Countertop Dishwasher Buyer's Guide

Nobody enjoys waking up to a dirty kitchen, but doing the dishes by hand each night after a long day at work isn’t exactly appealing. In today’s day and age, space is at a premium, and you want to make sure that every square inch provides you with maximum efficiency to make your life a little easier. Enter the countertop dishwasher, a small yet versatile appliance that will save you from stooping over your sink and chipping away at dried food residue. Selecting a new appliance that will save you time and money and will last for the long haul can be tedious, so we’ve compiled a list of features to keep an eye out for so your money can be well spent.

Countertop dishwashers are small yet powerful appliances that can help to supplement a full-size dishwasher. If you have a house full of small children with lots of baby bottles to wash, a crazy amount of coffee cups, or just too many plates to wash by hand, a countertop dishwasher can help with the overflow of dirty dishes and utensils. Alternatively, if your family rarely produces a full load in your current dishwasher, you might want to consider a smaller version to save both energy and water. Older homes or apartments, as well as houses with lower square footages, sometimes lack a standard full-size dishwasher.  Countertop dishwashers can fill in the void.

If you have too many chores already or just need to take a little break from the time spent in your kitchen, a countertop dishwasher would significantly ease the load. This small appliance does the work that you would labor over quickly and efficiently. Avoid the wrinkled, soap-soaked hands that come with routinely washing dishes. Whether you’re a new parent, a college student, newlyweds, or an older couple who just doesn’t have that many dishes anymore, a countertop dishwasher saves time, space, energy, and water.

Let’s take a look at a few things you’ll want to consider as you shop for your countertop dishwasher:

  • Dimensions: It would be a shame to go through the process of purchasing a new appliance only to find that it doesn’t fit in the space it was intended to go. Counter space is important, so be sure to measure just how much space you have to spare for your new dishwasher first and foremost. Of particular importance is the height between your countertops and upper cabinets if you intend for it sit on your counter long-term. Other homeowners prefer for it be hidden away within a cabinet, perhaps under their sink. Wherever its new home will be, make sure you have enough space for it.
  • Pump: Planning out where your countertop dishwasher will find its new home is important for more than just figuring out if you have enough space available. A countertop dishwasher works much the same way that a full size dishwasher functions, but it drains through hoses that attach to your sink faucets. If the water that is draining out of your countertop dishwasher is going to need to go upward in order to drain, you will also need a pump in order to make that happen. This is an additional cost to consider, depending on the placement of your appliance. This might be especially necessary if the dishwasher is going to be placed in a lower cabinet where the water will need to reach significantly higher than the appliance itself.
  • Energy Efficiency: Are you looking to purchase a countertop dishwasher to aid you in your efforts to go green? Or do you want to offset the costs of a new appliance with a slightly lower electricity bill? No matter what your reasons, going green is never a bad thing. Be sure to examine the energy efficiency of all of the countertop dishwashers you consider. Many models will have an Energy Guide to show you the estimated yearly operating cost and estimated annual electricity usage. If an Energy Guide is unavailable for a particular model, that doesn’t necessarily mean the unit isn’t energy efficient. You will just have to read the technical specifications to find the wattage and use this number combined with an estimated daily time usage to calculate the kWh. From here, you can figure out the annual operating cost by multiplying by your local utility rate. 
  •  Materials: For an appliance that lasts, be certain that it’s constructed with good quality materials inside and out. Less expensive models are sometimes composed of plastic interiors, which won’t last as long as the more expensive stainless steel counterparts. If your countertop dishwasher is going to be a long-term investment, you might want to consider paying a little bit more money upfront in order to have an appliance that is constructed of better quality materials and that should last you significantly longer.
  • Features: Countertop dishwashers can come with many of the same features found in full-size dishwashers, including various wash cycles and dry cycles. Depending on the needs of your family, you may find yourself searching for a model that has the option of heavier duty washing cycles, speed cycles for quicker turnaround time, or soak options for especially stubborn cycles. If drying your dishes is important to you, be sure a heated drying cycle is included as well. You can also search for a unit that has a cutlery basket, a dish basket, or a rinse aid dispenser -- whatever features you find in a full-size dishwasher that might be must-haves for your unique family and its needs.

You and your family will love having your evenings free for activities other than washing dishes by hand. Your wallet will enjoy the extra savings from the more energy and water efficient appliance that will be taking your place. There’s something for everyone with the purchase of a new countertop dishwasher, so what are you waiting for? Head into your local appliance store or scour the Internet for your new countertop dishwasher, armed with the knowledge of important product features and specifications to be on the look out for.

Looking for the best countertop dishwasher? Read our latest reviews here: Best Countertop Dishwasher Reviews 2017