Unlike a built-in dishwasher, portable and countertop dishwashers don’t need to be installed in your kitchen, meaning you can take them with you to your vacation home or anytime you move. In addition, they don’t require you to make any modifications to your home’s plumbing system either. That’s why these appliances are perfect for small kitchens, whether you’re short on space at home or are going on a roadtrip in an RV.
When the time comes to wash your dishes, simply position your portable or countertop dishwasher next to your kitchen sink, attach its faucet adapter to the tap, and you’ll be washing dishes without ever having to get your hands wet. Once your dishes and cutlery are clean and put away, all that’s left to do is store your dishwasher away. What’s not to love?
These are some of the best portable dishwashers you can get online now.
The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.
Due to supply chain challenges and soaring demand, there is widespread unavailability of home appliances and long wait times for delivery of backordered product. If you're a consumer in need of a dishwasher, here are the best places to buy in-stock appliances right now.
What You Should Know Before Buying a Portable or Countertop Dishwasher
What Are the Differences Between Portable and Countertop Dishwashers?
If your kitchen doesn't have a cutout for a standard 24-inch installed dishwasher, there are two alternatives to giving up and washing everything by hand: portable or countertop dishwashers. Make sure you know the difference when you're shopping.
Portable dishwashers — These models are typically on wheels so you can roll them up to the sink when they're in use and shove them in a corner when they're not. They're typically 18 inches wide, though you can also find 24-inch-wide models. Because they're about the same height as a standard dishwasher, the two racks can hold quite a few dishes.
Countertop dishwashers — If floor space is limited, or you just don't need to wash that many dishes, a countertop dishwasher may be a better choice for you. Countertop dishwashers typically cost about half as much as a portable dishwasher. They can't fit many dishes into them and can take up a lot of counter space, but you'll still save a lot more water and time than you would if you always wash your dishes manually.
How Do You Attach a Portable Dishwasher?
Portable dishwashers have an inlet hose that screws onto the threading of your faucet, where the removable aerator would typically fit. If your faucet doesn't have threading at all, you may have some issues with installing countertop or portable dishwashers.
Examine your kitchen faucet carefully to ensure that it's capable of having a hose attached before you purchase a portable or countertop dishwasher. In certain cases an adaptor may exist to facilitate the connection, but in a lot of cases your next best bet would be to replace the faucet with one that does have threading.
How Wide Is a Dishwasher?
Seems like a strange question, but did you know that unlike other large appliances (think refrigerators), dishwashers are all the same size: 24 inches wide by 24 inches deep by 35 inches high. This means that it's super easy to shop for a dishwasher online, because you can guarantee it'll fit the space you already have open in your kitchen.
How Long Do Dishwashers Last?
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the average dishwasher lasts about nine years. Appliance lifespans are shorter these days for a few reasons, among them broad economic factors that affect all durable goods, production of individual components that are frequently outsourced to the least-expensive third-party manufacturers, and machines being made with more plastic and less metal.
Since most consumers don’t buy appliances very often, a decreased lifespan can seem all the more dramatic when a dishwasher breaks down after just 10 years, even though its predecessor chugged along for 30.
How Long Does a Dishwasher Run?
Dishwasher cycles can run the gamut from 30 minutes to four hours. Shorter cycle times are much more convenient, especially when it comes to large dinner parties, where you may need to reuse dishes from dinner when it's time for dessert.
Reviewed's lab operations manager Jonathan Chan says, "The amount of water a dishwasher uses varies greatly on type and cycle selected. Normal cycles on compact models can use as little as 2.5 gallons, but larger entry-level models can use up to five gallons."
And, although it may surprise you, dishwashers use far less water than you would by hand-washing your dishes, and smaller dishwashers (like portable and countertop models) tend to use less water than larger ones.
If you're environmentally- or money-conscious, the prospect of using less water and energy may be appealing to you. Be sure to check out the Energy Star rating for a dishwasher to give you an idea of what you can expect your utility bills to look like.
This portable dishwasher has excellent cleaning performance, considering that its stain removal ability is comparable to some other full-size dishwashers. The normal cycle time clocks in at about 100 minutes. You can also choose from eight different cycles: Heavy, Normal, BabyCare, Eco, Glass, Speed, Rinse, and Mini Party.
With an extra drying option, a digital display, and a sleek-looking exterior, the Danby DDW631SDB is a great pick for a dishwasher that takes up a minimal amount of counter space that's capable of getting the job done right the first time.
There’s a lot to love about the Farberware FDW05ASBWHA countertop portable dishwasher. It has this great feature where you can use either the kitchen sink hookup or the separate water tank as the dishwasher’s water source. The water tank is a great option if you have difficulty attaching and securing water hoses, or if you want to wash dishes far from a sink.
This dishwasher comes with six cycles: Baby Care, Glass, Fruit (where you can use the removable basket to wash your fruits), Normal, Rapid, and Air Refresh. Perhaps the coolest feature is that this dishwasher has a little glass window so that you can watch the food stains get cleaned off your dishes in real time.
Speaking of clean dishes, this portable dishwasher does a great job of removing stains, including really difficult baked-on stains like chopped spinach, with only a few minor instances of redeposit. Furthermore, almost all of the cleaned dishes came out completely dry. If you’re looking for some flexibility when it comes to washing dishes in a small kitchen space, you’ll appreciate the performance and thoughtful design of the Farberware FDW05ASBWHA.
If you have smaller space constraints, Danby also makes countertop dishwashers, one of which is the Danby DDW621WDB. While this countertop dishwasher looks small, it can fit six place settings, where each place setting involves plates, a bowl, a glass, a tea cup, and some cutlery. You won't be able to fit a spaghetti pot in there, but that's true for any countertop dishwasher. With a wide variety of cycles to choose from (including Intensive, Normal, Soak, Economy, Rapid, and Glass), you shouldn’t have a problem getting difficult stains off your dishes.
This countertop dishwasher also has options to delay the start of the dishwasher cycle for two, four, or eight hours, as well as water and rinse aid notification lights. It may take you a bit of time to get used to the control panel, but once you understand what the icons mean, the Danby DDW621WDB is a breeze to operate, and at only 22 inches wide, it won’t take up too much space on your counter either.
As it turns out, the HomeLabs HME010033N is nearly identical to the Danby DDW621WDB. It has the same cleaning performance, the same cycles (although one cycle is called “Eco” rather than “Light”), and similar cycle times. Its exterior looks a bit more modern than that of the DDW621WDB, but if you’re interested in buying this flavor of countertop dishwasher, we recommend buying whichever of these two products is on sale that day.
The cleaning performance of the Magic Chef is fine; although it may struggle a bit with some of the tougher stains, it will be able to tackle most dirty dishes without breaking a sweat. The Magic Chef countertop dishwasher has six cycles (Heavy, Normal, Light, Speed, Glass, and Rinse).
While the other countertop dishwashers on this list have delay options of two, four, or six hours, the delay option on this Magic Chef runs from one to 24 hours, and can be set in one-hour increments. This allows you to set dishwasher cycles to start at a later time either for the sake of convenience or to save money by not using electricity at high-demand times, like after dinner. If that kind of time flexibility appeals to you, then the Magic Chef MCSCD6W5 is the right countertop dishwasher for you.
Here’s a brand you’re sure to recognize. Again, the cleaning performance for this countertop dishwasher is pretty comparable to that of the others on this list. In addition to the same six cycles that most of the countertop dishwashers on this list have, the BCD6W also has a 90-minute BabyCare cycle. Like the Magic Chef, the Black & Decker also has a 1- to 24-hour delay feature.
One aspect that separates the Black & Decker countertop dishwasher from the competition is its looks—with its stainless steel handle finish and its touchscreen user interface, it’s easily the best-looking dishwasher on this list. If you have a more modern-looking kitchen, and don’t want a white box on your countertop to ruin its visual appeal, you won’t regret choosing the Black & Decker countertop dishwasher.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.