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If you're contemplating living in an RV - for the weekend or full-time - you may be wondering about the various types of appliances you'll have. Home and kitchen appliances are what make camping in a motorhome or travel trailer so convenient. As long as you're using full-hookups in a campground, you can use them pretty much to your heart's content. However, once off-the-grid, you'll need to take into account how much power each of these gadgets need.
In this post, we'll cover the following types of RV appliances in-depth, including how much power they take up for regular use -
- Washers and dryers
- Ovens and stoves
- Coffee makers
- Ceiling fans
- TV's and entertainment centers
- Portable heaters
- Air conditioning systems
Let's go over the various types of RV appliances and when we're done, we'll link you to some useful guides about managing your electricity needs while camping in an RV. This should complete the picture and help you figure out which of these appliances you need and how to make sure you have enough power to do so.
The refrigerator is one appliance that you will find in almost every RV. But these power-hungry machines will churn through your generators and drain your RV battery on many occasions. This is because an RV refrigerator draws amps and consumes watts in much the same way as an air conditioner. On average, a Camper refrigerator will draw between 0.15 to 7 amps of electricity per day.
The amps drawn depend largely on the power supply. Is it electric or propane? An RV refrigerator running on LP will draw around 3 to 4 amps to properly run. The starting watt is much higher than the running watt. This means that the average starting watt for an RV is around 500 to 600 watts and the average is around 150 to 200 watts.
The ideal way of powering an RV refrigerator is using propane. Using a battery is not recommended since it will easily drain out within 4 to 5 hours.
Small Propane Fridge by Smad
This 3-way refrigerator runs on both electric and propane. Its compact design ensures it fits in an RV while taking little space. One useful feature is the absorption cooling system which silently hums in the background. You can buy this refrigerator in two different capacities 1.4 Cu. Ft and 3.5 Cu. Ft.
Portable Compressor Refrigerator by Costway
The compact and resourceful Portable Compressor refrigerator perfectly fits the needs of most RV owners. It has a modest storing capacity of 2.1 Cu. Ft. and can achieve extreme temperatures between -0.4°F and 50°F. The best part is that it requires only 70 watts of power to work efficiently.
We have several posts about RV fridges that you might find helpful, so check them out too -
2. RV Washers and Dryers
Washer and dryer combos have simplified those long, drawn-out, and tedious laundry days, thanks to the ease of use and prompt results. They were, however, heavy and not easy to transport in RVs. With time, these clunky devices have benefitted from a small form factor and can now fit into tiny spaces.
You may need an RV washer and dryer combo if your laundry starts piling up and takes up the much-needed space. However, not all RV's have them. Washers and Dryers are usually found in high-end Class A motorhomes or 5th wheels but not in smaller RV's. There are other options for dealing with the issue, and you can read all about them in our guide about RV laundry solutions.
If you are interested in adding a washer/dryer to your RV, you will, of course, need a 120-volt electric source since washer dryer combos require between 300 to 500 watts of power depending on the make and model. The washer dryer combo will draw in 12 amps of current. They generally need very little maintenance and do a good job if properly used. Make sure you use a pure sine wave inverter for the best results.
Camper Appliances by Splendide
This washer dryer combo is a great choice for RV-ers due to extra features such as the 4 cubic feet stainless steel drum, extra wide opening to store lots of clothes, and an automated vented drying system. The device has an easy-clean lint filter that makes cleaning easier.
Portable Compact Washing Machine by Super Deal
If you really care about saving some space in your RV, then this washer dryer combo is the way to go. It is one of the smallest and lightest portable washing machines we’ve seen yet. Despite this, it offers a moderate 5.5 pounds of wash capacity with 4.4 pounds of drying capacity for a total of 10 pounds. You can opt for the 17.6 pounds version if load capacity is important to you.
3. RV Ovens and Stoves
RV ovens and stoves, while surprisingly efficient, use propane to cook food. A gas oven will cook food in a house exactly like an RV oven will do using propane. The reason for this is simple, an electric oven will draw anywhere between 2000 to 5500 watts, with the average oven clocking in at 3000+ watt. This kind of power isn’t easy to come by when you’re out camping in an RV. Your 12-volt battery will definitely drain out before you could get any serious cooking done.
Half Time Built-In Convection Oven by Master Chef
The simplicity of this oven is the real charmer. It has easy to use buttons with a decent LCD panel screen that makes cooking a simple task. It draws 1600 watts when using the High-Speed mode to cook 50% faster than conventional gas or electric ovens. The microwave uses 1000 watts of power for heating food. Installation couldn’t be easier; simply replace this product with your existing oven and call it a day.
There are three installation options: built-in wall, island, and countertop installation.
Half Time Convection Oven by Master Chef
This stainless steel oven will look good in your RV. It looks like an appliance that you would find in more luxurious homes. Not only is this oven easy to clean, but it also heats up quickly and is simple enough to use. Furthermore, it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty that lasts over 2 years.
Portable Single Electric Burner by MOCCO
Don’t underestimate this electric burner with its futuristic gimmicky design. It is a very capable electric stove. It is incredibly lightweight at 6.4 lbs and features a compact design that can fit wherever you want it to. The stove is both scratch proof and water resistant, it can take quite a beating. It uses a fluid touch screen in place of physical buttons for easy control. Its max power draw is at 1800 watts.
Check out our RV ovens guide for more options
Having a microwave in your RV is a great way to make your journey more exciting. But these are power hungry devices that can drain your RV’s battery very fast. Common household items draw between 1000 to 1200 watts; RV microwaves are no exception. However, the more efficient models might between 800 and 1000 watts.
Microwave Oven 0.7 Cu. Ft by Muave’ Microwave Ovens
This beast of an oven features ten power levels, six express buttons, and six auto menu buttons. It will plug right into your RV’s 120-volt outlet, making installation super easy. The device is light and compact, but big enough for medium to large meals.
700 Watt Compact Digital Microwave by Sunbeam
This microwave oven is quite capable at 9.7 Cu. Ft and draws a relatively tiny 700 watts of power. It doesn’t have a hard time heating up your food and is as capable as conventional microwaves out there.
5. Coffee Makers
If your morning routine involves a round of coffee, then an RV coffee maker isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Most coffee makers draw at least 800 watts of power to heat water to a high enough temperature that can brew coffee. This doesn’t mean there aren’t 12V versions out there; it’s just that they take forever to heat coffee since their power draw is limited to around 200 to 300 watts.
Below we’ve rounded up the best RV coffee makers we could find.
2 in 1 Coffee Maker by Mixpresso
If you’re looking for a 12-volt lightweight coffee maker, then look no further than the 2 in 1 Ultimate Single Cup Coffee Maker. It utilizes an advanced auto shut off function that turns off the device when not in use. It has a heating capacity to heat 14 oz of water.
Coleman Coffee Maker
It is affordable, compact, and gets the job done. You will need a burner camp stove to brew your cup of coffee. The device can brew up to 10 cups of coffee at a time. Even though it brews coffee in batches, the unique Pause N Serve feature lets you pause the heating cycle to quickly pour your cup of coffee before the batch is complete.
12 Volt Coffee Maker by CISUNG
This stainless steel coffee maker looks more like a thermos bottle, yet it plugs straight into the 12-volt cigarette socket for easy use. A sleek handle makes it easy to carry the device and masks the high temperature of the steel frame so the heat won’t get to you.
Need more ideas for your cup of joe? Check out the complete 12-V RV coffee makers guide here.
Portable toasters are essential for getting a delicious toast prepared on the go. You don’t want to miss the convenience of dropping in a slice of your favorite bread and then waiting for it to cook up. But unfortunately, the heat requirements to turn your slice of bread into a delicious hue of golden brown are excessive. You will need at least 700 to 800 watts, which necessitates the use of an inverter.
2 Slice Black Toaster by BonsenKitchen
It is surprising how many features are packed into this device with 7 adjustable browning settings and easy maintenance. It can prepare 2 slices in one session, thus saving time. Once the bread is prepared, it will automatically pop out so you won’t have to dig your fingers underneath the slot in an unsafe manner.
Stainless Steel 900 Watt Toaster by Holife
This portable stainless steel toaster will make your life easy thanks to a robust LCD panel that shows a digital clock. The LCD screen gives you a rough overview of the toasting process, giving you control over different shade settings. You can use the handy knob on the front to control up to 6 shade settings. Furthermore, the device is backed up by an 18-month replacement warranty, securing your purchase.
Metal Classic 4 Slice Toaster
This toaster is built for convenience, you can tell by the 4 slots it has for each slice. Our only advice is to not heat up all four slices at once because it will drain your RV’s battery. You can control the shade setting using the 6-setting browning dial. Other control options include dual reheat, bagel, and defrost buttons to give you full control of your slice of bread.
Even more options are available in this list of best mini toasters for RV life.
7. Ceiling Fans
RV ceiling fans are robust enough to make do with only 12 volts, which means you can connect them directly to your RV’s battery. You don’t need an inverter or a bulky generator. As long as humidity levels are acceptably low, the stream of air provided by ceiling fans can cool off the ambient temperatures in your RV without ever having to turn on the air conditioner.
36 Inch DC Ceiling Fan for RV by Global Electric
This ceiling fan is a solid model featuring a three-phase brushless motor with a unique combination of magnetic rotors that operate the motor in low voltage settings. And the best part? There is no noise. You won’t know the ceiling fan is even there unless you glance upwards. The fan can work on as little as 1 amp and draws only 12 Watts.
12 Volt Ceiling Fan for RV by Senreal
This small, portable ceiling fan may be just what you're looking for. It has a 19.7-inch diameter that's perfect for smaller spaces. The plastic blades are durable yet flexible. Its design is quiet, so you won't hear any loud noises coming from your ceiling fan.
12 V 42 Inch Ceiling Fan by Global Electric
Global Electric dominates this niche market, and for good reason. The fans are visually appealing and will complement your RV’s décor. This particular model has a span of 42 inches, which gives it a sizable presence in your RV. It can be controlled with a remote control and offers up to 6 different speeds to control the constant stream of air.
We've put together a comprehensive list of 12-V RV ceiling fans right here.
Your RV will frequently run into issues with the humidity that could cause some serious damage to the structure and make the climate feel more oppressive. This is particularly the case if you have 3 or more people in the RV. Together they will release enough water vapor in the air that it can become a problem. Not to mention all the condensation that will take place if you do a lot of cooking.
You will need a dehumidifier to control the amount of condensation in the air. Preferably one that runs on 120 volts on your inverter. Expect power usage between 800 to 1300 watts, to account for surges.
Portable Mini Dehumidifier by RinKmo
Boasting a sleek design in a compact package, this mini dehumidifier can easily remove up to 20 ounces of water from the air in a day. It has an LED display that shows useful information related to the device. A touch panel makes it easy to control different settings such. It turns off automatically when the humidity reaches desirable settings. Furthermore, this dehumidifier has a money-back guarantee that lasts for 24 months from time of purchase.
Household Portable Dehumidifier by Hysure
This 1500 cubic feet dehumidifier performs well for RV users with a room size between 10 to 20 square meters. One useful feature is Hysure’s proprietary “Whisper Technology” which keeps the device quiet enough that you won’t know it’s there.
Its compact size allows use in cramped-up areas such as RVs and crawl spaces. Furthermore, the device will automatically shut off when the tank is full and the LED light will blink to inform you it’s time to empty the tank.
More information on how to keep the inside of your RV dry in this guide and you can find more suggestions for dehumidifiers in this post too.
9. TVs and entertainment centers
Entertainment centers don’t work best in all environments, but for obvious reasons, they go hand in hand with RVs. The only problem is that they can take up lots of space in your RV (where space tends to be an issue) and draw too much power. That said, having an entertainment center or TV can make life so much easier.
A word of caution: the bigger your television or diverse your entertainment system, the more power it will consume. As a general rule of thumb, any TV above 30” will easily use 300 to 400 watts of power. You will need an inverter.
HDTV for RV by Free Signal TV
Offering a crystal clear high resolution LED screen, this TV is designed from the ground up to work exclusively with RVs. It can be operated from a 12 volt DC power supply and doesn’t hog any power. The only disadvantage is the resolution which is capped at a 720p, a far cry crisp 4K resolution sets that are easily available these days. On the plus side, you get a full 1-year warranty and free tech support.
Hisense 32-Inch LED Smart TV
This 32-inch TV has 720p LED picture quality and is outfitted with Roku smart TV features and built-in WiFi. Aside from the remote, you can also control the TV on your smartphone through an app. It has a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.
Your RV will get chilly during the winters and make life a little uncomfortable. But you can combat the cold with an RV furnace. The primary way to power up the furnace is propane and electric. In electric mode, most furnaces draw 8 to 11 amps and between 500 to 1500 watts depending on your settings. Least to say Furnaces are battery hogs and will drain your battery.
And what about propane? If you're wondering about that option, check out our guide about how much propane an RV furnace uses.
Suburban 2453A RV Furnace
This product is a great choice if you’re looking for a replacement furnace. It uses propane to heat up your entire RV but uses electric ignition to kickstart the heating cycle. It is very efficient and can reach up to 30,000 BTU to warm up 2000 sq. ft. of space.
Suburban Furnace with Black Grill
One of the quietest furnaces we found on Amazon, the only thing you’ll hear during operation is the fan spinning, but you’ll have to stand right next to the exhaust port to catch the sound. This furnace keeps your RV warm and toasty and its power consumption is remarkably low at 37 watts. A must have.
And just in case of a malfunction, we have you covered with this post about what to do when the RV furnace won't start.
11. Portable heaters
Portable heaters for RVs allow you to receive efficient heating without expending too much energy. These devices will draw between 900 to 1,500 watts depending on the setting.
Mr. Heater Portable Propane Heater
It’s a tiny, tiny device with an appearance that can be deceiving. Mr. Heater’s compact propane heater boasts near 100 percent efficiency when using propane and can heat spaces up to 450 square feet. A handy doorknob makes it easy to control your desired temperature. It easily connects to your propane tank.
Mr. Heater Propane Air Heater
This small, indoor-safe propane air heater can heat rooms up to 95 square feet, perfect for an RV. It has a 45-degree heating angle and is controlled with a simple on/off button.
12. Air Conditioning Systems
Portable air conditioners are the way to go for RV owners. They are self-contained units that can be moved around. These devices usually have an energy output between 5000 Btu to 150-0 Btu depending on the settings used.
Honeywell 10000 BTU Air Conditioners for RVs
This product comes from a manufacturer that has been in the RV business for a long time. You can save money and opt for the cheaper 9000 BTU version if heat isn’t a concern for you, or upgrade to the 14000 BTU version if you live in particularly hot areas in the US. It can cool rooms of size between 350 to 450 sq. ft.
14,000 BTU Portable AC by hOmeLabs
This air conditioner is incredibly energy efficient and can provide cooling to room sizes of up to 700 square feet. Maintenance is super easy thanks to the washable air filter which has a helpful light indicator that tells when it’s time to clean. If ease of use and eco-friendliness are features you care about, then this device is exactly what you need.
Which RV appliances will you be using?
Now that you know what types of RV appliances are available, you can pick and choose which ones to have in your rig. Granted, not every RV'er owns or uses all of them. It all depends on your budget and your rig setup, especially where it comes to electric systems.
As promised, here are a few more links you'll find helpful when deciding which appliances to get for your own RV -