons which, like anything else has a price. As a friend of mine used to say “If you want to play, you have to pay”.

    Thanks for another informative article.

  11. John Christman, It is a personal choice, no need to get up tight. Obviously your unit was not wired or install properly. That being the case, it is not worth anything at trade-in time. The fact that you never used it may, and perhap, in your case, did do more harm than good. But, never the less, this is a choice. Thanks for your interesting input.

  12. I doubt that thing increases resale value. I had one as a “gift” from the manufacturer, when they were out of stock on gas ranges with ovens. So they gave me $100 to take it off their hands and installed a brand new one in my previous motorhome. I had it for four years and never used it once, except I used it for storage. One day I was driving on I-40 near Oklahoma City, when all of a sudden the unit started up and destroyed all my electronic gear that I had stored in it. (some wise mechanic turned on the water feed and didn’t tell me). I tried for three years to find someone, anyone that would remove it and just put a matching face door in it’s place and the $750 USELESS dishwasher was theirs. No one took it and when I traded in the coach they actually DEDUCTED $250 off the value. So I doubt they are worth much except for 1 out of 1000 people. Keep the darn things in Stick houses, but not in RV’s–thank you very much.

  13. Lug_Nut

    Hi Doreen, You can have your Fisher Paykel automatically lock each time it is closed. You only need to reprogram that feature, which should be in your manual. The only drawback is you will always need 120 AC shore or genset power to re-open. But, it will not open at all while driving. Thanks for your valued comment.

  14. We have a single drawer Fisher Paykel in our converted bus and love it. The only thing I’d add is that occasionally, if we take a tight turn, the drawer pops open. So, we’ve learned to bungee-cord it closed (we happen to have a drawer with a handle under it and one above) when we’re on the move. (Then again, I also put socks over the wine glasses that hang under our wine rack so they don’t clink together.)