Types of Washer/Dryer Sets
There are different kinds of washer/dryer sets you can choose from, and it's important to know which kind will work best in your RV's space. Let's look at the pros and cons of each kind to help you make an informed decision.
There are some units that are made for residential use but can actually work in an RV too. A laundry center is generally a top-load washer with a dryer connected to the top such as this one from Whirlpool. This type of system takes up a minimal amount of space while offering both the washer and dryer. One downfall to this machine and others like it is that the top-load washers use more water than a front loader and the agitator takes up valuable clothes space inside the washer. The answer to this problem is a stackable washer and dryer with a front loader such as this set from Equator Advanced Appliances. Front load washers may seem smaller, but you can actually fit more clothes in them than a top loader. Since the front loader tumbles the clothes and pushes the water and soap through the clothes, they don't need to swish back and forth in a bunch of water. There's also no agitator that takes up space or beats up your clothes. Since the washer spins at 1,000 RPMs, most of the water is removed from the clothes before they even go in the dryer, which means less drying time. The main downfall for both laundry centers and stackables is that while they are small, they won't fit in some RVs. Make sure to measure before buying a set to ensure that they fit inside your RV.
Have you ever put a load of laundry in the washer only to realize days later that it's still sitting in there and now it's musty smelling? A washer/dryer combo would come in handy for avoiding this mistake. Washer and dryer combos, like this one from LG, not only take up less space, but as soon as they're done washing, they start to dry the clothes! There are two main pros of this style of washer/dryer: you only need space for one machine, and it does double duty. However, if you like to multitask and start a new load of wash when you toss the other in the dryer, you can't do that with this type of machine. So laundry could essentially take you twice as long. These also don't accommodate as big of a load since it needs room to circulate air when drying. Also, the dryer isn't vented. It condenses the water from the load and deposits it in the grey tank. This type of drying can take longer due to limited airflow, and you'll have to dump your tank that much sooner.
There are a lot of portable washers and dryers out there that can be a perfect fit for an RV. Let's take a look at the washers first. They come in an electric version, such as this one by Haier. You just put the clothes in, hook up the hoses, and let it go! Even though this is a top-loading version, it doesn't have an agitator that can damage your clothes. There are also manual-powered washers. Some are bags you just squish around, some have hand cranks, and others have foot pedals like the Drumi by Yirego! As you sit by the campfire you can pump the foot pedal and wash your clothes in the glow of the fire. The obvious downfall to both of these is that they won't hold a lot of laundry. However, when you're working with limited space, you have to get creative! Just as there is a portable washer, there is a portable dryer too! Haier does an amazing job with compact appliances and hasn't failed us with this dryer either. You can mount it on the wall or set it on a counter. Either way, this dryer is vented so it's not going to deposit any of the water into your tanks. Its sensor knows how long to dry, so you save electricity. If you want to consider an old-school version of a dryer, hang a clothesline at your campsite. This will save you a ton of space inside and it costs absolutely nothing to dry them! If you can get past the fact that neighboring campers can see your unmentionables or that a rainy day can put a damper on your clothes drying, this simple method might just work like a charm.
The kind of washer and dryer you choose will determine how you install them. With a set, you need to actually hook up the water lines, electricity, and vents. Many RVs now come with cabinets or spaces that are already set up for washers and dryers, so you simply have to follow the manufacturer's directions on getting them in there. Make sure that you're not going to be drawing too much amperage for your RV to handle, especially with the combo washer/dryer, as it seems to use the most. For the portable electric washer, you can set it up in the same cabinet, or if you don't have one, you just wheel it out to the sink. Once you have it in the kitchen, you connect the water hose to the faucet and pop the drain hose in the sink. The portable dryers are just as simple. You can mount them in the cabinet, on a wall, or just set it out when you need it and then put it away when you're done. If you're using a clothesline, then just tie it between a couple of trees.