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Which portable dishwashers are best?

Washing and drying your dishes by hand may waste time and water, but if you rent or live with limited space, you may not be able to install a traditional dishwasher. Portable dishwashers are affordable and compact, with most models being small enough to fit on a countertop.

In most cases, simply attach the appliance to your kitchen faucet and you are ready to wash dishes. The Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher is the top pick because it features an easy installation and five built-in washing programs.

What to know before you buy a portable dishwasher

How to choose a portable dishwasher

When selecting a portable dishwasher, start by considering how the appliance is going to fit. Do you live in a dorm room? Is this dishwasher earmarked for a camper van or recreational vehicle? Most portable dishwashers are designed as either countertop or freestanding units. Countertop models are more compact and affordable, but they usually can’t hold as many dishes. Freestanding dishwashers have a larger capacity and wheels that make the device more portable, but you can expect these appliances to take up a considerable amount of space. 


Once you have followed the included instructions to set up your dishwasher, installation should be relatively simple. These appliances typically come with two hoses: one you attach to your kitchen sink’s faucet and a second hose that pumps out the used water. You usually need some kind of adapter to attach the dishwasher to your faucet. Many appliances come with the adapter parts, while others may require a trip to the hardware store before you can complete installation. If you don’t have easy access to a water source, look for a portable dishwasher with a built-in water tank. These appliances usually are designed to hold enough water for a single load of dishes.

What to look for in a quality portable dishwasher

Wash modes

Like traditional dishwashers, portable dishwashers can come with a number of wash cycles and cleaning modes. Most appliances have light, normal and heavy modes, while some high-end dishwashers may have modes like quick wash, pots and pans, and an energy-saving cycle.

Dry cycle

If you have limited counter space or you don’t want to wait for your dishes to air-dry, look for a portable dishwasher with a drying cycle. This feature dries your dishes after the wash cycle is complete, but it is usually only found in the more expensive appliances.

Portability and capacity

Try to balance portability and capacity when selecting a dishwasher. Lightweight and compact appliances may be portable, but they won’t hold as many dishes. Similarly, a large, freestanding dishwasher might be able to tackle a big load, but it’s going to be difficult to transport if you frequently move. Countertop models usually weigh around 30-50 pounds, while freestanding dishwashers with wheels can be 100 pounds or heavier.

Energy Star

Many portable dishwashers come with an Energy Star certification. This means the appliance has met rigorous energy efficiency standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Energy Star-certified products can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.

How much you can expect to spend on a portable dishwasher

The cost of a portable dishwasher can vary widely depending on its size and any included features. Most people can expect to spend $250-$400 for a standard countertop model, while freestanding appliances are often more than $600.

Portable dishwasher FAQ

Can you leave a portable dishwasher unattended during a wash cycle?

A. These appliances do not necessarily need constant supervision, but if your dishwasher is connected to the kitchen sink, it’s not recommended to let it run overnight or while you’re not at home.

Can you use a portable dishwasher with a pull-out faucet?

A. This is going to depend on the design of both the faucet and the portable dishwasher. Try contacting the manufacturers or a professional plumber to see if the appliances will be compatible with each other.

What are the best portable dishwashers to buy?

Top portable dishwasher

Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher

Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher

What you need to know: You can connect this versatile countertop model to your kitchen sink or use its built-in water tank to wash dishes.

What you’ll love: There are five wash cycles to choose from, including baby care and a unique washing mode for fruits and vegetables. The integrated water tank can hold up to 5 liters of water. 

What you should consider: This dishwasher doesn’t include a faucet adapter, and several users had issues contacting customer service.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top portable dishwasher for the money

Aikoper 6-Liter Countertop Dishwasher

Aikoper 6-Liter Countertop Dishwasher

What you need to know: This multifunctional dishwasher is affordable and fits on a countertop. 

What you’ll love: This portable dishwasher features a 24-hour delay timer so you can schedule your wash cycles for a future time. At the end of a wash cycle, the appliance automatically opens with a running fan motor to dry your clean dishes.

What you should consider: This dishwasher is too small for families or households with more than one or two people.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Black and Decker BCD6W Compact Countertop Dishwasher

Black and Decker BCD6W Compact Countertop Dishwasher

What you need to know: Manufactured by an industry leader, this portable dishwasher features seven wash modes and a bright LED display screen.

What you’ll love: This dishwasher can hold a lot of dishes and the eco-wash cycle is great for saving extra water. The racks are adjustable and there is an integrated child safety lock.

What you should consider: A few users reported receiving a dishwasher that leaked water.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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