Page: 3 of 4
In this report

Roll-away and countertop dishwashers fill the bill where built-ins won't work

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. Portable units can take two forms, countertop and roll away, but of the two, we found the most positive feedback for countertop models.

Best portable dishwasher

Sunpentown SD-2201W
Sunpentown SD-2201W

The top choice according to experts and users is the Sunpentown SD-2201W (Est. $225). It receives strong user ratings at numerous sites, including 4.4 stars at Amazon.com following more than 500 reviews. It also earns a 4.4 star rating at Walmart.com following more than 100 unique reviews and ratings. More than 90 percent say that they would recommend the Sunpentown SD-2201W to a friend. The manufacturer, Sunpentown, is also sometimes known as SPT, so this is identified as the SPT SD-2201W by some retailers, including Amazon.com

Professionals don't review many portable dishwashers, but the Sunpentown SD-2201W earns a good review and a Best of the Year award from Reviewed.com. Keith Barry writes that "The Sunpentown SD-2201W holds its own when compared to full-size dishwashers."

The Sunpentown SD-2201W can't keep up with built-in dishwashers, or even most roll-away dishwashers, when it comes to capacity; it's rated to hold six place settings, but Barry reports that four full place settings is more realistic. However, it fully measures up to mid-priced built-ins in many other regards. Performance is excellent, with five cycles for dishwashing tasks from a light rinse to cleaning heavily soiled bakeware. All perform well, though not always perfectly -- cleaning items in the far rear corners of the SD-2201W were a challenge in Reviewed.com's tests. With a noise rating of 55 dB, it's louder than the top built-ins, but quieter than many cheap dishwashers -- including the Amana ADB1100AWB (Est. $300). That's worth considering for those looking for a built in dishwasher on the tightest of budgets.

Installation is easy, reviews say, though you'll need to be within reach of a sink for the intake and drain hoses, which attach to your faucet via an included faucet adapter and Quick Connect coupler. Efficiency is excellent, and the SD-2201W is Energy Star rated.

The Sunpentown SD-2201W comes in white, but can be ordered in silver as the Sunpentown SD-2201S (Est. $230). A step-up version adds a delayed start feature but is otherwise similar. It's sold in white as the Sunpentown SD-2202W (Est. $240) and silver as the Sunpentown SD-2202S (Est. $270). Reviews are far more limited for the step-up models, but satisfaction thus far seems to be similar.

The chief drawback to a countertop dishwasher is that it eats up counter space -- something that's often at a premium in small kitchens. Roll-away dishwashers can be stored in a utility or pantry closet when not in use, or if your kitchen is large enough, be left in place to provide a little extra counter space of their own.

If a roll away portable dishwasher is right for you, the Whirlpool WDP350PAAW (Est. $700) looks like a good choice. We didn't find a professional review for this compact dishwasher, but user reviews look strong. It earns a 4.5-star rating at HomeDepot.com following more than 180 reviews left by both Home Depot customers and users posting at Whirlpool's site. More than 90 percent say that they would recommend this dishwasher to a friend.

You won't find a ton of features. There are only three cycles -- Heavy, Normal and 1 Hr. Wash -- and limited customization -- just the ability to choose hotter water for tougher tasks and to heat dry rather than air dry your dishes. The availability of a delayed start is nice, but it's preset at four hours and can't be adjusted.

The Whirlpool's noise rating of 55 dB is identical to the Sunpentown countertop models above, and fairly good for a portable model. The WDP350PAAW is rated to hold more than the Sunpentown SD-2201W, about 12 place settings. Getting all of that dishware into the dishwasher might be a bit of a challenge however, as the racks and tines can't be adjusted. Some users comment that the wood laminate dishwasher top provides some much appreciated extra counter space in their counter-space-challenged kitchens. Energy efficiency is excellent, and the WDP350PAAW is Energy Star qualified. As with all portable dishwashers, it needs to be located within reach of a sink (30-inches) for the intake and drain hoses.

This dishwasher if offered in white, while the Whirlpool WDP350PAAB (Est. $700) is the same model, but in black.

This dishwasher if offered in white, while the Whirlpool WDP350PAAB (Est. $700) is the same model, but in black.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Reviewed Dishwashers: These are the best dishwashers as identified in reviews. We discuss the best built-in dishwashers, as well as the best values. Top portable dishwashers are named, too.

Best Dishwashers: If you want useful features, energy efficiency, quiet operation and, spotless dishes every time, these models are your best bets among built-in dishwashers

Best Value Dishwashers: Looking for a solid performing dishwasher that won't wash away your bankroll? These dishwashers perform better than their price tags might indicate.

Buying Guide: We discuss what you need to consider when figuring out which dishwasher is best for you.  These are the key factors you need to consider when shopping for the best model.

Our Sources: These are the expert and user reviews we used to name the top built-in and portable dishwashers, along with some budget-saving alternatives. They are ranked in the order of their helpfulness and expertise.

image
Amana ADB1100AWB 24" Black Full Console Dishwasher - Energy Star
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $681.63 $328.50   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
SPT Countertop Dishwasher, White
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $275.00 $199.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
SPT SD-2202W Countertop Dishwasher with Delay Start, White
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $309.00 $224.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
SPT SD-2202S Countertop Dishwasher with Delay Start, Silver
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $319.00 $224.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Back to top