The humble dishwasher has been a must-have part of western kitchens for decades. The single most important benefit of these machines is that they save us from having to do the dishes after we eat. Most of us desire to be a great cook but none of us see the washing up as anything other than a chore.

Believe it or not, the first dishwasher was actually patented way back in 1850, by an American named Joel Houghton. It was a hand-cranked device that relied on water being sprayed over the dishes with the remaining free hand. The design was really labor intensive and sadly not that effective at removing dirt.

Well, things have certainly moved on since then. Thanks to modern engineering and scientific discoveries such as our ability to harness the power of electricity, modern dishwashers are sophisticated machines that often take months and sometimes years to design. They have inbuilt computers and complex cleaning systems that ensure that not only will all your dishes be clean, but will be free of germs as well.

The big problem with dishwashers is that they take up so much space. Most dishwashers are the size of a washing machine so many people, who lack space, simply don’t have the room for one. Well, the good news is that now there is a solution to this problem, and that is the countertop dishwasher.
Countertop dishwashers are small enough to fit on most countertops throughout the kitchen. Though lacking the capacity of their larger cousins, countertop dishwashers allow those people who lack the room the chance to join in with the 21st century and have their dishes washed for them.

How to find the best countertop dishwasher

Before you buy a dishwasher there are a number of things you should consider.

Space

The first thing you need to keep in mind is space. Ask yourself the question, “do I really have space for this?” before you start. Even a countertop dishwasher takes up a fair amount of space in a small kitchen, so you will need to be realistic about if you actually have room. Unlike electric cookers or microwaves, these dishwashers don’t get very hot on the outside and so can have things permanently placed on top of them.
To make sure your new dishwasher will fit, be sure to check the product’s listing to find out its exact dimensions.

Capacity

Most countertop dishwashers have a 6 standard place capacity. This means that the dishwasher will have the capacity to fit 6 sets of all the cutlery, mugs, and dishes that you would expect 6 people to use at dinner. You would be surprised how much you can actually cram in there but might find yourself a little frustrated if you are washing regularly for a larger family. If you do have a large family then it might be better to stick to a large dishwasher.

Price

Though you can get these smaller dishwashers for as little as $100, most of the cheaper models are garbage and should be avoided. A good quality dishwasher will cost around $200, so this is definitely the minimum amount you should consider budgeting. If you do need to get a sub $200 model, then make sure you go with a well-respected brand name to ensure it will be good quality.

Ease of use

When it comes to using your new dishwasher, it is really helpful if you can get the hang of the controls as fast as possible. Fortunately, most designs have a simple set of controls that allow the machine to be up and running with only a few pushes of a button.

Be warned that some designs are more complicated as their control panels are a little overdesigned. The aim of this is to allow for more precise control of the wash as well as the ability to use preset modes too. The soundest advice is to stick to the simpler designs as they are easier to operate.

Energy rating

Increasingly, with energy prices getting higher and higher, and with many of us worried about what our lifestyles are doing to the environment, our minds turn to the amount of energy that our appliances are using.

All electrical appliances are rated according to their energy consumption. Energy Star is an internationally recognized standard used to reward energy efficient consumer products. It was originally set up in the United States as a way to let consumers know which are the most energy efficient electronic devices on the market. Typically, any product that displays the Energy Star logo is between 10% – 20% more efficient than similar products that don’t have this award. Keep an eye out for the Energy Star logo on dishwasher’s product listings and be sure to check their efficiency rating as well.

For more information on the Energy Star energy standard, you can take a look at the government website by clicking this link.

How to use a countertop dishwasher?

The great news about these kinds of dishwashers is that they are really easy to use. You only need to place them on a countertop that is near enough to a tap and drain that you can connect them to both. Like their larger cousins, these dishwashers require a clean water supply going in and a place for the dirty water supply to drain out.

As a result, they use a quick connect adapter that allows the dishwasher to be connected via a pipe to any standard kitchen faucet. They have a second pipe for wastewater that only needs to be placed into a sink or drain to let the water run out. You will also need to ensure that the dishwasher is plugged into a mains power outlet, and as soon as you have done so your new dishwasher will be ready to go.

You can expect each cycle to use about 3 gallons of water which is actually less than if you were hand washing the dishes yourself. A nice thing to note about this type of dishwasher is due to their size, they can be either stored away or left permanently in the kitchen.

Our top countertop dishwashers


Our Top Choice
hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher

 

This bestselling dishwasher from hOmeLabs is Energy Star approved and comes with the option of having it professionally installed. It fits snuggly into most styles of kitchens thanks to its really classy design.  It has a 6 standard place setting capacity so provided you use it regularly, you won’t find yourself running out of clean plates anytime soon.

The controls are really simple to get the hang of too. 4 buttons that control power, mode, timer and start/stop are all you need to get the hang of. It has a nice and simple display that illuminates various symbols to tell you what setting you are on. There are 6 different wash cycles that include Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, Speed, and Soak, meaning that no matter what you put in it to clean, it has a program to give the best clean.

All this and a competitive price tag make this great dishwasher really hard to beat.


  • Best Seller
  • Comes with the option to have it professionally installed
  • Easy to use
  • High quality
  • Good looking design

  • Faucet adapter doesn’t fit some faucets



Westland DWV322CB Black 115 Volt Space-Saving Countertop Dishwasher

Westland DWV322CB

This is another excellent dishwasher that combines a big 6-piece place capacity with Energy Star approved efficiency. To give you some idea of just how efficient this dishwasher is, it uses between 2.4 and 4.2 gallons of water per wash. The exact amount it uses depends on the type of clean you select, with light rinses being by far the most water efficient. The unit allows you to select from 6 different wash settings and has a really handy Delay Start feature that allows you to set a wash cycle up to 24 hours in advance.


  • 6-piece place settings
  • Uses only 2.4 to 4.2 gallons of water
  • 6 wash cycles
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Energy Star approved

  • Would be nice it is was available in another color other than black



SPT Countertop Dishwasher, White

 

Available in a silver or white finish, this design features a long-lasting stainless steel interior and a really effective faucet adapter. Its control panel is perhaps not the best looking of the bunch but in the end, still gets the job done.

It has 6 place settings capacity and comes with 6 preprogrammed wash cycles. As with most dishwashers, the rack can feel a little bit sticky at times pushing it in when it is fully loaded, but otherwise, it is really hard to find fault with this great dishwasher.


  • 6 standard
  • place settings capacity
  • Durable
  • Good controls
  • Easy to fill detergent and rinse agent dispenser
  • Good faucet adapter
  • 6 wash cycles

  • Rack can feel a little sticky
  • Longer wash cycle than other designs



Ensue Countertop Dishwasher Portable Compact Dishwashing Machine

 

This design features a not too glamorous but really easy to use control panel that anyone can get the hang of in a matter of seconds. It uses simple LED lights to indicate when the dishwasher is on and which of its 6 cycles it is set to run.

This is another Energy Star certified appliance that has an estimated yearly run cost of just $25, or 203 kWh of electricity. Given all the wasted water it will be saving you from not having to do hand washing, this great dishwasher could very well end up saving you money over the course of the year, something that is always a welcomed bonus.


  • 6 Dishwasher cycles
  • Energy Star Certified
  • Well-made
  • Clear control panel

  • Normal wash takes 110 minutes



Danby DDW621WDB Countertop Dishwasher

This brand new model has only just been released and is already scoring really well in terms of customer satisfaction. The drawback of this is that there are currently long expected delivery times, which is probably enough to put many people off buying one.

The dishwasher has a 6 place capacity and has a low water consumption of up to 3.1 gallons per wash. While there are better dishwashers available in this price bracket, in general, this is a good all-round dishwasher that is easy to get the hang of using.


  • 6 place setting capacity
  • Energy star compliant
  • Low water consumption
  • 6 wash cycles

  • LED control panel is a little bit confusing at first
  • Reliability not as good as older model



Magic Chef MCSCD6W3 6 Place Setting Countertop Dishwasher

It might be a little more expensive than the other designs featured here, but the Magic Chef MCSCD6W3 is definitely worth considering. Coming in a white finish, it does feel like it features a few too many symbols and buttons on the front for its own good. Provided this does not put you off, this is otherwise a really good dishwasher that will certainly last for many years to come.

It has 5 pre-program wash settings and a really useful anti-flood switch that is a godsend for those times when would otherwise overfill and flood water out all over your kitchen. It comes with long inlet and outlet hoses and has a detergent dispenser that is easy to refill.


  • 6 Place Settings
  • 5 Program wash settings
  • Anti-flood switch
  • Easy to access detergent dispenser
  • Good sized inlet and outlet hose

  • More complicated control panel
  • Not as energy efficient



EdgeStar DWP61ES 6 Place Setting Countertop Portable Dishwasher

The last of our dishwashers is this nice design from EdgeStar. A key feature that is really unique about this model is that it comes with a child lock to prevent your little one opening it while it is still hot inside. This feature alone makes this a design seriously worth considering for all those parents out there who have children who are a little too inquisitive for their own good.

The EdgeStar DWP61ES is a really good dishwasher. It cleans all but the toughest stains with little to no problem at all and has a heavy wash cycle that also eliminates germs and bacteria by heating the water to temperatures of around 149 degrees Fahrenheit. The great news is that it is also another energy efficient design too.


  • 6 different wash cycles
  • Delayed start function
  • Six standard places setting capacity
  • Child lock
  • Quite design
  • Comes with a 5-foot hose

  • Hard to get big plates to fit