At first thought a dishwasher might seem like an “extreme luxury” for an Airstream, but it’s actually a smart move when considering water conservation. Study after study has shown that a dishwasher (especially high efficiency ones like the Bosch in our home kitchen) use far less water than hand washing in the sink. The models I have listed below uses around 3 1/4 gallons for a full load (6 place settings plus whatever else you can Tetris in there).
Not to mention, it stores your dirty dishes (until you’re ready to run the cycle), so you aren’t stacking dirty dishes in the sink (cluttering up your surroundings, preventing you from using the sink, attracting flies, etc.).
I first had the idea of putting a dishwasher in an Airstream when I saw a custom-ordered Fischer and Paykel unit on clearance at Lowe’s. I now really wish I had bought it; I think it was marked down from $1,000 to $200. Since it was designed for home use, it was probably too heavy and power hungry for an Airstream though (I will let these sour grapes console me).
After searching “Airstream Dishwasher” I first learned about the Koldfront PDW60EB via this post:
It’s around $211 in white, another ten bucks in black, and $240-$260 depending on which “brand” in silver (I wonder how close to “stainless” it really looks).
Koldfront, EdgeStar, Midea, SPT (the actual manufacturer?), Sunpentown (old name for SPT, I assume), Danby: judging by the item descriptions on Rakuten (they are pretty much word-for-word), I am assuming these are all “rebranded” versions of the same unit. There are some slight variations in the controls (knobs vs. buttons, number of buttons, digital readout, etc.), but the functionality/specs seem to be the same. The models are things like PDW60W, PDW61W (newer), DDW611WLED, SD-2201W, SD-2202W (newer); the W stands for white in these models; other models use B for black and S for silver. It looks to me like the PDWW61 and SD-2202 are second generation models and they added the ability to delay the start time for up to 8 hours.
The descriptions state that an internal water heater gets the water temperature to 149 degrees Fahrenheit (not very high compared to the Bosch in my house, but still much hotter than hand washing). I am a big fan of the stainless interior (and not just because it matches the Airstream!). The unit also has an automatic rinse agent dispenser, which is nice for keeping your glassware spotless (I plan on serving quite a few cocktails!). These units also have an internal pump for waste water, so you don’t have to rely on gravity.
They are made to simply attach to your kitchen sink faucet and can be removed when not in use, but I plan on “hard wiring” mine to a water and drain line.
Water consumption (normal wash): 3.5 gallons • Input voltage: 120 V/60 Hz • Power: 1160 W/10.7 A • Weight: 48.5 lbs • Dimensions: 17-3/16″ H x 21-11/16″ W x 19-11/16″ D” • Noise level: 55±3dB • Six (6) standard place setting capacity • Includes dish rack, cup shelf, and cutlery basket • Holds plates up to 10.5″ in diameter • Six (6) wash cycles: heavy, normal, light, glass, speed and soak (I’m assuming I would only ever use the “heavy” cycle, but still…)
User reviews state that the heaviest wash takes around an hour and forty five minutes and the “soak” setting is around 10 minutes (the other settings are just variations on time). It’s best to make sure the water is running hot from the tap before starting the unit (so you get the hottest water possible and put less stress on the unit’s internal heater). The biggest complaint seems to be the unit does not dry your dishes, but that seems to be expecting a bit much (the unit won’t do your laundry either). Some people have mentioned just opening the unit’s door slightly right when the cycle is finished and the retained heat of the things being washed will allow everything to dry (though you’ll be venting steam into your living space).
Finally, a little humor from the Airstream forums. This is what GeocamperAS posted regarding Airstream dishwashers:
I have been searching high and low for a RV dishwasher.
Not just any RV dishwasher, but one that meets my criteria.
I finally found one.
It is small so it doesn’t take up much space.
It also uses very little water.
It can be used on electric mode when you have hook-ups.
I can be used on non-electric mode when boondocking.
And even though it is small it can clean the largest pot you have.