Starlink RV vs Residential: Which is Better for You?

If you're wondering whether to get Starlink RV or Starlink residential, this article will help you.

I explain everything good and bad about each plan and help you decide the best option for your requirement.

The difference between Starlink RV and Starlink residential is that the RV plan is meant for users who constantly travel with Starlink while the residential plan is for those who primarily stay at one location with occasional travel every now and then.

Starlink RVStarlink Residential
SpeedSlower (5-50 Mbps download)Faster, Priority Access (20-100 Mbps download)
Data CapNo cap, always deprioritized1 TB priority access data
Hardware Cost$599 (standard)
$2,500 (mobile)
$599 (only option)
Monthly Service Fee$135/month$90/month (high-density area) or 120/month, $25/month extra for portability
MobilityUse anywhere in the continent by defaultWith portability, use anywhere in the continent for a limited time
PausingPause anytimeNo pausing, only cancellation
WaitlistNo waitlist, get it immediately1-year waitlist in some states in the USA
Starlink RV vs Starlink Residential

Speed and Data Cap Difference: RV vs Residential

Starlink divides it service into two tiers currently in terms of speed- Priority Access and Basic Access.

Priority access data is faster and by definition gets higher priority during peak hours and periods of congestion.

Starlink residential users get 1 TB of priority access data for which Starlink promises 20-100 Mbps download speed.

Starlink RVStarlink Residential
Download Speed5-50 Mbps20-100 Mbps
Upload Speed2-10 Mbps5-15 Mbps
Latency/Ping<99 ms25-50 ms
Speed Difference: RV vs Residential

On the other hand, Starlink RV users only get basic access data at all times. This means RV users will experience slower speeds and poorer service during peak hours.

These peak hours are generally between 7 PM-11 PM in most areas in the USA. This is when everyone starts using their internet heavily.

However, if the 1 TB priority access data gets exhausted, Starlink residential users get only basic access data which gives them the same speeds as RV users.

Is Starlink RV fast enough? Depends!

The speed of your Starlink RV is going to depend heavily on your intended area of use.

If you use it in a congested area, you're likely to see speeds at the lower end of the range of speeds promised by Starlink.

For example, you're likely to see 5 Mbps download speeds with Starlink RV in many mid-west and southern states.

A good rule of thumb is to look at the Starlink coverage map and see if your intended area of use of Starlink RV is high capacity or low capacity.

Starlink Waitlisted Areas
Starlink Waitlisted Areas

The harsh reality is that you might be disappointed if you plan to use your Starlink RV in states like Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and other states that fall under low capacity.

In other high-capacity areas, you can expect good usable internet with Starlink RV with download speeds close to 50 Mbps.

Is a 1 TB data cap too limiting? How it Works

Starlink defines peak hours a bit differently though and terms it between 7 AM-11 PM, which is waking hours for most people.

The key point here is that the priority access data usage of residential users gets metered only during these hours.

This means you can freely schedule large downloads and backups such as your iCloud and iPhoto during these non-peak hours (11 PM-7 AM).

You can buy additional priority access data at $0.25 per GB.

The average US household consumes 536 GB of data every month according to a study by Openvault in 2022.

Even if you are a 3-person household that uses the internet heavily (e.g. stream 4k videos daily), your monthly consumption is still likely to be under 2 TB.

What this means is that in addition to the $110/month recurring fee you'll have to pay $250 extra for 1 extra TB of priority access data.

Note: The data cap of 1 TB for residential users is set to roll out although not in place yet. The expected rollout is February 2023.

No waitlist for Starlink RV

This is an important difference that many people overlook.

For many southern and midwest states, there's a long waitlist for Starlink residential.

In such a case your only option might be Starlink RV.

If you order today, you can get up and running with Starlink RV in around 2 weeks.

Mobility Options: RV vs Residential

Starlink Dish mounted aboard a truck
Starlink RVStarlink Residential
MobilityUse anywhere in the continent by defaultWith portability, use anywhere in the continent for a limited time
Limit No limits on mobilityOnly up to 2 billing cycles in an area different from the registered service address
Mobility Options Difference: RV vs Residential

With Starlink RV you are free to move around anywhere within your continent for an unlimited amount of time. It's truly mobile.

With Starlink residential, you need to first enable portability to use it anywhere outside your registered address.

To enable portability for Starlink residential, you need to pay $25/month extra, which brings the monthly service fee to $135, the same as Starlink RV.

With portability enabled you can take your residential Starlink anywhere in the continent for up to a period of 2 billing cycles.

Beyond that, you need to return to your registered service address or risk Starlink permanently changing your registered service address to the new location.

Once that gets done, you'll no longer get priority access data at your original registered service address.

Pausing Service: RV vs Residential

Starlink allows users to pause and reactivate Starlink RV anytime.

This can be an important benefit if you're someone who only needs Starlink internet during certain months of the year.

However, note that the billing for RV is not prorated, which means you'll be charged for an entire billing cycle.

With Starlink residential, your only option is to cancel the service, there's no pausing.

Hardware Difference: RV vs Residential

Starlink unboxed
Starlink RVStarlink Residential
Mobile$2,500no option for mobile dish
Hardware difference: Starlink RV vs Residential

The standard dish that you get with Starlink RV and Starlink residential are the same in every way. There's no difference.

However, if you wish to use Starlink in motion, i.e. in a running vehicle, you'll need the mobile dish that comes in the Starlink RV plan.

This dish is significantly more expensive at $2,500 instead of $599. There's no such option in Starlink residential.

Starlink policy explicitly says you should not use the standard (cheaper) dish while your vehicle is in-motion.

Starlink In-motion Use Policy
Starlink In-motion Use Policy

In any case, the newer mobile dish is designed for mounting flat on your vehicle so that it's safe from overhead objects.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can actually modify your existing Starlink dish to make it work on a running vehicle, but it might void your warranty.

Several users have been successful in disabling the motors on the round Starlink dish (Gen 1) and laying it flat for in-motion use.

My recommendation is not to try this, especially with the rectangular dish, and instead, get the mobile dish.

Which is Better? Starlink RV or Residential?

Starlink Rectangular Dish

Get Starlink RV if:

  • You intend to stay for extended periods (>2 months) in different locations.
  • You Need Starlink immediately and you live in a waitlisted area.
  • You're ok with reduced speed during peak hours (at night).
  • You Need to pause Starlink often.

Get Starlink residential if:

  • You stay primarily at one location with occasional travel for a limited period (<2 months).
  • You're willing to wait to get Starlink and you live in a waitlisted area.
  • You need the best performance at all times during the day.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Starlink residential faster than RV?

Starlink residential is faster than Starlink RV. The download speed promised for Starlink residential is 20-100 Mbps whereas the download speed for Starlink RV is 5-50 Mbps. The speed difference is most noticeable during peak hours when Starlink residential users get priority access data which is faster than the basic access data that Starlink RV users get.

Can I use Starlink for RV at home?

Starlink RV can be used at home. In fact, it can be used anywhere on your continent. The disadvantage of this is that Starlink RV speeds are always deprioritized in favor of Starlink residential users at a location. This can be a problem during peak hours when the network is congested.

Is Starlink RV worth it?

Starlink RV is worth it if you are someone who constantly travels and needs good portable internet. It also does not have any data cap and can give good speeds unless you live in a network-congested area.

About Doug Stevenson

Hey! I'm Doug, My passion for tech started by fixing phones and computers for my friends and family.

I started Blinqblinq to give reliable tech advice to anyone who needs it, for free! If you have questions on anything tech-related, feel free to contact me.

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Doug Stevenson

Hey! I'm Doug, My passion for tech started by fixing phones and computers for my friends and family.

I started Blinqblinq to give reliable tech advice to anyone who needs it, for free! If you have questions on anything tech-related, feel free to contact me.

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