Starlink Residential vs Starlink RV

Be sure to check out our Starlink for RVs: Ultimate Guide for all things Starlink RV!!

I have noticed a lot of confusion when it comes to which type of service to order from Starlink. Now they have options like “Starlink RV” and Residential with “Portability” (which is just an add-on service to Residential service.) Which one should you sign up for? Which one is better for your situation?

Well, I’ll tell you the differences and you decide. Ready? Hope you’re sitting down and have a cold beer ready.

First of all, there are 5! Starlink account types currently, and some have multiple equipment options:

  1. Starlink Residential Standard Dishy (w/ Portability as an add-on option) $599 equipment, $110-135/mo
  2. Starlink Residential High-Performance Dishy (w/ Portability as an add-on option) $2500 equipment, $110-135/mo
  3. Starlink RV Standard Dishy $599 equipment, $135/mo
  4. Starlink RV Flat-Mount HP In-Motion Dishy $2500 equipment, $135/mo
  5. Starlink Business HP Dishy $2500 equipment, $500/mo
  6. Starlink Maritime Dual HP Dishy’s $10,000 equipment, $5,000/mo
  7. Starlink Aviation Aviation-specific Dishy $150,000 equipment, $12,500-25,000/mo (not typos!)

We are going to cover the first 5 options here. The last 3 are generally meant to be enterprise options, so I won’t go into those in this post.

There are a lot of options, so hopefully this irons out some of the details to help with what can be confusing to navigate when trying to choose an equipment package and account type

Starlink Residential w/ Portability

There are now two equipment packages when ordering a Residential account type.

One is the standard Rectangle Dishy that we have become familiar with over this past year, and one is the newer (released under Business account/equipment initially) HP (High-Performance) hardware.

The standard Dishy is smaller in size, weighs less, uses less power and is significantly cheaper at $599. This is the best choice for most mobile users, as the power requirement is much easier to deal with.

The HP Dishy is quite a bit larger, heavier, requires more power and costs quite a bit more at $2500. For actual Residential users, there is a much easier argument for the cost and power. So, why would a mobile user want this?

A Few Reasons You Would Want the HP Equipment Over the Standard:

  1. The HP Dish has a 140 degree field of view vs a 100 degree FOV for the standard. This will allow it to see more satellites, giving you better performance overall.
  2. It has an IP56 rating vs an IP54 rating on the standard Dishy, giving it protection from high pressure water jets from any direction, whereas the standard Dishy’s IP54 rating gives it protection from water spray from any direction. This would likely be something that would be more relevant for Starlink on boats.
  3. Better snow melt, if this is a concern (though would use a LOT of power if you are an RVer using it off-grid).

Residential Service Explained

Residential service, when used at your home service address and not roaming out of your cell, will get priority service over accounts with Portability enabled (on Residential accounts) and RV accounts. 

When you leave your cell, you will need to enable Portability and you are not in your home cell.

So, when you’re in a congested area (becoming more common with more subscribers at current bandwidth capacities), and you’re not in your home cell, Portability and RV users will be deprioritized and speeds can get really low at peak hours (usually 5-10pm when everyone is done with work and everyone is home streaming). Technically they can stop service altogether for these accounts temporarily (hasn’t happened yet that I have seen reported).

Residential with Portability accounts and RV accounts cost exactly the same at $135/mo. This is because residential is $110/mo and Portability is $25/mo. You can turn Portability off when not using it (meaning you are at your service address on the account) and save the $25/mo. However, it’s not prorated, so you pay in full billing cycles). On the other hand, RV will ALWAYS be $135/mo. 

When you turn off Portability, this would mean you are at your home service address, and will also have priority service. You can update your address in your account at any time, so you can always try to move it to where you are at to have the best service possible. 

To be able to use Residential WITHOUT Portability, the address you want to use it at must be an available address in their system. It has to be in a “cell” (an arbitrary geofenced area of service Starlink has created) that is not at capacity and is in a place where service is offered. You can see available areas on their map here. NOTE: This is an AVAILABLE TO ORDER MAP only. It is NOT A COVERAGE MAP. Coverage is everywhere in the lower 48, the lower half of Canada, lower parts of Alaska, and most of Mexico. There are a couple spots you will see that are actually dead zones because of potential interference with frequencies that are sensitive or needed for top secret stuff!!

Starlink RV

As with Residential, there are now 2 equipment packages you can get when ordering Starlink RV. You now have the option of the standard Rectangle Dishy at $599 or the newer HP Flat-Mount Dishy at $2500.

The performance reasons are the same as explained above as to why to choose the HP over the standard equipment, but the flat mount option could be enticing for some mobile users. The Flat-Mount HP Dishy option is great if you want a “set it and forget it” Starlink setup. Once mounted and connected, you can leave it and never have to disassemble it for travel. Sounds great, right? Well, here’s a few reasons you may not want the Flat-Mount HP Dishy:

  1. You have to park much more strategically to avoid obstructions. This is probably the biggest reason you would want to avoid getting it…You can’t set it out on the stand to get around obstructions, which are the biggest connection killers for Starlink.
  2. Roof real estate. The HP Dishy is quite large at 22.7″x20.1″. If you have solar on your roof or a smaller RV/trailer, this could be a challenge to find a spot that it will fit and won’t be obstructed.
  3. Power consumption. Starlink states that the HP Dishy uses an average of 110-150w of power vs 50-75w for the standard Dishy. These estimates both seem a little high when looking at real world feedback, but figure about double the power consumption for the bigger, more powerful HP Dishy.

Starlink RV Service Explained

If you are an RVer, it seems like this is a no brainer, right?! I mean, they literally named it STARLINK RV!! Well, before you click “submit order”, take a look at the breakdown of it.

One of the biggest benefits of ordering Starlink RV service is that you don’t need to have an available service address. All they ask for is a shipping address since it is always roaming. You can submit your order and have your Starlink Kit in about a week from order date!!

That being said, Starlink RV will ALWAYS be deprioritized EVERYWHERE. There is no “home” address for these accounts, so there is no way for them to plan for your service needs in a specific cell.

With Starlink RV service, you can pause/unpause service altogether easily in your account without having to contact Starlink via a support ticket, making this process much more streamlined. This would be beneficial if you aren’t going to use the service for a month or more at a time (or use it seasonally, or are part time and aren’t using it as your primary home internet). 

If you think you may settle down somewhere in the near future, you will want a Residential account if you will need it for home internet wherever you end up, that way you can have prioritized service

Comparing Options for RVing with Starlink

Essentially, Residential gives you an opportunity to get priority service, where this is never possible with RV. They both have the exact same service priority when you are away from the Residential service address.

RV allows you to “cancel/uncancel” service easily if you need that. Residential w/Portability allows you to remove/add Portability as needed on your own. 

Currently, they just started to allow you to switch from Residential accounts to RV accounts, but it’s a one way street. You cannot change your account to Residential from an RV account. 

Residential w/Portability is good for you if:

  1. You have a “home base” where you want the ability to have priority service there on a regular basis when you are home.
  2. You want the ability to update your service address to your local spot to get priority service (pending availability to change it to there). Note: if you have a “home base” and update your service address to somewhere else when you are traveling, you risk losing your spot in your “normal” home cell, because each cell does have limited space.
  3. You want the ability to turn Portability on/off as needed when traveling or at home to save the $25/mo when not needed and to get priority service.
  4. You do months long contract work in different areas (ie Travel Nurses), and want to have the ability to have prioritized service in those areas, pending availability there.

Order Starlink Residential service here

Starlink RV is good for you if:

  1. You are a part time user and want the ability to easily pause/unpause in one-month increments.
  2. You want an easy path to order immediately (no available service address required).
  3. You are a seasonal user and don’t need it at your home base.

These are not all-inclusive as to why to order one or the other, but some of the more common scenarios we have seen new users ordering for.

Order Starlink RV service here

Is the Satellite Dish & Equipment the Same?

Currently, the dish and equipment for Residential and RV is exactly the same. There is absolutely no difference in the kit you order (except Business accounts, which we’re not discussing here). The standard Starlink kit comes with the Dish with a removable stand, a 75’ cable, a router and instructions.

Check out storage and mounting options for Starlink in my article here

Time to Order Starlink!

Make sense? Total confusion now?! ?

Hopefully this has helped you make an informed decision on which account type to select from Starlink. We know they are confusing, and to add to that, they keep updating (changing) offerings, terms, etc. on their site. We are always looking to keep up, so keep checking back for the latest information on Starlink!

If you have a question on what to order, we would love to hear. Drop a comment below!

Evin Carr

Evin Carr

Evin Carr is the founder of the Starlink for RVs Facebook group, and has been a full-time RVer for over 4 years. He provides consulting for solar batteries and is enthusiastic about RVing technology and travel.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi and Thank you Evin for this explanation. I have residential and have ordered RV package as well. My reason being I need to have Internet for my security cameras at home and need RV to view those security cameras when out and about on the road. When you order RV the service is automatically ON. I recommend that once the package is shown as shipped you PAUSE the service unless you are having it shipped to you at a non-home address and you are on the road already. Otherwise you are charged the 135/mth fee when you won’t be using it.

  • Forrest Foltz says:

    Thanks Evin.

    I have residential+roaming on my boat (ordered when portability was in beta, pre-RV). The biggest difference, to me, lies in the TOS section: the RV has a two-month limitation on use in a foreign country, while this limitation doesn’t appear in the residential+portability section.

    This difference probably isn’t a big deal to some, but it could make the RV plan a deal-breaker for users such as myself.

    Nice writeup.

    • Evin Carr says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Forrest!

    • Mary Massey says:

      So Mr Musk can move his Tesla mfg here to Texas but evidently Starlink here is on a waitlist for maybe the end of 2022 or 2023. Guess the employees that move here for Tesla will have internet from somewhere else!
      I am North of Austin…rural. not must internet choice. I paid the $99 to get it when available at my residence. Now we are contemplating moving to a lake, have not decided which one yet and it most likely won’t happen for 12 to 18 months. I think internet at most lakes will be negligible sooo.Do I just go for Rv now as we have an rv that we would like to use it for or wait to see if I get an email offer for best effort or just wait for residential. I am gonna have to wait again at new lake place which will be in Texas most likely. So I am thinking I need to go for Rv now…. your thoughts please.

      • Evin Carr says:

        Hey Mary, thanks for the questions. You have a couple options on what to do, depending on a few factors. If you are desperate for better internet at home now, I would order the RV service (you have 30 days to return it for a refund…minus shipping…if it doesn’t work out). If not, I would probably wait for Best Effort or see what’s available at your new residence when you move. If you have decent internet at home now, but want Starlink for traveling with your RV, and maybe as a backup to your home internet, I would order RV service now and keep it paused until you need it or are traveling. If you decide to get RV now, but still want to stay on the waitlist just in case, you will want to leave your current order in place and do a completely new order with a new account and email. Hope this helps!

  • Bob Blackmon says:

    Nice Job

  • Bob says:

    Technical question. I know with RV – when you go to a new location you just power up and it searches. With Roaming, you have to specify a new location in your account – which means you need coverage. I want to use Roaming to move the site to a remote cabin during the summer – and there is no service there – none, nada, zip. So no way to log in and change your location. If I go up there, will it just “find” service like RV or do I need to try to move it before I go. Also – I’m 100% sure there is no US Postal address for this cabin – so I’m not sure how I will specify (I can do it with a map, but no address).

    • Evin Carr says:

      Hey there Bob, thanks for the question. With Starlink RV, you would just plug it in at the remote cabin, yes. If you want to use Starlink Residential and add Portability when needed, just make sure to activate Portability in your account online before you head to the cabin. Once you have this activated, you can take it to the cabin and set it up and let it do it’s own thing to get online. You don’t have to update your location when using Starlink RV or Residential w/Portability.

      The only time you need to update your address in the system is if you have Starlink Residential and want to move your primary address to a new location for priority service. If you want to do this for your cabin, you can do this ahead of time from home where you have internet.

      You don’t need an actual address, either. You can use a Google “plus code”, which you can get by clicking on your cabin on Google Maps and it will generate the proprietary Google plus location code there.

      *Beware, if you do move your primary address and want to move it back to your primary home address when you’re done at the cabin, you may lose your spot at the home address if you change it to your cabin address.*

      Hope this helps, and feel free to reply if you need further clarification!

  • Debra says:

    Can you clarify the 2 month roaming restrictions ? We have residential service in Ontario, Canada. We are planning a 6-8 month rv trip into the US. Will the portability option work beyond 2 months since we are leaving Canada? I am reading mixed information. Some say portability is unlimited but only in your country of residence. Limited to 2 months when you leave your country.

    • Evin Carr says:

      Hi Debra,
      You are free to travel and use your Starlink anywhere in the same continent as if you were using it in your home country, as long as you have Portability enabled or an RV account.The 2 month restriction you hear about is a limit imposed on traveling outside of the country you purchased it in. At the 2 month mark, supposedly they will force you to update your address and billing to somewhere in the country you are visiting and agree to the TOS in that country and pay the subscription fees of that country in the local currency. It’s a newer policy, so I haven’t seen much feedback on what happens at the 2 month mark for those situations yet. Below is the official paragraph covering this, and even that is a bit of word salad and open for a bit of interpretation, as are a lot of the TOS. Hope this helps!

      “International Travel: Starlink can only be used within the same continent as the registered Service Address. If you use Starlink in a foreign country for more than two months, you will be required to move your registered service address to your new location or purchase an additional Starlink to maintain service.”

  • Elizabeth Myers says:

    Thank you for all the info. I have not ordered yet but doing research to see what’s best for me. My question is I think I need residential w portability to keep my cameras online at home, can I use both services at the same time? Keep residential active at home then have portability active while traveling?

    • Evin Carr says:

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the question. If you have a home address, I would definitely get a Residential account and add Portability when traveling with it. When traveling, you will be taking the equipment with you, so it will not be connected at home in those situations. A basic cellular hotspot (if there is cell coverage in your area) to cover camera use might be worth having around for that. You can also have a second Starlink RV account and equipment (must purchase a second kit and service), and have that paused except when traveling. This way, your Residential account stays active at home, even when you are gone. Hope this helps!

  • Pete Mac says:

    Nice explanation Evin! Clarifies the options.

    Two questions: is portability pre-paid for each month, but turned off as soon as you request it, no refund for any unused month?
    Secondly, without portability, how far from your home base can you get reception?

    Cheers, Pete

    • Evin Carr says:

      Hey there, Pete!!

      The main acocunts are all pre-paid, except the Portability feature, which is paid in arrears. Sometimes I think Elon just likes to mess with us 🙂

      Portability is paid in one month increments, with no proration. You will pay the $25 every time you want to use it, with no refund of unused portion.

      Without Portability, you can generally get up to about 10 miles from the listed service address to have decent service. The further from the actual address you go, the spottier it gets, but it’s usually useable up to around 10 miles or so. Remember that cells aren’t that big (around 20 kilometers), so keep trying addresses around where you are and you might get lucky and grab an open one. Cheers!

  • Emily Liles says:

    We are in the waitlist area for Residential…but have been told we have the option to order RV. I’ve paid my deposit to hold my place, but we are in line for “sometime in 2023”. Based on what you’re saying…if I order RV, I can’t switch it over to Residential when we become available to order it or “go live”, correct? Sorry to ask you, but I’ve YET to find a way to contact Starlink and get help directly from them.

    Or. Any idea if I order RV, can I cancel it when we “go live” with the Residential and then activate Residential using the RV equipment since it would be the same?

    At this point, I’m so very desperate for better internet. We live in town in a brand new build…but Xfinity and ATT skipped us when they put in their bid for new lines, so we have nothing available to us except T-Mobile internet. I get better service from my phones hotspot.

    Thanks for all of your help!!

    • Evin Carr says:

      Hey Emily, good questions! Lucky for you, just in the past few days, Starlink has started to reach out via email to waitlist customers that have a deposit in that they can get their “Best Effort” plan. This is supposed to help out with their backlog until they can offer full Residential priority to everyone that wants it. It is essentially the same priority you would get with an RV account type, but it will automatically convert to a regular Residential account when there is the capacity in your area. Basically, you stay on the waitlist, but get deprioritized service, and they will convert you over when it’s time. Pretty cool, huh? It’s kinda like their “Better than Nothing Beta” lol. Only some waitlisted deposit holders have seen this so far, from the reports I have seen. I’ll do a post on it and update it when everyone is offered it, so keep an eye out for that. Hope this helps!

  • David Higginbotham says:

    So I am a full-time RVer. I winter in Mesa, Arizona, and summer in Superior, Montana which is 40 miles west of Missoula. I have residential type addresses at each location. If I get residential + portability, which address should I use? If I understand correctly, Mesa, as this is a greater populated area than Montana, yet being rural, Montana may actually have more users as the options for providers are limited.

    • Evin Carr says:

      Hey David, good questions. If you are planning on using Starlink at both locations, order and set it up at whatever address you are at if you can with Residential and set it up. If it’s an available address, no need for Portability. You can enable that while traveling and leave it enabled when you get down to Mesa if you are bringing it down from Montana if your Mesa address isn’t available to change it to. If Mesa address is available to change it to, you have a choice to make: Change it to Mesa address and have priority service there for the winter, but risk losing your home address when you return if it becomes full, or leave your service address at your Montana address and just use Portability for the winter and hope the deporioritized service is good enough (which it probably will be, unless you are a high data user or need it for work Zoom calls all day). Hope this helps!

  • Pam says:

    I was offered and have the Best Effort plan. Will I be able to use portability with it. We hope to travel this winter. Thanks.

    • Evin Carr says:

      Hey Pam, good question. Unfortunately, I am not sure on the answer on this, nor have I seen confirmation of this from any users yet. I would imagine you can, but I can’t confirm yet, sorry. I will keep you posted if the answer becomes clear from user feedback. Cheers!

  • […] It looks like as of now, it is available for RV account types. If you were hoping to use it on a Residential w/ Portability account, it doesn’t appear they are making it available for that. That’s a bummer for a lot of us, but it makes good business sense for Starlink, as RV accounts are presumably more profitable. Many of us prefer the Residential w/ Portability account type for various reasons, which you can see compared in my article on the two account types here. […]

  • […] It looks like as of now, it is available for RV account types. If you were hoping to use it on a Residential w/ Portability account, it doesn’t appear they are making it available for that. That’s a bummer for a lot of us, but it makes good business sense for Starlink, as RV accounts are presumably more profitable. Many of us prefer the Residential w/ Portability account type for various reasons, which you can see compared in my article on the two account types here. […]

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