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Best countertop dishwashers 2021

Best countertop dishwashers 2021
(Image credit: Getty)

Short on space? The best countertop dishwashers are here to save the day – they’ll also save you from the dreaded chore of doing the dishes. Just like their name suggests, countertop dishwashers – which are sometimes referred to are portable dishwashers – are compact. They’re so compact that they are able to sit on top of your counter or any spare surface like a fold-up table. The clever kitchen gadgets are ideal for smaller kitchens because they are a fraction of the size of a standard dishwasher and they don’t have to be plumbed in under your kitchen worktop. 

Countertop dishwashers work in two different ways. You either need to place them near your sink so you can hook them up to your faucet and an electricity source. Or, some of the best countertop dishwashers come with a built-in water tank so you just need to fill their tank up with water and watch them get to work. 

We’ve researched the very best countertop dishwashers, considering a range of factors such as reliability, design, user reviews, ease of installation, and practicality. We’d added a score rating to all of our reviews too, so you can find the best countertop dishwasher to suit your needs.

Our promise to you

The best countertop dishwashers may be small in size but that doesn’t mean they are lacking in features. Many of the best countertop dishwashers we’ve listed in our guide hold up to six place settings. They also offer a wide variety of different cleaning cycles like a quick cleaning cycle, a baby-care cycle, and a dry cycle. Others also come with delayed-timed cycles. This means you can set the mini machine to wash on demand. Plus, like many of the best dishwashers, some of the top-rated countertop dishwashers are big enough and powerful enough to clean pots and pans too. To discover the best countertop dishwashers for you, we’ve listed a range of top options from brands like Black + Decker, Magic Chef and more below. Or, if you’re looking for more space-saving appliances, discover our guide to the best mini fridges


Best overall

(Image credit: Amazon)

Farberware FDW05ASBWHA

Best countertop dishwasher overall

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 16.5 x 17.3 x 17.3 inches | Wash cycles: 5 | Warranty : 1-year

Reasons to Buy

Five-liter water tank 
No need to connect to a faucet

Reasons to Avoid

 On the small side 
 No cutlery rack 

As convenient as countertop dishwashers are, many of these appliances take their water directly from your faucet. This means you have to place the dishwasher near your sink, which might not suit your kitchen setup. However, the super-convenient Farberware FDW05ASBWHA comes with a built-in five-liter water tank so it can be operated away from the faucet.  

What the users say

The Farberware FDW05ASBWHA’s ratings on Amazon are 75% five-star ratings. Users liked that this model comes with a tank and that the water hoses spray from the top and the bottom of the machine. Some users, however, weren’t pleased to find that they couldn’t fit pots and pans in this countertop dishwasher, and some also found the wash cycles to take a long time. 

While it will still need a large enough receptacle to drain the water into as it washes, this appliance provides more freedom in your small kitchen, especially if space is particularly tight. It’s also convenient for use in RVs.

Other features of the Farberware FDW05ASBWHA include a fruit-cleaning cycle as well as a baby-care cycle for sterilizing bottles and toys. This also makes it handy for larger kitchens where extra back-up is needed for additional tasks. What’s more, it looks great too with a see-through front so you can see it in action as it washes.

Best quiet countertop dishwasher

(Image credit: Home Depot)

Magic Chef MCSCD6B5

The Magic Chef MCSCD6B5 works quietly and gets the job done.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 21.7 x 17.2 x 19.7 inches | Wash cycles: 6 | Warranty : 1 year

Reasons to Buy

 Quiet operation 
 Delayed start function 

Reasons to Avoid

No water tank 
Not great at drying dishes

Living in a small apartment often means you will hear every squeak and creak in your living space – not great if you work from home or want to relax in the evening. However, this neat little countertop dishwasher from Magic Chef is perfect if you want to keep noise to the minimum – with just 52 dB of noise it’s quiet enough for you to barely notice it’s there.

What the users say

Users rate the Magic Chef MCSCD6B5 highly for how quietly it operates. Others were also impressed with how affordable it is to run, with one user claiming their “water bill went down by a substantial amount.” There are some negative reviews too. These include comments about how this countertop dishwasher failed to dry dishes.

The Magic Chef MCSCD6B5 includes six wash cycles to choose from including Heavy, Normal, Light, and Quick, plus there’s also a glass cycle and standard rinse. Other great features include a delayed-start function so you can control when it starts your chosen wash cycle. It also comes in two colors – black or white – to fit in with your kitchen decor.

What’s more, the Magic Chef MCSCD6B5 has a handy delay-start feature so that you can set this dishwasher 24-hours before you actually want it to start washing. Its filters are easy to clean, and it’s also fitted with an anti-flood sensor. Unlike some other models, the Magic Chef MCSCD6B5 should also be able to fit pots and pans in without too much struggle either.

Best small countertop dishwasher

(Image credit: Amazon)

hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher

The small countertop dishwasher that’s big on cleaning.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 21.6 x 19.6 x 17.2 inches | Wash cycles: 6 | Warranty : 2 years

Reasons to Buy

 Quiet operation 
 Looks great 

Reasons to Avoid

 Fairly expensive 
 No water tank 

Size matters when it comes to kitchen appliances especially if space is at a premium. But just because you have a small kitchen it doesn’t mean you have to skip on the luxuries either, which is why hOmeLabs’ Compact Countertop Dishwasher is a great solution for one- or two-person small-apartment living. 

What the users say

Users rate the hOmeLabs’ Compact Countertop Dishwasher highly for its easy set up and also how quietly this model works too. An impressive 76% of Amazon.com reviews have five star ratings. It’s not without its faults, though, as some users said they felt the need to rinse everything thoroughly before using the dishwasher, and that it’s not the most powerful.  

This countertop dishwasher comes with all the great features you’ll find with many of our other recommended machines, but with its compact size of 21.6 x 19.6 x 17.2-inches and great looks too, it will seamlessly blend into your kitchen to offer all the convenience you need. 

And while cheaper models exist, having six wash cycles and enough room to wash pots and pans might be worth the price. The hOmeLabs’ Compact Countertop Dishwasher is also nicely quiet in operation, making it even more essential for your small home.

Best budget countertop dishwasher

(Image credit: Home Depot)

RCA RDW3208

The RCA RDW3208 is an affordable dishwasher that gets your dishes sparkling.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 21.9 x 19.8 x 23.8 inches | Wash cycles: 3 | Warranty : 1 year

Reasons to Buy

Economical 
Spacious 

Reasons to Avoid

 No water tank 
 Limited programs 

The RCA RDW3208 countertop dishwasher is a winner when it comes to affordability. It’s not only a great option for everyday washing-up chores, but it packs a lot in too, easily coping with six place settings and, with its convenient flip-down plate-rack, it can also take pots and pans. 

What the users say

Users rate the RCA RDW3208 highly across a range of retailer websites. Praise for this machine includes comments on how quietly it operates, how well it accommodates pots and pans, and how easy it is to set up and switch on. 

Not all users rave about this countertop dishwasher though. Criticisms come in the form of users wishing they were able to stack plates properly, rather than having to slant them. Users also claim this dishwasher uses a lot of counter space too. 

Supplying this countertop dishwasher with water is straightforward – simply use the included easy-connect kit, which comes with everything you need to provide the appliance with water from your faucet.

Other perks for the price include a cutlery basket and cup shelf for an efficient and thorough wash, while its neat dimensions ensure it fits perfectly into your small kitchen. While a few more wash cycle choices would have been welcome, and a longer warranty would be great too, we can’t complain too much as this budget option does exactly what you need to get the job done.

Best high-end countertop dishwasher

(Image credit: Walmart )

Black + Decker BCD6W

A countertop dishwasher from a big brand with a price tag to match.

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 21.7 x 21.5 x 17.2 inches | Wash cycles: 7 | Warranty: 1 year

Reasons to Buy

 Looks smart 
 Seven wash programs 

Reasons to Avoid

Quite expensive 
Takes up a lot of room

The Black + Decker BCD6W will appeal if you prefer to shop with trusted brands and don’t mind paying for the name.

There are seven wash programs on offer, all of which deliver tip-top cleaning and efficiency. On top of the regular Heavy and Normal cycles are Babycare, Eco, Glass, Speed, and Rinse programs - all welcome additions no matter what size your household. The Babycare wash an added bonus for keeping on top of busy family life. 

What the users say

Users rate the Black + Decker BCD6W highly for how easy it is to install and how efficiently it works too. Other reviews add that this countertop dishwasher works quietly and “cleans dishes perfectly”. Some users do mention that the connection hose for this portable dishwasher isn’t very good and is prone to leaking. A few comments also state how much space this appliance takes up, despite its small capacity.  

The Black + Decker BCD6W countertop dishwasher also includes handy child-lock and pause features – little extras that make this appliance just that little bit more convenient. And with room enough for six settings, there’s plenty to love about this great-looking dishwasher.

However, if you want all the great features, but are looking for more in the way of affordability then you might want to check out one of our other top picks.

Are countertop dishwashers worth it?

Countertop dishwashers are absolutely worth it – especially if you are short on space, on a budget and can’t face washing your dishes by hand. Whether you are lacking in under-the-counter space or have got a motorhome, countertop dishwashers essentially offer up another pair of hands in the kitchen and save you from doing all the washing up. 

Due to their small size, they are perfect for those living alone, couples or for washing up after small get togethers. Many of the best countertop dishwashers can fit around six place settings and some are big enough to fit pots and pans. Many of the best countertop dishwashers also come with at least 5 different wash cycles including the likes of: a standard rinse, a quick rinse and a heavy wash. Many also have the option of a delayed start function and depending on the model you choose, others have a baby-care cycle to sterilize bottles. However, if you’ve got a large family, we’d suggest investing in a full-sized dishwasher so you don’t run out of space. 

How do countertop dishwashers work?

Countertop dishwashers work just like a standard size dishwasher. They each come with place settings, cutlery baskets and space for glasses. These small kitchen appliances need to be plugged into a socket to operate, however they don’t need to be plumbed in. Essentially there are two different types of countertop dishwashers available. Some work by attaching to a faucet while others have their own built-in water tanks for added convenience. 

If your countertop dishwasher needs to be connected to a faucet, it will have two hoses that join together with a ‘quick connect hose faucet’. Usually positioned around the back of your machine, one hose channels in fresh water to clean your dishes with. While the other hose drains the dirty water back into the sink. 

For countertop dishwashers that have their own built-in water tanks, you simply top their tanks up with H2O and let the handy kitchen gadget get to work. The latter are particularly ideal for those who may not have access to a water source. 

When should you buy a countertop dishwasher?

Countertop dishwashers are a fantastic solution for those that are simply sick of washing up and don't have the space for a standard size dishwasher. What's more, countertop appliances are also typically cheaper because they're not as big and they don't tend to cost as much to run either. 

Some countertop dishwashers do require connecting to your faucet, however, and they can be pretty big, despite being designed for your countertop. Unless they have a tank, they'll also need to be positioned near the sink so that they can have a supply of water and somewhere to drain into.

If you're already tight on space, we'd definitely recommend measuring the space where you're planning on placing a countertop dishwasher, and also considering whether there is space for it right next to the sink. 

Do you need a plumber to install a countertop dishwasher?

You won't need a plumber to install a countertop dishwasher. That's because these types of appliances aren't actually plumbed into your mains water supply. Many simply sit on your countertop and connect to your faucet.

Other types of countertop dishwasher have a built-in tank. That means you won't need to connect them to a faucet for them to begin washing the dishes, but you will need to provide them with somewhere to drain after. 

These types of appliances are often called portable dishwashers and it's true, you really can connect these units and then disconnect them and put them away should you need to. 

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