The Best Dishwashers: Reviews and Advice on best Dishwashers

If you’re a small business owner on a budget, you know that nothing is more painful than overspending on the wrong equipment. The last thing you want is to have to buy out your lease after six months because your dishwasher broke down and costs too much to repair. That’s why we’ve put together this buyer’s guide of the best dishwashers in each category — from countertop to freestanding machines — so that you can make an informed decision about how much money you should be spending on your equipment and what features are really important for your business.

1. Buying a Dishwasher

A dishwasher should last at least 15 years, but not everyone can afford to buy a new one. If you’re one of these people, you should be able to find one on Craigslist or at a thrift store that’s still in great condition. However, before you buy your dishwasher, there are a few factors you need to consider.

The best dishwasher today uses the lowest-flowing water you can get away with, often opting for 100-gallon (221-liter) water tanks. These are not really a concern if you fill the dishwasher less than 3–4 times a month. However, it’s probably a good idea to keep an extra $200-$400 in reserve just in case.

A older dishwasher tends to run slightly hotter than a newer dishwasher, which means it requires slightly more effort to cool down — and that extra effort might not be worth it if you are going out of town for the holidays. Our top pick for this is the JAPAN series, as they have the lowest running costs per year and have the most efficiency within the budget.

Also, make sure the water tank can hold enough water for the dishwasher to operate normally. If a tank capacity is too low to hold the water, this is a sure way to damage the machine and break the warranty.

Air Consumption

This issue may seem trivial, but too much air consumption can seriously damage the dishwasher. Even when the dishwasher is off, the appliance should still be sucking in fresh air, which is essential for a dishwasher to work properly.

Additionally, a dishwasher should never run for more than a minute or two at a time to prevent wasteful waste of energy. Using a shorter duration for a more energy-efficient machine is a good idea, and this is where the JAPAN series excels. With their five-minute jog, they’re a good starting place if your appliance consistently runs for a minute at a time. They’re also the most energy efficient five-minute jog we’ve seen, which we found to be a great metric for the cleanliness of a machine.

2. Dishwashers by Size

When choosing a dishwasher to fit your kitchen, the first thing you need to know is the size of the unit. There are three basic sizes: 18-inch wide dishwashers, 24-inch wide dishwashers, and 30-inch wide dishwashers. If you have a small kitchen, an 18-inch wide dishwasher will work. If you have a small space, you probably want a 24-inch or 30-inch dishwasher.

Make sure that your dishwasher has permanently installed handles, so you can grab it with one hand and turn it to go.

Typically, dishwashers have three or four times the capacity of a traditional kitchen sink, thanks to a combination of horizontal rotating and vertical sliding doors. The more doors you have, the wider the capacity.

As you can tell by the name, dishwashers are designed to work with food items. In some sizes, the handle on the door slides across the bottom, allowing food to be immediately dispensed to a dish or serving dish.  Most commercial dishwashers will have built-in timers that operate from 11 to 23 hours. If your business runs a little bit after-hours, you might need a more advanced model.

3. Countertop Dishwashers

The best way to save time and money on your dishwashing is to invest in a countertop dishwasher. A countertop dishwasher allows you to wash your dishes by hand, without the need for a bulky, expensive-to-run dishwasher. Countertop dishwashers are compact and affordable, and they’re great for small spaces.

The top tier of dishwashers, the top of the line, are called commercial hybrids. Unlike countertop dishwashers, commercial hybrids don’t have a flush, basket-like basket inside the machine like a normal countertop dishwasher, but instead look like a smaller French press. Even for smaller spaces, a commercial hybrid is ideal because they are more efficient to operate, cost less, and can be programmed to do specific tasks. Most of our favorite commercial hybrid dishwashers — Brittany, Berger EPAO, Prospect — come with tempered- glass doors that can be opened with a simple push when it’s time to clear out the last of the dishes from the sink.

If you do a lot of dishes around the house, working in a countertop dishwasher is the way to go. To get the best bang for your countertop dishwasher investment, caveat emptor is a must. Be sure to read the fine print on the manual for the specific model you’re buying, and ensure that the countertop dishwasher has a backup power source.

American manila folders are one of the most affordable and versatile ways to organize your countertop dishes. From spreading favorite condiments with our distinct orange spice folder to keeping track of specific items in a spaghetti sauce folder, you can find a folder for literally every reason you’d want to keep track of your dishes.

Our best cheap countertop dishwashers are all countertop freestanding models. Counter freestanding is important for small bars and restaurants which don’t have enough counter space to run a back-of-the-house dishwasher, or where countertop space is too cramped to accommodate a back-of-the-house dishwasher.

4. Freestanding Dishwashers

If you haven’t upgraded to a freestanding dishwasher, you’re missing out on a pretty great experience. They’re much more efficient than their under-sink counterparts, and they’re easier to clean. Kitchen countertops can often cost $400 to $600, which is a concerning cost when you can use a free, online service that will come to you. These third-party companies will come to you to supply all of your kitchen needs so you can concentrate on the quality of your food rather than the size of your countertop.

Our top pick for a freestanding dishwasher in the mini kitchen is a Toto model. It’s great for small restaurants or individual home kitchens, and the device hasn’t been out of production since 1975. Going with a freestanding dishwasher means you can save a lot of money — and you can have the ultimate in kitchen efficiency.


5. All-in-one dishwashers

All-in-one dishwashers are a great option for people who live in small spaces and don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of a separate dishwasher. They are typically a countertop option that can be installed under a countertop and can be installed easily and out of sight with most modern countertops.

Whether you want an all-in-one countertop or a freestanding dishwasher, there’s a semi-competent option right here and a more heavyweight option if you want more features. The all-in-one is the guts of the dishwasher, including the fan, the temperature control system, the water tank, the lever to open and close the front door, and the actual water pump that removes food from the vented basket and moves it to the cooking surface in one fluid motion. It doesn’t involve lifting heavy objects to install, so framing is easier.

The all-in-one usually comes in either radiant flow or recirculated flow models. Depending on the model, they have a three or four-speed control, depending on the number of load cycles the appliance can handle in a single wash cycle. Typically, people buy models with two, three, or even four periods per wash cycle because that’s what the manufacturers recommend for electricity usage.

A typical three-cycle all-in-one will cost you about $300 to $400, while a four-cycle will bring in about $600, and so on. For comparison, the top dishwasher on our list — the Dishwasher Plus 825SM — costs about $400, and it can handle more cycles: six on our list and eight on the model Kevin recommends. We do recommend people consider a lower-end model if they typically only use their dishwasher once a week or if they’re having serious performance issues.

Like all modern dishwashers, modern freestanding models can be operated either manually by pulling the front door handle or electronically via a remote. The signal from the remote is sent to the control unit which has a PC-type keyboard along the top for easy setup. Most models are equipped with basic features like heat and pressure controls, automatic shut-off, and skip-cycle settings.

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