Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: June 15, 2021
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There’s no question that regular dishwashers make daily housekeeping much simpler (and faster) for many households. But have you heard of the even more impressive range: countertop dishwashers? If you invest in one of the best countertop dishwasher models we review below, you’ll benefit from a water and energy saving unit. And if space is the reason you don’t own a dishwasher yet, this is your solution. They’re much smaller than traditional ones, so they take fewer dishes at a time, but they’re easy to connect and perfect for small homes. There are many reasons to keep reading and order yours today.
Make sure however that you get the best results from this portable unit by investing in one with relevant, impressive features. This includes giving you options of different wash cycles, enough space for the number of place settings you usually need to wash and of course a good warranty for long term satisfaction. Probably the most important part: make sure the weight and dimensions will fit your kitchen setup.
To make your decision easier, we reviewed five of the best ones on the 2018 market. Prepare for 2020 by browsing through the summaries compiled from our diverse team of experts: five busy adults and stay-at-home parents who are always looking for easier solutions, as well as five chefs who know what it takes to keep a kitchen in top form. Which ones came out on top? Our comparison table tells all. Then read our reviews and use the buying guide to help you gauge which one is best for you.
This manufacturer looked at almost all aspects important to the modern consumer and impresses with the solutions it offers. That’s why it ranks at the top of our list.
It’s a problem solver for almost any cleaning scenario as it’s a large unit that can take six place settings. That makes it practical even for larger families.
Of course, efficacy is where its value lies, and this one doesn’t disappoint even there: it really cleans well, so no more cleaning the items you just put through your washer.
It even looks impressive so adding this to your kitchen won’t ruin the aesthetics. The silver finish will look sleek, making up for the counter space you’ll sacrifice. For some, this is an even better use of space than a microwave oven, so this one is worth your consideration even if you don’t think you have any space available. If cleaning dishes is your biggest problem, this is an investment.
Users find the machine easy to manage through its one-touch buttons. The design is even easy to clean as it only requires a wipe down: no knobs or buttons that make it tricky to keep hygienic.
It has the nifty extras such as a cutlery basket and a rinse aid dispenser. Add to this the fact that it can save you more than 60% of energy compared to regular or similar units and it uses less water than most portable dishwashers (only about 3 gallons). You have a winner for most kitchens, even though it’s a pricier unit.
This model is one of the best portable countertop dishwasher options that uses buttons instead of a touch screen design. This makes it easy to know when you’ve pressed the appropriate buttons (which some users prefer). Just make sure you keep the small gaps clean to ensure you maintain a hygienic kitchen.
The brand focused on durability as the spray arm is made of strong stainless steel.
Our stay-at-home parent focus group was also very appreciative of the Baby Care cycle they could use for washing certain childcare items: making sure they’re hygienic, without them getting heat damage. This cycle even works for cleaning other items such as glasses very effectively, so this is a very practical appliance no matter your household setup.
Good news: this one runs quiet too, so the brand prioritizes practicality.
You can enjoy the luxury of having your items dried before you open the door, but if you’re in a rush a 45-minute cycle which skips the drying function is a handy option. The 1 to 24-hour timer is just as impressive.
It’s one of the lighter units on our list, making it easy to move around. This is handy if you do need to put it in storage occasionally, or if this will be your cleaning solution when you set up your RV camping site.
Note that this is the heaviest unit on our list, but like our group of experts, you’ll be impressed with its user-friendliness and efficiency. With the touch button controls, it’s easy to find the perfect setting from the six available cycles. If you simply want to rinse items, there’s a setting for that, so you won’t have to waste water or energy on an entire wash cycle. Just note that it doesn’t have a separate drying setting—this forms part of its standard cycles.
If you have a standard faucet setup, this one can take as little as three minutes to hook up, so it’s user-friendly in that department too.
Many users comment on how quiet it runs, which is why it gets our vote for Most Quiet countertop dishwasher. The only times you’re bound to hear it is when the water runs in or out.
And yes, it cleans thoroughly, so it’s definite value for money.
Because it’s so heavy, you may want to invest in a rolling cart if you plan on positioning this on the floor. Unfortunately, this will increase your expenses on an already high priced unit. Is it worth it? For superior cleaning as well as the sleek look, you won’t regret it.
Even maintenance is easy: an occasional cleaning (just a rinse) of the filter is all that’s necessary.
This white countertop dishwasher reminds you of the traditional ones of old, but it functions in ultra-modern ways such as giving you multiple wash cycles to choose from. Pick a lighter one if you want to save water and energy on less dirty items. It even has a residual heat drying system, so you don’t have to wait as long for your items to dry after a cycle. If you have limited space in your kitchen, a unit that forces you to leave the door open for items to dry can be cumbersome.
The white exterior does include modern controls that are easy to use and understand. Just note that upon installation you’ll have to monitor the effects of your water pressure. The side/detached sprayer may leak due to the wrong pressure. You can install a separate water line if this causes a problem.
One concern is that it doesn’t always connect easily with all faucets—you may need a trip to your local hardware store to find the correct adaptors, especially if you have a pull-down sprayer sink.
Some users find this one doesn’t have the most dynamic rack layout as it’s designed for small cups, not large mugs which some families prefer.
Our test proved it’s not the best cleaner for very dirty dishes on this list, but that’s usually solved by simply rinsing your dishes before placing them inside. This also prevents clogging, so it’s not a waste of time.
A bonus: it runs mostly quiet, and the Energy Star certification is worth an investment.
Black & Decker is such a trusted brand because its designers think of almost everything consumers may need. It’s no different here, and one can see why many view it as one of the best portable countertop dishwasher options on the market: there’s even a child lock feature which makes it perfect for households with toddlers. You don’t want one of them opening it while piping hot water splashes around inside.
If saving is at the top of your priority list, you’ll appreciate the Energy Star certification but also the Eco cycle. And enjoy the ultimate in household customization: Set a time during the next 24 hours when you want your machine to wash dishes. It will be ready when you get home or wake up, so wet items don’t develop odors when left inside for too long. You will also prevent using water at times when everybody’s taking showers.
It’s also quick working with the longest run time being 100 minutes, much shorter than some modern machines that often take two hours or longer on their longer cycles.
It’s not the most affordable unit, but the attractive design and user-friendly LED display will be worth it.
Some may prefer a more sleek design instead of the two-toned (black and white) layout. However, aesthetics shouldn’t keep you from getting an efficient appliance in your kitchen.
What are our favorite features?
LED display is easy to understand
What could be better?
Not everyone prefers the black and white layout
Things to Consider
Are you looking forward to a more effortless clean up after your next cooking session and meal? A countertop dishwasher can make it a reality, but let’s help you make the best decision regarding the brand and model for your scenario. We listed important features below, but first understand why this is one of the best investments you’ll make in your home (or office, or dorm), so you’ll know why it’s wise to spend a few extra dollars.
Reasons to choose a countertop dishwasher
This is not simply a gimmick—it’s the perfect solution in certain circumstances. Just imagine one of the quality models mentioned above, in these situations:
You have limited kitchen space in your small apartment, but you enjoy having people over. This helps you clean up quick.
Keeping a dorm room or communal living space clean is a challenge, especially if some role players don’t prioritize cleaning up. This unit will take up very little of the limited space available and makes it easy for everyone to join in on maintaining order.
Make it easy for employees or your colleagues to keep an office area clean. It will keep odors at bay and visitors will see you prioritize professionalism & cleanliness.
RVs may not be set up for regular dishwashers, but these reviewed units can connect with almost any faucet. Make your travels effortless when a countertop dishwasher helps you clean up after a yummy meal next to the road.
Save on space and electricity when planning your home set up for a small family. These units require little space and won’t let your utility costs skyrocket.
Seems like a brilliant idea, right? Then let’s help you pick yours.
Features to consider when choosing a countertop dishwasher
Now let’s focus on what makes a countertop dishwasher exceptional. With appliances you always need to ensure you match an item’s features to your unique requirements—you don’t want to pay for features you won’t really use. However, our experts find this list of features relevant to most situations—Take some notes so you can make an informed decision when you start shopping.
Wash cycle selection
You won’t be washing the same things each day, and you want to look after the crockery and items you wash in your countertop dishwasher. High-end models will give you different time, power and temperature settings so you can customize it to your needs. If you know your plates simply need a quick rinse, pick a quick wash setting, and you’ll save water and power, as well as time.
Important note: modern units may actually take longer than the machines you used a few years ago. This is because they use less energy. Therefore, be prepared for cycles that usually take longer than an hour. The Black & Decker’s 100-minute cycle may seem long, but it’s actually quite impressive. And the Whynter’s 45-minute option is handy, but know your dishes won’t be as thoroughly clean or dry as on longer cycles.
How many place settings can your preferred countertop dishwasher handle? Dishwashers often take either four or six place settings. Align this capacity with how many family members you have, but opt for a bit larger if you know you often have people over to your house.
For office or dorm setups, the bigger the better, but make sure the physical dimensions are practical in terms of available space (see below).
As mentioned above, it’s basically your FIRST priority to measure out the space you have available in your kitchen. Make sure there’s enough clearance in front of the unit, as they most often open at the front. Also, make sure it neatly fits onto your counter as it can make it unstable if it overlaps too much.
Tip: It’s ideal if you can find an available space close to your taps, so hooking up your new appliance will be easier with fewer cords and pipes crisscrossing your kitchen. If this is a priority for you, a smaller unit that fits into a small nook may be better value for money than a larger one you’ll have to sacrifice your workspace for.
This may not be at the top of everyone’s priority list, but sound does matter. Especially if you’re placing yours in an office environment you don’t want the dishwasher to disrupt employees’ concentration. Even at home, a low noise unit is best—just imagine loud noise in a small apartment—if you want to enjoy watching TV while your dishes get washed.
Of course no unit will every be completely silent. The best you can hope for is only hearing the water moving inside your dishwasher, and not much of the motor turning inside. The Ivation model is an excellent example.
There are many reasons to invest in delay features on your countertop dishwasher, such as the one found on the Whynter CDW-6831WES. It’s best to let your cycle end when you know you’ll be home so you can open it up and let the dishes cool down & dry out.
Another reason why this was so attractive to our test group is because they could delay the start of wash cycles to when they knew energy and water consumption was at a low level in their households. If you also pay less for energy during certain time frames, you can further save on utility costs by only using your washer during those hours.
Energy Star Certification
Perhaps you’ve seen the logo, but you’re not sure what it means? The well-known Energy Star certification tells you the product is designed to save energy (and therefore money on utility costs). In most cases, there will be savings of up to 30%. One example is an appliance that has a higher capacity per energy unit it uses.
If your new portable countertop dishwasher has this feature, it will save you on household costs, but also limit your footprint in terms of greenhouse gasses.
That makes these appliances viable for modern Smart Homes and environmentally conscious families.
This aspect matters for two reasons: will your counter be able to handle the weight of your new dishwasher? You don’t want it to start sagging, breaking or pulling apart over time.
Also, will you be able to manage to install it by yourself? A light unit is more user-friendly during setup.
Of course, a larger unit will usually weigh more, so you need to decide what your top priority is before you start shopping.
A handy alternative is placing your dishwasher on a rolling cart next to your counter so you can easily move it if necessary.
The longer the warranty, the better—it’s proof of an item’s durability. Just know that how you use your unit will affect how long it serves you. If you don’t rinse off dishes and when you often overload it, components are bound to get clogged, damaged or worn. Your warranty may not cover this, so use yours with care from the start.
As you can see in most units above a 1-year warranty is standard. If you look after your countertop dishwasher and you invest in a high-end unit you’ll enjoy its benefits for much longer even.
Take note that warranties often apply to certain aspects of your purchase only. One example is the Edgestar’s 90-day warranty on labor. After that period you won’t be covered so if you do use your warranty and have something repaired, check it thoroughly once you get it back.
This is one aspect you need to do thorough research about. The best countertop dishwasher models are designed for standard full-sized plates, but the set you have may have unique features or dimensions. Read each dishwasher’s specifications & capacity and compare it to the dimensions of the plates you own. Make sure your items won’t get damaged by forcing them into slots, or perhaps not fit at all.
Most experts advise you not to wash crystal in a dishwasher as the heat, and the high water pressure can damage (such as chip) your valuable items. If you are in a hurry and need them clean, test it out first with cycles such as the Baby Care function found on the Whynter model, or a setting that uses less heat.
Investing in second-hand models often help you save money, but use these tips to make sure you don’t waste your money (in which case it would have been better buying a new model listed above). Know that you probably won’t get a warranty. You also can’t see the interior, so you don’t know if the previous owner damaged it with misuse. If you do get it from someone, you know well, or a respected dealer, it’s an easy way to save a few dollars in setting up your home. Therefore, just vet the supplier before you pay.
Let’s be clear: each one on our list today is a winner. If you’re shopping with a very specific priority list, such as saving some cash, there’s even a solution for you. But if that aspect doesn’t matter as much, get yourself the Edgestar model. It’s versatile and impresses in many ways, so it’s a win for almost any household. The good looks and energy saving capabilities are some of our favorite perks.
From Whynter, you’ll get an all-around impressive model, and because it’s a lighter option than the Ivation in third place, it’s more practical. It’s also Baby Care friendly, so perfect for new parents. We love it when brands cater for specific needs, as it guarantees satisfaction.
If sound level is your biggest concern the Ivation model will impress and as a bonus, it sets up in such a short time. This is a user-friendly purchase for those consumers who appreciate as little fuss as possible. What ranks highest on your priority list?
With this statement we’re not being over dramatic – it’s the truth: picking the best countertop dishwasher that aligns with your preferences will revolutionize your life. So what are you waiting for?