How to Choose the Best Countertop Dishwasher: Purchasing advice

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A countertop dishwasher, also known as a compact or portable dishwasher, is a small dishwasher that rests on a countertop or other flat surface. It has many of the same capabilities as a full-size dishwasher but is significantly smaller, portable, and energy efficient. 

These dishwashers typically utilize a quick-connect adapter for water intake that connects to a standard sink faucet. They are equipped with a drain hose in the back of the unit that allows drainage to flow directly into a sink. 

What is a countertop dishwasher? 

A countertop dishwasher, also known as a tabletop dishwasher or mini dishwasher, is a compact appliance that provides the same capabilities and features as a built-in dishwasher but in a more compact frame. A counter dishwasher offers more placement options for small kitchens, apartment dwellers, RVs, and boats due to its smaller size and lack of plumbing requirements. 

In addition to being significantly less expensive than standard dishwashers, compact countertop dishwashers are typically quieter, faster, and easier to operate. You can load and unload dishes without bending over, making them an excellent option for people with limited mobility or back problems. And, unlike a built-in dishwasher, you can take a countertop dishwasher with you when you move, making it a cost-effective option. 

Do I Need a Countertop Dishwasher? 

It depends. If you are environmentally conscious, a countertop dishwasher uses less water than hand washing and is typically more energy efficient than a built-in washer. This makes it a desirable option for an RV or other location with limited space for a permanently installed or portable dishwasher. 

Using these compact dishwashers requires significantly less effort than hand-washing dishes, and according to our tests, it cleans better. If you are a neat freak, purchasing a countertop dishwasher is a small investment that will ensure your dishes are spotless. 

However, you will still need to wash more significant items in the sink, and a countertop dishwasher can occupy valuable counter space when not in use. 

Larger portable dishwashers that connect to kitchen faucets and roll out of the way when not in use can cost twice as much, but they can accommodate more and larger dishes. 

How Do Countertop Dishwashers Work? 

All countertop dishwashers operate similarly: two hoses connect to a “quick connect” mount that should connect to any faucet. One hose brings clean water, while the other empties soiled water into the sink. 

There is space inside for four complete place settings in a single rack, a cutlery basket, a removable filter, and a stainless-steel container. 

You can keep the dishwasher connected to the sink and press a bypass button to obtain fresh water or detach it after use. Not all faucets are compatible with portable dishwashers. We were required to purchase a 15/16-inch to 55/64-inch faucet adapter at a hardware store. Stylish faucets with concealed “Cache” aerators may not be compatible with a portable dishwasher. 

Several online guides provide instructions on connecting a sprayer faucet to a dishwasher but doing so is not recommended. 

Who Makes Countertop Dishwashers? 

After examining bills of lading and other import data, we discovered that Midea manufactures the most portable countertop dishwashers in the United States. 

Midea, headquartered in Guangdong, China, is one of the world’s largest appliance manufacturers. It owns Eureka, has the right to use the Toshiba name on small appliances, and manufactures hundreds of products for companies such as GE Appliances and Instant Pot. 

Recently, Midea opened several U.S. research and development centers and began selling appliances under its brand. It makes sense that these items are imported from China, and not just due to lower production costs. It is much simpler to import these rectangular, easily shipped boxes from an existing factory than to establish production in countries where countertop dishwashers are more of a niche product. 

How to Choose the Best Countertop Dishwasher: Purchasing advice 

  • Dimensions: Take careful note of the exact dimensions of the available space for a countertop dishwasher. Note the distance between the top of your counter and the base of your cabinets. 
  • Capacity: You should consider the ability of your dishwasher. It may vary by model, but most countertop dishwashers can accommodate up to six place settings. 
  • Interior Composition: Dishwashers with stainless steel interiors will be more durable and should last longer than plastic ones. 
  • Dry Cycle: If a dry cycle is essential to you, look for a model that includes this function. 
  • Pump: If the water draining from the countertop dishwasher needs to go above the level of the countertop dishwasher (as it would if the unit were placed below the drain level), a pump-equipped model is required. Knowing beforehand where your portable unit will be established can avoid this issue. 
  • Water Heater: Most countertop dishwashers include water heaters of varying strength. Dishwashers with water heaters typically have two or more settings to adjust the heater’s intensity. 
  • Several Different Cycles: Various portable dishwasher models have varying numbers of cycles. Consider what is essential for you and your family, and purchase accordingly. 
  • Energy efficiency: All countertop dishwashers carry yellow Energy Guide labels, allowing you to compare their approximate annual operating costs. However, only a few are Energy Star-certified, indicating that they are the most energy-efficient models. We believe it is worthwhile to seek Energy Star certification. 

Installation and Maintenance 

The operation of the countertop dishwasher could not be more straightforward! Most units include everything required for quick assembly. Find a level surface to place the countertop dishwasher on before proceeding. Two hoses, an inlet, and a drain are present. 

There are two ports on the back of the dishwasher for each hose to be screwed into. Place the quick-connect adapter on the sink’s faucet and connect the two hoses. Connect the washer to an electrical outlet and initiate the wash cycle. When the wash cycle is complete, disconnect all hoses and store them until the next time. No tools are required, making it a simple and convenient appliance to install and operate. 

To maintain your countertop dishwasher, ensure that it is not overloaded and that no dishes or silverware are blocking the spray arm. Rinse away any excess food or residue before beginning the wash cycle. A countertop dishwasher can save countless hours of manual dishwashing with proper maintenance. 

Glossary and Important Terms to Know

To assist you in finding the best countertop dishwasher for your unique situation or lifestyle, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the following terms. 

Quick Connect Adapter 

A simple and convenient method for connecting hoses to a sink, it should be compatible with most standard faucets. 

Cutlery Basket 

The basket is designed to hold forks, knives, spoons, and another cutlery in the dishwasher. When loading silverware, ensure that none of the prongs protrude through so that the spray arm can move freely and effectively clean. 

Dish Basket 

The dishwasher’s interior accommodates between four and six-place settings. Consult the owner’s manual for optimal dish-loading techniques in a small space. 

Rinse Aid Dispenser 

A container that dispenses rinse aid, which assists in drying dishes and removing water spots. You might consider using a rinse aid if you notice dirty residue or a cloudy appearance on your words. 


We receive daily inquiries regarding our portable and countertop dishwashers. We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions below. Please call us at 1-800-297-6076 if you have any additional questions or would like more information on any of the topics listed below. 

Dishwashers for countertops are highly versatile appliances. Whether you need one as your primary or secondary dishwasher, these units are adaptable to your needs. A portable dishwasher can be a lifesaver if you live in a small house without the space for a built-in unit or rent an apartment without a dishwasher. From office coffee mugs to baby bottles and RV road trips to college students, people are discovering the versatility of countertop dishwashers. 

Countertop dishwashers are as effective at cleaning as full-sized models. Nevertheless, as you might expect, portable dishwashers utilize much less water and detergent than their full-sized counterparts. This does not imply that they clean less thoroughly; instead, they require fewer resources to achieve the same level of cleanliness. 

Yes, some countertop models can be permanently installed. However, no models are designed for permanent installation, so doing so is not recommended. Improper installation and use may the warranty void. We recommend that you maintain the unit’s portability and adhere to all instructions. 

Some models of countertop dishwashers can be connected to the main water supply. No portable units are designed for this type of permanent installation, so it is not recommended to do so. 

Before attempting this, please confirm with the manufacturer of the countertop dishwasher that it is safe to do so. 

The compact size of countertop dishwashers is another advantage. They typically occupy no more space than microwaves and can be placed on any flat surface. Most models can even fit directly beneath the cabinets, making them ideal for small spaces. The compact size allows the dishwasher to be concealed in a cabinet or rolled away on a kitchen cart when it is not in use. 

Countertop dishwashers are highly cost-effective and water-conserving, using significantly less water than hand-washing or traditional full-sized dishwashers. Each wash cycle uses approximately three gallons of water for four to six place settings. 

Most countertop dishwashers offer the same features as full-size dishwashers, such as multiple wash cycles. Typical options include heavy, normal, light, glass, speed, and soak. Portable dishwashers may also feature an automatic detergent and rinse aid dispenser. 

Countertop dishwashers are also superior if you are concerned about water and electricity consumption. Countertop dishwashers use less water, as little as two gallons per wash cycle, than traditional built-in dishwashers. They use significantly less water than hand-washing dishes, especially if you’re the type to leave the faucet running the entire time. When we wash dishes by hand, we waste up to two gallons of water per minute! 

Mini dishwashers typically consume less energy than their full-size counterparts, so you should not be concerned about an increase in your electricity bill. Check Energy Star ratings to find the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly compact dishwasher. 

Keep in mind, as you shop, that a countertop dishwasher may also be called a portable dishwasher. While a compact countertop dishwasher is portable in the sense that it can be moved wherever it is needed, the term “portable dishwasher” is more commonly applied to a full-sized dishwasher on wheels. This enables it to be stored in a pantry or closet when not in use and temporarily connected to a faucet when needed (as opposed to a stationary, built-in dishwasher that takes up valuable storage space under kitchen counters and needs to be plumbed). 

It can be difficult to tell from a picture alone whether a dishwasher is a compact countertop model or a freestanding portable model, so be sure to check the details and dimensions of any dishwasher you intend to purchase to ensure it fits your space and your needs. 

Typically, a countertop dishwasher can accommodate four to six place settings, including plates, bowls, cutlery, glasses, and mugs. However, you’ll need to consider the size of your dinner plates; some tabletop dishwashers cannot accommodate vessels more significant than 10 inches in diameter, so you’ll need to ensure that your mini dishwasher meets your needs. 

Standard-sized pots, pans, mixing bowls, and larger items cannot be cleaned in a countertop dishwasher due to their diminutive size and reduced functionality. Nevertheless, some compact countertop dishwashers may accommodate a small pot or pan. 

On the other hand, the best portable dishwasher on the market will provide ample space for your large cookware, as these appliances are comparable in size to a standard built-in dishwasher. 

Some countertop dishwashers can sanitize dishes, effectively reducing the number of microorganisms to an acceptable level. If the appliance is programmed with a steam-generating cycle, it can be used to sterilize baby bottles and other containers. Therefore, this cycle is often referred to as a “baby cycle” or something similar. 

When selecting the best countertop dishwasher for your home, you should consider the number of place settings you’ll need to clean at once and whether you want the appliance to have an integrated water tank or connect directly to your faucet. We have compiled a list of the best tabletop dishwashers in various categories to assist you. 


Countertop dishwashers are an excellent option for those who are tired of doing the dishes but lack the space for a standard dishwasher. In addition, countertop appliances are typically less expensive because they are smaller and require less energy.
Some countertop dishwashers require a connection to your sink’s faucet, and despite being designed for your countertop, they can be pretty significant. Unless they have a tank, they will also need to be placed near the sink so they can access water and have a place to drain.
If space is already at a premium, you should measure the area where you intend to install a countertop dishwasher and consider whether there is room next to the sink.

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