The Complete Guide to Commercial Dishwashers

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As a restaurant or commercial kitchen, you need equipment that can power through piles of dishes quickly and efficiently. Residential dishwashers simply can’t stand up to the rigors of commercial use. Investing in a commercial dishwasher designed for high-volume washing is essential.

With options like conveyor, door, and undercounter models, there are many types of commercial dishwashers available. Choosing the right system requires calculating your space, capacity needs, water supply, and more.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the top commercial dishwasher models, how to determine the best machine for your business, and answers to frequently asked questions about these workhorse appliances. Let’s get started!

The Best Commercial Dishwashers

Quality construction and durability differentiate commercial dishwashers from household machines. Here are our top picks for the best units for restaurants and high-volume kitchens:

Jackson WWS-200E Energy Star Conveyor Dishwasher

Looking for an efficient and high-powered conveyor system? The Jackson WWS-200E delivers excellent performance. With a 208-volt, 3-phase electrical system, it can handle 140 racks/hour.

This Energy Star certified model consumes just 1.19 gallons of water per rack. The intelligent controls monitor soil levels and water usage for optimization. It comes in lengths up to 14 feet for large operations. This Jackson conveyor dishwasher is built to last in busy restaurants.

Key Features:

  • Energy Star certified, low water consumption
  • Up to 140 racks/hour capacity
  • Intelligent controls optimize washing
  • Available in multiple conveyor lengths
  • Available booster heater for extra sanitization

Pros: High throughput capacity, efficient operation, strong cleaning and sanitization

Cons: Very heavy and requires hardwired installation, conveyor style isn’t right for all kitchens

Price Range: $$$$

Hobart AM15VLT-2 Advansys Door Type Dishwasher

For an innovative and tech-loaded door dishwasher, the Hobart AM15VLT-2 is a top choice. This single tank model can blast through 40 racks/hour.

The Advansys system precisely controls cycle operation for energy and water savings. It has a built-in chemical sanitation feeder for consistent results. The stainless steel construction is made to last in demanding kitchens.

If you want versatility in a compact door unit, this advanced Hobart machine delivers. It’s loaded with cycles and options for customizable washing.

Key Features:

  • Innovative Advansys wash optimization
  • Built-in chemical sanitation
  • 40 racks/hour capacity
  • Double-walled insulated hood
  • Energy Star certified

Pros: Flexible wash cycles and options, sanitation abilities, durable stainless construction

Cons: Expensive, slower than conveyor systems

Price Range: $$$

Sterling S-Series Single Tank Door Dishwasher

For an affordable and basic door-style dishwasher, check out the Sterling S-Series model. The electronic controls allow customizing wash cycles for speed or performance.

This single tank unit can process 40 racks/hour. The integrated rinse restrictor helps lower operating costs. While limited in cycles, it provides good cleaning and reliability at a budget-friendly price.

This Sterling dishwasher is a great option for lower-volume kitchens wanting a quality door unit without paying for unneeded bells and whistles.

Key Features:

  • 40 racks/hour capacity
  • Electronic controls
  • Integrated rinse restrictor
  • 16″ wash arms for coverage
  • Made in the USA

Pros: Good value for the price, quality components

Cons: Limited cycle options, slower than conveyor systems

Price Range: $$

Jackson TempStar Undercounter Dishwasher

For compact dishwashing abilities, the Jackson TempStar undercounter model is ideal for bars, cafes, and small restaurants. Despite the small size, it can wash 40 racks/hour.

The self-draining pump system prevents water from entering the dishwasher. It heats up quickly and recovers fast between loads. The intelligent controls monitor operation for efficiency.

This undercounter dishwasher from Jackson providesserious cleaning muscle in situations with space constraints!

Key Features:

  • Undercounter design great for small spaces
  • 40 racks/hour capacity
  • Intelligent controls optimize washing
  • Self-draining pump system
  • Fast 6 minute cycles

Pros: Strong performance for undercounter system, fast cycles, made in North America

Cons: Limited capacity for high volume kitchens

Price Range: $$


The Jackson WWS-200E conveyor provides the highest output for serious commercial dishwashing. For flexible cycles in a door unit, the Hobart AM15VLT-2 leads the pack. The budget-friendly Sterling S-Series gives you quality construction without unneeded extras. And the Jackson TempStar undercounter model delivers power in tight spaces.

Keep reading for what to consider when selecting the ideal commercial dishwasher for your restaurant or kitchen’s unique needs.

How to Choose a Commercial Dishwasher

With so many types and options available, choosing the right commercial dishwasher takes some calculations and planning. Here are the steps to pick the perfect system:

Type (Conveyor, Door, Flight, etc)

First determine the type needed for your space and volume:

  • Conveyor: Continuous high volume (100+ racks/hour). Requires 20+ ft. footprint.
  • Door or Hood: Versatile for 40-60 racks/hour. Compact footprint.
  • Undercounter: For smaller kitchens (40 racks/hour). Installs under counters.
  • Flight: Industrial heavy loads with 180+ racks/hour

Size and Dimensions

Measure the installation space and layout. Standard commercial dishwasher sizes include:

  • Door units: 24” to 30” wide. 26” to 38” deep.
  • Conveyors: 20” to 32” wide. 6 to 14 ft. long.
  • Undercounters: 24″ wide, 25” deep.

Check clearance for doors/hoods to fully open.

Power and Tank Capacities

Define your electrical system, water pressure, drain capacity, and hot water heater output. Look for models suited for:

  • Voltage/phase: Often 208V – 230V, 60Hz, 3 phase
  • Operating amperage rating
  • Minimum water pressure: 20-25 PSI standard
  • Drain capacity: 1.5” – 3” drain lines
  • Tank capacity: 10 -14 gallons for door units. External booster heaters are also an option.

Wash Cycles and Flow Rates

Select models matched to your menu and wares. Standard cycles include:

  • Light, medium or heavy: Shorter cycles for varying soil levels
  • Plastics: Lower temperatures protect plastics
  • Rinse & hold: For pre-rinsing prior to peak periods

Typical flow rates are .8-1.2 gallons/rack. Make sure your water supply can keep up.

Sanitizing Temperatures and Chemical Options

Commercial washers must reach minimum temperatures for sanitation:

  • Wash: 150°F – 160°F
  • Final rinse: 180°F – 195°F

Look for chemical sanitizer injector pumps for ensured sanitization.

Durability and Longevity

Choose commercial models made of stainless steel, not plastic. Look for:

  • Welded/reinforced stainless steel construction
  • NSF certification for durability
  • Warranties: 1 year labor, 3-5 years parts standard

Avoid consumer models even if labeled “commercial grade.”

Noise Level

Commercial dishwashers operate around 80 dB on average. Conveyor styles with metal construction tend to be the loudest.

Brand Reputation and Support

Stick with trusted commercial equipment brands known for reliability and service like:

  • Hobart
  • Jackson
  • Champion
  • CMA

Ensure local service and parts support is available.


Commercial dishwasher prices typically range from:

  • Undercounter: $2,000 – $4,000
  • Door/hood units: $4,000 – $7,000
  • Conveyor systems: $7,000 – $15,000+

Factor in installation, utility connections, and ventilation requirements.

FAQs About Commercial Dishwashers

What types of commercial dishwashers are there?

The main types include:

  • Conveyor: High volume continuous loads
  • Door or Hood: Enclosed washing for mid-size operations
  • Undercounter: Compact for smaller kitchens
  • Flight: Very high volume open style model
  • Glasswashers: Specialized cycles for fragile drinkware

What size/capacity is needed for different restaurant workloads?

Dishwasher sizing guidelines:

  • Small cafes: Undercounter or small door unit, up to 60 meals/hour
  • Full service restaurants: Door or conveyor, 60-200 meals/hour
  • Large venues/banquets: Long conveyor system, 200+ meals/hour

Match to your peak meal volumes.

How can I determine the needed tank size, flow rates, and temps?

Consider your:

  • Menu: Heavily soiled pans need higher flow. Delicate glassware needs lower temps.
  • Ware types: Plastics limit hotter temps.
  • Dining pace: Faster turnover requires higher GPH and tank recovery.
  • Water supply: Ensure adequate gpm to meet flow demands.
  • Sanitization laws: Check local regulations on minimum temps.

What options are best for sanitization and killing germs?

  • High temperature final rinse (180°F minimum)
  • Chemical sanitizer injection into the final rinse
  • Extended final rinse to ensure exposure time
  • Periodic sterilization cycles (at max temp tolerances)

How often does cleaning and maintenance need to be done?

  • Daily: Remove debris from tanks. Check operation and chemical levels.
  • Weekly: Delime wash arms/nozzles. Inspect door gaskets.
  • Monthly: Clean out pumps. Flush chemical lines. Descale tanks.

Follow manufacturer guidelines for upkeep.

What are the most durable and reliable brands?

The most trusted commercial dishwasher brands include:

  • Hobart
  • Jackson
  • Champion
  • CMA
  • Meiko
  • Stero

Always verify NSF certification.

How do installation and utility hookups for commercial dishwashers work?

Most require:

  • Hardwired electrical connections
  • 1.5 – 2” drain line
  • Direct hot water line sized to GPH demands
  • External ventilation hoods

Hire certified technicians for proper installation.

What determines the cost of commercial dishwashers?

Factors affecting commercial dishwasher costs include:

  • Type and size
  • Construction materials (stainless steel is more durable)
  • Power requirements
  • Tank capacity
  • Cycle options and settings
  • Brand

How long do commercial dishwashers typically last?

With proper maintenance, commercial dishwashers average 10-15 years of reliable service. Conveyor models often last over 20 years.

How loud are commercial dishwashers?

Around 80 dB on average, similar to kitchen blender. Conveyor models with metal construction tend to be the loudest.

Key Takeaways on Commercial Dishwashers

  • Conveyor, door, undercounter and flight models are available for various capacities.
  • Carefully calculate tank heating, electrical service, water supply and drainage.
  • Match wash cycles and flow rates to your kitchen’s menu and pace.
  • Invest in durable stainless steel construction and leading commercial brands.
  • Proper installation, maintenance and cleaning are crucial for longevity.
  • Allow ample budget for equipment, accessories, utilities and ventilation.

With careful selection matched to your space and demands, a commercial dishwasher boosts efficiency, throughput and sanitization compliance. Consult this guide to make the right purchase for smooth dishwashing operations.

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