What Is A Portable Dishwasher?

A portable dishwasher is just like the ordinary dishwasher, except it has swivel casters for mobility. The wheels allow you to roll the dishwasher to your kitchen sink whenever you need it and store it back away when you are done using it.

Portable dishwashers are a great solution for people renting apartments without dishwashers or those in small kitchen spaces like RVs or boats, and the good thing is you can take it along with you whenever you shift.

Are portable dishwashers worth it?

To help you determine if portable dishwashers are worth buying, we will compare their benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits 

Here are the benefits that you will get when you purchase one of these units:

  • They work in almost any space

Nowadays, only older homes might have cabinets that are roomy enough to accommodate built-in dishwashers without needing to modify or plumbing. However, with a portable dishwasher, you enjoy the benefits of a built-in without making any changes to your kitchen space or going through the hassle of plumbing.

  • They are perfect for small households

If you have a smaller hold with only small loads of dirty dishes each day, a portable dishwasher may be a better option than traditional built-ins because it will get the work done with lesser water, energy, and space.

  • They save you money

Portable dishwashers usually cost a bit less than most built-ins, countertop, or drawer dishwashers. 

The price of most portable dishwashers is about $390 to $690, while built-in and drawer dishwashers go for about $1000 for midrange models and $2000 for high-end models.

Also, unlike other home appliances that are always on, portable dishwashers only consume water and electricity during use, so they are very energy efficient and help reduce energy consumption and costs.

  • They save space

The most compact built-in or countertop dishwasher still takes about 18 inches of your cabinet space. But a portable dishwasher saves you all of your cabinet space and even adds you more because you can use the top as a kitchen workspace. In fact, most portable dishwashers have a handy butcher block top.

Drawbacks

  • Limits access to the sink

A portable dishwasher connects to your sink during use, so, unfortunately, you will not be able to use the sink. But, since it’s only temporarily, it should be a minor inconvenience.

  • You have to move it every time once the cycle is done

Since you have to roll the dishwasher closer to the sink, this may be tedious depending on where you store it. But, if you keep it in a corner in the kitchen or the pantry, it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

  • Noisy

Portable dishwashers are noisier compared to all others. This is mainly because there is nothing to muffle the sound, unlike built-ins that are housed inside cabinets. Still, some models have noise levels as low as 34 DBS, with most of them running in mid 50 DBS and will let you have a conversation even when running.

Verdict

Portable dishwashers are valuable investments that save you money and effectively meet your cleaning needs, just like built-ins. The drawbacks are only minor and shouldn’t deter you from getting one of these units.

How portable dishwasher works

A portable dishwasher has wheels, a special fitting called a unicouple with two hose pipes and an electric cord tucked in the back. It also comes with a special adapter to screw into your kitchen faucet. The unicouple fitting has two ends for water in and out. The two hoses connect the unicouple fitting to the dishwasher. And just like the standard dishwasher, an electric timer activates the water valve and circulating pump to regulate the filling, washing, and draining functions.

To use, you roll the unit close to the kitchen sink and connect the unicouple to the faucet. However, you will need to screw the adapter into the faucet first so the unicouple can hook securely. After that, turn on the hot water, plug into an outlet, load the dishes, and that’s it!

Once the cycle is done, you unplug from power and disconnect the uncouple fitting from the faucet (by pressing the button on the side). You can then store away the hose and electric cord in their compartment as before.

How does a portable dishwasher drain?

Dirty water is activated to start draining from the portable dishwasher by a timer-controlled pump. It is taken out through a hose and drains into your sink from one end of the uncouple fitting.

A portable dishwasher drains into your sink and down the disposer with the help of a hose, a faucet adaptor, and an essential connection piece called a unicouple. The unicouple ensures the drain is not overpowered and that the appliance has the water it needs to operate. When water needs to be drained from the appliance, it’ll travel through the hose and into your sink’s disposer.

Now that you know how a portable dishwasher works and its benefits, here are the best portable dishwashers in the market that you can choose from.

Reviews of the Best Portable Dishwashers Available in 2022

GE GPT145SSLSS

The GE dishwasher is our best overall portable dishwasher as it checks most of our boxes. It has a stainless steel interior and exterior, sleek look, and excellent performance. Steel blades rotate at 3,600 RPM to pulverize and then wash away food particles, leaving your dishes clean, dry, sanitized, and cupboard ready.

The 18 inch is perfect for the needs of the small to medium family as it doesn’t take much kitchen space, and with 8 space settings, it can easily fit all their dirty dishes in a single load. The controls are hidden on top to prevent curious toddlers from accidentally starting a wash cycle.

This machine is Energy Star compliant, so it’s very efficient on energy and water. Plus, it does its thing quietly at 52 decibels to let you talk or watch TV in peace.

The only downside is that there are only three cycles to choose from: normal, auto-sense, and heavy. Still, reviewers find that it cleans as great as some high-end models and dries better than its peers.

The GE portable dishwasher is ideal if you are looking for quality and reliable performance. You can check to see if it’s available and pricing on Amazon here.

Features 

Dimensions: 25.38 x 18 x 36 inches (L x W x H)

dBA: 52 decibels 

Capacity: 8 place settings

Cycles: 3

Pros

  • Stainless steel interior and exterior
  • Eight place settings
  • Quiet operation
  • Cleans thoroughly and dries properly

Cons 

  • Limited cycle selection
  • Expensive than its competitors

SPT SD-9263SSA Stainless Steel 18″ Energy Star Portable Dishwasher

This SPT dishwasher is Energy Star qualified, which means it’s kinder on the environment and provides you with year-round energy bill savings. It has an Eco program that you can use to reduce energy consumption and water usage.

The upper rack is adjusted to let you fit everything you use in one load, reducing the number of times you need to run this appliance, saving you time, effort, and money. It has an eight-place setting, so you can also throw in your pans and pots.

Despite such large capacity, this compact machine only takes 18 square inches of floor space, making it a great choice for kitchens with small space.

It has 6 cycles, including the heavy cycle that cleans larger loads thoroughly while maintaining its low 52 decibel sound rating. A rinse aid warning indicator also reminds you when it needs a refill.

The SPT 18 inch is a great option if you are looking for a dishwasher that will work efficiently and reduce your energy bills in the process. You can check to see if it’s available on Amazon here.

Features

Dimensions: 23.63 x 17.64 x 35.63 inches (L x W x H)

dBA: 52 decibels 

Capacity: 8 place settings

Cycles: 6

Pros

  • Stainless steel interior and exterior
  • Eco-friendly setting
  • Operates quietly
  • The upper rack adjusts to fit larger plates and pots

Cons 

  • The poor quality hose that breaks easily

Black+Decker Compact Countertop Dishwasher BCD6W

If you are short on space, we recommend the Black+Decker Compact Countertop Dishwasher. At 21 inches high, this compact unit easily fits on your counter next to the sink for easy loading and unloading without taking up floor space.

It features a sleek stainless finish that will look good along with the rest of your décor. The interior is spacious with enough room to hold a six-place setting and a cutlery basket. Its noise level is 60 decibels, so it’s a bit loud compared.

This dishwasher has seven wash settings for all your cleaning needs, including Normal, Intensive, Eco, Glass, 90 Minutes, Rapid, and Soak. It’s also impressive that it has a delay start feature and child safety lock-these are uncommon for countertop models.

The control panel has an LCD display that you can see from a distance and tell you important details like what cycle the washer is on and how much time is remaining for convenience.

If you are looking for a portable countertop model that is functional and stylish at a great price, the Black+Decker Compact dishwasher is the best deal. It’s available for purchase on Amazon here, and the price is fantastic.

Features 

Dimensions: 21.7 x 21.5 x 17.2 inches (L x W x H)

dBA: 60 decibels 

Capacity: 6 place settings

Cycles: 7

Pros

  • Delayed start option
  • Cutlery basket
  • Easy-grip handle
  • Affordable pricing

Cons

  • Some complaints about leaks

Farberware FDW05ASBWHA Portable Dishwasher with Built-In Water Tank

Other portable dishwashers on this list must be hooked up to your kitchen faucet, but not this Farberware model. It comes with a 5-liter built-in tank giving you total freedom to wash your dishes whenever and wherever you need.

It’s a nice, small, portable dishwasher that will meet the cleaning needs of a small hold. Five customizable wash programs allow you to get everything from your dirty plates, glassware, baby bottles, and fruits clean and germ-free. The rapid wash will wash your cups and bowls clean speedily in just 40 minutes. And you can use either gel liquid or detergent tabs, whatever you have on hand!

If you don’t know which portable dishwasher to choose, we can tell you that you can go wrong with this Farberware dishwasher model. It’s highly versatile to meet all your needs, has great performance, and is well rated. If interested, click this link to see if it’s available on Amazon and pricing.

Features

Dimensions: 17.3 x 16.5 x 17.3 inches (L x W x H)

dBA: 62 decibels 

Capacity: 2 place settings

Cycles: 5

Pros

  • Can fit in almost any kitchen countertop
  • Rapid wash setting
  • Has fruit wash setting
  • Can use detergent tabs
  • Has a storage water tank, doesn’t need to be connected to a faucet

Cons

  • Only two place settings
  • Can be very noisy
  • Has a plastic exterior

Danby DDW621WDB Countertop Dishwasher

For smaller kitchens or RVs, this portable dishwasher is excellent as it sits on the countertop and doesn’t require much space. Installation is simple as it comes with a kit and a drain hose to fit most faucets and you won’t have to buy extra pieces.

Despite its compact size, it holds six place settings and includes a basket for your cutlery. Both the exterior and interior boast a high-quality steel finish that looks attractive and easy to clean.

The Danby dishwasher has six washing programs to provide thorough cleaning to all your dinner plates, mugs, and cookware. It runs very quietly at 52 decibels.

The Danby dishwasher is a great option for a low price with everything you need from high-quality steel interior, great capacity, and performance. Check to see if it’s available on Amazon here.

Features 

Dimensions: (L x W x H) 19.69 x 21.65 x 17.24 inches

dBA: 52 

Capacity: 6 place settings

Cycles: 6

Pros

  • Operates quietly
  • Has stainless steel interior and exterior
  • Comes with an installation kit
  • Can accommodate large plates
  • Wide range of settings

Cons 

  • Doesn’t dry well

RCA RDW 3208 Countertop Dishwasher

At just 34dBA, the RCA dishwasher is the quietest on this list and one of the quietest models on the market. When you are living in a small space, a noisy dishwasher can seem all the louder and are very annoying. That’s why we recommend doing yourself a favor and considering getting the RCA 3208 dishwasher. 

Performance-wise, this compact dishwasher is excellent so long as the utensils can fit. It has all the nice features, such as a hard food filter and heated drying system to ensure impeccable cleaning, sanitization, and drying. That said, you might find some droplets left since it doesn’t dry as efficiently as a full-size dishwasher, but it’s still it’s one of the best cleanings and drying portable dishwashers. 

It has a stainless steel interior with six place settings and comes at great pricing. You can check here to see if it’s available on Amazon and the pricing. 

Features

Dimensions: (L x W x H) 23.81 x 21.85 x 19.8 inches

dBA: 34 decibels 

Capacity: 6 place settings

Cycles: 6

Pros

  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Large setting selection
  • Has a hard food filter
  • Affordable pricing

Cons 

  • Doesn’t fit larger plates and cookware
  • Needs quite a bit of counter space compared
  • Plastic exterior

How to connect a portable dishwasher to pull down faucet

Ideally, portable dishwashers are not designed to be connected to pull-down faucets. They have a hose that connects to faucets that have a threaded faucet, not those with sprayers.

But there is a way you can get around this challenge if your kitchen faucet has a pull-down design. Note you may need to alter your sink and have handy skills or hire someone handy.

To connect, you will need to remove the faucet cover that creates a spray and install an adapter. And before you start, it’s important that you contact the sink’s manufacturer just to see if it’s possible. Otherwise, the sprayer might end up getting damaged.

If that is not an option, the only way is to permanently plumb the dishwasher. More details on this later on in the Faqs section.

How to attach portable dishwasher to sink

Attaching your portable dishwasher to a sink is easy.

  • Start by loosening the aerator from your kitchen sink faucet and store it away safely
  • Screw the special faucet adapter that was included with your portable dishwasher onto the threaded faucet 
  • Turn on the hot water and allow it to run until it’s hot to the touch then turn the water off.
  • Draw the dishwasher next to the kitchen sink
  • Pull the hoses from their storage compartment and align the collar end of the hose directly beneath the adapter on the kitchen faucet. Snap the collar ring to the faucet adapter by pushing the collar ring downwards onto the faucet.

How to clean portable dishwasher

Your portable dishwasher can accumulate food debris and detergent, causing bad smells, grime, and reduced efficiency when cleaning your dishes.

One way to clean it is using vinegar. Vinegar is an acid that effectively breaks down grime, scum and gets rid of bad smells. Plus its non-toxic and gentle on the steel or plastic component of the dishwasher machine.

What you need

  1. 2-3 cups of distilled white vinegar
  2. Dishwasher safe bowl
  3. Cleaning brush
  4. Spray bottle
  5. Washcloth

What to do

  1. Empty the food residues in the dishwasher filter and scrub it under warm water with a cleaning brush to remove any gunk in the nooks and crannies. Then put it back.
  2. Fill out two to three cups of distilled white vinegar and place the bowl on the upper rack or at the bottom if that’s where it will fit. Ensure there are no other items in the dishwasher. 
  3. Run the machine on the hottest setting to remove any build-up, grime, and sanitize the machine.
  4. Once the cycle is finished, fill your spray bottle with one part vinegar and one part water. Spray the diluted vinegar on the inside of the dishwasher on any parts where you can see dirt and residue and gently scrape away the dirt with the cleaning brush.
  5. Once you are done with the inside, you can use an all-purpose detergent to clean the dishwasher frame, detergent dispenser, and exterior. Scrub any stubborn spots and wipe with a damp cloth to have your dishwasher sparkling clean in and out.

Portable dishwasher with a water tank

If you are looking for a portable dishwasher with a water tank, the Faberware is ideal as it comes with a built-in 5-liter water tank to sort your cleaning needs at home and when away from home.

Its compact design is convenient for small kitchens in RVs, boats, vacation cottages, etc.

With six place settings and five cleaning programs, the Faberware portable dishwasher does a great job of cleaning all your dirty dishes and fruits. You can get it here on Amazon.

24-inch portable dishwasher

If you have bigger loads, an 18 inch might not be ideal for your family and in this case, the SD-6513W 24 inch dishwasher by SPT makes a better choice. If you buy this unit, you will also be saving on your energy bills since it’s Energy Star certified.

It has a streamlined steel exterior and interior, 10 place setting capacity, and 6 wash cycles including heavy, normal, rapid, eco, glass, and 90 minutes. There is a delayed timer and rinse aid warning indicator for convenience. And it operates quietly at 52 decibels.

Reviewers report that it cleans impeccably and dries them thoroughly. Check reviews for yourself and pricing here on Amazon.

Faqs

Do portable dishwashers use a lot of water?

Portable dishwashers use less water compared to hand washing. They use as little as 3 gallons/11 liters per load compared to 27 gallons/100 liters of water if washing by hand.

Can a portable dishwasher be permanently installed?

Yes, all portable dishwashers can be connected to a water source and drain permanently. But, keep in mind some models can’t be permanently installed as under-counter dishwashers as it depends on the design of the dishwasher- whether loading is done at the top or front and the placement of the control panel if it’s located at the top, front, or side. Obviously, you will need a plumber for this.

Can a portable dishwasher be converted to a built-in?

Yes, but not all. Portable dishwashers that load from the top and have top controls cannot be converted to built-in dishwashers that sit under your counter. You would need a plumber to make a hole through your countertop for the hose and connect it to your sink plumbing. And, you may need a professional countertop installer to make the hole if your countertop of made of granite or marble to avoid cracking.

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