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While we've seen many positive user reviews for countertop dishwashers, this is the first time the has been given a rigorous, scientific test. Despite its small size and low price tag (around $175 online), this compact washer did a great job getting dishes clean while using very little energy and water.

The 's door looks quite cheap, with glossy black plastic and an obvious gap between the door and bottom panel. It'll definitely attract fingerprints.

Front Closed Photo

Controls consist of plastic membrane keys for on/off and start/stop. There's also a dial for selecting wash cycles.

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Inside, there's a stainless tub. That's a feature that most entry-level full size dishwashers don't even have.

Front Open Photo

There's only one rack on this dishwasher.

Top Rack Photo

The cutlery basket is removable.

Cutlery Basket Photo

The draws warm water, and its wash cycles don't get above 147 degrees. That means it doesn't need to use a lot of energy to heat water internally. Most wash cycles used between 0.26 and 0.48 kWh of electricity.

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The Koldfront used between 2.5 and 4.2 gallons of water per wash, depending on the cycle. A small dishwasher just doesn't need that much water, and chances are it uses a lot less H2O than you do when you clean dishes by hand.

In an average year of washing dishes, the operating cost of the would be a mere $18.23. Compare that with the time spent cleaning dishes by hand, and it may seem like a pretty good value.

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Some dishwashers take hours to complete a load. This is not one of those dishwashers. The 's cycles range from under an hour for a quick wash to just over an hour and a half for a heavy duty cycle.

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You may not be able to fit a lot of dishes in the , but those that make it inside will end up clean. For our tests, we load dishes with a standard amount of filth to test how well a dishwasher does at its limits. That's why most dishes emerge with some dirt left on them. If you scrape or prewash your dishes, they'll most likely come out much cleaner.

A word of caution: this dishwasher had some trouble cleaning items in the back corners. We'd also recommend loading items so that their most soiled parts are facing towards the spray arm.

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In 45 minutes, the got most dishes pretty clean. We'd recommend using this cycle for most light washes, as it performed nearly as well as the much longer normal cycle.

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The normal cycle took 40 minutes longer than the quick cycle, but only produced marginally better results. Save time and use the quick cycle instead.

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Even hardened lasagna and a burnt creme brulee were no match for the , which tackled sullied pots and pans with aplomb. It did have a little trouble with cheese, however, which we attribute to a relatively low wash temperature of 147 degrees.

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In addition to five full cycles, there's also a ten minute rinse option. That'll come in handy after a full cycle if you're planning on storing this portable dishwasher, as it rinses out most of the crud that a full wash leaves behind.

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Washes can't be customized, but there are enough options on offer that you shouldn't have a problem choosing one that's right for your particular dishes.

There really aren't any options on this washer. It's portable, so at least you can lug it into a cabinet somewhere -- but it's still pretty heavy.

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While this Koldfront's owner's manual claims a six place setting capacity, we could only fit four settings inside. It's a short dishwasher, so taller plates and serving dishes will have to lay flat. That takes up even more space.

Capacity Illustration

Top Rack

Capacity Top Rack Photo
Bottom Rack

There's a single wash arm at the bottom of the unit. There's also a strainer and filter that's thankfully removable, since it got clogged after every wash cycle we tested. If you don't wash this out, your dishes won't get clean and the interior of the washer will start to smell like rotting wet food.

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Filter Photo

There's only one dish rack. Made of rubberized metal, it's hardly adjustable. You can remove the cutlery tray and fold down a very shallow shelf, but otherwise all the tines are fixed. We found them a little close together to fit some larger bowls, which impinged on total usable space.

Top Rack Photo

The cutlery holder is removable and features oddly shaped holes -- some of which don't fit the handles of many silverware patterns.

Cutlery Basket Photo

The detergent dispenser has compartments for small and large washloads. Next to it is a rinse aid dispenser.

Detergent Dispenser Photo

The must be hooked up to a sink. Usually, that requires removing the sink aerator and screwing on a "quick connect" attachment. We had to purchase a 15/16" to 55/64" adapter in order to hook ours up onto the sink in our test laboratory. If you have a faucet with an integrated aerator, this washer might not work for you -- or you may need to do a little plumbing.

Otherwise, its controls are straightforward, and as long as you don't pack it full of dishes, the is pretty easy to load.

This is not a quiet dishwasher. The hum of the drain pump, the whirr of the motor and the rush of water will punctuate your kitchen while it's in use.

There are just three controls on this unit: a plastic membrane on/off button, a similar start/pause button and a big plastic knob for selecting a cycle. To find out what the cycles mean, you'll have to consult the thorough owner's manual.

Controls 1 Photo

We estimated that an average year with the would set you back just over $18 in water and electricity costs. That's very efficient compared to most dishwashers, and much less than you'd spend on water if you hand wash.

Dishes emerged just as clean as they would from a full sized model -- if not cleaner. Just make sure to load items properly, and clean the filter after each wash.

There aren't any special features on this dishwasher, with the exception of its small size and portability. It's heavy, but you could even store it in a closet when it's not in use.

Meet the tester

Keith Barry

Keith Barry

Former Editor in Chief, Reviewed Home

@itskeithbarry

Keith was the Editor in Chief of Reviewed's appliance and automotive sites. His work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Car & Driver, and CityLab.

See all of Keith Barry's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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