2021's Best Affordable and (Sometimes) Portable Dishwashers

2021's Best Affordable and (Sometimes) Portable Dishwashers

By Kate Bove
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Photo Courtesy: Eric McCandless/Walt Disney Television/Getty Images

Over the last few months, we’ve all spent a lot more time indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, I’ve certainly done my fair share of home improvement projects, but while redecorating and finally buying some houseplants, I realized the dire need to invest in a dishwasher. With everyone in my household eating three meals (plus snacks) a day at home, the dishes were piling up — and between hand washing and dish washing, my skin was suffering. Thankfully, there are a ton of great grime-fighting options out there to fit any list of requirements — all you need to do is read on!

Tough on the Grime but Easy on the Wallet

First up, we have a great entry-level option. Whether you’re a first-time homeowner looking to upgrade your appliance from the 1970's version that came with the house or a newbie who’s been happy to hand-wash dishes before this point, the Amana Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher is a smart purchase.

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Photo Courtesy: Home Depot

Sleek and modern, this model has curb appeal. It comes in stainless steel, white and black finishes, which means it’s sure to complement any kitchen. It’s also quite affordable — perhaps the biggest selling point at first glance — so if you don’t want to break the bank, this is your best option. Yes, there are a lot of affordable models out there, but this one doesn’t sacrifice quality. It’s ENERGY STAR-certified and features a Triple Filter Wash System, meaning it saves your wallet in the long run, not just upfront, and lets you skip the pre-wash process. Be sure to take advantage of the 1-hour wash cycle for light loads.

Need to Wash a Lot of Dishes? Fit Everything but the Kitchen Sink

As I mentioned, one of my main incentives for investing in a dishwasher recently was the sheer quantity of dirty pots, pans, plates and cutlery my household produces on a daily basis. With four roommates sharing one kitchen, things were bound to get messy — but they don’t have to stay that way. Say goodbye to teetering dish towers that sit in the sink overnight!

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Photo Courtesy: Home Depot

The Whirlpool Top Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher has a game-changing third-level rack, which means there are three tiers for holding all of your dirty kitchen utensils and cookware. ENERGY STAR-certified and equipped with a soil sensor, this model adjusts to your needs each cycle without racking up a high bill. So, if your household is feeling a little Brady Bunch these days, take advantage of 37% more rack space — and 100% less passive aggressiveness.

The Compact and Counter-Friendly Dishwasher

If you’re renting an apartment, don’t have the standard dishwasher hookups in place or are simply short on space, this countertop model from Black + Decker gets the job done without sacrificing precious lower cabinet space. All you need to get started is a kitchen faucet and a microwave-sized area cleared on your counter.

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Photo Courtesy: Amazon

The Black + Decker Compact Countertop Dishwasher can accommodate six place settings at once — so it might need to be run a tad more frequently if you have a household of three or more people. With seven different wash programs and an easy "plug-and-play" installation process, this model is a welcome addition to any cramped kitchen, game room or den. Long story short: Even if your kitchen can’t accommodate a built-in model, you shouldn’t deny yourself a dishwasher.


Want to Be Green? Save on the Suds with This Dishwasher

If you’re environmentally conscious, a dishwasher might sound like a great investment for you — but a less-great investment for the planet, right? Luckily, the engineers over at Bosch heard your concerns when they created the 800 Series 18 Built-In Dishwasher, a model that doesn’t sacrifice any of its greenness for the sake of convenience.

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Photo Courtesy: Home Depot

This dishwasher's intelligent sensors scan the dishes throughout the wash cycle, ensuring that the precision spray arms tackle grime without wasting water. Better yet, one of the model’s six cycle modes is the "Half Load" option, which heavily reduces not only the cycle time but also the water consumption for this ENERGY STAR-certified appliance. You even cut back on noise pollution with 44 dBA operation that is the quietest in its class.

Need more? Take "going green" a step further with Ecover Automatic Dishwashing Tablets, which are dye-, chlorine-, phosphate- and fragrance-free and made from biodegradable plant- and mineral-based materials. Now that’s clean living!

The Dishwasher with All the Bells and Whistles

For some folks, no appliance is worth purchasing if it doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles. And that’s fair: A dishwasher is often a big investment, one you hope will last for years to come. If you’re big on creature comforts and the price-tag isn’t your utmost concern, the GE Adora Top Control Dishwasher is truly a top-tier appliance.

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Photo Courtesy: Home Depot

With adjustable, Wash-Your-Way customizable racks; special sanitization and half-wash cycles; a hidden vent for an incomparable fan dry; and a Piranha hard-food disposer that ensures clean items and fewer clogs, the Adora model has it all. The timeless appearance, combined with the most up-to-date features, make this a beyond worthy investment. Best of all? It’s the quietest dishwasher out there, so you can go about your day without the noise pollution.