Appliance question

We bought our first vacation rental in Arizona and have so many questions. We live 20 hours away so we will be managing this from afar. Do you recommend having a refrigerator with an ice maker and water dispenser? I worry that the ice build up could be and be an issue. And I’m thinking a top loader washing machine would be better so you don’t have the issues with the stink and maintenance with front loaders. Would appreciate any advise.

If you are hosting remotely, you need a local co-host to manage things on the ground, home insurance for STR and CCTV to ensure guests don’t party/bring in more guests than have booked.

The Airbnb Help website is good for information around how the platform operates.

I’ve never had an issue with my front loading washing machine smelling @AngieM


You didn’t say where in Arizona, but if you are in the warmer parts of Arizona, then you definitely want an ice maker. I’m in the Phoenix area, trust me, it will get used a lot. A water dispenser built-in to the refrigerator is also convenient. I would only get the built-in ice and water if the water supply can be connected to a reverse osmosis filter.

The stink problem is somewhat dependent on the brand/model, but yes, I would avoid front-loaders due to the maintenance and the expense. Front-loaders tend to have a lot of fancy features, but for an STR, stick with the simplest machine you can find.

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Ditto. Ours aren’t expensive, Beko brand made in Turkey, and relatively basic models compared to what is available. Neither have missed a beat in four years, and their simplicity allows for easy use by guests, no overly complicated instructions required.


I never heard of it in Europe where front-loaders are extremely common (but tiny in comparison to what we have in the US), but for some reason the machines for the US market seem to have this problem (or they did more than 5 years ago). We’ve had 3 different makes/models with smell issue (mold/mildew that builds up inside the machine because the machines don’t properly drain and get lint build-up)

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Ice maker yes.

Automatic on door water ice dispenser no.

Why-I had one. After almost every check in, I was called “Ice dispenser not working”, “is there any ice in the big bucket” “no”, “prior guest probably used it for cooler.”, “but it’s the dispenser not working”, “yes, give it time to make new ice, and it will work”

My neighbor had one in her rental. Guests just kept practicing ice dispenser repeatedly when ice empty. They burned out motor $600 repair.

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We have a fridge w/ an ice maker and water dispenser at our Airbnb rental, it came with the house. Folks truly abuse it. I once found a spoon in the icemaker. Apparently, they kept trying to use the dispender with the spoon in there and burned out the motor.

Another time it caused a kitchen flood that ruined the wood flooring. We also have had issues with guests not using the washer properly also causing issues.

If I could replace the appliances, I would get the basic two door fridge with no frills and I would love to remove the washer and dryer. Although I know many guests appreciate having them, but to me, it’s not worth the headache.


I am wondering how many guests care to do laundry on a vacation? I suppose that might be more important if they have a couple of kids who are “in the water” daily and perhaps want to wash/dry towels and bathing suits etc. Personally I only ever wash laundry on vacation if I for some reason have to pack very minimally for an extended stay (like when I flew that airline that doesn’t even allow a carry on, can’t remember the name, by accident).

I used to have clients who owned investment properties and they swore the fewer appliances they owned, the better their bottom line. This was long term rentals but I think the same can apply in STR. In TX, LTR, I found the standard was that refrigerators were not part of the rental. Tenant had to supply their own. Same with laundry machines. Even in the complex we live in now, the laundry machines are “rented” to the tenant so if anything happens to them, the rental provider simply replaces them, not the landlord. And yes, if you have a unit with a rental pair, you have to rent them and can’t replace them.

But back to STRs. I suppose an ice maker is good but perhaps not an in the door one. And no water dispenser on the door unless you have nasty water. Just my opinion.

For many years we had a fridge with filtered water and ice dispenser, but when we moved to Spain we found similar models to be hideously expensive.

Now, we buy a couple of bags of ice when we need it from the little market round the corner, one euro a time.

We have basic fridges in the apartments, and tell guests if they want ice, where they can get it. Very few bother outside summer months. That said, for bookings of more than a few days, we usually stick a bag in the freezer for guest, and curiously that rarely gets used, even when it’s 44c outside!


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Thank you Brian! Home is in Glendale. I don’t think we have the reverse osmosis system. What’s the issue if we don’t?

Phoenix here as well. I agree with @Brian_R170, you do want an Icemaker.

If you don’t have a water filtration system (reverse osmosis is one type) then make sure the refrigerator has a filter; It will require you to change it out 1x or 2x per year. I order several at a time so I have one when the refrigerator either alerts that a new filter is needed or the ice stops being made. Reasoning: Water in AZ is seriously bad tasting. Water hardness is caused by magnesium and calcium, which are naturally present in the Arizona landscape.

I agree with @Annet3176 the in-door water / ice dispenser is a pain and also requires additional cleaning, as water tends to drip on the doors or in the receptacle; I’d avoid it.

A washer / dryer in the guest house is welcomed by longer staying guests, especially those who have been traveling from one place to another.

I’m a new member and will soon be a host, but I know a little about appliances. Through the door ice dispensers have a high fail rate. I got an in the freezer ice maker and haven’t had any trouble. I’d go with simple and trouble-free for a rental unit. Good luck!


Sounds like a nightmare / why don’t you just replace them?

Very few of our guests use the laundry facilities. The washer and dryer aren’t in the apartments but in a separate building. In each apartment I leave a ziplock bag with 8 quarters (4 for each machine) and a sachet of detergent (or a pod or two).

Ninety nine times out of a hundred they are not used.

I used front loaders for many years and never had a problem with them. This was in the UK though so maybe they are different in the US?

Regarding the icemaker, the more you have in the rental, the more there is to go wrong and to clean. I’ve never had one though - are they hygienic in a rental?

One of our apartments has stainless steel appliances and I’d advise against them. I have ss at home and because I’m careful, and because 'imself hardly knows where the kitchen is let alone know how to cook, I don’t have a problem but at turnover time in the rental it takes much more elbow grease than the appliances at home.

They were put in the apartment by the previous owner and work just fine so we didn’t replace them. I’m looking forward to the day I can replace them…

Welcome and feel free to ask away!

They’re fairly new. They came with the house when we purchased it about 3 years ago. The house was only a year old.

The ice and water will taste bad. Most of your guests will be coming from other areas and they will notice it. If you also don’t have a water softener, the mineral build-up will shorten the life of the ice maker.

I agree with some caveats. My listing had French-door refrigerator with the ice maker inside the bottom-freezer section. I bought the refrigerator a couple years before I started STR. It had a large ice collection bin, it made ice quickly, and it was reliable. I kept a scoop hanging on a magnetic hook on the side of the refrigerator so that guests wouldn’t use their hands or a used cup or whatever. However, I still had to dump out all of the ice and clean/sterilize the bin between each guest. No big deal for me because I had 1-day preparation time between guests, but if you’ve got a 4-hour turnover, then there’s not going to be much ice available for the next guest.

Yes, they do. However, there is a compelling argument for the both the convenience and the sanitary concerns of having the dispenser in the door. If your listing supports more than 4 guests, avoid a refrigerator with a compact icemaker (commonly found inside one of the doors on French-door refrigerators) because they simply won’t be able to keep up.

In my research about 5 years ago, Samsung and LG still had the worst records on icemaker issues, which was also the case 10 years ago (when I bought an LG without checking the reliability ratings). Do some research before buying a new refrigerator.

Most guests that rent for a week or more seem to do laundry, whereas only few of guests that rented for 3 days or less used the machines. However we occasionally found guests that washed their towels and/or sheets for a short stay. Sometimes, to be courteous and sometimes because they wanted clean sheets and towels every day like a hotel. Either way, there’s a risk of getting permanent stains because the guest didn’t properly pre-treat, etc.

Here in El Paso 10lb bag of ice can be bought for $1 from dispensers that look like freight trailers. The house we rented in Boston had a bag of ice in it and no dispenser at all. And if guests needed more ice they could buy their own.


I agree with you. Our MTR rental in Phoenix has lousy water and the ice tastes awful too. to connect the ice dispenser requires lines that have been known to leak, block up, rupture, get moldy, etc… We opted not to. Leave them a bag of ice and a gallon of arrowhead water and do not connect the ice machine or install a reverse osmosis. One less thing to worry about and you will never get your money back out of those things. The leaks often happen behind the wall and do a lot of damage.


Something I’ve noticed here in El Paso is that the water is noticeably better in the winter. I don’t know if it has to do with supply (we have the Rio Grande and the Hueco Bolson) or treatment methods.

In my Airbnb it doesn’t matter since there is no kitchen. In my own kitchen I’m going to have a water treatment system put in when I do my next small kitchen upgrade.

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You will be paying attention, too. You will notice if there is a leak and jump all over that. With renters, especially medium and long term renters, they may not think that small pool of water under the frig is a big deal, or think to tell you that the area around the frig smells mildewy. And bang! Your tearing down drywall and staring at nasty! Boy, I am a little carried away, sorry. Lol