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 20, 2021
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If you’re sick of seeing dirty dishes piled high in your kitchen and the thought of filling up the sink to scrub away at them fills you with dread, you may be thinking now is the time to invest in a dishwasher. What may surprise some people is how many quality dishwashers are on the market at under the $400 mark.
Most people who purchase a dishwasher for the first time usually find that once they’ve got one of these products installed in their home, they can never imagine their life without it! Better still, the best dishwasher under $400 makes a perfect addition to the kitchen and really earns its place in the home as one of the most used and practical of appliances in the kitchen area. With all this in mind, we spent 36 hours on research to find dishwashers that won’t disappoint you.
This review looks at four dishwashers here, each one considered one among top dishwashers under $400. Using a table to highlight the critical information you need to search for, we’ve compiled a review of each model, looking at features such as dimensions, which allow you to choose where to place it and how big a load it will wash, alongside standard cycle types and energy efficiency. We finish with a buying guide to help you further understand those essential features such as size, capacity, consumption and running costs before you make that final purchase.
With six place settings and six washing cycles, the Ivation portable dishwasher is perfect for those smaller of rooms with its easily accessible dimensions. Simple to connect to the sink using a faucet adapter, this is a small but powerful dishwasher for under 300 dollars only!
Designed for pure convenience, this dishwasher offers a powerful wash each time for all food items including pots and pans as well as the usual cutlery, plates, and glasses. Safe to be used to a temperature of 148 degrees, the Ivation dishwasher works to produce a heavy-duty performance inside its durable stainless-steel interior.
With its sliding dish rack and rolling caddy, and a user-friendly touch button plate to operate all cycles with ease, the Ivation can be set up within a matter of minutes and ready to use in an instant.
Complete with both a faucet adapter hose and connection as well as the accompanying draining hose and connection, this model is straightforward to connect to a regular sink and requires no additional plumbing knowledge.
Detailed instructions are included to get your dishwasher hooked up and started along with helpful guidelines as to how to get the best from your product, such as loading information and cleaning details.
The minimalist dimensions of this portable dishwasher make the Ivation dishwasher an excellent choice for those looking for such a product to use in areas such as small kitchens, RVs, dorms, and condos as it can be placed adequately and neatly on the counter or between many a cabinet.
What do we love it for?
Different wash strengths to select from
Sliding and changeable racks
All connection items included
What were we disappointed with?
May not be suitable for those who demand more space on an ongoing basis, due to increased plates, utensils, and crockery
With six washing cycles, the Sunbeam dishwasher is a compact stainless-steel countertop product which caters for up to six people. Simple to install, the Sunbeam is straightforward in its overall design.
A visually pleasing dishwasher type, the Sunbeam prides itself on being hassle-free and straightforward to connect and use, all that’s required is a simple attachment to the faucet and a plug into the outlet to begin use.
Known for its ability to perform silently during every wash cycle as well as being able to produce some quality cleaning results, not only does the Sunbeam dishwasher offer a selection of six standard cycles to choose from, but it also includes a delay start option, which is not found in many similar compact dishwashers. This means that should you wish to set a timer, you have the choice of a two, four, or even eight-hour delay before your washing cycle begins.
It’s complete with an automatic rinse aid dispenser, and users can also take advantage here of indicator lights which immediately signal any problems that occur regarding water failure. This is shown on the front of the dishwasher itself near the handle on a small section where the controls for the dishwasher are located but which do not take over the whole design of the product.
Recommended as the perfect companion for those in smaller kitchens as well as vacation homes and even rental properties, the Sunbeam portable dishwasher makes a great addition to places where space is at a minimum and looks great wherever it is placed.
What makes it stand out?
Visually pleasing exterior
Ability to maximize usable space
Good cleaning results
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Extremely compact design may not be as practical for those with a lot of items left after every meal to wash on a regular basis
An energy-efficient model, the SPT portable dishwasher comes complete with an electronic control and an LED display for added ease of use alongside a delayed start and a choice of six wash cycles. A powerful addition to any smaller sized room, this product allows six standard place settings.
Offering a delayed start option to every wash cycle, users of the SPT countertop dishwasher can select from two, four, six, and even a total of eight hours delayed start for added convenience with this model.
Aimed at conserving energy, this dishwasher is renowned for its reliability alongside its ability to wash all products placed inside it to a high standard. Many customers also like the quietness of the SPT model as this means it can run throughout the night to suit without waking members of the household in the process.
Complete with a universal faucet adapter, this is a quick and straightforward to connect dishwasher which allows users to begin their preferred washing cycle in a matter of minutes once installed.
The electronic controls on the LED display work to offer many additional benefits. These include informing users of the current running state of each cycle alongside displaying the remaining time that the cycle has left to complete. There is also a useful indicator which is clearly demonstrated when the dishwasher is running low on rinse aid and one for when the water supply is experiencing any problems which may need attending to.
What do we love it for?
Clear LED display and electronic controls
Delayed start available
What were we disappointed with?
Some people struggle to connect the dishwasher with the universal faucet adapter that’s included
An energy efficient product, the Ensue countertop dishwasher is a six-cycle compact machine which is perfect for areas where space is at a minimum. Simplistic and visually pleasing in design, it is a great addition which is easy to connect and go.
Ensue are proud to offer a portable dishwasher which can give all customers an indication of how much energy per year they will use on average with this product. Currently estimated at just $25 per year when using an electric water heater, or $17 when used with a natural gas heater, the cost of this model is one of the most significant advantages when purchasing it.
Visually pleasing on the eye, the Ensue countertop dishwasher is simplistic to use, offering just three simple buttons to select from including power, program and start/reset. Alongside those usual wash cycles that nearly all other dishwashers provide, the Ensue model also offers an additional, miniparty cycle.
One of the bigger models in its overall size, this dishwasher can adequately accommodate six place settings with ease and is perfect for everyday cleaning.
With all attachments needed to get the machine up and ready to begin using immediately, customers will find this a straightforward dishwasher to attach to a sink, with many people reporting set up within a few minutes.
Enuse additionally offers the opportunity for all customers of this product, not just a standard 30-day return and exchange but also a 60-day option for any part replacements, such is their confidence in the model.
What are its best features?
Energy efficient machine saving you money
Easy to set up and begin using instantly
Perfect for small items
Miniparty cycle included
What could be improved?
Some people find that the extra dimensions aren’t that practical when it comes to delivering on extra space within the machine
No eco cycle included
Things to Consider
Now that we’ve reviewed four of the best dishwashers currently on the market at under $400, it’s helpful to get a more detailed idea of what features you should ideally be looking for in your chosen dishwasher and how specific products differ. This guide covers everything that you require to get that best dishwasher for your individual needs.
What to expect from a dishwasher under $400?
These dishwashers offer an excellent all-round cleaning experience as well as the added benefit of being small and rather compact in size. This means they can be easily placed around the kitchen on a selection of surface types, or even in an RV, meaning you don’t need a specific gap in your kitchen to install them in.
However, it’s worth remembering here that because of the smaller and more portable design of these dishwasher types, you won’t be able to place as many dishes in them as if you would, say with a larger freestanding dishwasher. However, they will still offer a cleaning experience to the same specifications as their bigger counterparts.
Key features to look for in a dishwasher under $400
There are many additional features in each dishwasher of which you need to get an idea to ensure your product ticks all of your boxes and is the perfect final purchase for your requirements.
Though all of these products are the more portable and therefore more accessible for smaller living spaces and kitchen areas, you may still need to get an idea of the space you want your dishwasher to fill before buying it. This is because though each countertop dishwasher may claim to be smaller in size than the average standalone dishwasher, they all differ in their final measurements.
If you want to place your product in between a cabinet or a restricted area, it is essential to ensure you can not only fit the dishwasher in here but also allow for the room that is required to run the necessary hose connectors to the sink. Additionally, your portable dishwasher will also need to be near a power outlet.
For a smaller kitchen, you might want to get a somewhat compact 18-inch dishwasher that will quite easily fit into practically any layout. Moreover, there are many integrated dishwashers on the market today, so you can install it right into your kitchen cabinet. Keep in mind, though, that such models are on the pricey side.
The number of place settings you can use as a maximum in your dishwasher will significantly affect how much washing you can get done in the one cycle. Alternatively, you may want a model which has adjustable or extra loading racks, baskets or space aids to work with the types of kitchenware which you predominately use. While most portable dishwashers will state how many specific place settings they can accommodate, if you tend to accumulate a lot of pots and pans, you may find yourself needing to do an additional wash for these, alongside your usual plate and cutlery wash.
Number of cycles
These counter-top dishwashers are naturally limited in the number of cycles they offer, but you need to ensure that your dishwasher can perform the sequence you require or are most likely to use on a regular basis. As standard, dishwashers will come with six primary cycles including normal, heavy, Eco, glass, speed, and rinse. The more extensive the dishwasher, the more cycles it will offer, but as long as you have these six cycles, you can be assured of a decent clean each time. It is worth noting however that some machines don’t always offer the Eco wash, which can be a concern for many regarding saving water and conserving energy.
Hot water connection and water heating
Something that may affect where you place your dishwasher is the availability of your hot water connection. Because of the permanent location of their sinks, many people have no choice other than to put their portable dishwasher right next to this for it to work. This place, however, is not always where they would have preferred it to go and, many a time isn’t the most practical of solutions when looking at storing the dishwasher permanently.
Your dishwasher has to be connected to a sink through a water faucet adaptor to be able to work correctly and receive water. Not only that, but this water needs to be heated when it enters the dishwasher as portable heaters rely on hot water coming into the dishwasher rather than heating it once it’s inside the machine. This water must be heated as cold water will not clean anything you place inside the dishwasher, just as hand washing them in cold water would have no effect.
The water consumption of your dishwasher may become vital information, in particular if you are on a water meter and need to keep an eye on your water usage. Those Eco-friendlier of products, as well as those with high energy star ratings, will naturally consume less water in the cleaning process. Look at whether your dishwasher offers a quick wash, express wash, or an Eco-friendly cycle if water consumption is a major concern for you. Otherwise, strive for A-rated where possible. Some products will these days inform you of the expected amount of money running your portable dishwasher will cost you over a year, based on an average amount of usage.
Some manufacturers will offer product warranties or aftercare and support once you have purchased your dishwasher. Check the terms of each supplier carefully if you think this would be a good idea. This may include looking at whether you can get parts replaced or call outs to fix or replace your product should you need it. This can consist of replacement filters and washers, for example, which are all vital to the continued and successful running of your dishwasher over many years. Again, such warranties may all depend on your usage and if you are willing to pay a little extra for continued ongoing support, or whether you intend to fix it yourself should any problems arise.
Safety and care
Water and electricity do not go together. Therefore, when purchasing your dishwasher and subsequently using it, make sure that you are careful and keep the plug away from the sink area. This is especially important for those portable dishwashers which will need to be placed right next to the sink. You’ll also need to keep an eye on where the drainer hose goes, keeping it away from any other electrical appliances in the process. Additionally, if you’re more than likely to move your portable dishwasher around, take care when picking it up and moving with it, ensuring it is empty as you do so.
A dishwasher can easily connect to your faucet by use of an adaptor. This should come complete the dishwasher itself, as it does with all four of these products. All of these dishwashers are straightforward and hassle-free to install this way. You don’t need any prior plumbing knowledge, merely take the hose from the dishwasher and attach it to the faucet directly using the adaptor. This is a simple couple of seconds process and means you can have the dishwasher up and running as soon as the adaptor is secured to the faucet.
If it’s the smallest and most compact of dishwashers you’re after, then all four of these dishwashers are ideally sized and aimed for use in those smaller of areas. Rather than specifically concentrating on how many plate settings each one offers, look at the exact measurements to ensure the space you have chosen in your RV matches the dimensions of your selected model. However, the quieter of products has to be the Sunbeam, with many customers claiming they can put this on to run at any time of the day or night and not hear a sound from it.
Nearly all portable dishwashers can accommodate pots and pans. However, the problem usually arises when it comes to placing such items into the dishwasher alongside the maximum capacity of plate settings. Because these models are smaller in stature, you do need to consider their limitations. However, if you’re intending to wash bigger, more usual shaped items on a regular basis rather than look at the dishwasher’s dimensions and place settings, you would be better off viewing the layout of the inside of the dishwasher. Those that have changeable shelves are best for such a job, with the better models here those with removable shelves being perfect for this use alone.
This guide should give you a clearer idea of what a portable dishwasher does, helping you to select the best one. All four products are great at offering solutions to those areas limited on space and unable to install standard dishwashers, with all offering the six cycles you’d expect from such products.
What we like most about our two top-rated products is their ability to offer higher-grade cleaning solutions while being quiet during operation. The Ivation is one of the most powerful portable products on the market while the Sunbeam model encourages more efficient use of space in its layout.
Our best budget pick, the Ensue, not only offers an additional 60-day period for a part replacement but also gives customers a great indication of the amount they can expect to pay on average when using this dishwasher, and all at a price to suit even the tightest of budgets.