For those who live in rental apartments or small homes that cannot accommodate a built-in dishwasher, a portable model is the next best thing -- and a great alternative to hand-washing. We found no professional evaluations of portable dishwashers, but many user reviews posted to retail websites. The vast majority of these find the Danby DDW1899WP (Est. $400) offers top-notch cleaning ability as well as energy efficiency and a surprisingly quiet noise level. On the basis of these ratings and comments, the DDW1899WP earns our top-rated portable designation.
The Danby DDW1899WP gets a 4- or 5-star rating from about 87 percent of the nearly 420 owners posting reviews to Walmart.com, with 90 percent of these owners saying they would recommend this model to a friend. In addition, nearly 100 owners posting reviews to Amazon.com give the DDW1899WP an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. Many users praise the unit's cleaning performance, with many calling it quiet or quieter than they expected.
Several also say the model has convenient casters, and it sets up and hooks to the faucet easily. The model is Energy Star-rated, and many users also praise its energy efficiency. A few, however, report mechanical breakdowns, and several find the user manual poorly written and decidedly unhelpful. Some also find that cycles run exceedingly long.
Though more expensive than the Danby model, the Maytag JetClean Plus MDC4809PAW portable dishwasher (Est. $650) also earns praise from owners. For example, the model gets an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 100 owners at HomeDepot.com, with 92 percent saying they would recommend it to a friend. Most reviewers find the cleaning performance good, and they say the unit is convenient to load and reasonably quiet.
Many also like the wooden surface, which can function as additional counter space. However, some complain that the unit gets very hot, which causes them to worry about excessive energy usage (although the model is Energy Star rated), and some say there should be an indicator light to show what stage of a cycle the unit has reached.
The Maytag MDC4809PAW and a black version, the MDC4809PAB (Est. $650) are an estimated $250 more expensive than the Danby DDW1899WP. Nevertheless, if you are in the market for several appliances and are willing to buy Maytag across the board, you may be eligible for a rebate from retailers who run multiple-appliance promotions. Rebates from local utilities are also possible, thanks to the unit's Energy Star rating.