Having had one on a previous boat BA [Before Admiral] I had my own opinion. [And secret list...]
Now that she has experienced it we will never have a boat without one... Period...
I think this decision is influenced a lot by lifestyle choices and where one intends to cruise. We plan to live on our boat full time for as long as we can, and intend to continue our decades of exploring Alaska for the near future. [Laundry facilities are often weeks, if not months apart given our cruising itineraries and penchant for remote areas.]
And we have nothing to prove after spending years touring remote areas by kayak; camping all along the way for weeks, sometimes months at a time... [Luxuries take on a whole new meaning...]
We understand doing laundry by hand... And we can paint with a tooth brush too...
We also prefer to stay remote and independent for as long as possible, and a washer/ dryer helps promote that lifestyle. [Is this enough rationalization yet?...]
Our boat came with a vented [vs. ventless] Splendide brand combination clothes washer/dryer. [There are many brands and models to explore...] It has now been in routine use [for 2 adults] for over 10 years. In that time, the drier heating element was replaced, and everything else has performed flawlessly.
Mid Cabin/Workshop/Storage with Laundry Washer/Dryer (port side)
|Reassembled with the new braces and plates to make it whole again...|
We typically hang laundry to finish drying after the very fast spin cycle; outside when the weather cooperates, and inside the boat the rest of the time. [One can only withstand so many natural rinse cycles from the rain, and freeze drying laundry in winter is undesirable (and reminiscent of pranks from my college days...) But freeze drying works!]
Our very efficient, small, quiet compressor-less dehumidifier also has a clothes dry setting that works great. A half hour is about all it takes for a full load to dry- without adding moisture inside the boat. [It only consumes 630 watts @ 110VAC on that setting, so easily runs on our inverter as well...]
Keep in mind we wear no cotton, only wool and synthetics, so they typically dry quickly... [For more on this, see our clothing recommendations about half-way down our Guests page...]
Our Splendide runs just fine on our sine wave inverter or generator. [We don't run the dry cycle on the inverter to save the batteries. And take note: it didn't work with the modified sine wave (i.e., square wave) inverter the boat came with...]
Our 12 GPH water maker easily keeps up with our our needs running once a week. We often plan washing that requires drying when running the 10kw generator just to add some load to the genny...
The washing cycles are very efficient. The vented dryer works, but is somewhat less efficient than a typical household unit. I think this is partially due to the small drum size and relatively large loads we run. [It is quite a wad of wet clothes in the drum, so warm air cannot circulate through them all... And a word about ventless models: from my previous experience, ventless models are even less efficient- if you can get them to dry at all...]
If you have the room and infrastructure— and can justify the convenience— the decision is as easy as it is when you are living in a house...
Of course, laundry can always be done by hand [at home or on a boat...] and if one usually has access to laundry facilities and/or services then it might not be as easy to justify having one onboard... [...or in your house for that matter...]
PS: What detergent do we use? We have had great success using a very small amount [~1 tablespoon] of unscented Oxyclean and ~2 tablespoons of Tide Pureclean HE non-scented detergent per load.