Best Portable Dishwashers Review & Buying Guide 2018

Are you planning to buy a portable dishwasher?

It is important to understand that portable and countertop dishwashers are not the same thing. While both models connect temporarily to a sink faucet, one sits on countertops and the other sits on rollers.

When not in use, a portable dishwasher can be stored in a pantry or rolled into a corner.

But the most notable difference between the two is the capacity. A portable model can accommodate as many dishes as a built-in dishwasher, including pots and pans. The same thing can’t be said for a countertop dishwasher.

This is made possible by adjustable and/or removable racks that some models offer.

Moreover, a portable dishwasher only uses around 11 liters or 3 gallons per load. Compared to hand washing dishes, it is much more water-saving. Around 9x less, to be exact.

Our Top Picks

  • Winner
    • SPT SD-9241W
      It has adjustable racks, operates quietly, energy star certified, and a tub finished in stainless steel.
  • Runner-Up
  • Must Check

How to Choose the Right Portable Dishwasher

  • Size
    A portable dishwasher is an alternative to the built-in model when space is at a premium. Dimensions can vary, which is why you need to measure the width and depth of the cavity with which the dishwasher will be installed.

    Choose from an 18-inch to 25-inch portable dishwashers.

    Most importantly, it should be suitable for the number of dishes that you wash daily. It would be illogical to buy a dishwasher that will be too small or too large for the washing you do on a daily basis.

  • Type of faucet
    It is important that the dishwasher you choose will fit properly to your existing faucet to avoid leaks and water wastage. If this is not the case, you may need to have your tap changed.

    If an item is shipped with an adapter, make sure it is compatible with your faucet as well. Some models come with technical specifications that you need to know to ensure the right purchase.

  • Length of the hose
    Measure the distance of the space between where the dishwasher will be placed and where your faucet is installed. The hose should have a suitable length to avoid buying a new one or extending the house by adding another hose, which can lead to leaks.

    The length of the hose will also dictate how far your dishwasher will be from your water source. In some cases, you may need to have a new water line added.

  • Power cord
    In choosing a portable dishwasher to buy, it is important to take note where the faucet, wall outlet, and the drainage system are located. Since water and electricity don’t mix, enough distance between the two points should be considered.

    This means the length of the hose and the power cord should be long enough to reach their designated points and ensure safety.

    Don’t forget about the placement of the drain too. This way, leaks, flooding, and mess are avoided altogether.

  • Color and design
    Like most appliances in the kitchen, your portable dishwasher should match the overall design or theme. You don’t want the appliance to stick out like a sore thumb and be an eyesore.

    So make sure to pick the most suitable color, design, and style.

    Portable dishwashers come in black, white, black with white accents, and many others.

  • Cleaning capacity
    The performance of your portable dishwasher should be a top priority. The best model should clean well even when you skip pre-rinsing of dirty dishes.

    But what you should be looking out for is its capacity to wash dishes thoroughly.

    See if there is a sensor that will check how dirty the water is based on the insurance cycle and then determine the right amount of time and water needed to clean everything thoroughly.

    Portable dishwashers without sensors tend to use the same amount of water and time regardless if you’re washing a lightly or heavily soiled load of dishes. Avoid this to same on time and water.

    Unfortunately, not many dishwashers come with a soil sensor, but they do make the lack of it through other features like different wash cycles.

  • Controls
    Dishwashers now come in interactive touch controls. But as long as the buttons are clearly marked, the usual touchpad is fine.

    If there are hidden controls, there should be a display light or other indicator when the dishwasher door is closed or running.

    Test the controls while shopping and see which one works best for your needs before you buy anything.

  • Noise level
    Look for models that operate extra quietly. But you might have to pay extra for this specific plus feature. If you don’t mind a bit of noise or a soft hum, you could get a better deal on a portable dishwasher.

Benefits of Using a Portable Dishwasher

Suitable for limited space

When your kitchen has a limited space, there might not be enough room for a built-in dishwasher. Your next best option is a portable dishwasher. Not only does it require a small room to install, it also sits on rollers for your convenience.

You can just roll it away for storage.

Less noise

Compared to the normal ones, portable dishwashers are quieter when running.
In an apartment or house where you can hear noise from one end to another, an appliance that makes less noise is a blessing.

Minimum soap requirement

Dishwashers only need a small amount of soap to clean dishes. The same thing can’t be said when you are hand washing.

Saves water, power, and time

Many of the newer models of portable dishwashers are energy efficient, which means they only use a minimum amount of power and water to wash dishes.

With the high-level performance, time is saved as well.

Easy installation

With a portable dishwasher, you only need to wheel it in place, connect the hose to the faucet, the drain to the drainage system, and the power cord to the wall outlet and you’re done.

No need to build anything before you can set it up and use it.

Better results

Reviews showed that portable dishwashers clean dishes better than normal ones.

Given its convenience, performance, and energy efficiency, you definitely get better results from such models than others.

What You Get at a Specific Price Point

Under $500
For this price, you get a portable dishwasher with basic features but longer wash times and a bit noisier operation.

But you can expect water efficiency and excellent cleaning. You just need to choose wisely.

$600 to $900
For this price, a portable dishwasher will have convenient features, superb cleaning performance, and quieter operation. Most models also come with a soil sensor that will adjust water levels and cleaning efficiency accordingly.

Over $1000
Expect a dishwasher that is fully loaded with features and an excellent style to boot.

It not only comes with useful features but innovative ones as well, such as Wi-Fi connectivity and special wash zones for dishes that are heavily soiled.

How Portable Dishwashers Are Rated

The top 10 appliances listed below are chosen based on their features

  • Adjustable/extra racks and loading aids that will allow you to wash larger pots and pans even with a dishwasher that only measures 18 inches or so.
  • Soil sensor to determine how dirty the water level is and automatically adjusts a cycle’s water and time with every load, improving efficiency.
  • Rinse/hold cycle that lets you rinse dirty dishes before a full cycle, reducing odors and preventing dirt from setting in.
  • Wash zones for heavily soiled items or those in need of a special cycle. Not many models have this feature.
  • Filters, either self-cleaning or manual, ensure that food is not redeposited on clean dishes.
    • Self-cleaning filters are convenient but tend to be noisy.
    • Filters without grinders are quieter but require periodic cleaning.
  • Special wash cycles, such as quick or express that cleans dishes that are lightly soiled in as little as 20 minutes. Other examples are china/crystal, pot-scrubber, single-rack, soak/scrub, steam clean, or sanitizing cycles.
  • Stainless steel tubs that resist stain better or hybrid stainless/plastic tubs that are not only stain-resistant but also highly durable.
  • Heated dry warms up water during the final rinse and then dry the dishes with warm air circulated by a fan. It is convenient but may raise electric bill.
  • Energy efficiency rating/certification ensures you get to use your dishwasher without adding too much to your utility bills.

Top 10 Best Portable Dishwashers

SPT SD-9241W

For less than $500, you get an 18-inch portable dishwasher that cleans dishes spotless in just under 2 hours. It comes with 6 cycles to choose from and a simple interface for easy and convenient use.

Many reviewers also report little to no reliability issues where performance is concerned. With a stainless steel interior, hygiene is not a problem either.

Notable features:

  • Adjustable/extra racks and loading aids
  • Rinse cycle
  • Special wash cycles: Quick rinse
  • Stainless steel finished tub
  • Operating sound level: 55 decibels
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • Need minimal amount of space
  • Quieter dishwashing operation
  • Adjustable upper rack to make room for larger pots and plates
  • Normal cycle requires only 3.65 gallons of water
  • Energy star certified

Cons

  • Racks can’t accommodate odd-shaped dishes
  • Lacks heated dry option
  • Short hose
  • Longer cycle length for some
  • Water pressure could be better

Kenmore 18″ Portable Dishwasher


Designed for long-lasting performance, this 18-inch portable dishwasher from Kenmore features a stainless steel interior that is stain and rust resistant. It gives you good value for your money where durability and longevity are concerned.

The racks are coated in Deluxe Nylon, making it of higher quality than other similar products. It also boasts of 15 amps sound level (decibel).

Notable features:

  • Adjustable racks
  • Filters: Food disposal, glass trap
  • Special wash cycle: China/Delicate, Heavy Duty/Pots & Pans Wash Cycle
  • Standard tub/Deluxe nylon coated racks
  • Unheated air dry
  • Operating sound level: 59 decibels
  • Energy star compliance

Pros

  • Sleek style and superior cleaning performance
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Comes with an upper shelf mainly for cups
  • Quiet operation
  • Comes with several general features and cycles: light, normal, and automatic
  • Has great debris filtration

Cons

  • More expensive than full-sized dishwashers
  • Turns out dishes that are just nearly perfect clean

SPT SD-9241SS

With this product, you have 6 wash programs to choose from – an all-in-one, normal, light, heavy, rinse, and speed. Its upper rack is adjustable to accommodate larger pots and plates.

Shipped with a faucet adapter for added convenience.

With a stainless steel interior, rust and stain are kept at bay.

Notable features:

  • Adjustable upper racks
  • Stainless steel finished tub
  • Operating sound level: 55 decibels
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • 1 to 24-hour time delay feature
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Offers quick and simple connection
  • Energy star certified
  • Full panel control console

Cons

  • May leak after a few months of use
  • Clean glasses may need a quick hand polish afterward
  • Comes with a plastic non-braided hose that can’t support full water pressure

Danby DDW1801MWP


An 18-inch portable dishwasher with a stainless steel interior, this appliance from Danby is almost similar to the first two models. The only difference is that it is a lot cheaper.

When it comes to cleaning performance, it is very strong and reliable.

It comes with an 8-place setting capacity and 6 wash cycles.

Notable features:

  • Soak cycle
  • Stainless steel finished tub
  • Operating sound level: 55 decibels
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • Affordable than other models with similar quality
  • Perfect for small kitchens
  • Energy star compliant
  • Low water and energy consumption
  • Full panel control console

Cons

  • Some found issues with the dishes on the top rack
  • Unusual control design makes it less user-friendly
  • Long term reliability has yet to be determined since it’s a new model

Whirlpool WDP370PAHB


This portable dishwasher comes with a soil sensor that determines how dirty the dishes are and automatically adjusts the normal cycle. This feature alone makes it a good option, although not enough to put it in the first spot.

It has 4 wash options and 3 wash cycles. It boasts of 12 place settings.

Notable features:

  • Soil sensor
  • Filter: filtered water
  • Special wash cycles: high-temperature wash
  • Plastic tub finish
  • Heated dry
  • Operating sound level: 64 decibels
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • Removable water filtration system
  • Rack material is made of vinyl
  • Dries dishes with its built-in heated dryer
  • Features 1-hour wash and a 4-hour delay wash

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • A bit noisy, with 55 decibel level
  • Bit wider, taller and heavier
  • Rack tines could be improved
  • Silverware basket is non-split-able

Whirlpool DP940PWSQ


Compared to other portable dishwashers, this model from whirlpool has an extra-large capacity tub. If you have enough room to fit in a 24-inch dishwasher, this is definitely worth checking out.

It boasts of a hard food disposer with a self-cleaning filter and a wash system technology called Power Clean.
Choose from 5 cycles and expect a quiet wash with each one.

Notable features:

  • Adjustable racks
  • Rinse cycle
  • Filter: self-cleaning
  • Special wash cycles: pots and pans, high-temperature wash, Glass Xpress cycle
  • Plastic tubs
  • Heated dry
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • Adjustable rack height to accommodate larger pots and plates
  • Built with sound insulation and the thermal drying
  • Comes with a detergent dispenser, wash sensor

Cons

  • A bit on the bigger side
  • Normal cycle consumes 8 to 6 gallons of water

SoloRock SRDW180813S


This 18-inch portable dishwasher not only comes with a stainless steel internal tub but also a stainless steel door panel. It is rust-resistant and easy to clean and maintain at the same time.

Shipped with a sink to tap adapter.

Upper rack shelf is adjustable to allow more room when needed.

Comes with different wash cycles including Speedy Wash that only runs for 65 minutes. Heavy wash lasts for 135 minutes.

Notable features:

  • Adjustable upper rack
  • Rinse cycle
  • Filter: built-in water filter
  • Special wash cycle: Speed wash
  • Stainless steel tub
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • Accommodates large pots and plates when the upper rack is adjusted
  • Multiple washes and rinse cycles
  • Made with utmost portability in mind

Cons

  • Less powerful for its price point
  • Tends to leak

Maytag MDC4650AWB


This portable dishwasher offers 4 wash cycles – normal, light, heavy, and rinse only.

Built with a QuietSeries(TM) 100 sound package, it cleans dishes without making too much noise and disrupting your home.

With 6 touch pads added on an all-black body with white accents and vice versa, not only does it add convenience to your kitchen but style as well.

What makes this portable dishwasher stand out is its convertible configuration. That is, it can become a built-in dishwasher if you so desire.

Notable features:

  • Rinse cycle
  • Filter: Micro-Fine Plus filtration
  • Special wash cycle: Sanitize option, high-temp wash, heavy wash
  • Vinyl-coated racks
  • Active-vent dry system
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • Comes with Micro-fine plus filtration, stainless steel hard food disposer, and Jetclean II wash system
  • Energy star model
  • Vinyl coated racks
  • Has an active-vent dry system and sanitize option

Cons

  • A bit on the bigger and taller side

Maytag Jetclean Plus Series MDC4809AWW


With a built-in 4-blade hard food disposer, this portable dishwasher from Maytag will remove food sticking on dishes without a problem.

Even with just 4 cycles and 3 wash options, it ensures impressive cleaning, what with other special wash cycles available.

Suffice to say that you get to specifically wash dishes and pans at different soiled levels. Whether lightly or heavily soiled, there is a wash option to choose from.

Although it lacks a soil sensor, it does come with a turbidity sensor that determines how cloudy the water is and adjusts a cycle’s wash and time for better, water-saving dishwashing.

Notable features:

  • Turbidity sensor
  • Rinse cycle
  • Special wash cycles: Heavy, Hi Temp Wash, China/Light
  • Plastic tubs
  • Heated dry
  • Operating sound level: 64 decibels
  • Energy Star Qualified

Pros

  • Versatile wash options
  • Ensures efficient cleaning using its turbidity sensor
  • Comes with a rinse aid dispenser
  • Has 14 place settings

Cons

  • Un-adjustable racks
  • Lacks a wash zone and filter
  • Tub is made of plastic that is vulnerable to stain

GE GSC3500DWW


As a convertible model, this portable dishwasher from GE can be installed as a built-in version if you so desire. If you foresee it permanently installed in one place, portable can be made built in.

This appliance comes with a hard food dispenser that grinds excess food particles and washes them away.

Although it has the features that make a great portable dishwasher, it is lacking in features that ensure convenience and efficiency.

Racks are not adjustable, although they are removable. If you have larger plates, you may have difficulty fitting them inside the dishwasher.

Of course, there are strategies you can employ, but cleaning performance might be compromised.

What makes this portable dishwasher a stand out, however, is the Woodgrain Laminate top that provides you with added counter space. In a kitchen with limited space, this can serve as your kitchen island or prep area.

Notable features:

  • Rinse/hold cycle
  • Filter: 2-stage filtration with ExtraFine filter
  • Special wash cycles: Pots And Pans Cycle, Quick-Rinse Cycle, High-Temperature Wash
  • Polymer finished tub
  • Heated dry
  • Operating sound level: 64 decibels
  • Energy star certification

Pros

  • 12-place settings
  • Choose from 5 wash cycles and 5-level power scrub
  • Provides extra workspace

Cons

  • A bit on the bigger and taller side
  • More expensive due to convertible configuration feature
  • Control interface could use a bit of modernization
  • May leave stains on heavily soiled dishes

Conclusion

A portable dishwasher is a great choice for when your kitchen doesn’t have room for a built-in model. Set on casters, you can move it around without the need to break down anything.

Installation is just as easy, provided that you buy one that has the right length of hose, power cord, and cable.

How you choose a portable dishwasher can depend on various factors. It’s up to you to decide which one matters most to you.

Is it the price or the features?

Are you okay with a mid-range portable dishwasher based on your average daily load?

Does the aesthetics matter or are you all about style?

Does energy efficiency take priority among other things?

Knowing the answer to these questions will help narrow down your options.

If you want something high-performing at a price that you can afford, our top pick – SPT SD-9241W – makes a good choice.

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