So…you’re doing a little research on your next big purchase – a table top dishwasher. First – hats off to you! In our “Let the Buyer Beware” world of transactions, there is nothing more responsible than taking the time to become a well-informed consumer. Secondly – excellent choice! In the realm of appliances, there are few items experiencing a more rapid growth in popularity. With space these days always at a premium, a portable, compact dishwasher can be a very practical addition to any apartment, condo, or even household. We know what you’re thinking – it’s about time you added one of these bad boys to your kitchen arsenal. But before you pull the trigger, here are a few things to consider about your future table top dishwasher.

Two Spray Arms vs. One

Going two spray arms vs. one spray arm really comes down to two factors: price and utility. As you may ascertain, a two spray arm model contains twice as many spray arms as the one armed model. For this reason, it will likely be more expensive. So what do you get for that increase in price? While a one spray arm model will clean 90% of your day-to-day wear, it will struggle to clean off the dried, caked-on type of residue. But the two armed unit? It will slice through that pesky debris like butter. Warm, soft, utterly delicious butter. Recommendation: If you’re the type who likes getting the dishes done right away, one spray arm is probably more than enough. If your life is a bit more hectic, you may want to err on the side of two.

Dry Cycle

If you are familiar only with traditional dishwashers, this next bit may come as somewhat of a surprise. Believe it or not, some benchtop dishwashers do not feature drying capabilities. If you want dry dishes from one of those appliances, they’ll have to be done the old-fashioned way – you know, telling your kids to dry them. Unless the product you are considering explicitly states that it features a dry cycle on the packing, chances are it does not.


One way or another, everything always comes back to size. However, don’t go bigger just for the sake of it. Ask yourself which dishwasher dimensions would be right for you. Traditionally, table top dishwashers are large enough to hold four place settings. Recently, some manufacturers have begun offering larger models that can hold up to eight place settings. Our recommendation: Unless you really think you’ll need the extra space, go with the standard four place setting model. You give up too much portability, storability, and efficiency when opting for the larger model.


EfficiencySPT Countertop DishwasherCredit: Amazon

Speaking of efficiency, you’re looking for it on two fronts – water & energy. Spend a little bit of time comparing efficiency metrics between models. Fun fact: The best built models are usually the most efficient. Note that manufacturers often test their efficiency metrics in conditions that are not representative of real world use. To normalize, add about 20% to the advertised average water & energy consumption.


Koldfront 6 Place Setting Portable Countertop DishwasherCredit: AmazonIt’s no secret that without hot water, it can be difficult to effectively clean your dishes. Therefore, when shopping for a table top dishwasher, pay extra close attention to the quality of the unit’s hot water heater. Since most benchtop dishwashers come with two or three hot water settings, we recommend taking a moment to browse through reviews online. Hone in on any part mentioning heat or hot water. By its very nature, the quality of a dishwasher’s hot water heater is something that cannot be assessed until already purchased and operated. Use the wisdom of other consumers’ triumphs and mistakes to your advantage.


 EdgeStar 6 Place Setting Countertop Portable DishwasherCredit: AmazonPlanning to run your new dishwasher somewhere south of the kitchen sink? If so, make sure purchasing a model with a pump should be on your radar. Since this type of appliance is an independent unit (and therefore not hooked into your plumbing), it will need to be drained after each use. A pump will make this exercise far simpler than the alternative: slurping the dirty water out through a straw. Don’t worry – we’re joking. But seriously, a pump is a worthwhile feature that will be certain to prevent draining headaches down the road. Please make sure your freestanding dishwasher has one.

Congratulations – you are now the newest table top dishwasher expert! Good luck in your hunt for a cool new portable table top dishwasher. You will soon be able to fulfill your childhood dream of having a machine clean your dishes literally anywhere. Now that’s freedom.