Which countertop dishwasher is best?

Whether you have an RV, a backyard tiny house or a small apartment, you probably don’t have a kitchen big enough for a permanently installed dishwasher. But that doesn’t mean you must wash all your dishes by hand. A countertop dishwasher is small enough to fit in almost anywhere.

Better countertop dishwashers have most of the same capabilities as full-size dishwashers, but in a more compact size that uses less energy. If you’re looking for a stainless steel model that handles six place settings, take a look at the Danby Stainless Steel Countertop LED Energy Star Dishwasher.

What to know before you buy a countertop dishwasher

Water supply

Most — but not all — countertop dishwashers connect to your kitchen faucet with a quick-connect adapter and have a drain hose in the back that empties into your sink. If you choose one that connects to your sink’s water supply, make sure you get a connector that fits your faucet and attaches and removes easily. If you want a model that can’t connect to your water supply, make sure its tank is large enough to meet your dishwashing needs.

Capacity

Countertop dishwashers are smaller than their built-in and portable counterparts, so they take up as little space as possible. Look for one big enough to wash the volume of dishes, glasses and utensils you use when preparing and serving a typical meal.

Cycles

All countertop dishwashers have more than one wash cycle, all the way up to as many as eight. Choose one that has the wash cycles you need.

What to look for in a quality countertop dishwasher

Materials

All countertop dishwashers are made of metal. Stainless steel ones last longer than those made of any other metal and aren’t subject to corrosion. You will find countertop dishwashers with stainless steel exteriors and better ones with stainless steel interiors, too, for longer life.

Special cycles

Families with babies appreciate countertop dishwashers that use steam to sanitize bottles and toys. Those with fruit and vegetable cycles wash your produce for you, too. Just load your dishwasher, set it to your produce cycle and watch as it comes out completely clean and ready to eat.

Windows

Kids and adults like to watch the water spraying through the observation window on dishwashers with that feature. 

Noise

Countertop dishwashers will never be as quiet as a built-in dishwasher surrounded by cabinets. You can find some that are quieter, though, so make sure to check the decibel ratings, usually indicated by a two-digit number followed by the letters “dB.”

Extras

Look for countertop dishwashers that have sturdy pull-out racks for easy loading and unloading, as well as detergent and rinse-aid dispensers.

How much you can expect to spend on a countertop dishwasher

A few with limited functions and smaller capacities cost around $200, but most good ones cost $400-$500. You will also find many costing $1,000 or more.

Countertop dishwasher FAQ

Do I need to use special soap with a countertop dishwasher?

A. No. Detergent powders, tablets, liquids and pods all work as they would in a regular dishwasher. Some manufacturers do recommend certain detergents and rinse aids, though.

Do countertop dishwashers clean as effectively as built-in dishwashers?

A. Because of their small size, countertop dishwashers cannot pack in all the features of full-sized dishwashers. They will never be able to clean as completely as full-sized dishwashers, but the most efficient ones are able to do an excellent job at regular meal cleanup.

I have very little countertop space. What can I do? 

A. Most countertop dishwashers work equally well mounted on a cart that can be rolled up to your sink to wash your dishes and rolled away when not in use.

What’s the best countertop dishwasher to buy?

Top countertop dishwashers  

Danby Stainless Steel Countertop LED Energy Star Dishwasher

Danby Stainless Steel Countertop LED Energy Star Dishwasher

What you need to know: This roomy dishwasher washes up to six place settings per load.

What you’ll love: It operates across eight wash cycles — normal, heavy, rapid, rinse, eco, glass, soak and baby bottle. An improved spray arm and filter gets dishes, flatware and glasses cleaner. This unit uses only 3.1 gallons of water per wash to save water and money, too. Set the delay button and start the wash cycle in two, four, six or eight hours from now.

What you should consider: Some reviewers say this dishwasher struggles with spinach.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top countertop dishwashers for the money

Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher

Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher 

What you need to know: The built-in 5-liter water tank means no need to hook up to your sink’s faucet, but you also can use the included water hose for hookup to the faucet.

What you’ll love: Dishes up to 12 inches in diameter can fit inside, and a see-through window lets you watch the cleaning process. Choose from normal, rapid, glass and baby care cycles or use the included fruit basket and wash your produce. The rapid cycle cleans in only 40 minutes and automatic air circulation helps dry your dishes quickly.  Lower and upper spray arms ensure every surface gets fully cleaned. 

What you should consider: You must drain it manually.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

SPT Compact Countertop Dishwasher

SPT Compact Countertop Dishwasher 

What you need to know: Wash up to six standard place settings at once with this full-size power in a compact design.

What you’ll love: Hook it up with the quick-connect universal faucet adapter. Choose from normal, heavy, eco, glass, speed and rinse cycles; an LED display shows the wash cycle and time remaining and there are automatic detergent and rinse-aid dispensers. A water-supply warning indicates when the tap is not turned on.

What you should consider: It weighs 43 pounds, which may make it difficult to move. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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