Portable Dishwashers
Buying Guide and Tips

Dishwasher and dirty dishesImage by congerdesign from Pixabay

Are you looking for portable dishwasher buying tips, because you are tired of cleaning dishes by hand, and cannot install a conventional dishwasher in a kitchen?

Check out the following buyers' guide of small, compact and mobile dishwashers, recommended for smaller homes, cottages, apartments, RVs, rentals, or any other place where the conventional large dishwashers cannot be used.

Portable dishwashers are great solution for those families that are struggling with the limited living space, and especially in the kitchen.

In this article

  1. Why portable dishwashers and benefits
  2. How portable dishwashers work
  3. Types
  4. Sizing tips
  5. Features to look for
  6. Pros and cons
  7. Brands
  8. Popular models to buy

Why portable dishwashers and benefits

A small and mobile dishwasher means a constant supply of clean utensils instead using the paper plates and fragile plastic forks and knives. Portability means they can be operated in the same manner as the conventional one, can clean as much as built-in dishwashers, but stored out of the sight when not in use.

Also, check out a buying guide to save time when searching for the right model.

How portable dishwashers work

Portable dishwashers are similar to the traditional type that are found in most homes. They look the same, have the same function - cleaning  the dishes, but are simpler, smaller and have the wheels built-in so they can be easily moved from one place to another. Perfect to put it away when not in use.

Every portable dishwasher has to be hooked up to water supply and electrical outlet, so it can do the job. Connect the inlet hose of the dishwasher to the faucet, until it completes its cycle. The second hose from the dishwasher goes back into the sink, for disposal. You might need a special faucet adapter to connect the sink and a dishwasher.

It also needs detergent to clean.

So, basically the same setup as the traditional type.

The appliance has the upper and lower racks where you load all the dirty plates, cups, bowls, and utensils, which are using its own rack at the bottom.

Types of dishwashers

The first decision to make when buying a dishwasher for your home is whether you need a portable dishwasher, counter-top or conventional built-in type, and what brand.

If you are constantly moving from a house to a house or apartment, or renting one, or have a small cottage, then installing a permanent dish cleaner might not be a good idea; while hooking up a portable or countertop type will be handier.

Built-in dishwashers are the most popular type and are widely used. They are built-in under the kitchen cabinets and have permanent connection to the plumbing system. The advanced models are designed with the most innovative features and components. These are usually 24" wide.

Countertop dishwashers, as the portable type connects to a sink faucet temporarily, when you need your dishes cleaned. Once you are done with the dishes, portable type can be moved away, while the countertop type usually stays where it supposed to be, on the counter. They are also smaller, so they are used for small loads - no pots, pans and extra large plates. Countertop type is the simplest of all, offering basic functions and lower capacity.

It is ideal for people that have limited kitchen space and have no place to install either built-in or portable type.

They are "life savers" where there is no possibility of renovating a kitchen to include a high end permanent dish cleaning machine.

Sizing tips

The next decision to make is the size or how big one you need. The portable dishwashers available on the market vary in sizes from 18 inches in width to 24 inches, and usually 36 inches tall.

So decide which size works best for you and your needs. The unit must be equipped with the four casters (rollers) to be considered as portable, or have a lightweight design for easy carrying.

Features to look for

The best portable dishwasher is the one that combines advanced features, nice look, just the right size, does the work with no problems, and saves you energy, time and money.

Quality. Among the features to go for is a quality material such as the stainless steel or durable paint in white or silver finish, which prevents cracks and rust appearing on the machine in the long-run. Stainless steel tub is better than plastic, because it lasts longer, provides better performance, does not stain and keeps the noise low.

Wash cycles. The best portable dishwashers have several wash cycles so the machine can clean different types of dishes thoroughly and efficiently. Most dishwasher include Normal, Auto and Express cycles. Except these basic ones, also consider wash cycles such as Efficient (or Energy Saver), for delicate dishes, such as china, heavy pots and pans, quick wash and such.

Racks. Additionally, decide on the rack model for your dishwasher; do you want a removable rack or an adjustable rack? What is the place setting? Does it include the cup shelf and cutlery basket? What is the size of the plates it can hold?

Noise. Nobody likes the noise while sleeping. If you are like me and run the dishwasher during the night, when the electricity is cheaper to use, you want a dishwasher that is quiet. So look for the model that includes features the reduce the noise level. Check out the dB rating or the decibel level - lower is better. The noise level around 50 dB is what you should aim for, and that is as loud as the quiet conversation.

Another tip for purchase is to select a portable dishwasher that requires minimal efforts to operate. A complex dishwasher will give you a hard time connecting all the hoses and AC/DC sources. Go for something simple and also consider the ease of storage of the device. Lastly, buy a portable dishwasher that fit your needs, matches the surrounding, and make sure you buy it from trusted suppliers like IKEA, Sears, Home Depot and Lowe's.


  • Portable dishwasher are great choice for homeowners whose homes lack in space and where a built-in dishwasher requires expensive modification to the kitchen elements.
  • Easy to set it up.
  • Small and easy to handle. Most models have dishwashers sitting on the wheels so they can be easily moved away once done with cleaning.
  • They provide more space for other use.
  • Efficient as the conventional built-in type.


  • Portable dishwashers are simply made that do not offer much options.
  • The selection of models and sizes is not big.
  • They are noisier than built-in type.


  • Bosch
  • Amana
  • Whirlpool
  • Black and Decker
  • SPT
  • GE
  • EdgeStar

Popular models

BLACK+DECKER BCD6W Compact Countertop Dishwasher

"Our Best Decision for a Counter-top Dishwasher"
( Brianna)

"Perfect for apartment living!"
(Alie Williams) 

  • Countertop - Weight 46 lbs; noise 60 dB
  • Electronic touch control with LED
  • Stainless steel interior - 6 place settings
  • 7 wash settings
  • Customer ratings: 4.2 out of 5

SD-9263W: 18″ Energy Star Portable Dishwasher

"convenient for small houses or apartments"
( yvonne)

"It cleans the dishes very well! Very shiny!"
(Bonnie Leo) 

  • Portable - Weight 118 lbs; Capacity 5 gal.; noise 52 dB
  • Electronic touch control with LED
  • Stainless steel interior - 8 place settings
  • 6 wash settings
  • Customer ratings: 4.0 out of 5

EdgeStar DWP62BL Portable Countertop Dishwasher

"Life changer. An amazing product"

"The Edgestar countertop dishwasher has changed my life - for the better."

  • Portable - Weight 44 lbs; Capacity 2.85 gal.; noise 52 dB
  • Electronic touch control with LED
  • Stainless steel interior - 6 place settings
  • 7 wash settings
  • Customer ratings: 4.4 out of 5


Portable dishwashers are mostly designed for home use. They do not occupy too much space, but they do what they are designed for - clean the dishes. They are recommended for people who live in smaller homes with kitchen space issues, apartments, RVs, cottages and such.

Portable dishwasher do not require permanent connection, and once you clean the dishes, take advantage of the built-in rollers to move it away.

› Portable Dishwashers Buying Guide