5 Questions You May Have About Countertop Dishwashers

Countertop Dishwasher in Kitchen

Simply put a countertop dishwasher, which may sometimes be referred to as a portable dishwasher, is a smaller dishwasher designed to sit right on top of your counter-tops, or any other flat surface.

Generally these compact units use a quick connect adapter to connect to a standard sink faucet for water intake. They have a drain hose in the back of the unit that will allow drainage directly into your sink. While the capacity of these units is much less than a full-size or 18-inch dishwasher, countertop models can usually hold 6 place settings.

1. Why Should I Get a Countertop Dishwasher?

Countertop Dishwasher

Countertop dishwashers are extremely versatile units. Whether you need one as your primary dishwasher or for supplemental use, these units are extremely adaptable to your needs. If you live in a tiny house lacking the space for a built-in unit or are renting an apartment without a dishwasher, a portable dishwasher can be life saver. From office coffee mugs to baby bottles, from RV road trips to college students, people are discovering that countertop dishwashers are super helpful in a variety of applications.

In fact, as I write this article, I have an infant son at home. Like all infants, he goes through a lot of bottles throughout the day. And washing every single bottle part by hand can take up a lot of time. Instead, I load them all up in my portable Edgestar dishwasher, turn it on and go spend my time making him giggle. A little while later, the bottles are clean, sanitized and ready to be used again. It’s the perfect setup.

2. Does a Countertop Dishwasher Produce Different Results Than a Normal Dishwasher?

Countertop dishwashers usually clean just as well as full-size models. Although, as you might expect, portable dishwashers use considerably less water and detergent than their full-sized rivals. By no means does this mean they don’t clean as well, they just don’t need as much resources to achieve the same level of cleanliness.

3. Can I Install My Countertop Dishwasher Permanently?

Koldfront Portable Dishwasher

Yes. Some countertop models can indeed be installed permanently. However, no models are specifically designed for permanent installation, nor is this something we advise you to do.

Keep in mind, just because a portable unit can be installed permanently, doesn’t mean you should always go that route. In order to install it, you may have to alter it in ways that will likely void the warranty on the unit. Before you risk voiding the warranty, it’s wise to consult with the manufacturer before attempting to custom install it.

4. Can I Put This Unit Under My Sink, Draining to my Garbage Disposal?

Yes. Some models of countertop dishwashers can indeed be installed to your main water line. However, there are no portable units specifically designed for this type of permanent installation, nor is this something we advise you to do.

If you go this route please be aware that you will likely be voiding the warranty on the unit. Please check with the manufacturer of the countertop dishwasher prior to attempting this to ensure that it is safe to do.

5. What Factors Should I Consider When Shopping for a Countertop Dishwasher?

Portable Dishwasher
  1. Your Dimensions:
    Make a careful note of the exact dimensions you can use to accommodate a countertop dishwasher. Take special note of the distance between the top of your counter and the bottom of your cabinet.
  2. Capacity:
    You definitely want to consider how much you can put into your dishwasher. Most countertop dishwasher models will accept up to 6 place settings, but it may vary from model to model.
  3. The Interior Composition:
    Countertop dishwashers with stainless steel interiors will be more durable and should last longer than models with plastic interiors.
  4. Dry Cycle:
    If it is important to you to have a dry cycle, look for a model that includes this feature.
  5. Pump:
    If the water draining out of the countertop dishwasher needs to go above the level of the countertop dishwasher (as it would if you placed the unit below the level of the drain) you need a model with a pump. You can avoid this problem by knowing beforehand where your portable unit will be placed.
  6. Water Heater:
    Most countertop dishwashers come with water heaters of varying power. Those dishwashers that have water heaters also usually have two or more settings to vary the power of the heater.
  7. Number of Different Cycles:
    Different portable dishwasher models vary in their number of cycles. So, think about what is important for you and your family, and buy accordingly.
  8. Energy and Water Efficiency:
    Check the water and energy usage of the countertop dishwashers to find one that meets your needs.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to give us a call at 1.800.297.6076 or leave us a comment down below.

Jeff Flowers

About Author

Jeff Flowers has been a self-described beer geek for over a decade now. When he's not chasing his daughter around, you can usually find him drinking a fresh brew and wasting too much of his time on both Google+ & Twitter.


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