Best Portable Dishwasher

November 20th, 2019

These time-saving models wash beautifully… and they are easy to move around.

Thanks to technology, the arduous, water-wasting task of handwashing dishes doesn’t need to plague your day: you can get a dishwasher to clean for you instead.

Owning a dishwasher may have been a problem for you up until now. Perhaps you live in an apartment where the owners don’t want you interfering with the plumbing. Perhaps you’re not interested in taking on the challenge of installing a dishwasher… it can be complicated. Perhaps you move house frequently and couldn’t be bothered with countertop washers and because of their cramped, impractical size.

Well, cheer up: you are no longer doomed to handwashing your dishes (let’s get real here, folks… it’s one of my least favorite chores). We’re here to let you know about the five best portable dishwashers, because these can still work for you.

Portable dishwashers are dishwashers that you don’t need to install. Many models are the same size as a standard built-in, but they glide around on wheels and are easily attached to your kitchen or scullery faucet. You can store them conveniently and roll them out when you need them. Portables are not quite as versatile as their built-in cousins, but they are significantly more spacious and functional than the diminutive countertop.

In this article, we’re going to review our five favorite portables. We’ll analyze cycle options, size, work top materials, and general functionality. So, take off those rubber gloves and relax with a cup of coffee, Cinderella… your days of grueling labor at the sink are over.

Best Portable Dishwasher – Our Review

Danby DDW1801MWP

The Danby DDW1801MWP is small and simple, but it can be relied on to get the job done with minimal hassle.
At 18 inches with 8 place settings, the Danby is modestly sized. However, this isn’t unusual for a portable: the GE GPT145SSLSS and the SPT SD-9241SS, both on this list, offer the same interior width. Its diminutive proportions could actually be a perk: it’s nifty to move around, and you’ll probably be doing that a lot. Its capacity is perfect for servicing two or three people. Larger families would have to empty and repack the dishwasher several times to clean a day’s worth of dishes.

At 55 decibels, this model is quiet for a portable. When it’s running, the sounds it makes don’t interfere with conversation.

Like the SPT SD-9241SS lower down, it features six wash cycles. The other models here only offer three, so I appreciate the added versatility. It’s wonderfully eco-friendly: it has an Energy Star rating and is beautifully efficient with water and power usage. The stainless-steel interior is hardy and looks classier than the plastic interiors here.

Unfortunately, the Danby DDW1801MWP dries using an element, which isn’t as efficient as condensation drying. It doesn’t dry very thoroughly, either: you need to leave the door open for about half an hour after the cycle has ended for dishes to dry. It also has a filter instead of a food grinder for catching particles that get washed off your dishes, so you’ll have to take that mucky little component out every so often and give it a thorough clean.

Together with the SPT SD-9241SS, though, it’s the cheapest washer on this list. In fact, it’s very similar to the SPT model here: they both have no bells and whistles, but offer reliable cleaning at an excellent price.

Here are the biggest differences between these models:

  • The when the SP finishes its cycle the dishes are somewhat dryer, though they still have droplets on.
  • The Danby is a lot lighter – it’s the lightest washer on this list – which makes it easier to push around.
  • The Danby’s aesthetic is simple and clean-looking in white, while the SPT is a bit more flashy in black and shiny stainless steel.
  • The SPT has small, straightforward buttons with text, and lights that display your selection, while the Danby has two buttons and a dial, with almost exclusively images for explanation. Although it looks cute, I feel it’s kind of confusing… you have to check the manual before picking your cycle.

Overall, the Danby provides excellent value and service for its price.

ProsCons
Inexpensive

 Space saving and light

 Energy Star rated

 Clean white

 Relatively quiet

 Stainless steel interior

 Can’t wash a larger load in one go

 Doesn’t dry well

 Has a filter instead of a grinder

 Control panel a little confusing with no text

Whirlpool WDP370PAHW

This dishwasher offers reliability, an eye-catching aesthetic, and a convenient amount of space. It does have some drawbacks, though.

With a 24-inch interior and 12 place settings, it’s the same size as the GE GSC3500DWW below. Both models also boast a decorative, laminated wood top in golden yellow tones. Whether they’re in use or in storage, these won’t stand out like a sore thumb when they’re surrounded by your kitchen countertops. Both models also have soil sensors. Automatic washing sensors adjust the washing cycle according to how dirty your dishes are, and they’re brilliant at saving time and water. Both models are unfortunately noisy at 64 decibels, and both are kitted out with a plastic interior, which is lighter but less hardy than stainless steel.

However, the Whirlpool doesn’t match up in some ways to the 24 inch GE. It has only three cycles, far less than the GE. They both dry using a heating element, but the Whirlpool is the only machine on this list that doesn’t have an Energy Star rating. It also has a filter which you’ll have to clean every so often, instead of a food grinder.

Happily, the Whirpool WDP370PAHW is slightly less expensive than the two GE models here. It performs well, and I feel it’s a more reliable quality that the larger GE. If you can make do with a smaller machine, though, you can get simple functionality at a much lower price with the Danby and SPT, or tons of well-designed convenience with the 18-inch GE.

ProsCons
Offers a generous amount of space

 Has sensors

 Decorative laminated wood top

 Clean white

 Cycle recall function

 More expensive than smaller models

 Only three cycles

 No Energy Star rating

 Loud at 64 dba

 Plastic interior

GE GPT145SSLSS (Editor’s Choice)

This machine is smart, efficient and beautifully functional.

A lot of thought has gone into making this machine convenient to use. It has a soil sensor, so water usage and cycle time will adjust to how dirty your dishes are. It uses a food grinder instead of a filter to deal with food debris: no extracting and washing a smelly, mucky filter. There are only three cycles, but one of these is the sensor wash, which automatically sets the washing routine anyway.

Then there’s the sanitize option and the awesome drying design. This machine is NSF certified and can thoroughly eradicate any germs on your dishes. This sanitize capability is incredibly helpful, especially if you do your own canning and preserving and need to sanitize cans and bottles, or for those days when someone in the house isn’t feeling so well and you need to control the spread of germs. The drying function supports this: it’s the only model on this list to offer condensation drying, where the internal design of the washer, instead of a heating element, dries warm dishes. It’s more hygienic.

Like the other small models here, it runs relatively quietly at 55 decibels, has a hardy stainless-steel interior, and is Energy Star rated. However, the GE GPT145SSLSS has a sleeker, more pleasing aesthetic than the Danby and SPT: the visual design is totally uncluttered. Even the buttons are on the upper edge of the drop-down door, instead of on the face.

The only downside to this superb portable is that it sports a similar price tag to the twenty-four-inch models on this list, but it’s a lot more cramped at 18 inches with 8 place settings. However, you seriously do get what you’re paying for: it’s got a lot more going for it than the other small models here.

ProsCons
Sensor wash

 Food grinder

 Condensation drying

 Stainless steel interior

 Relatively quiet

 Space saving

 Pleasing visual design

 NSF certified

 Energy Star rated

 More expensive than the other small models

 Can’t wash a larger load in one go

 

SPT SD-9241SS

You get high functionality and uncomplicated operation at a very reasonable price with the Supentown SD-9241SS.

Together with the Danby, it is the least expensive model here. However, it’s still efficient and a reliable quality.

At 18 inches with 8 place settings, The SPT is a machine for smaller families or cozy spaces. It has that high-quality stainless-steel interior, a generous six wash cycles (more than any of the pricier models here offer) and is Energy Star rated. At 55 decibels, it’s pleasantly quiet when it’s running.

There’s no food grinder, though, so you’d have to deal with the filter periodically. It also dries using a heating element. It doesn’t dry thoroughly if the door stays closed after the cycle has ended, but dishes dry perfectly if you drop the door while they’re warm and leave them for around twenty minutes.

Is it as functional as the Danby, which is the same size and clocks in at the same price point? I think so: the most significant difference being the fact that the Danby is lighter and therefore easier to push around. It’s definitely not as well designed as the small GE above, though. If your wallet gives you the go ahead, you’ll find more versatility and convenience in the pricier model.

ProsCons
Inexpensive

 Relatively quiet

 Stainless steel interior

 6 Wash cycles

 Space saving

 Energy Star rated

 Can’t wash a larger load in one go

 Has a filter instead of a grinder

 Is heavier than the Danby

 You need to leave the door open after a cycle to dry dishes

GE GSC3500DWW

This model compares to the Whirlpool above in terms of size and price… but how does it match up in function?
Both models offer a spacious 24 inches and 12 place settings. They’re both noisy at 64 decibels. They offer gorgeous, decorative laminated wood tops in warm, pale tones. They are fitted with the less desirable plastic interiors, though this might help lift a little weight. Both have smart sensors for optimizing water usage and washing time. They’re very close in terms of price, though you can expect to pay a little more for the GE. But there are some differences, and they are worth considering.

The GE has a food grinder. Honestly, this is one of my favorite dishwasher inventions: I really don’t enjoy cleaning filters. Unlike the Whirlpool, it’s also Energy Star rated. The cycle settings are quite different: the Whirlpool options are minimal, but the GE has a “Normal Wash” with three settings, and then “Plate Warmer” and “Pots and Pans” options.

There are a few drawbacks to the GE. The machine does a passable job of cleaning dishes, but the “Pots and Pans” setting is nothing to get excited about – you’ll still have to rinse heavily soiled cooking utensils off in order to get a perfect wash. The laminated top can swell and crack over time if it’s exposed to steam or water frequently. And the upper rack has a hole in it to let water from below spout through, which may improve the washing process… but some precious space is lost.

Overall, the Whirpool scores less for convenience, but I feel it’s better quality and more likely to grace your home and save you time for many years to come.

ProsCons
Food grinder

 Has sensors

 Offers a couple of fancy settings

 Decorative top

 Energy Star rated

 Noisy

 Plastic interior

 Hole in top rack takes up space

 More expensive than smaller models

 Probably won’t last as long as the Whirpool

How to Attach a Portable Dishwasher?

You’ve delved into our list, made your pick, and bought the best portable dishwasher for your household. Time to consider the next most important question: how do you hook this thing up? We’ve simplified it for you into 6 easy steps.

How to Hook Up a Portable Dishwasher

  1. If the hot water tap on your kitchen sink has an aerator, remove it, using a pair of pliers if it’s tight. Store the aerator in a safe spot so you can replace it later.
  2. Your portable dishwasher probably came with a faucet adaptor. Screw it into the hot water tap. Run the tap until the water gets hot, then turn it off.
  3. Roll out your portable dishwasher and position it close to the sink. Take out the hoses. They will both be attached to a unicouple, a plumbing component that makes it easier to install and operate your portable.
  4. Pull back the collar ring around the attachment opening of the unicouple. Push the attachment opening against the faucet adaptor opening and release the collar ring. It should snap into place, securely attaching the unicouple.
  5. Plug the dishwasher’s power cord into a nearby AC socket.

You’re good to go! Enjoy the clean dishes, hydrated hands and extra spare time.