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6 Best Countertop Dishwashers of 2022

A small kitchen doesn't mean you're destined to wash dishes by hand.

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We updated this story in January 2022 to provide more detail about Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab testing protocol, replace discontinued models with newly vetted picks and include the dimensions and sound levels of each dishwasher featured.

If you have a small kitchen and don't have the room to install a built-in dishwasher, you may think you have no other choice but to wash dishes by hand. And since nothing makes a kitchen look messier then a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, keeping up with it all turns into a never ending task, not to mention all the water and energy hand washing dishes consumes. But even if you have limited space, a countertop dishwasher can be a time- and energy-saving solution worth considering.

These mini machines sit on the countertop next to your kitchen sink and hook up to the faucet, though some have built-in water tanks to conveniently free up your faucet while the dishwasher is running. Most hold up to six place-settings of dishes and glassware — and like their full-size counterparts— offer multiple cleaning cycles and heating elements along with helpful features, like fold-down cup shelves, flatware holders, touch controls, detergent dispensers, pull-out racks, and more.

How we chose the countertop dishwashers on this list

In the Good Housekeeping Cleaning Lab, we test full-size dishwashers for how well they clean normal and heavily-soiled loads we've stained with a greasy spinach slurry, milk, egg yolk, baked-on mac and cheese, fried hamburger and more. After a two-hour drying session, dirty dinnerware, flatware, glassware and cookware are loaded into the test machine and the cycle is started. We assess capacity, sound, energy use, how easy the dishwashers are to load and program and more. And while we haven't tested these countertop models in our Lab, to make our recommendations we looked for brands that usually do well in our full-size dishwasher tests or with which we have experience, cycles and features that would be most useful, energy savings, size relative to capacity and top consumer reviews. Taking all of these factors into account, these are the countertop dishwasher models the GH Cleaning Lab recommends:

Our top picks

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    Best Overall Countertop Dishwasher
    Countertop Dishwasher

    • Energy Star certified
    • Has eight wash cycles
    • Stainless steel front
    • Includes extra options and cycles

    • Not as quiet as some

    With its stainless steel-look exterior, LED display and eight wash cycles, this high-end Danby is as close to a full-size model as a compact can come. Like others, it has cup shelves, a flatware basket and holds six place settings, but there's so much more. Specialty options like an ECO cycle to save energy, a Mini-Party setting to get refresh glassware in 20 minutes and a Baby Care cycle with an extra hot rinse along with normal, heavy duty and more mean there's pretty much nothing you can't wash in here. Impressive extras include a child lock on the controls and programs for extra drying, extra cleaning and express washing. Though the controls use symbols instead of words, they are easy to decipher.

    Dimensions: 21.7" x 19.7" x 17.2"
    54 dB

    Best Value Countertop Dishwasher
    Portable Dishwasher

    • High temperature boost option
    • Energy Star certified

    • Control panel has icons instead of words

    This Danby model sits at almost 22 inches wide and uses a combination of electronic and mechanical controls on its panel for those who are fans of plain push buttons. But even at this affordable price, it doesn't skimp on options. It offers six wash cycles from intense to soak plus a two-, four-, or eight-hour delay wash option and a high-temperature boost to do a better job on cookware or especially dirty items. Fold down cup shelves and a removable flatware basket add to its loading flexibility and a light on the control panel conveniently tells you when it's time to add more rinse aid.

    Dimensions: 19.7" x 21.6" x 17.2"
    Sound: 52 dB

    Best Quiet Countertop Dishwasher
    Portable Countertop Dishwasher
    Magic Chef
    Magic Chef

    • Quiet
    • Energy Star certified
    • Available in white or black
    • 24-hour delay start

    • Control panel has icons instead of words

    At almost 21 3/4 inches, this Magic Chef is among the deepest countertop models but sports many of the amenities found on full-size appliances. A separate flatware basket and two flip down cup shelves help it hold up to six place settings. At only 52 decibels, it's among the quietest countertop models we've found, a real plus in a small kitchen. (For reference, other countertop brands reported decibel levels of 55 or higher and the quietest full-size dishwashers are usually around 40 decibels.) The six wash programs here include everything from intense wash to rinse only, plus there's a 24-hour delay wash option that you can set in one-hour increments to better match the cycle time to your schedule.

    Dimensions: 21.7" x 19.7" x 17.2"
    Sound: 52 dB

    Best Countertop Dishwasher for Small Spaces
    Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher

    • Takes up little counter space
    • Has its own water reservoir
    • Uses only 1.3 gallons of water per cycle

    • May be a bit loud
    • Holds only two place settings

    Like other models, this mini machine from Farberware comes with hoses to connect it to the kitchen faucet but what sets it apart is its built-in five-liter water tank, so it can be operated without tying up your faucet. At just over 18 inches wide it has the smallest footprint of our picks. Best suited for single households, it claims to accommodate just two place settings, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in features. There are five wash programs, including one with a high-temperature sanitizing rinse, LED touch controls, a see-through door window, a child lock on the controls and a delay start option. A small fold down shelf holds flatware and cutlery instead of the regular basket. Detergent goes into a little well on the door, but it lacks a dispenser for rinse aid. There's even a dedicated cycle and a basket included for washing fresh fruit.

    Dimensions: 16.5" x 18.3" x 17.1"
    Sound: 62 dB

    Sleekest Countertop Dishwasher
    Compact Countertop Dishwasher
    Black + Decker
    Now 11% off

    • Two folding cup shelves
    • Dedicated flatware basket
    • Energy Star certified

    • Some reviewers complainted about slow customer service
    • Control panel uses icons instead of words
    • Large footprint

    This Black + Decker is so stylish it could almost pass for a mini oven. At 21 1/2 inches wide, it claims to hold six place settings and dinner plates up to 10 inches in diameter. There are seven wash programs from intensive to rapid to rinse only and even a 24-hour delay start option for you to load it up and run the cycle at a time when you're not using the kitchen. The detergent and rinse aid dispensers look and work just like those of full-size models and the child lock assures that little fingers can't accidentally start it. With its curved stainless steel handle and black glass window, it will blend seamlessly with the other appliances in your kitchen.

    Dimensions: 21.7" x 21.5" x 17.2"
    60 dB

    Fastest Countertop Dishwasher
    Countertop Dishwasher

    • 20-minute Mini-Party cycle
    • 45-minute Speed cycle

    • Only comes in gray
    • No delay start option

    Sunpentown, or SPT, is a brand with its roots in commercial cooking appliances. This mini dishwasher is simple to use with just three buttons and a row of cycle lights on its control panel. Inside, if offers the same rack configuration, flatware basket and cup shelves as the others, but if you do a lot of entertaining and need glassware and lightly soiled items in a hurry, this model fits the bill. With two speedy cycles (one 20 minutes and one 45 minutes) you'll always have wine goblets and appetizer plates ready for guests that need them. And, you'll be able to keep dirty dishes from piling up in the kitchen for less cleanup once guests go home. At 55 decibels, it's louder than some but quieter than others and at just under 22 inches wide, it claims to hold six place settings.

    Dimensions: 19.7" x 21.6" x 17.2"
    Sound: 55 dB

    How do countertop dishwashers work?
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    good housekeeping

    Just like portable washing machines, countertop dishwashers fill from a nearby faucet and drain into the sink. And just like with a full-size dishwasher the temperature of the water going in needs to be at least 120ºF to get good cleaning results. Most of these mini models have heaters to boost the temperature of the water for even better cleaning, rinsing, and drying performance and use about three gallons of water per cycle. Check the faucet connections included with any model to be sure you have the necessary parts to attach it to your faucet. Keep in mind they don't attach to faucets with pull-out sprayers.

    Countertop dishwashers range in width from about 16 to 22 inches wide and 17 to almost 20 inches high, so be sure to take measurements before you buy so you know the model you've chosen will fit in the space between your countertop and upper cabinets. And capacities are small, so an oversized platter or a large pot likely won't fit inside. But most reviewers give them high praise for being real work and time savers.

    All models have filters that require cleaning and some recommend a regular vinegar rinse to remove deposits and mineral build-up. While you shouldn't have to pre-rinse your dishes, it is a good idea to scrape or wipe off excess food before loading. And when it comes to choosing which detergent to use, packets, tablets, powders and gels are all fine in the countertop models. And while virtually all the machines have detergent and rinse aid dispensers that look and work like the usual ones, most brands caution against using packets or tablets for the short cycles as they may not fully dissolve.

    What should I look for in a countertop dishwasher?
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    Here are some key points to keep in mind when buying a countertop dishwasher:

    Overall size: While how much counter space you'll be giving up is an important consideration, a model's height is even more important. You can usually squeeze in space on the sides for a wide unit, but a tall one that won't fit between your countertop and upper cabinets means it won't work for you.

    Capacity: While most countertop dishwashers claim to hold up to six place settings, the dinner plates they can accommodate can vary from 10 to 12 inches. Make sure any model you are considering can handle the plates you use most often.

    Energy efficiency: All countertop dishwashers carry yellow Energy Guide labels, so you'll be able to compare approximately how much they will cost you per year to run. But only some are actually Energy Star certified meaning that they are the most efficient models. We think it's worth looking for Energy Star certification.

    • Controls and cycles: Here you have some choice. Sleek electronic controls will generally cost more than push buttons but are easier to clean. LED lights and displays can alert you to the time is left on the cycle, what cycle you've chosen, and when the rinse aid dispenser needs refilling. We think controls with words are easier to use than those with icons and extra cycles and options, like speed wash and delay start, give you capabilities similar to what full-size models offer, but are only worth considering if you'll actually use them.

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