Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Countertop Dishwashers For Small Areas

The best countertop dishwashers will clean efficiently while still being small and compact.

by PlumberAndy

Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Countertop Dishwashers For Small Areas

The best countertop dishwashers will clean efficiently while still being small and compact.

by PlumberAndy

by PlumberAndy

Washing dishes by hand can be a tedious chore day after day, and if you get behind the dishes begin to pile up and create an unsightly mess. If your home or apartment doesn't have a full-sized dishwasher, you might feel like your options are limited, but countertop dishwashers can provide a helping hand.

Countertop dishwashers are great for small spaces like apartments, RVs, tiny homes, the office kitchen, and more. They are also an excellent option for people who live alone and don't use enough dishes to justify using a full-sized dishwasher daily.

Do I Need One & How Do They Work?

If you don’t have a lot of kitchen space and you hate washing dishes by hand, then yes, you need a countertop dishwasher. It will probably even become your new best friend. Over in over in the reviews, we've read, the common thread was ‘how did I live so long without this before?'

Countertop dishwashers are miniature, countertop versions of the full-sized appliances installed in many homes. They usually sit reasonably close to your kitchen sink, or on a rolling cart that can be easily moved to the sink. A water hose easily attaches to your sink faucet, and a drainage hose is placed in your sink, and you're in business!

Countertop dishwashers often come with several washing cycles to choose from and generally hold about 4-6 place settings. They are the ideal appliance for small apartments, RVs, cabins, man caves, and more. Many people in lower occupancy households (1 to 3 people) are even turning to countertop dishwashers for their space and water-saving benefits.


The Advantage of Countertop Dishwashers

  • No more hand washing dishes – countertop dishwashers will help save your sink from being filled up with dirty dishes.
  • Fits snugly right on your countertop. Most countertop dishwashers are about the size of a microwave oven and can be moved/stored elsewhere if you choose.
  • Most countertop dishwashers do not need to be hooked up to any permanent plumbing solution and can be used almost seamlessly with the faucet from your sink.
  • Countertop dishwashers use far less water than full-sized dishwashers, which can help you save money. This is especially true for people who live alone or who do not use enough dishes to fill a full-sized dishwashing machine regularly.

Choosing the Right Countertop Dishwasher

Overall Dimensions vs. Available Space

It's essential to measure your counter space before purchasing a countertop appliance. For example, most cabinets are installed 18-20 inches above the countertop, but this is not an absolute requirement. You may find that in your small apartment or RV the clearance is much less.

Even though these countertop appliances are portable, they are not ideal for moving/storing after every use.  

Weight

Most of the countertop dishwashers that we look at in this article range from 40-50 lbs in weight (without the addition of water or dishes). Due to this factor, you might want to consider having someone help you to install the dishwasher initially since it will need to be lifted to counter-height.

We also do not recommend trying to move a fully loaded dishwasher, both because of the added weight and because of the risk of shifting items becoming dislodged or broken within.

Hose Length

Each countertop dishwasher comes with a hose that will attach to your faucet during operation. It’s ideal to keep your countertop dishwasher next to your sink so that your hose is as close as possible, but some people choose to keep their dishwasher on a rolling cart. Most hoses run 4-6 feet in length and should reach your faucet with no problem.

Place Settings (capacity)

Most countertop dishwashers are advertised as holding 4-6 place settings, and this term is used in the most liberal sense as they will not fit the traditional plates, salad bowls, bread plates, coffee cups, and silverware. You can expect your new countertop dishwasher to fit about 4-6 dinner plates, cutlery, and a few glasses or small dishes.

Water Usage

According to this article from CNET, hand-washing your dishes can use up to 27 gallons per dish-load. Yikes! Countertop dishwashers use far less water, with most of the models we looked at ranging from just 3 to 4 gallons in an average wash.

The savings will not only be significant for the environment but will help you save on your water bill as well.

Wash Cycle Selections

Like full-sized dishwashing machines, countertop dishwashers also come with several washing cycles to choose from. Usually, these range from light to heavy loads. With countertop dishwashers, many people have found success with running the "rinse" cycle before a regular cycle using soap.

Sound Level

Most dishwashers have a noise range of 46-60 decibels, but countertop dishwashers tend to sound louder because they don't have the noise buffering that full-sized dishwashers get from being installed within your cabinetry.

Sound is definitely something to consider when purchasing your unit, but you shouldn't have to worry about bothering the neighbors as most units run relatively quietly and will quickly be forgotten like the noises that our refrigerators or ice makers make. 

Delay Feature

Some countertop dishwashers come with a delay feature that allows you to load your dishwasher and set it to start at some point in the future. This is an excellent option if you’re hosting guests and don’t want the background noise of a dishwasher, or if you like to run your dishwasher overnight.

Energy Star Certification

According to Energy.gov, The ENERGY STAR label was established to: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.

Most countertop dishwashers are Energy Star Certified, and their label will tell you how much the unit will cost to run annually (on average.)

Warranty

It is pretty standard for countertop dishwashers to come with at least a one-year warranty, and I would be slightly suspicious of any product offering less than that. Many models come with the option to purchase an extended warranty as well.


7 Best Countertop Dishwashers Reviewed

1. hOmeLabs Compact 

Our #1 Choice

Dimension

(Inches)

21.6 x 19.6 x 17.2 

Weight

44.1 lbs

Water Efficiency

3.3 Gallons per Average Wash

Number of Wash Cycle Options

6

Place Settings

6

Hose Length

64 Inches

Warranty

Yes – 2 Year  + Lifetime Technical Support

The hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher is an excellent choice for a benchtop dishwasher. It has a very sleek and modern design that will fit perfectly on your countertop (or in some cases, even under your sink in the cabinet!)

The unit holds up to 6 table settings and can be used in one of six modes: heavy, normal, ECO, glass, speed, and rinse. I love the ECO mode because I tend to be one of those people who washes their dishes most of the way before putting them in the dishwasher and use the dishwasher mostly for its sanitation properties.

This makes me feel a little bit better about water consumption. This model also has a "delay" function that can allow you to load the dishwasher and start it later.

YouTube reviewer Robert Wilkie says that “this thing is absolutely perfect” and he loves the hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher for use at the bar in his man cave. It is a product you can feel good about trying too, because not only is it affordable but it also comes with a “2-year worry-free warranty” as well as lifetime technical support from hOmelabs, a company known for their outstanding customer service. Extended protection plans are available for purchase as well.

Pros
  • Efficient, compact countertop dishwasher
  • Sleek and modern design
  • An affordable option for countertop dishwasher
  • Comes with a 2-year worry-free warranty
Cons
  • Doesn’t dry as well as some other models
  • Only comes in white

2. SPT SD-2201S

Runner Up

Dimension

(Inches)

21.6 x 19.7 x 17.2 

Weight

48.5 lbs

Water Efficiency

3.8 Gallons per Average Wash

Number of Wash Cycle Options

6

Place Settings

6 – up 10.5” plates

Hose Length

5 ft

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

The SPT Countertop Dishwasher is a close second in our list of best countertop dishwashers on the market today. When reading the reviews, over and over you will see the infamous “why didn’t I buy this sooner?" This SPT model comes in both silver and white to match your kitchen preference, and will stand up to the test of time.

Perhaps the best feature of the SPT Countertop Dishwasher is how tranquil it is. Most countertop and portable dishwashers are known for being much louder than the average full-sized dishwasher because they lack the surrounding noise-buffering walls.

That is not the case with the SPT model at all. It's whisper quiet, and Manhattan apartment approved. 

Amazon user Lola Heart writes, “It's very quiet. Sometimes too quiet, I get paranoid it's not running, but it is, it's just using its indoor voice. There's about a minute total where there's audible noise.”

The SPT Countertop Dishwasher holds up to six place settings. From empty and with a little finagling, users have also found that it holds many different pots and pans as well.

The unit comes with a full 1-year warranty, and from the reviews, we've read we have found that even the people who had a break or issue within the first year would still purchase the same unit again because they liked it so much.

The main reason why we have this as our #2 choice is availability is scarce. This models seems to go in and out of stock a lot.

Pros
  • Whisper quiet dishwasher function
  • 1-year warranty and extended warranty available for purchase
  • Can work with either hot or cold tap water
  • Excellent cleaning and drying capability
Cons
  • 48 lbs when empty – can be a little tricky for some users to move around
  • Some sinks may require additional adaptors to obtain the perfect fit

3. Danby DDW611WLED 

Best Budget Countertop Dishwasher

Dimension

(Inches)

19.7 x 21.6 x 17.2 

Weight

50 lbs

Water Efficiency

3.17 Gallons per Average Wash

Number of Wash Cycle Options

6

Place Settings

6

Hose Length

4-5 ft

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

The Danby DDW611WLED is the best budget countertop dishwasher. If you're sick of doing dishes and want to try a countertop dishwasher for the first time, this Danby model is a safe and affordable bet. It fits perfectly under the cabinets of most countertops, and what is impressive is that the inside doesn't waste any space – it seems so broad! Full-sized (11 inches) dinner plates should be able to fit just perfectly without leaning over. 

Walmart customer ashopper thinks there is no excuse for not getting one of these portable machines. They state, “You think you don't have the space or money for a dishwasher? Wrong! This little beauty sits right on the counter and saves my life day after day.

We have a household of three, and this little beauty is plenty big enough. I can have guests over for dinner, toss the dishes in, and go right back to partying without missing a beat. The ten-minute clean-up is priceless, really.”

The set-up on this model is , and most users have found that they can go from box to cleaning dishes in about 15 minutes flat. If your kitchen sink has anything other than a standard faucet though, you may need to purchase additional adapters for the perfect fit.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly countertop dishwasher
  • Fits up to 6 place settings of full-sized dinner plates
  • Energy Star certified and cost only $24 (average) to run annually
  • Replacement parts are easily accessible online
Cons
  • On the heavier side of portable dishwashers (50 lbs)
  • Full loads may need to run through 2 wash cycles to get completely clean

4. Magic Chef MCSCD6W3 

Best Small Countertop Dishwasher

Dimension

(Inches)

20.4 x 21.7 x 17.2 

Weight

49.5 lbs

Water Efficiency

3.5 Gallons per Average Wash

Number of Wash Cycle Options

6

Place Settings

6

Hose Length

59 Inches

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

The Magic Chef brand is known in most American households for their stoves and ovens, dating back to 1929. Now they have hundreds of products ranging from coffee makers to vacuum sealers to a camouflaged toaster, so we weren’t surprised to find a Magic Chef Countertop Dishwasher on our list.

The Magic Chef MCSCD6W3 is a compact countertop dishwasher. True to the Magic Chef name, it is incredibly easy to use with a handy knob that allows you to choose your setting and electronic controls to get you started. As you can see from the interior pictures of this model, the Magic Chef MCSCD6W3 can hold quite a lot of dishes. 

One of the unique features of this Magic Chef model is its “hygienic residual drying system,” a feature that dries your dishes without pulling unsanitary air from within your home, which means even less time spent on dishes. Amazon reviewer Chris says that the Magic Chef Countertop Dishwater saved her marriage. 

In her review, she writes, “When we got this thing it literally changed my life. It's the perfect size for a small studio like ours. It works super well; we love the speed setting (45-minute cycle).

We used to use powder dishwasher detergent but now we use small pods (totally compatible with them), and it's the best thing ever. My hands are healed, my soul is happy, and my marriage is saved. Best purchase ever.”

Pros
  • Known, trustworthy brand
  • Fits under most cabinets (17.2” tall)
  • Built-in residual drying system
  • Easy to use functions
Cons
  • Nearly 50 lbs when empty
  • Only comes in white

5. DELLA Compact 

Best Rated on Amazon

Dimension

(Inches)

19 x 21.5 x 17 

Weight

53 lbs

Water Efficiency

Not Specified

Number of Wash Cycle Options

6

Place Settings

6

Hose Length

3-4 ft

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

If you don't have a lot of cabinet clearance on your countertop, the DELLA Compact Dishwasher is an excellent place to start because it is only 17 inches tall (about a quarter inch shorter than most standard countertop dishwashers).

It's also one of the only models of countertop dishwashers we've found to come with the option of a black finish, so if you have other black appliances and you are looking for a match, here it is! The DELLA Compact Dishwasher also comes in silver and white, and on all three models, the interior is stainless steel.

The DELLA Compact Dishwasher doesn't have as many reviews as a lot of the other units we've looked at in this article, but there are 35+ reviews on Amazon, and nearly 90% of the reviews are 5-star, which is almost unheard of! 

Amazon reviewer alliecat41 says, “Great quality dishwasher! I was skeptical with the portable dishwashers and how well they work, this will not let you down! Left my dishes spotless.”

Some users said that their only complaint was that the DELLA dishwasher didn’t dry their dishes. I have to chime in here and say that this is likely due to user error. If you use a rinse-aid in the provided compartment, your dishes should be clean and dry every use.

Pros
  • Slightly shorter than other brands for those tight squeeze under-the-cabinet spaces
  • Comes in three different finishes: black, white and silver
  • Light indicators and delay-setting functions
  • Comes with a “quick installation” kit
Cons
  • One of the most cumbersome models of countertop dishwashers
  • Some complaints of a too-small utensil basket

6. Ivation Portable Dishwasher

Best Countertop Dishwasher for RVs

Dimension

 (Inches)

21 x 20 x 17

Weight

50 lbs

Water Efficiency

3 Gallons per Average Wash

Number of Wash Cycle Options

6

Place Settings

6

Hose Length

3 ft

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

We were surprised when we couldn't find more extensive reviews on this little countertop dishwasher by Ivation, because it is truly a great product! It's compact size, and user-friendly set-up make it perfect for any small space, and its short height makes it the ideal dishwashing companion for RVs. 

The reviews we did find said over and over that the product took only 3-5 minutes to set up and one even went as far to say, “I care not to remember life before I owned this.”

The size of the Ivation Countertop Dishwasher is pretty similar to the other compact machines that we've looked at in this article, but the reason I list it as the best countertop dishwasher for RVs is that it is a very quiet appliance and within the enclosed confines of an RV that makes it a difference.

The only time you'll likely even hear this Ivation model is when it is filling up and draining. The agitation on the cleaning cycles is super quiet. This makes it easy to run it overnight while you’re parked/sleeping, and you can wake up to clean dishes (who wouldn’t love that?)

Pros
  • Low height – only 17” tall
  • Very quiet washing cycles
  • Also works great for pots and pans
Cons
  • Only comes in white
  • Slightly more expensive than comparable models

7. Whynter CDW-6831WES

Best Countertop Dishwasher for Apartments/Condos

Dimension

(Inches)

19.8 x 21.8 x 17.2 

Weight

44 lbs

Water Efficiency

2.8 Gallons per Average Wash

Number of Wash Cycle Options

6

Place Settings

6

Hose Length

59 Inches

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

One of the significant complaints of countertop dishwashers, in general, is that you can't fill them as much as you would a regular dishwasher because they won't clean as well or will need to run for two cycles to be efficiently clean.

That is not the case with the Whynter Countertop Dishwasher. You can feel comfortable filling it up and letting it run without pre-washing in the sink. 

On the Home Depot website, user Reaper8496 reports that “This countertop dishwasher has so many different cycles and programs that there isn't any worry that your dishes aren't going to be clean even when you stuff it to the gills.

I have my dishwasher sitting under the sink where it gets its supply and discharge from, and the dishwasher works just fine that way. It has enough oomph to push the water up the line and into the sink with ease. I could not recommend this one enough! Truly a lifesaver.”

The Whynter Countertop Dishwasher is a model that you can purchase for its very modern style, but also be completely satisfied with its functionality. With its LED display, no one would even guess that this isn’t a permanent fixture on your countertop.

Pros
  • The sleek, modern design will look great in any kitchen
  • Truly fits six complete place settings
  • Energy Star Certified
  • A built-in 3-stage filter system
Cons
  • Maximum water temperature slightly less than other models
  • Extended protection plans can be expensive

Installing a Countertop Dishwasher

Thankfully, the hardest part about setting up a countertop dishwasher is lifting the unit (on average 40-50lbs) on top of your counter. The actual set up is generally straightforward and quick, and you can be on your way to clean dishes in as little as 15 minutes.

In fact, many of the models we looked at advertise themselves as “no tools necessary” products. This YouTube video by reviewer BOZO DOES IT shows just how simple it is to hook up your new countertop dishwasher to your faucet tap.

It should be noted that countertop dishwashers are made to hook-up to standard faucets. Many of the newer, “fancier” faucets on the market today will require an additional adapter.


Instructions for Countertop Dishwasher Use in 7 Easy Steps

  • 1
    Make sure your countertop dishwasher is close to your sink and plugged into a standard outlet.
  • 2
    Attach the hose to the adapter on your kitchen faucet and make sure that your sink’s drain is open/clear to receive the drainage water.
  • 3
    Fill your countertop dishwasher with dishes and soap/rinse aid.
  • 4
    Turn your tap ON so that your dishwasher can access the water.
  • 5
    Use the controls on your dishwasher to choose your wash cycle and press START.
  • 6
    When the cycle is complete, turn your tap OFF.
  • 7
    Your dishes are now clean! You can empty your dishwasher and disconnect from your sink faucet until your next use.

Converting a Countertop Dishwasher to a Built-in

Most countertop dishwashers are easily connected to your faucet with an attached hose when you want to use them and therefore are not permanent fixtures. In many cases, though, the dishwasher can be installed as a permanent fixture.

Usually, when this happens, it is because the consumer wants to create a "built-in" dishwasher by adding it under a cabinet near the sink like a full-sized dishwasher. If this is something you're considering, you'll want to make sure you choose a product that only has buttons on the front-facing panel.

You will also need to do a little more work to create a permanent plumb-line to your appliance under your sink. For more information on how to achieve this look, check out this article from SFGate.


Cleaning & Maintenance

Cleaning and maintaining your countertop dishwasher from time to time will help extend the life of your product. To properly maintain your dishwasher, you will need to remove any build-up. If you have hard water, over time, you may begin to notice orangish marks on the inside walls of your appliance.

This mineral build-up that, if not removed, will get worse over time and break down your machine. Using a citric acid cleanser like GE Citric Acid Cleaner will help wash away these minerals and keep you running smoothly.

As the first line of defense you might even try using a lemonade mix or Tang – as the acid in these drink mixes is often enough to clean small amounts of build-up. Using the hottest cycle simultaneously will also help properly sanitize the dishwasher.

Other than cleaning your dishwasher regularly, check often to make sure that your drain and drainage hose is clear of any debris.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I be sure that the countertop dishwasher I will be buying will fit full-size plates?

Most countertop dishwashers are designed to hold full-sized dinner plates and around 4 to 6 place settings. To make sure, it's best to measure your desired plates ahead of time and compare with the specifications of the countertop dishwashing model.

What is the difference between portable and countertop dishwasher? Or are they the same thing?

Portable dishwashers are usually full-sized dishwashers that can be stored away when not in use and moved in front of the sink when you want to use a full load. These units often represent a small kitchen island and can offer additional counter space. Countertop dishwashers are much smaller units that sit atop your counter. 

Do I need a plumber to hook up a countertop dishwasher or is it something I can easily do myself?

The consumer can easily install most countertop dishwashers and come with a handy adapter that attaches to your kitchen sink. 

Can I have the countertop dishwasher installed anywhere in the kitchen?

You can store your countertop dishwasher anywhere within a kitchen, but while in use it will need to be next to a water source (your sink).

How do I know what size dishwasher to buy?

The size of dishwasher you purchase will depend mostly upon how much room you have in your kitchen, whether or not you have space to store a full-sized portable dishwasher, and how many dishes you use per day.


Conclusion

Aren't we lucky to live in a day and age where any small space can have access to a dishwashing machine, and we can ditch hand-washing all together? Overall, the consensus on countertop dishwashers is that once you have one, you'll wonder how you ever lived without one.

We hope with our research that you can find the right countertop dishwasher for your need. Our top pick for countertop dishwashers is the hOmeLabs Compact model. It’s so popular that stores are having trouble keeping it on the shelves.

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