For those who love to cook up a storm then end up with a kitchen that looks like an actual cyclone hit, there is a solution. Clean as you go. With a countertop dishwasher you have a unit that runs much smaller loads than a standard built-in dishwasher. As a result, you can fill it more quickly and run a cycle while you continue cooking or entertaining. You return to a kitchen that is neater, cleaner and a dishwasher that’s ready to be emptied and refilled. Forget washing up at the end of a long day, or waking to dirty dishes the next morning. A compact dishwasher is great for small kitchens that lack under-counter space, rental apartments, rec rooms, or for up at the cottage. While they’ve been around for a while, today’s designs offer loads of cool features that easily rival the built-ins.
Best of the Best Countertop Dishwashers
Black + Decker Compact Dishwasher for Energy Savings
Finish: White with black trim
Capacity: 6 place-settings
Weight: 46.2 pounds
Not only does the hard-working Black + Decker Countertop Dishwasher look great, it cleans great too. While you might expect a compact dishwasher to deliver less cleaning power than a full-size, this little beauty will prove you wrong. It’s spacious enough to handle up to 6 place settings (10-inch plate heights) at a time and offers 7 different wash programs including normal, eco, glass, intensive, 90 minutes plus a rapid and soak setting. So, you never have to compromise on the quality of your wash. And with a roll-out rack and removable utensil holder, loading this dishwasher is a quick and easy process. The super-efficient, compact size takes up less than 2-square feet of countertop space and slides easily under most kitchen cabinets. Energy-star rated for cost-effective operation, it runs super quiet – just load it up, close the door and touch the LED electronic control panel to choose your setting. And if you want to run a cycle later on – maybe after you’ve gone to bed or left for work – it features a delay-start option that can be programmed up to 24 hours. If you’re looking for serious clean in a compact space, this is the one for you.
- EnergyStar rated for optimal savings
- 7 wash programs
- Electronic touch control with easy to read LED display
- Smart looking stainless steel / black design
- Slide-out dishrack and removable utensil holder for easy loading
- Delayed Start Option up to 24 hours
- Pricier than some other options
- No information on warranties available
If you want a great-looking kitchen appliance that does a fantastic job at cleaning quickly, quietly, and with energy saving features, this countertop dishwasher is a great choice.
Farberware Portable Countertop Dishwasher for a Sanitizing Clean
Finish: White with black glass front
Capacity: 2 place-settings
Weight: 45.5 pounds
Perfect for those with babies and young children, this ultra-compact Farberware Countertop Dishwasher doesn’t just clean your dishes, it can disinfect them as well. In fact, it features a Baby Care cycle that uses heated steam to sanitize baby bottles and glassware. What’s truly unique about this unit’s design is that you can use either your kitchen faucet as a water source, or rely on the dishwasher’s 5-liter self-contained tank. So, whether you’re at home or on the road, you can clean and sanitize your dishes quickly and easily. And for those traveling with kids, you’ll appreciate that one of its 5 cycle settings will allow you to put whole fruit items into the handy basket then run it through a gentle rinse for a cleaner clean than you could ever get by hand washing. It features an easy to use LED digital control panel, roll-out racks for easy loading and unloading of dishes and a magnetic latch for a solid, reliable seal. An automatic Air Refresh feature boosts air circulation to improve drying time. It’s the perfect compact dishwasher for camping, boating, or for up at the cottage.
- 5-liter self-contained tank, so no hook-ups needed
- 5 wash programs
- Steam cycle sanitizes glassware
- Easy to read, LED digital controls.
- Automatic water level indicator
- Not as powerful as some of the larger models
- Holds just 2 settings of dishes, cutlery and glassware.
If you’re looking for a self-contained, compact dishwasher that not only cleans but sanitizes your dishes, then you’ll want to check out this model.
Danby Countertop Dishwasher for the Budget Conscious
Capacity: 6 place-settings
Weight: 44.0 pounds
The perfect solution for those with a small kitchen and an even smaller budget is the Danby Countertop Dishwasher. Not only does this compact dishwasher provide many of the same features you’d expect to find in the pricier brand names, including six different programmable settings and electronic LED display control panel, but it comes in at a fraction of the price. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a slouch when it comes to cleaning up. With cycles that include intensive and soak for baked-on foods, to rapid, glass, normal and even economy, for a more energy efficient clean, this appliance is your new best friend. And you’ll love that it’s small enough to tuck under your kitchen cabinets, but large enough to hold up to six place-settings including all your cutlery. Even better, with the new and improved spray arm and filter, you never need to worry about errant food particles clinging to your dishware; they’ll come out sparkling each and every time. For those of us who aren’t handy, this dishwasher has been designed for easy installation using a quick-connect hook-up feature that works with almost any style of kitchen faucet. Time to lose those rubber gloves.
- Takes up less than 2 square feet of counter space
- 6 wash programs
- Electronic control panel with LED display
- Stainless steel interior for easy cleaning
- 12-month warranty on parts and labor
- Not as streamlined looking as some other brands
If an expensive, top-of-the-line compact dishwasher just isn’t in your budget, this one offers all the bells and whistles, without the hefty price tag.
Zhenxinshiyi Countertop Dishwasher for Those on the Go
Capacity: 4 place-settings
Weight: 28.7 pounds
Who wants to do dishes when they’re enjoying down time? Not me, and if you agree, you’re going to want to check out the Zhenxinshiyi Countertop Dishwasher. This super-charged compact dishwasher brings 950 watts of power and weighs in at under 30 pounds which makes it a snap to pack up and take along in the RV, the boat, the camper or even just outfit a cottage or tiny kitchen’s countertop. But make no mistake, this little yellow appliance means business. Not only do the roomy racks offer sufficient space to load up to 4 place-settings, but at the touch of a button you can activate the fully automated 3D high pressure shower technology for a powerful 360-degree wand that blasts food particles away. Yes, your dinnerware receives the deep down clean you would expect from a full-sized dishwasher, but without the excess energy and water. Best of all, hot air drying helps to sanitize and makes tea towels obsolete. And with the included Quick Connection Components, this handy countertop dishwasher can be quickly and easily attached to almost any faucet or water source.
- Lightweight and super portable
- 360-degree wand for a powerful clean
- Electronic, one-touch control panel
- Heat dry for a more sanitary finish
- Easy installation
- Basic cycle settings
If you’re not ready to spend valuable vacation time leaning over a sink full of dishes, check out this super portable and highly efficient compact dishwasher.
HSRG Countertop Dishwasher for Detergent Free Cleaning
Capacity: 6 place-settings
Weight: 22.0 pounds
If you’re bothered by all those chemical additives found in cleaning products, it may be time to scale it back a little. That’s where a compact dishwasher like the HSRG Countertop model steps up to the plate. First of all, its big enough to hold up to 6 place-settings and is the ideal kitchen tool for busy cooks who like to clean as they go. Designed to deliver a whopping 2000 watts of power, it not only doesn’t count on detergents to help deep clean your dishes, it has its very own, removable water tank that it draws from. Yes, you can actually choose your dish cleaner’s water source. So, how does it work without detergent? When activated via the one-touch control panel, super-heated water is shot through a powerful 360-degree spray wand to effectively clean all traces of food and grease from dishes and cutlery. This process is then followed by high temperature heat drying that sanitizes and eliminates residual, bacteria-causing moisture. At just 22 pounds, this self-contained, energy-efficient unit is ideal for small spaces and because it runs quiet, you’ll never have to worry about waking the kids or disturbing others when in tight quarters.
- Requires no detergents
- 360-degree spray wand delivers a complete clean
- One touch control panel
- High temperature drying and sterilization feature
- Runs quiet
- May be too tall to fit under some kitchen cabinets
- Top loading (versus door) requires a lower base to load.
If you find you tend to be sensitive to cleaning chemicals, then this sanitizing, compact dishwasher that requires zero detergent, is something you absolutely must check out.
Your Perfect Dishwasher May Surprise You
While we’ve always envisioned a kitchen reno to include slick new stainless-steel appliances, not all homes have the space and not all reno’s have the budget for this type of upgrade. If you have your heart set on a dishwasher and you’re finding it hard to give up the cabinet space you’re going to need to install a built-in model, consider a countertop version. It’s an affordable, versatile option that doesn’t require adding pricey plumbing to your reno expenses. Better still, some models are light enough they can be put up onto the kitchen counter when needed, then simply lifted down and stored in a pantry when not in use. By not being hard-plumbed into your water system, you have a time-saving appliance that adapts to your needs.
Small Doesn’t Mean You Lose Cleaning Power
You may be thinking that a smaller, countertop unit means sacrificing the calibre of cleaning you bought a dishwasher for in the first place. But you’d be wrong. Today’s designs take advantage of UV light and increased wattage that allows them to super-heat water and employ high heat drying for better hygiene. You’re never going to find yourself inspecting plates and having to re-wash because they’re still covered in food particles.
Cleaning Fine China Doesn’t Mean Washing by Hand
Today’s compact dishwashers offer a multitude of settings that range from heavy-duty for crusted on foods to delicate for glassware and finer items such as china. These settings tend to use cooler water and lower water pressure to prevent damage. That said, antique, hand-painted or china with a gold or silver edging should be hand-washed as any mechanical washing can cause fading.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a portable and a countertop dishwasher?
A portable dishwasher is larger, on wheels / mobile and can be loaded with more dishes, including bulky pots and pans. With the counterpart model, it’s designed to stay put and is sized to fit on the average kitchen counter. While its less cumbersome, it’s also not capable of holding more than a few sets of dishes and definitely not large pots and pans.
How much counter space do I need?
Most countertop dishwashers fit into a space that’s less than 2 square feet. What you need to be aware of is that not all heights are appropriate for sliding under your kitchen cupboard – which will typically allow an 18-inch clearance. Be sure to do your measurements before purchasing.
Can they clean as well as a full-sized dishwasher?
Today’s designs incorporate the latest technology to get your dishes sparkling clean. From 360-degree wand sprays to super-heated water to high heat drying systems that not only dry your dishes, but sanitize them too.
Isn’t it more eco-friendly to wash dishes by hand?
You might be surprised to learn that while machine washing your dishes does use electricity, it saves on water. Doing your dishes by hand uses up to 27 gallons of water on average. A countertop dishwasher typically uses around 2 to 3 gallons per load.
Are they good for large families?
They’re great for large families. While it may take more than one cycle to wash all the dirty dishes from a big family dinner, these compact units are ideal for doing a quick clean-up of all the prep utensils, pans and bowls. And because most units run super-quiet, you can still enjoy your dinner without any distracting noise.
Do I need to monitor this type of dishwasher while it’s running?
No, you don’t. Today’s models are designed to draw water directly from your sink faucet and deposit the waste water back into the kitchen sink and down the drain. Some countertop dishwashers are even plumbed directly into your hot water system so you never need to turn the tap on or off. What you should do is watch the water flow for the first few seconds after activation. Make sure the hoses are properly secured to the faucet and there are no leaks in the hose. Also, ensure your sink’s drain cover is not secured as that will prohibit proper drainage.
Do all countertop dishwashers need to be hooked up to the sink?
Typically, yes, and they will come with connectors that makes it fairly quick and easy to accomplish. Of note is that not all faucet aerators can be removed for connecting with a dishwasher hose. Check before purchasing your dishwasher. And there are even some models – including the HSRG mentioned earlier – that come with a removable tank. You fill the tank (think coffee-maker), and the unit draws and heats that water.
If you’re still sitting on the fence and thinking you don’t have the room for a countertop dishwasher or you’re not convinced they can do a really great job of cleaning dirty dishes, it’s time to think again. We’ve shown that this super-convenient, time-saving device not only takes up less than 2 square feet of counter space but it delivers exceptional cleaning results that go above and beyond what you would achieve with handwashing. We’ve done the leg work for you, shared some of the latest technology and ranked what we think are the best of the best when it comes to compact units. And we chose these particular models because of the wide range of value-added features they offer to you as the consumer. From inexpensive to purchase to inexpensive to run, enviro-conscious and even portable units for those on the go. While your needs, space and budget will be unique to you and your family, we hope we’ve opened the door (and your eyes) to what’s trending in the world of small kitchen appliances.