Stands out from the others we considered thanks to its stainless steel finish. Features room for 8 place settings, 6 wash cycles, and time delay. Streamlined, space-saving design.
Priciest model on our shortlist, yet is has issues similar to some others in its class, including subpar dry cycle, leaks, and mechanical issues.
Very portable, as it can fit on a countertop. Small footprint makes it perfect for very small kitchens and RVs. Easy to setup and operate; quiet and attractive.
Not the best choice for families, as it can only fit 6 place settings. Doesn't have a dry cycle.
Has room for 8 place settings. Owners love its small footprint, whisper quiet operation, and reliable results. Doesn't tend to leave spots on dishes.
Some large dishes, pots, and pans may not fit. The drying cycle isn't as effective as the 6 wash cycles. Customer service could be more attentive.
Has 6 wash cycles, time delay, and a dry cycle. Slim build works in tight spaces. Can fit up to 8 place settings. Not overly noisy when running.
Some reports of lemons. Tends to leave detergent residue on dishes. A few reports of leaks and broken wheels.
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Dishwashers are not only a convenient way to clean up after a meal, but they can also save a considerable amount of water compared to washing dishes by hand. Unfortunately, not everyone can install a traditional dishwasher. Some don’t have the space for a larger machine or the piping to easily install a built-in dishwasher. For others, the price is prohibitive.
Portable dishwashers offer a more compact footprint – some even fit on the countertop – and a plumber-free installation. They’re ideal for smaller households that don’t produce a full load of dishes, and they also usually cost much less than traditional machines.
While portables are similar to traditional dishwashers, there are still a number of factors that set them apart. This guide examines those differences in addition to the other factors and considerations to think about before purchasing a portable dishwasher. In the matrix above, you’ll find our suggestions for the top portable dishwashers currently on the market.
The first thing you will need to decide is if you want a freestanding portable dishwasher or a countertop model.
Freestanding portable dishwashers usually have wheels, allowing you to easily move them out of the way when they are not being used. They are most often constructed from plastic, although some feature stainless steel exteriors or interiors, which can improve their overall appearance and durability.
As the name implies, countertop models sit on the counter. The majority of these portable dishwashers are constructed largely from plastic.
The majority of portable dishwashers can hold six to eight place settings, although some of the larger models can hold up to 12 place settings. Aim for a higher capacity if you have a larger family or tend to go through dishes frequently. Note, though, that a machine with a larger capacity will also take up more physical space. Countertop models usually offer less capacity than freestanding portable dishwashers.
Durable stainless steel
While you will pay up for it, this Whirlpool portable dishwasher stands out for its durable and attractive stainless steel finish. It can hold eight place settings, and it features six wash cycles and a time delay.
Portable dishwashers tend to be on the compact side. The majority of models are around 18 inches in width, with larger machines topping out around 24 inches. A longer width allows you to not only fit more dishes in the dishwasher but also larger pots and pans. (A countertop model may not be able to fit pots and pans at all.) A larger portable dishwasher will take up more room, which can be an issue if your available space is limited.
Setting up a portable dishwasher should be fairly simple. Right out of the box, you will probably need to install the wheels on a rolling model, and that should largely be it.
Your kitchen faucet may be another matter. Your portable dishwasher will have a hose that must be connected to your sink faucet for the dishwasher to run. For the majority of faucets, this will not be a huge issue as the dishwasher should ship with a few adapters for fitting the hose to your faucet. However, in some cases, you may need to make a trip to the hardware store for the proper adapter.
If you are interested in an eco-friendly portable dishwasher, search for one that is Energy Star-compliant.
Like traditional dishwashers, the majority of portable dishwashers feature a number of different wash cycles tailored to different types of dishes or cleaning concerns. Some of the more popular wash cycles include:
Dry cycles allow you to quickly dry your dishes after they are washed as opposed to letting them air dry. Not all portable dishwashers have a dry cycle, and even rarer is a heated dry cycle. This is a great cycle to have if you’d rather not wait around for dishes to air dry, but it will cost you more to run the dishwasher.
Time delay allows you to set the portable dishwasher so that it will run in the future. Some portable dishwashers can only be delayed for up to four hours, while others can be delayed for up to 24 hours.
Wheels, or casters, allow you to more easily move your portable dishwasher out of the way when you’re not using it. These are standard on freestanding portables but not on countertop models.
A portable dishwasher should have some form of filtering system to filter out larger food particles. A filter should be easy to pop out and clean. While rare, some portable dishwashers come with self-cleaning filters.
The portable dishwasher’s power cord and hose need to be long enough that you can hook them up to an outlet and your faucet but not so long that they are difficult to store when the dishwasher is not in use.
Pick up a large cutting board to turn your freestanding portable dishwasher into a versatile food-prep island.
While generally less than traditional dishwashers, portable dishwashers can still set you back. Portable models start out at around $200 and go up to $700 or more. That said, the median price for portable dishwashers is $300.
Below $300, you will find lower-capacity machines, largely countertop models. Over $300, expect to find increased capacity, expanded cycle options, and extras such as a heated dry cycle. The build and durability will be better with higher-priced models.
Hand-washing dishes can use up to 27 gallons of water, while using a portable dishwasher for the same amount of dishes can use as little as two to three gallons.
Space-saving countertop convenience
This countertop portable dishwasher is perfect for singles or couples who need a dishwasher but lack the space for a conventional model. It fits on the countertops of both kitchens and RVs and can hold up to six place settings at a time.
Portable dishwashers can be a pretty narrow category with few options, but there were several other models that caught our eye. The easy-to-load DELLA Compact Countertop Dishwasher features six wash cycles and a choice of colors to better fit your décor. The BLACK+DECKER Compact Dishwasher is also a countertop dishwasher, this one with seven wash cycles. Its special features include a child-safety lock and delayed start of up to 24 hours.
Q. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a countertop model over a freestanding portable dishwasher?
A. Countertop units generally take up less space, and they take up no floor space at all. They are effective if you wash a small number of dishes, but they may prove too compact for families of more than two. They are also usually not large enough to wash pots or pans. You will lose counter space with a countertop model, unless it ships with some way to mount it. Freestanding portable dishwashers can actually increase your counter space by introducing another work surface to your kitchen.
Q. Do I need a special installation kit to hook up my portable dishwasher?A. If a manufacturer offers to sell you an installation kit in addition to your portable dishwasher, it will probably be for permanent installation of the dishwasher, which you will not need if you plan on using your machine as a freestanding unit. Dishwashers that hook up to your faucet should ship with everything you need to start using the machine right out of the box.
Q. Do portable dishwashers need to be placed higher than the sink to work?
A. No. Portable dishwashers use a pump to drain the water. Since they don’t rely on gravity for drainage, your machine does not need to be higher than the drain.
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