Are Portable Dishwashers Worth It? (Facts Before Buying)

Portable and countertop dishwashers are the small dishwashers that you could consider purchasing if you’re tight on space and you aren’t keen on washing dishes by yourself. But are they worth it?

Portable Dishwashers are an excellent option with limited space and the wish for convenient cleaning of dishware. They are efficient and fast for small amounts and can easily be hooked up for usage and stored away when finished.

Let’s look into why they’re worth it, the portable dishwasher considerations for buying one, and when you mustn’t go for a portable dishwasher.

9 Reasons Why Portable Dishwashers Are Worth It

If you are thinking about Buying a portable dishwasher you may have some good arguments in your head immediately, but is important to look at all advantages to get a clearer picture of this special appliance.

We have listed the top 9 Pros you should consider before Buying:

1. Uses Less Space

Unlike a built-in dishwasher that permanently takes up valuable space in your kitchen, a countertop dishwasher only takes up some counter space, while a portable dishwasher on rollers can be stored in a corner or pantry in between uses.

Portable dishwashers are great for use in a dorm room and RV, apart from small kitchens.

2. Efficient

A portable dishwasher with a few place settings is the best option for a one or two-person household. It has significantly less water usage than hand washing and washes just as efficiently as a built-in dishwasher.

To get the most out of your portable dishwasher you’ll need to check the items you want to put in regularly and what you are still willing to wash by hand.

Big items can be cleaned fast and easily manually and save a lot of space in the dishwasher to clean many items that would hassle you to handwash (like plates and cutlery).

3. Gentle on Dishes

Since a mini dishwasher connects directly to the kitchen faucet, you can control the water temperature. This means you can simply lower the temperature to make the wash conditions less aggressive, making it suitable for delicate items too.

While higher temperatures usually help to get a better result, it can be a disadvantage using hot water.

With a nice setting (no heating from the dishwasher) you are in full control of the applied temperature to fine dishware, crystal, or fragile items.

4. Fast Washing

Generally, portable and countertop dishwashers take less time than built-in dishwashers to clean dishes. The normal and eco cycles usually take less than an hour, while the heavy or intensive cycles take a bit longer.

Portable dishwashers are part of small households that have limited space. A low number of dishes and flatware could be a problem with a large dishwasher that fills up constantly with many items until it’s full and ready to run.

A faster running cycle helps use fewer items and be efficient for only some dishware.

You may have to run the portable dishwasher after each meal, but you’ll always have fresh dishes after a short efficient cleaning.

5. Easy Hook-up

Portable and countertop dishwashers eliminate the need for additional plumbing requirements.

All that’s needed is a good faucet adapter to connect to a sink faucet, like the kitchen faucet, and the drain hose needs to be adjusted to drain dirty water into the sink.

Some portable models with a built-in water tank don’t require a kitchen sink hookup for a water source.

Want to know more? Read How Do Portable Dishwashers Drain?

Overall, they make for a hassle-free installation process, not requiring any changes to your existing plumbing or cabinet space.

6. Uses Less Water

Portable dishwashers, especially countertop dishwashers, use much less water to wash dishes. Since portable dishwashers handle small loads, you get a thorough cleaning with less water.

This is true because a regular dishwasher needs a full load to be efficient and with a small kitchen the dishware usually consists of only a few items.

You would have to run the standard model often half-filled which makes it a waste of energy and water.

7. Less Expensive

Compared to a regular dishwasher, most portable dishwashers are much more affordable since they’re not permanent fixture.

Built-in or drawer dishwashers are worth $1000 – $2000, while portable dishwashers cost between $309 – $899.

They’re also cost-efficient for small loads. The Energy star-rated appliances consume less energy and help cut down energy costs.

8. Portability

The compact size of portable dishwashers makes them easier to take along for families or individuals who shift homes often. You can avoid buying a new dishwasher every time you switch homes.

Also, since most portable dishwashers come with wheels, you could wheel them into a storage space between uses.

9. Additional Counter Space

A portable dishwasher with a butcher-block top provides extra space that you could use, like a kitchen table or island for prepping meals. It could also be like some extra counter space to set things down on.

See also our Guide on Portable Dishwashers with Butcher Block Top.

Consider This Before Buying A Portable Dishwasher

There are a few important factors that you’ll need to consider before you buy a portable dishwasher.


The entire purpose of going for a portable dishwasher is that it doesn’t take up too much space and can be stored away in between uses. It would help if you decided how much space you can dedicate (counter space or floor space) to keep it when operational or store it away.

Once you’ve measured the designated space, you can decide which dishwasher size suits you better.

The standard kitchen counter height is 36 inches.

Portable dishwashers are usually 24 inches wide (some 18-inch models are available), while countertop dishwashers are 22 inches wide, 17.5 inches high, and 20 inches deep.


The size of the dishwasher determines how many dishes it can wash at once based on the number of place settings. The usual capacity is between four to six place settings, while some other models may be able to accommodate as many dishes as built-in models (up to 12 place settings).

Depending on the number of members at home, you can decide on a suitable capacity.


Portable dishwashers have limited cycles and options (usually 4 – 6 cycles); some have 7 – 8 (or more). Among the best countertop dishwashers, the Faberware countertop dishwasher has 7 different cycles.

Some even have a sensor wash that determines how much water must be used based on the soil level of the dirty dishes.

They also adjust the duration and temperature of the cleaning cycle.

Attachment Options

Most portable dishwashers have two hoses – one for the water supply and another for the drain hose. If attaching to a faucet, you’ll have to ensure an internal or external threaded nozzle.

Some countertop dishwashers don’t require any plumbing hook-up and have an internal water tank (like this Novete dishwasher).

Most of these models have a kitchen sink hookup and a water tank option to suit your convenience.


If you prefer your kitchen appliances to be less noisy, look for a portable model that boasts the quiet operation feature. The lower the decibel rating, the more quiet the operation. Check for the unit’s noise level in the specifications.

While regular dishwasher noise levels range between 63 – 66 dBA, portable units with about 55 dBA decibel ratings are just as loud as a microwave (and half as loud as regular dishwashers).

Quality vs Price

Getting a portable dishwasher is an investment that must last you for a few years at least. While portable dishwashers are comparatively cheaper than regular ones, you must look for a good quality, durable machine that will make it worth it even if you have to spend on the higher end of the price range. The choice must be a good balance of portability and durability of the machine.

Energy star-certified dishwashers are great to help reduce energy costs, helping you save money in the long run.

Opt for the most convenient and durable one based on the size, modes or cycles, capacity, sound levels, and attachment options.

When NOT To Buy A Portable Dishwasher

While there are several reasons for you to get a portable dishwasher, you might not want to get one for the following reasons:

  • If there are more than 3 members in the household, the limited capacities of portable dishwashers might not be feasible.
  • Regular attachment of a portable dishwasher bothers you.
  • Money isn’t a factor; you could opt for a regular, built-in dishwasher.
  • You don’t have any counter space or store/floor space for a portable dishwasher.


Portable and countertop dishwashers are worth it in small households.

They occupy less space, consume less water and electricity, don’t require additional plumbing, are efficient, portable, easy to hook up, and less expensive than regular dishwashers.

Not to mention the ones with butcher-block countertops even provide additional workspace in the kitchen.