The Complete Guide to Purchasing and Installing Countertop Dishwashers

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Tired of washing dishes by hand? Countertop dishwashers provide an easy solution for small kitchens or supplemental place setting cleaning. These compact units deliver full-size washing performance to simplify after-meal cleanup.

But with so many models and features available, how do you choose the right countertop dishwasher? This detailed guide will explore top products, key purchasing considerations, frequently asked questions, installation tips, and expert recommendations to select the perfect one for your needs.

Let’s get started!

Best on the Market: Top 4 Countertop Dishwashers

Reliable brands like Danby, hOmeLabs, and Farberware all offer quality countertop dishwasher models suitable for small spaces. Here are four top picks:

hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher

This popular hOmeLabs pick can handle six place settings in a slim countertop footprint. Six wash cycles take on loads from heavily soiled pots and pans to lightly used dinner plates.

The stainless steel tub resists stains and odors. Electronic controls and an LED display simplify use. When it’s time to wash dishes, the included quick connect adapters attach to your kitchen faucet for water supply and drainage.

Danby DDW621WDB Countertop Dishwasher

Danby’s ENERGY STAR certified model provides an eco-friendly washing option. The six standard place settings capacity and six wash cycles make this unit practical for small households.

The fingerprint resistant stainless finish looks sleek on countertops. Interior features like the stainless tub, concealed heating element, and built-in rinse aid dispenser help ensure quality cleaning results.

Farberware FDW05ASBWHA Portable Countertop Dishwasher

Farberware delivers a nicely compact form factor that can wash five place settings at once. Five wash programs tackle everything from pots and pans to lightly soiled dinner plates.

The integrated rinse aid dispenser produces spot-free drying. LED indicator lights clearly display cycle status. Farberware includes all the accessories like faucet adapters for smooth installation right out of the box.

hOmeLabs White Countertop Dishwasher

This white exterior hOmeLabs pick adds a touch of style while providing six place settings washing power. The Energy Star rating reflects serious cleaning efficiency.

The stainless steel tub won’t stain. Electronic controls make configuration simple. Six wash cycles handle small to large loads. For a compact and capable dishwasher that looks great on your countertop, this is a wonderful choice.

Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Countertop Dishwasher

Keep these criteria and features in mind while comparing different countertop dishwasher models:

Wash Cycles

Look for models with cycles to handle:

  • Heavy loads of very soiled pots and pans
  • Normal loads with standard mixed dishware
  • Light loads for quick cleanup of lightly soiled items
  • Rinse cycle to finish pre-cleaned dishes
  • Quick wash for fast 30 minute turnaround

Multiple specialized cycles allow you to wash different kinds of loads efficiently.

Place Settings Capacity

Six place settings provides adequate capacity for 2-3 adults based on standard place setting piece counts. Solo dwellers can get by with four to five place settings.

Larger families will need supplemental full-size dishwashers. Verify how many place settings are included per the specs of any model you’re considering.

Size Dimensions

Measure the intended countertop installation area to ensure adequate space. Standard sizing is typically:

  • Width – 17 to 22 inches
  • Height – Around 17 inches
  • Depth – 14 to 18 inches

Leave some extra room in front for fully opening the dishwasher door to load dishes.

Installation and Hookups

Many countertop dishwashers include quick connect faucet adapters that attach to the kitchen faucet temporarily when in use to supply water. This approach avoids permanent plumbing hookups.

Some models may require direct water line and drain connections. Confirm what’s needed for any unit you are considering.

Noise Rating

Look for models with noise ratings around 55 decibels for quiet operation comparable to standard dishwashers. Anything above 60dB can get quite loud when running.

Materials and Finish

Stainless steel tubs resist corrosion, rust, and odors. White or black exteriors blend into most kitchen decors. Durable plastics and metals ensure longevity.

Avoid cheaper models with lots of plastic components that seem flimsy.

Brand Reputation

Stick with reliable major appliance brands like Danby, hOmeLabs, Farberware, GE, Frigidaire etc. Read reviews to confirm quality and longevity.

Ease of Use

Digital displays, push button controls, and intuitive programming make for simple operation. Models with minimal manual steps work best for those less tech savvy.


Expect to budget $250 to $500 for a quality countertop dishwasher including accessories. Advanced features and increased capacity warrant higher price tags.

Frequently Asked Countertop Dishwasher Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions on key criteria for choosing countertop dishwashers:

How many place settings capacity do I need?

The ideal capacity depends on your household:

  • 1-2 people – 4-5 place settings
  • Couple or roommate – 5-6 place settings
  • Family of 3-4 – 6 place settings
  • Larger families – Require full-size dishwasher

Calculate how many place settings you regularly need to wash simultaneously. Then add some extra overhead.

Do I need to hook it up to my sink?

Most models include quick connect faucet adapters that attach temporarily to supply water. No permanent plumbing modifications needed.

Some units require direct water line and drain connections. Verify requirements before purchasing.

How should I clean and maintain the dishwasher?

  • Remove and rinse filters regularly to prevent debris buildup
  • **Refill rinse aid reservoir **when low
  • **Wipe exterior **with appliance cleaner
  • Clean door gasket monthly with disinfectant
  • Detach and flush inlet hose if pressure issues occur

Follow all maintenance in owner’s manual.

What wash cycles are most important?

The best units have cycles for:

  • Heavy loads – Pots, pans, casserole dishes
  • Normal loads – Standard mixed dishware
  • Light loads – Glasses, lightly soiled items
  • Rinse – Pre-rinsed dishes just needing sanitizing
  • Quick – Fast 30 minute cycles

Multiple specialized cycles allow washing flexibility.

How do I know when the rinse aid dispenser needs refilling?

Check rinse aid indicator lights – when reservoir level is low, lights will flash signaling it’s time to add more rinse aid.

The dispenser port will be clearly labeled on the inside of the dishwasher door. Open the cover and pour liquid rinse aid into the opening until full.

What temperature options should I look for?

Seeking models with:

  • High heat sanitize – Gets hot enough to sanitize
  • Regular wash temps – 140°F to 150°F for normal loads
  • Low temp options – For delicate items

High heat sanitizing helps fully clean and disinfect dishes.

How noisy are countertop dishwashers compared to regular dishwashers?

Well-built countertop dishwashers operate around 55-60 decibels – comparable to standard dishwashers. Cheaper models may exceed 60dB and sound louder while running.

Seeking options with sound insulation maintains pleasant noise levels allowing normal conversation nearby.

Do I need special detergent packs?

Standard automatic dishwasher detergents (powder, liquid, packs) will work effectively. No specialty products needed.

Avoid hand washing detergents, as the high suds cause problems.

Where should the wastewater drain to?

Ideally, the drain hose attaches directly to the sink drain to empty into pipes below. This prevents pooling on the countertop.

Alternatively, placing the hose end in a sink allows dishwater to collect without making a mess. Just be sure it doesn’t overflow.

How much countertop space do they require?

Standard dimensions are:

  • Width – 17 to 22 inches
  • Height – Around 17 inches
  • Depth – 14 to 18 inches

Measure your existing area to ensure adequate room for the unit. Allow extra space in front to fully open the door.

Countertop Dishwasher Buying and Installation Tips

Follow this expert advice to choose the perfect countertop dishwasher:

  • Measure counter space in the intended spot to get appropriately sized models.
  • Determine how many place settings you need based on your household and dishes. Size down for 1-2 people.
  • Read reviews to confirm reliable high-performing brands to consider. Avoid models with many complaints.
  • Compare wash cycles to get the right programs like pots & pans, normal, quick washes etc.
  • Verify adjustable racks and cutlery basket for flexible loading.
  • Seeks models with built-in rinse aid dispensers – makes spot-free drying easy.
  • Confirm quick connect faucet kit is included if direct plumbing hookup is not available.
  • Ensure Energy Star certified for saving on utility costs.
  • Compare noise ratings – lower decibels mean quieter operation.
  • Watch demo videos to gauge ease of installation before purchasing.
  • Estimate any installation costs if you won’t DIY.

Once you’ve selected the perfect model using these tips, installing your countertop dishwasher is straightforward:

  • Read installation manual thoroughly before starting.
  • Confirm electrical outlet below counter to plug into.
  • Attach quick connect fittings to faucet for water supply, drain hose to sink drain opening.
  • Slide dishwasher into place, aligning drain and water lines properly.
  • Run an initial empty cycle to confirm proper operation before using.
  • Wipe away appliance packaging and residue before loading dishes.

And that’s all it takes to start enjoying the convenience of countertop dishwashing! Proper planning ensures you choose the right machine for your space and needs.

Key Takeaways for Countertop Dishwashers:

  • Compact size with full-size washing functionality
  • Typically fit place settings for 2-3 adults
  • Specialized wash cycles for different loads
  • Quick connect to faucet for water supply and drainage
  • Noise ratings comparable to standard dishwashers
  • Follow tips to select reliable and easy to install models
  • Straightforward installation process for countertop use

Investing in a small appliance like a countertop dishwasher that saves time, effort, and hassle in your daily life is truly priceless. Use this guide’s recommendations to pick the perfect washing companion for your kitchen. Just load it up, and let technology handle the dirty work!

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