Portable and Countertop Dishwashers in NYC

Originally posted on February 08, 2023 3:00 pm
Updated on January 30, 2023 10:51 pm

One of the best, and rarest, appliances in NYC is the dishwasher. Making life incredibly convenient for those who don’t have time or helping those who simply hate to wash dishes, these marvelous machines can be the deciding factor when choosing a home. Sadly, these machines are largely considered a luxury in NYC, and can be pretty difficult to find, especially in pre-war buildings. However, portable and countertop dishwashers can go in just about any home, and are a great alternative for those who hate washing dishes by hand. But how do portable and countertop dishwashers work? What are the benefits of having them? What are the downsides?

How Do Portable Dishwashers Work

First, portable and countertop dishwashers, while serving the same function, are technically different appliances. However, the only real difference is that countertop dishwashers hold fewer dishes than portable dishwashers, use less water, and don’t have wheels. That said, both work the same way. Usually, these appliances have a hose that connects to a sink faucet head and one that connects to a drain. Both are easy to hook up, though it requires a threaded faucet spout, so they might not work in every kitchen. Some units require users to fill a basin with water, but those kinds are usually few and far between.

Pros of Having a Portable Dishwasher

Saves Water

Hand washing dishes is an extremely inefficient way of cleaning them. On average, hand-washing dishes uses 27 gallons of water. Portable and countertop dishwashers only use about two or three gallons of water during a cycle. They also usually get dishes cleaner than hand washing them ever could. This means that people who have one of these units will have cleaner dishes and less of an impact on the planet. That’s a win win for anyone.

Saves Time

Hand-washing dishes is a chore that few people enjoy and is easily the worst part of cooking meals at home. A portable dishwasher can eliminate all that hassle, though, as the machine takes the burden away. This means that folks can just turn on the dishwasher and forget about those plates for as long as they want while they do other activities. Naturally, this leads to other chores like putting dishes away. However, emptying a dishwasher is way better than washing dishes for most people. It’s an extra fifteen to thirty minutes people would otherwise not be able to enjoy.

Easily Stored

These appliances have a bit bulk, but they don’t take up nearly as much space as a full-sized dishwasher. Countertop dishwashers can easily live on the counter or in a cabinet in the kitchen, and portable ones can fit snugly in a closet. These appliances have different sizes, so it’s best to pick a unit that matches a home’s storage capabilities. That said, even in smaller NYC homes, finding a place for these appliances isn’t too difficult, and their convenience largely outweighs any storage issues that might arise.

Cons of Having a Portable Dishwasher

Uses More Electricity

While these machines are great at saving water, they do need to be plugged in. This means more electricity will be used, leading to higher energy bills. It’s for this reason that portable and countertop dishwashers are great for saving time, but not so great for saving money. In the grand scheme of things, the energy these units use is minimal. But many homes need to save all the money they can just to survive in the city. While these appliances are certainly handy, they can put a dent in a wallet.

Smaller Loads of Dishes

The electricity issue is compounded by the fact that portable and countertop dishwashers can’t wash nearly as many dishes as a regular dishwasher. This means the machine will have to be used more often, increasing energy bills. For those who hate washing dishes by hand, this problem might seem small. They’ll simply need to run more dishwashing cycles throughout the week. It’s all a balancing act with these appliances.

They Make A Lot of Noise

Regular dishwashers can be pretty loud, so this might not be a surprise to anyone. However, regular dishwashers are surrounded by walls and cabinets, which can help dampen noise. Portable and countertop dishwashers don’t have anything around them to dampen that noise. These machines can be distractingly loud. Most people get used to the noise. But in a city like New York, where people are constantly surrounded by sound, some folks might not enjoy the additional noise from their kitchen. The noise they make won’t rattle walls or knock paintings off walls, but it is something to keep in mind.

Our Picks For Good Portable Dishwashers

GE Portable Dishwasher

This portable dishwasher is one of the largest on the market, with twelve place settings and silverware baskets. This dishwasher is great for small families thanks to the child safety locks, and it’s great for young professionals thanks to the lower decibel count of 54 dBA, meaning it’s about as loud as a microwave. Because it’s a bit bigger, it is better for homes with more storage capabilities. It has wheels attached for easy transportation and has three different wash cycles, so dishes can be as clean as needed.

Whirlpool Portable Dishwasher

Another slightly larger option, this dishwasher, has twelve place settings and three wash cycles, one of which only takes an hour. Dishes are heated dry, and sensors in the machine indicate how dirty dishes are, giving them an extra rinse if they need a little more work. This machine also has a decent decibel level of 55 dBA, meaning this unit won’t be too distracting while it’s running. The best thing about this machine is the heated wash option, making it easier to clean grime and grease off plates after a messy meal.

Black and Decker Portable Dishwasher

This slightly smaller option only has eight place settings, but can fit in a wider variety of homes. This unit also has a wide selection of wash cycles, six in total, making it extremely versatile. Cycles can last up to 90 minutes, and the top of the appliance mimics a tabletop to give folks some extra counter space in the kitchen. This unit is a bit louder than the other two, but the versatility of the cycles, and safety features, like a child lock, more than make up for the noise.

Our Picks For Good Countertop Dishwashers

HAVA Countertop Dishwasher

This little appliance is both cute and functional. It’s lightweight enough to be taken on camping trips, and small enough not to obstruct too much counter space. The machine is a bit noisy at 60 dBA, but it has five different washing cycles and can fit a decent amount of plates and bowls, considering its small size. It even has a small upper rack for mugs and larger pieces of silverware. This unit doesn’t even take up a lot of power, making it a perfect way to have a dishwasher without breaking the bank.

Home Lab Countertop Dishwasher

This appliance looks like it comes from the future, making it a great addition to any modern home. This amazing unit has seven different wash cycles, all of which run at a level of just 50 dBA, which isn’t much louder than a regular home in the city. There are six place settings and a widely efficient dryer. They even promise that there will be no water streaks after the dishes are clean. This unit even has specific cycles for glassware like wine and fragile plates. It’s easily one of the most versatile small dishwashing options available.

Farberware Countertop Dishwasher

This unit is compact but mighty, with five wash cycles and a holding capacity of two place settings. This unit’s best feature is its small size. The smallest unit on this list, this machine is easily stored almost anywhere in the home. The style of this machine is great too, with a little window in the front so people can see their dishes being cleaned in real-time. This unit is a little louder at 62 dBA, but cycles can have a delayed start, so people don’t need to be home to listen to it.


Having a dishwasher in NYC is a game changer and is on many people’s “must-have” lists for their next apartment. Unfortunately, built-in dishwashers are hard to come by and expensive to buy. Portable and countertop dishwashers are a great way to have the luxury of a dishwasher without taking up too much space and wasting too much water. Hand washing dishes can be a pain, so why go through that? Most of these units are less than $1000, and people will get their money’s worth in just a few short weeks. So, for those who want a dishwasher but can’t have one built into their home, portable or countertop units are the way to go. 

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