If you don’t have a dishwasher, consider a compact countertop model.
Published Nov. 17, 2022.
Love to cook but hate doing dishes? Same here. If you don’t have a dishwasher in your apartment, home, RV, or vacation place, consider a compact countertop model. They come in two sizes and styles. We tested both and have recommendations in each category. Our overall top pick was compact: The Comfee’ Countertop Portable Dishwasher with 6L Built-in Water Tank, which holds about two place settings and draws water from a refillable tank, cleaned well and was easy to use. It was the only model with a door that popped open at the end of the cycle, helping dishes air-dry. The larger models we tested, which hold about four place settings and must be latched onto your kitchen faucet for their water supply, all worked similarly and are recommended. Of these we slightly preferred the easy-grab handle and child-lock feature of the Black + Decker Compact Countertop Dishwasher (6 Place Setting).
Josephine Cochrane of Shelbyville, Illinois, invented the automatic dishwasher in 1886. As the story goes, she was unhappy when her household staff chipped the family china and began doing her own dishes. This spurred her to invent a machine to take over the chore. In 1893, her creation won a top prize at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago and became popular in hotels and restaurants. After her death, Cochrane’s business was bought by the company we know today as KitchenAid, which launched its first home dishwasher in 1949 based on Cochrane’s design.
If you’re also ready to quit hand-washing dishes, but can’t install (or don’t need) a full-size dishwasher, a countertop dishwasher might be a good solution.
It could also save money and energy. According to the federal Energy Star program, a full-size dishwasher that’s energy-efficient costs an average of about $35 per year to run. By contrast, it rated our countertop versions as costing between $17 and $27 yearly.
We bought a half-dozen machines and methodically dirtied and washed dishes for many hours, trying the range of available cycles, to determine whether countertop models perform on par with standard installed dishwashers and whether they would be convenient to use. All of them heat cold tap water for washing and use regular dishwasher detergent. In our temperature testing, all reached safe temperatures for effective cleaning. Our models were priced from about $340 to nearly $400.
Every model performed similarly in our cleaning tests. They came in two styles: Larger machines held about four place settings (10¼-inch dinner and 7¼-inch salad plates, a deep 6-inch-wide bowl, and a 4-inch tall mug) plus flatware, and attached to a sink for their...
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Lisa is an executive editor for ATK Reviews, cohost of Gear Heads on YouTube, and gadget expert on TV's America's Test Kitchen.