A communal dinner fills your evening hours with fun, but clearing the sink full of soiled dishes can spoil the experience. Moreover, installing a fitted dishwasher in your kitchenette or compact RV may send chills down your spine. This point is where a portable dishwasher comes in.
Any portable dishwasher, including the cheap brands, can deliver the performance and convenience you want with minimal impact on your kitchen space.
This device comes with almost similar components as its traditional built-in counterpart, only that it’s scaled down for limited space. It’s ideal for small apartments, campers, or caravans.
But different brands offer varying experiences with their portable dishwasher models. And with many options available, making an informed buying decision can be difficult. Fortunately, this detailed piece will guide you appropriately.
Table Of Contents
- 1 How Do Portable Dishwashers Work?
- 2 Is A Mini Dishwasher Worth It?
- 3 Considerations When Looking For A Portable Dishwasher
- 4 Our Top Picks for Best Portable Dishwashers
- 5 Best Overall Portable Dishwasher
- 6 Best Premium Portable Dishwasher
- 7 Best Smallest Portable Dishwasher
- 8 Best Countertop Portable Dishwasher
- 9 Best Portable Dishwasher with Water Tank
- 10 Best Portable Dishwasher On Wheels
- 11 Best Portable Dishwasher For Camping and RVs
- 12 Best Portable Dishwasher FAQs
- 12.1 Is There a Dishwasher That Doesn’t Require Plumbing?
- 12.2 Where Does the Dirty Water Go in a Portable Dishwasher?
- 12.3 Do You Need Hot Water for a Portable Dishwasher?
- 12.4 Can I Use Cold Water with My Portable Dishwasher?
- 12.5 How Do You Hook Up a Portable Dishwasher?
- 12.6 When Should I Disconnect the Water on My Portable Dishwasher?
How Do Portable Dishwashers Work?
A portable dishwasher is precisely what its name suggests: a perfect cutlery washing machine for mobility. It’s placed chiefly on casters for easy rolling into the kitchen for use and away for storage. The device uses a timer-controlled pump and hose to drain used water into the sink.
A portable dishwasher’s mechanism involves spraying hot water onto soiled cutlery before a computerized system agitates and washes them fast. It fills and drains through a unicouple, a special fitting that connects to the washer via two hoses.
The device also has an electric timer that activates a circulating pump and electrically-controlled water waves to regulate fill, wash, and drain functions. You’ll first attach the fitting to your sink faucet, turn on the water heater, plug in your machine, and load the dishes.
Once cleaning stops, the drain valve opens, and the timer reverses the pump to expel wash water to the unicouple fitting’s discharge outlet and then into the sink. This cycle repeats with clear water for rinsing.
Related: How Many Amps Does a Dishwasher Use?
Does A Portable Dishwasher Waste Water?
Portable dishwashers constantly spray water, giving the impression that it’s wasteful. However, an efficient device uses way less water than manual cleaning.
Sink cleaning a single load requires up to 27 gallons. On the other hand, an Energy Star-certified machine can consume as little as three gallons under similar circumstances, helping you save up to 5,000 gallons annually.
How Long Does A Portable Dishwasher Take To Wash Dishes?
A dishwasher can take 1.5 to four hours to complete a wash cycle. This duration varies based on the brand, features, capacity, and cycle. Intensive or heavy cycles may take longer than eco or standard cycles. Moreover, countertops and freestanding dishwashers are typically quicker than their built-in counterparts.
Can You Run A Portable Dishwasher Overnight?
Yes, you can leave your portable on and head to bed. Once it’s done, the auto power-off feature will take effect; hence you don’t have to stay up to shut it down, turn off the water, or disconnect the hose.
Is A Mini Dishwasher Worth It?
The primary attraction to a portable dishwasher is its ability to simplify your dishwashing routine. It also tends to be lighter and smaller than a built-in machine, so you’ll have an easier time doing chores and transporting it.
It makes it ideal for someone who frequently switches homes or owns a tiny kitchen. Moreover, the device works by spraying hot water on your soiled items, so they can complete the job fast without damaging your dishes or compromising their surface condition.
A portable dishwasher can also come through if your space doesn’t allow you to install a full-sized appliance or if you live in an apartment complex. And if time is never enough, the device can reduce your cleaning hours significantly.
Lastly, a portable dishwashing machine is a practical and efficient way to clear a pile of dishes. You’ll use less water than when you do it manually, and the energy costs are significantly lower than what you’d spend with a fixed dishwasher.
Considerations When Looking For A Portable Dishwasher
The market is currently filled with vast dishwasher options, and it can be challenging to choose what you need. These considerations will guide you if you’re having a hard time figuring out the suitable portable dishwasher for your space:
Portable dishwashers are available in diverse shapes and sizes. Each type has its strengths, weaknesses, and ideal setups, and knowing what you need can guide you in choosing the right type. Generally, portable dishwashers fall into these two categories:
As the name suggests, this appliance sits on your kitchen countertop, and you can keep it when it’s not in use. It’s generally smaller and can only clean a few place settings simultaneously. However, it’s power- and water-efficient, consuming only 2 gallons or 7.5 liters per cycle.
A freestanding dishwasher is relatively larger than its countertop equivalent. It moves on rollers and has sufficient room to handle as much as its built-in counterpart. While it consumes less power than the latter, it’s less energy-efficient than the countertop dishwasher and has a higher water consumption rate of three gallons or 11.4 liters per cycle.
Go for the countertop version if you don’t have sufficient storage space. However, it’s not ideal if you have minimal counter space next to the sink since you must use it in this position.
If you have limited space yet need a dishwasher, you can go the multipurpose way. Choose a freestanding one with a butcher-block top that also serves as an island besides handling your greasy dishes.
Size is a crucial consideration for a portable dishwasher. The two primary sizes are the 18-inch compact portable dishwasher and its 24-inch full-size counterpart.
The compact dishwasher is the most space-saving option, but it requires multiple loads to complete a wash cycle. Perfect for couples or a family of three, the 18-inch appliance can fit the tiniest spaces, but you shouldn’t expect much from it.
On the other hand, full-sized dishwashers are much more common. The standard 24-incher can be ideal for a family of four, but other size indicators also matter. However, their primary disadvantage is that they hog more space. This feature can be a deal-breaker, considering the essence of a portable device is maximum space economy.
Despite being portable by definition, ease of movement varies significantly between brands.
Typically, standalone dishwashers can weigh up to 50 pounds. So ask yourself whether you’re ready for constant rolling to and from the washing space. The bulkiness can be a huge setback if you have a resistive surface or if you have to climb a step from its storage location to the sink.
Also, anyone who keeps shifting residences or living arrangements can find the 10 – 50-pound countertop option ideal. While the feather-light models may have limited capacity and quality, choosing something that’s working and easy to move around is practical.
Modern portable dishwashers are pretty quiet compared to older versions. You’ll even find some offering special “silent modes” that aren’t entirely soundless but significantly less noisy.
Usually, this device lacks hidden piping for water disposal, so it must create some noise when expelling wash water into the sink. Thus, consider one with the lowest noise (or decibel) rating possible.
The portable dishwasher you choose shouldn’t exceed 55 dB (decibels), similar to a microwave. A 60 or 65 dB dishwasher is loud enough to cause a nuisance, so stick within the recommended limit.
Most portable dishwashers work by connecting to a hot water source, so consider whether you can provide that. Your dishwasher’s coupling mechanism may not be compatible with your faucet, and a threaded one can be a great alternative.
Some machines have adapters, but these don’t usually align with most decorative faucets or those fitted with sprayers. Therefore, always ascertain its adapter agreement and the taps compatible with your preferred machine’s hose coupler.
Lastly, you want sufficient features to address your specific dishwashing needs. But what are the most crucial features of a portable dishwasher? Let’s explore the essential capabilities to consider:
- Adjustable dish racks – Racks that you can reconfigure or that come with flexible tines will ensure your dishwasher’s interior addresses your needs.
- Multiple wash cycles – Heavy, Normal, and Light are three standard wash cycles. But premium brands offer over six of them, including but not limited to Quick or Delayed Wash, Only Rinse, Sanitizing Rinse, and Rinse and Hold Wash.
- Hard food cleaning – Part of your dishwasher’s convenience should involve relieving you from scrubbing off hardened remains. The best dishwashers have this efficient feature that crushes and eliminates these residues without clogging.
- Tray layout and place settings – While you need the most compact yet efficient dishwasher, always consider whether its size can handle the items you expect to wash per load.
- Hard water filter – If you live in Arizona or any other area with hard water, choosing a model containing a water-softening chamber is advisable. It will help you save on detergent and prevent scaling.
- Self-cleaning or manual? – A portable self-cleaning dishwasher ensures hands-free maintenance, while a manual one must be cleaned regularly. Regardless, it’s safer to scrape off solid remains from the items before you insert them into your cleaning machine.
- Heated dry – This feature leaves your cutlery entirely dry by circulating heated dry air after a cycle. Such dishwashers are costlier and consume more energy.
Our Top Picks for Best Portable Dishwashers
Best Overall: Portable countertop dishwasher
Best Premium: Avanti DWF18V3S Dishwasher
Best Smallest: Novete TDQR01
Best Countertop: BLACK+DECKER BCD6W
Best with Water Tank: Farberware FDW05ASBWHA
Best On Wheels: GE GSC3500NWW
Best For Camping and RVs: COMFEE WQP4-2601
Best Overall Portable Dishwasher
The portable countertop dishwasher is probably the best portable dishwasher. It is small, and with only 29.75 lbs, it is one of the most portable dishwashers. Despite its small size, it has a large capacity of up to 79 liters. It can hold seven plates, twelve tableware, two milk bottles, four bowls of rice, three large cups, and forks. Besides washing kitchenware, this dishwasher can also wash fruits and vegetables. The dishwasher has a reasonable design that prevents water leaks.
This dishwasher is best suited for washing heavily-soiled kitchenware with high temperatures and pressure. Its 18.03-inch height lets it fit into most kitchen cabinets.
The dishwasher has a touchscreen switch that provides a convenient configuration process. You can use it to select five cleaning programs. What I also like about this dishwasher is its 3-in-1 functionality. It is a drier (hot air drying mode), dishwasher, and cabinet. It has fresh air ventilation, providing a conducive environment for keeping kitchenware.
Finally, the dishwasher has two water supply modes. It has a five-liter water tank built in. You can draw water directly from the tap to the tank or add it manually.
- Type: Countertop
- Dimensions: 16.54 x 16.54 x 18.03 inches
- Sound: 49 dB
- Weight: 29.75 lbs
- Touchscreen switch
- Leak-proof design
- Multi program selection
- Three in one function
- Fairly loud
Best Premium Portable Dishwasher
Avanti DWF18V3S Dishwasher is the best premium dishwasher. It has several features that promote efficiency and ease of use. It has six automatic cycles, namely; super, delicate, Regular, Automatic, Intensive, and Rinse. In addition, it has Sanitize, Hi Temp Wash, and Extra Dry modes, offering versatility.
The dishwasher has a cup tray and a silverware basket and holds up to 8 standard place settings. The dishwasher has high-end features, ranging from cycle status indicators, rinse aid dispenser, and LED display to an electronic control panel.
Enjoy quality operations with a 53dB noise. It also has a built-in dishwasher that is ADA-compliant. Its 32.25 inches height fits in most kitchen cabinets. The only drawback of this dishwasher is its heavier weight. 64 lbs average weight might be inconvenient to some people.
- Dimensions: 24.25 x 17.75 x 32.25 inches
- Sound: 53 dB
- Weight: 64
- Control Console: touch
- Voltage: 110 volts
- Touchscreen control
- Automatic cycles
- ADA-compliant dishwasher
- Cycle status indicators
- This dishwasher is heavier
Best Smallest Portable Dishwasher
Portable dishwashers exhibit a smaller form factor than their fixed counterparts, especially the countertop models. But dimensions vary, and getting the most space-efficient device is practical. This miniature countertop dishwasher fits the bill, keeping everything as compact as desired.
The Novete TDQR01 doesn’t offer much at first glance, but there’s much to enjoy. Its small size and lightweight nature (weighing 28.6 pounds) make it ideal for modest-sized spaces, campers, or RVs. But don’t let the dimensions fool you – this device can adjust a dozen sizeable dishes in one wash.
Besides its space-saving flexibility, this machine also has an integral water tank, hence no need for a faucet connection. It also has five wash programs and lower and upper spray arms and doesn’t have installation intricacies.
- Type: Countertop
- Dimensions: 16.86 x 16.75 x 18.05 inches
- Sound: 50 dB
- Water Source: 1.3-gallon water tank
- Compact and highly portable
- Quiet operation
- In-built water tank
- No installation requirements
- Baby Care and Dry modes
- Removable fine filter
- The tray layout is limited
- Substandard display
Best Countertop Portable Dishwasher
One of the most stylish dishwashers in the market, one can quickly think it’s a mini-oven. The BLACK+DECKER is just 21.5 inches wide, but it can handle up to ten-inch-wide dinner plates and offers six place settings.
The portable countertop dishwasher has seven wash cycles ranging from the rinse-only program to rapid cleaning and intensive wash. Its 24-hour delay start allows you to load up the washer and run the cycle when the kitchen isn’t in use.
Moreover, the machine’s detergent and rinse aid dispensers are similar to what you’d find in a full-size model. It also has the Child Lock feature that stops tiny, curious hands from initiating the machine accidentally. Finally, the steel handle and black glass window make the machine blend seamlessly with other appliances.
- Type: Countertop
- Dimensions: 21.5″ x 21.7″ x 17.2″
- Sound: 60 dB
- Water Source: Integrated tank
- Folding cup shelves (two of them)
- It’s Energy Star-certified
- It has an effective heated dry capability
- Quick connect assembly
- A flatware basket
- Word display would have been better than the icons
- Its relatively noisier
Best Portable Dishwasher with Water Tank
Farberware’s FDW05ASBWHA also ranks high among the best portable dishwashers. Its most significant selling point is that it has a water tank, which is relatively much when it comes to compactness. The device is very lightweight and compact and offers even more.
The countertop dishwasher’s five-liter water tank protects you from potentially complicated house-to-faucet connections. It also comes with a water level indicator (automatic) to always inform you when your cycle is ready to go. Moreover, the LED digital controls are distinctively marked to highlight its five distinct wash programs.
Lastly, you’ll fancy the “air refresh” option that enhances the device’s drying performance and sufficient space for two place settings. This remarkable portable dishwasher can handle cutlery as high as 12 inches in diameter.
- Type: Countertop
- Dimensions: 16.50 x 17.30 x 17.30
- Sound: 62 dB
- Water source: In-built tank
- A compact dishwasher with a five-liter water tank.
- Incredible window design
- Upper and lower spray arms for a streak-free deep clean
- Remarkable space efficiency
- It has an effective self-cleaning program
- Easy-to-connect adapters and accessories
- It lacks a faucet adapter
- Too small for some users
- Fairly loud
- It has a cutlery rack instead of a basket
Best Portable Dishwasher On Wheels
If you need a fitted dishwasher’s capacity, convenience, and reliability, this 24-incher from GE is the best dishwasher on wheels. One of its outstanding features is the spacious interior that can handle up to 12 place settings. But you’ll also like its anti-clogging hard food disposer, three stylish finishes, and swiveling caster wheels for easy movement.
Besides its Energy Star certification, the machine is easy to hook up and offers five wash cycles, including a high-temp sanitizing feature. It’s also pretty quiet and comes with an adjustable top rack.
The only major setback of this unit is that it lacks the heated dry setting; hence your stuff won’t be perfectly dried.
- Type: Freestanding on wheels
- Dimensions: 23.6 x 25.4 x 36 inches
- Sound: 64 decibels
- Water Source: In-built tank
- Multiple finishes
- Hidden controls
- Sufficiently spaced interior
- Energy Star certified
- Hard food disposer
- It lacks a heated dry option
Best Portable Dishwasher For Camping and RVs
Regular campers or those who enjoy life on the road also have a perfect portable dishwasher to fit their lifestyle. The COMFEE WQP4-2601 portable countertop model is ideal for this experience thanks to its high efficiency and compact design.
The dishwasher measures about 17 inches cubed to fit almost anywhere, and is exceptionally lightweight at about 30 pounds. But what makes it even more remarkable for RVers and campers is its five-liter tank. Thus, connecting and unhooking the faucet every time isn’t necessary.
Of course, all that convenience packed into a tiny dishwasher could mean an additional cost. But it’s worth it if you’re always on the road.
- Type: Countertop
- Dimensions: 16.5″ x 17.1″ x 17.1″
- Sound: 58 decibels
- Water source: Built-in tank
- It’s extremely compact
- Six wash cycles, including the soap-free fruit option
- Consumes only five liters per cycle
- It has the child lock safety feature
- A built-in water tank
- Relatively pricier
- It’s pretty loud
Best Portable Dishwasher FAQs
Is There a Dishwasher That Doesn’t Require Plumbing?
Yes. All portable dishwashers–countertop, freestanding, and wheeled–can serve you without requiring any plumbing work.
Where Does the Dirty Water Go in a Portable Dishwasher?
The wash water ejected from your portable dishwasher goes down the drain through the sink or container you’ve routed the hose into, depending on the device type and model.
Do You Need Hot Water for a Portable Dishwasher?
Yes, portable dishwashers can only work if you use hot water. Use the faucet adaptor to hook the machine to the hot water faucet.
Can I Use Cold Water with My Portable Dishwasher?
Yes, you can. Using cold water won’t harm your dishwasher in any way. However, your dishes won’t be as clean as they should be at the end of the wash cycle.
How Do You Hook Up a Portable Dishwasher?
It’s easy to set up a portable dishwasher. Simply remove the aerator and then connect the washer’s adapter. Next, move the machine to your preferred spot and open the water supply. Connect the device to an outlet, and you’re ready to go.
When Should I Disconnect the Water on My Portable Dishwasher?
It’s important to let your faucet run until the water turns as hot as possible. After the wash cycle, you’ll turn off the device’s hot water. Check for a pressure-release button at the side of the hose assembly.