What is a countertop dishwasher? Are they functional and convenient to use? What are their advantages and disadvantages compared to larger built-in models? We shall give you the answers of these questions below.
To begin with the basic question – what is a tabletop dishwasher? This is a small dishwasher with dimensions of about a microwave oven and is also called compact dishwasher. These models are the perfect solution for small kitchens where space is scarce and it is impossible to fit a built-in model or for small families who do not need a large model. As the name implies, these appliances can be placed right on the worktop, usually in the corner, where they will not interfere with your daily activities, cooking, cutting, food preparation, etc.
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Pros and cons of countertop dishwasher models
The times when the kitchen layout involved buying a table, chairs, stove and refrigerator are long gone. The dishwasher is one of the most important home appliances for every housewife and nowadays the market offers numerous appliances to aid the daily domestic chores and help you cope with all the tasks at home and leave you some time to spend with family, friends or simply with yourself.
Judging by the size, a compact dishwasher is not as capacious as a standard dishwasher. Countertop dishwasher models can wash up to 6 sets of dishes, whereas a full-size model – from 9 to 17. For a small family a compact option is perfect if you wash the dishes every day and not leave it for tomorrow.
Since a dishwasher machine is not a cheap device, it is also necessary to carefully choose a model when buying, to check its characteristics, functionality and, of course, price. Compact dishwasher machines offer a number of advantages:
- Space saving – due to the small size, compact dishwashers require very little space. You can place them on the worktop, on a cabinet, even on other home appliance;
- Economical and resource saving – compact models are very economical and do not consume a lot of electricity and water;
- A suitable choice for daily dish washing;
- Low cost compared to standard models;
- A mini dishwasher is not inferior in functionality to full-size models;
- Quiet performance – compact devices perform their functions with little or no noise.
It is good to know the drawbacks of compact models as well:
- Takes up valuable space on the counter;
- Small capacity – there is no room for large dishes, huge pans, baking sheets and if guests arrive, you will need to re-load;
- The quality of washing can be poorer, especially when the container is overloaded. It could happen that the device does not completely clean the dishes, and often you can see spots and stains on glasses;
- Poor drying – This is due to the compact size and a rather large volume of dishes. On a daily basis, this is not much of a concern when the machine is used for a family of 2-3 people and all the dishes can be washed in one or two batches.
How to choose a countertop dishwasher – buyer’s guide and practical tips?
Making the right choice for any home appliance is important and every homeowner knows that. On the first place, you buy appliances to serve you and help you, but on the other hand they need to be functional and convenient. Those who are lucky to have a huge dream kitchen can accommodate all their appliances following the triangular rule or their own preferences, but for people living in small homes like city apartments or studio apartments, the space limits are a serious concern. Here are some useful tips for buyers which will be of help when choosing their dishwasher:
Energy efficiency – Check for the energy efficiency index of the model which indicates the power usage for that type of dishwasher. Like most home electricity devices, dishwashers also have different class – A, B, C, D. The higher the class, the better the quality of the work. For example, a device of class “A” will wash your dishes better and will consume less resources. Also, these products are more durable than their counterparts of a lower class. The prices for such devices are quite high, but this is justified by their quality, reliability and economy. Modern models are classified with “A+++”, “A++”, “A+”, “A”, “B”, “C”, “D” where “A+++” is the highest class. These letters are visible on the label of the device with other important information:
- the energy consumption in kWh /cycle
- the efficiency of the washing cycle with a class from A to G
- the efficiency of the drying cycle with a class from A to G
- the capacity as a number of place settings
- the water consumption in liters per cycle
- noise in dB
Functional features – a compact dishwasher is very convenient in a small family, up to four people. It can be installed not only on the countertop, but also on the floor. Many models are able to regulate the amount of energy and water consumed, thanks to special built-in sensors, they can monitor the washing process, and also allow you to select the desired modes of operation.
Dimensions – despite that we the models are generally compact, they differ slightly in their dimensions. The smaller the device, the less dishes it will be able to contain. Usually, a standard compact model is designed for three to four sets of dishes.
All dishwashers are equipped with indicators that monitor the water level and overflow, which ensures protection from leaks.
Simpler and more economical models of compact dishwashers use special built-in fans or condensation mode for drying utensils while luxury models offer several drying modes, including hot air.
High end models are made of a special soundproof material, as well as motors and pumps to lower the noise levels. The more expensive the model, the quieter it works.
Installation – Some homeowners prefer a DIY installation, but if you do not have experience in plumbing it is better to hire a specialist. Even a compact dishwasher needs to be connected to electricity, water supply and drain so the relevant piping needs to be done.
Design and visual appearance – do not forget that the dishwasher, even a compact model, should blend in the interior of your kitchen and match the stylistics of all other appliances.
As you can see – a countertop dishwasher can be invaluable. Experts advise not to buy low quality devices but go to a specialized, certified store where you will get a warranty and certified help in case of a breakdown.