Is a compact countertop dishwasher right for you?

25 Countertop

Compact dimensions but the same first-rate cleaning: a counter top dishwasher is perfect for tiny kitchens.

If cupboard space has reached crisis point in your kitchen, but you still want the benefits of a compact dishwasher, don’t despair: you can get a countertop model. These compact machines take up to 6 place settings, and, because they’re portable, you can take them with you when you move on. 

Why choose a countertop dishwasher?

Most people would opt for a full-sized, built in dishwasher if they had the space, but kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. Compact countertop dishwashers are the smallest type of dishwasher available and provide an ideal alternative

Countertop dishwashers are great for:

  • Small/ tiny kitchens
  • Rental properties: To avoid plumbing works and costs  
  • Single living
  • Couples, small families, students
  • Lack of space to plumb
  • Mobile homes/ caravans  

So do they give results as good as full-size dishwashers?

These machines fill the gap between full sized dishwashers and hand washing. The capacity of these compact dishwashers may not be as large as full-sized dishwashers, but they can still offer the same cleaning power, blasting away food and grease. They can clean just as well, but not all models have a drying cycle, so check carefully before you buy. 

Most compact dishwashers allow for 6 place settings – that’s 6 plates, bowls, cups, side plates and cutlery. That’s pretty impressive for such a small machine; if you’re planning on purchasing a compact dishwasher you should still stack smart. For help on maximising the space of your dishwasher see our helpful guide on the do’s and don’ts of stacking a dishwasher.    

What sizes are counter top dishwashers and where can they fit?

They are comparable to large microwaves in size and space needed in the kitchen. With sizes starting at just 50x50cm, a countertop dishwasher really does suit the smallest kitchens. Apart from your surface space, the most important thing to measure before you buy is the space between the countertop and the cupboards above.

These narrow dishwashers don't have to take up much countertop surface area and should be considered if you are tight for space and thinking of refurbishing your kitchen. They can always be placed inside a cupboard permanently, or packed away if you require the additional countertop space.

How do I install a countertop dishwasher?

A countertop dishwasher isn’t plumbed in: it hooks up directly to your kitchen sink. A connector allows you to fill it from the tap, and it just empties down the drain. You can use the same dishwasher detergent as in a full-size dishwasher. 

How does it work?

They work just like full-sized/ slimline dishwashers, with an inflow of water (usually hot) sprayed out of rotating arms. The water mixes with the dishwasher detergent to form an alkaline solution that removes grease and food residue. Water is then removed and emptied down the drain, leaving your dishes sparkling clean. Just like with full-sized dishwashers, pre-set wash programs that allow you to adjust the amount and type of dishes you want to clean. Dishwashers differ from model to model but common wash cycle settings include light, normal, heavy, glass, speed and soak. 

What things to consider when finding the right countertop dishwasher for you

1. Size & Specification

The most important thing to do is measure the spaces in your kitchen you think a countertop dishwasher can go, and keep it in mind when you’re researching different types of models. Make a note of the full dimensions: length, width and height. You wouldn’t want to buy a model that can’t fit under a cupboard or has an overhang on the countertop surface. 

2. Build Quality & Features

Look out for features like delay timers, variety of wash cycles and if the machine has an anti-flood device (cuts off the water if there is a leak for peace of mind). An adjustable fitting rack will allow larger items such as pans to fit in comfortably, but this will restrict how many place settings you will be able to load at the same time. Additive indicators such as rinse aid and dishwasher salt are great features as they allow you to keep on top of dishwasher maintenance. For help on keeping your dishwasher healthy be sure to check out our dishwasher maintenance checklist.

If possible buy a brand new dishwasher as it is more likely to come with manufacturer’s warranty, that way you'll be on the safe side for the first couple of years you own the appliance.

3. Reviews

User reviews give a unique insight into the practical, day-to-day use of a countertop dishwasher, exposing any perks or flaws a certain model might have. Sites like Amazon and Youtube offer more visual reviews and are great if you want to see how other buyers have set up their dishwashers when space is tight in the kitchen. Countertop models with higher ratings are likely to provide you with you with years of high performance dishwashing.