Portable Dishwasher Buyer’s Guide

Portable Dishwasher Buyer’s Guide

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If, like me, you’ve moved from your parents’ house (which had a dishwasher, which you took for granted) to several apartments in high-cost-of-living cities, none of which came with a dishwasher, you may have found a dishwasher as the unattainable luxury to look at. I know that I had almost resigned myself to the time-consuming daily chore of washing dishes by hand. Then, upon hearing one of my many complaints, a friend suggested I look into a portable dishwasher.

A portable dishwasher? I didn’t even know there was such a thing. (Don’t dishwashers need to be plugged into your plumbing? How portable can a dishwasher be?) But when I looked into it, I realized that portable dishwashers do exist — and I decided I had to get one, right away. When I did it, I couldn’t believe the change it made.

For starters, my dishwashing time has been cut in half. Cloudy glasses that I thought were clean came out crystal clear. And apparently I saved water. I only wish I had invested in one sooner – that’s why I’m writing this guide to portable dishwashers. Ahead, everything you need to know about portable dishwashers, including how to get one at an affordable price.

What is a portable dishwasher and how does it work?

Portable dishwashers, also known as RV dishwashers, work by drawing water from your sink faucet through a suction tube, heating it, and washing your dishes like a regular dishwasher. There is also an outlet hose that will empty the dirty water back into your sink.

They come in two categories: countertop and wheeled. Countertop dishwashers are what they sound like – they sit on your counter next to your sink. They have a smaller capacity than roller dishwashers. Some tabletop dishwashers, like this one from Farberware, don’t even need to be connected to the faucet and instead have a water reservoir, much like a Keurig coffeemaker. This type of machine is great for small kitchens and when you only need to wash a few dishes at a time or sanitize items like baby bottles.

Wheeled dishwashers usually come in two widths – the standard 24-inch and a slimmer 18-inch. I chose an 18″ model from SPT which is a perfect addition to my counter and perfectly accommodates a productive day’s dishes.

What you should know before buying a portable dishwasher

Before you jump right in and buy one, there are a few things to consider when it comes to portable dishwashers.

Some faucets are not compatible with portable dishwashers. Because the dishwasher suction hose only attaches to a threaded faucet, certain faucets with built-in sprayers are not compatible with most portable dishwasher fittings.

Rolling portable dishwashers are incredibly heavy. Mine weighs over 100 pounds – a fact I only discovered once I already owned it and faced the daunting task of carrying it up the stairs and into my house on my own. Be sure to plan for help and moving supplies.

Portable dishwashers may be prohibited in your rental agreement. If you’re a renter, check your rental agreement to make sure you’re allowed to have a portable dishwasher.

Where to get a portable dishwasher

If I have successfully introduced you to the cult of portable dishwashers, now you are wondering where you can get one. If you’ve already done a quick search, sticker shock might kick in. New benchtop dishwashers can start at around $250, and rolling portable dishwashers start at around $600. But don’t despair! Try looking for used dishwashers in good condition on resale sites like Facebook Marketplace, Offerup, and Craigslist.

I found my portable dishwasher on Facebook Marketplace for $60. I like to check towards the end or beginning of the month when people are moving into new homes with built-in dishwashers. May we all be fortunate enough to one day join their ranks. But until then, the portable dishwasher will get us through.

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