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The unfortunate thing about dirty dishes is that they just seem to keep accumulating, out of nowhere, no matter how many times you do them. If, for whatever reason, you don’t have the option of a full-sized dishwasher at home, you may think you’re just doomed to waste precious hours of your life hand-washing every fork, cup, and plate you ever use — but you’d be wrong. Miniature portable and countertop dishwashers really do work as effective replacements for the full-sized kinds. And good news: Most don’t require any type of special equipment or complicated setups.
What Are the Best Portable Dishwashers?
You can find both free-standing portable dishwashers on wheels and half-sized dishwashers that sit on the counter. We’re focusing on the countertop varieties, which tend to be lower maintenance and more convenient for most households. Just make sure you have enough space. Here’s everything you should know when looking for the best portable dishwasher for your kitchen.
Size: The first thing to keep in mind is that while countertop dishwashers are, of course, smaller than their built-in counterparts, they can still take up a decent amount of space on your counter. In some cases, it can be about a third of the size of a standard refrigerator. If you’re working with limited counter space, you can always get creative with something like a rolling microwave stand. You can find smaller, more microwave-sized miniature dishwashers, but you’ll sacrifice the appliance’s capacity.
Capacity: Speaking of which, most countertop dishwashers will fit six place settings at once. Or, if you live alone or with just one other person, that’s enough space for one dinner’s worth of sauce pans, plates, silverware, and cups.
Functions: Most dishwashers come with between five and seven basic wash settings, including: normal, heavy, rapid, glass and rinse. Additional functions like baby safe or eco-saver may be worth looking at depending on your personal needs.
Hookup Methods: The point of owning a countertop dishwasher is to reduce the amount of work you have to do, so hooking the machine up shouldn’t be a pain either. Most come with a hose and faucet attachment already included, so all you have to do is hook the tube to your kitchen faucet and let it run. Some, on the other hand, use a built-in water tank, which may be convenient if you don’t have easy access to a kitchen faucet at all times.
1. Farberware Professional Compact Dishwasher
This dishwasher from Farberware features seven different washing programs, including options from heavy and normal to baby care or a speedy 45-minute cleaning cycle. The self-cleaning setting is also an easy way to clean the dishwasher itself. As far as how much space it takes up, it’s about the size of a larger TV from the Nineties, so you’ll need some space, but it’s also ridiculously easy to set up. It can fit a dinner-for-two’s worth of dishes at once, and cleans as thoroughly as any full-sized dishwasher.
2. Danby Countertop Dishwasher
The Danby is pretty similar to the Farberware dishwasher in terms of size, capacity, run-time and efficiency. Like our top pick, the Danby includes all the hardware you need to hook the hose to the faucet, which is easier than you think, and fits six place settings. This appliance has six pre-settings: Intensive, Normal, Economy, Rapid, Glass, and Soak, as well as a delay-start feature (in case you forget to run after dinner). Users particularly note how quiet it is while running, and it only uses about 3.1 gallons of water per use.
3. hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher
The hOmeLabs countertop dishwasher also fits six place settings, with six wash cycles and a delay feature, and comes with all the necessary attachment accessories, including the inlet and drain hose and faucet adapter you’ll need to get started. We really like this version’s rinse-aid dispenser, which helps dry glassware without leaving streaks. It only uses 3.1 gallons of water per load (you use an average of 25 gallons of water when doing it by hand) and is EnergyStar-certified. Aside from using less water, we also like this unit for its sleek, modern design.
4. Farberware Complete Portable Dishwasher
If you find yourself without access to a faucet or other water hookup, this miniature dishwasher is the appliance for you. While it does come with a hose attachment if you need one, it also has its own built-in water reservoir tank, so it can run without a direct source of running water. Its five wash settings include Normal, Rapid, Fruit Wash, Baby Care, and Glass. It’s much smaller than other dishwashers on the market at just 12 inches in diameter, and includes a window to watch your dishes get nice and clean.