The 6 Best Countertop Dishwashers for Spotlessly Clean Dishes in Small Spaces

Helpful features we looked for included a drying function, a rinse aid dispenser, and quick cycles (iStock/The Independent)

Life is too short to spend it doing the dishes. However, not all of us are lucky enough to have the space for a full-size dishwasher, while anyone in a rented property may prefer to choose one that they can install without drastically altering the kitchen and even take with them when they move.

If you have a work area to spare, a tabletop, also called a countertop, compact, or portable dishwasher may be the answer to your dishwashing woes. Although they are too small to clean larger plates and pans, they can certainly make your plates, cups and glasses shine. They also use much less power than a full-size machine, though performance is typically just as good as the larger version.

All of these appliances will still need fresh water and a place to drain the sewage. Some can be connected to a standard faucet with a quick-connect adapter, while a second drain hose removes wastewater into the sink.

Between uses, the dishwasher can be stored elsewhere, though a plumber can also connect the machine to the drain system for a more permanent solution, just as they would a full-size model. Some machines also allow you to manually add water and drain the residual water into a bucket so you can use the dishwasher where you need it.

Other features to look out for include a drying function, a rinse aid dispenser to make sure your glasses come out squeaky clean, and fast or intensive cycles. Consider the amount of cutlery the machine can hold and be sure to measure carefully before purchasing, as some models still take up considerable counter space.

How we test

We installed a range of countertop dishwashers in our own home to see how they fared cleaning dirty dishes over several days, looking especially for streak-free glasses, coffee-stain-free mugs and dishes that came out sparkling clean. These are the machines that actually cleaned.

The best tabletop dishwashers for 2022 are:

  • better overall – Bosch Series 4 SKS62E32EU compact freestanding dishwasher: £509, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

  • best for drying – Zanussi ZDM17301WA countertop dishwasher: £429, Amazon.co.uk

  • The best for those who live alone. – Klarstein aquatica 54.5cm countertop dishwasher: £282.50, Wayfair.co.uk

  • Best for awkward spaces – Dishwasher Comfee mini plus TD305-W compact tabletop dishwasher: €289.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • best cheap buy – ElectriQ glass-front freestanding mini tabletop dishwasher: £209.97, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

  • Best look – Russell Hobbs RHTTTDW6B tabletop dishwasher: £259.99, Robertdyas.co.uk

Bosch series 4 free-standing compact dishwasher SKS62E32EU

It’s not the cheapest option, but this tabletop dishwasher from Bosch is just as good as other full-size models from the brand known for its reliable appliances. Although it does need to be connected to a water supply, it is simple to operate and we didn’t feel like we were getting second best just because we had gone for a smaller size.

It has a delay timer, adjustable plate tips on the lower basket, and a powerful jet action to remove burnt-on food, plus the quick-dry setting takes just half an hour if you’re in a hurry. There are also salt and rinse aid level indicators, while automatic programs calculate the right wash cycle for your dishes to save water and energy.

If you prefer to take control of the clean, there’s a pre-rinse setting, a glass program, and an intensive cycle that worked wonders on dry scrambled eggs and bolognese stains. We were particularly impressed with the extra dry option which left our cups and saucers ready to store in the cupboard straight from the machine. This was easily one of the best drying cycles we tested, and hands down the most impressive compact dishwasher overall.

Buy Now £509.00, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

Countertop dishwasher Zanussi ZDM17301WA

This is quite large compared to some of the more compact dishwashers we tested, so it pays to measure carefully before buying if you’re short on space. You will also need to connect to the water supply. However, its performance is on a par with a larger machine and it will look good in any kitchen with its digital timer and bright white door.

There are five wash programs including window care and economy plus an intensive program that really improved the results. We were especially wowed by the quick wash setting that zips through a cycle in just 20 minutes, perfect if you need dishes in a hurry or have multiple loads to get through. The machine uses the heat created to dry everything completely and we were surprised that this even worked wonders on those dishes that tend to collect water in nooks and crannies. We would have loved a pre-rinse feature to change out burnt-on foods, but otherwise this is a great all-rounder for any smaller home.

Buy Now £429.00, Amazon.co.uk

Klarstein aquatica 54.5 cm countertop dishwasher

Do not think that living alone means that you are condemned to always having to wash after eating. This small appliance would fit perfectly in any kitchen and is perfect in student accommodation, motorhomes and flats where space is at a premium. A fixed water connection is also not necessary, as the water can be filled and drained manually if it is not possible to connect to the supply. Height-adjustable feet mean it can be positioned almost anywhere, too.

It fits comfortably in two place settings and we were impressed with how clean and dry everything came out, especially when we used the intensive mode to make sure every last drop of dirt was removed. There’s also a quick mode and an eco setting, which rinses at lower temperatures and saves energy. However, using just 5L of water per wash cycle makes this a particularly economical machine. Just keep in mind that it’s not the fastest, taking almost two and a half hours on the standard program.

Although this washer is not currently available, you can sign up to be notified when it becomes available again.

Buy now £282.50, Wayfair.co.uk

Comfee mini plus dishwasher TD305-W compact tabletop dishwasher

If you’re renting, have a camper, or need a dishwasher somewhere where messing with the pipes isn’t possible, this is a great option. Even if no water supply is available, it can be filled manually from a jug or kitchen tap, while the wastewater can be drained directly into a sink or even a bucket.

We were surprised by how much it fits inside given its small size as well. There’s a large shelf for plates up to 27cm and an adjustable cup rack, so we were able to comfortably accommodate the promised three cutlery, without compromising cleaning quality. It looks good on the counter thanks to the glass window on the front and an easy-to-use control panel and has some impressive features that we weren’t expecting in such a diddy machine. There’s a 24-hour delay timer, a 58-minute quick wash cycle, and a delicate glass care setting that made ours look super sparkly. The 72C hygiene cycle is also ideal for heavily soiled items and baby bottles, while the door opens last for efficient drying.

Buy now £289.99, Amazon.co.uk

ElectriQ Freestanding Mini Countertop Dishwasher with Glass Front

The great price of this appliance doesn’t mean you have to skimp on features. Although it’s small enough to easily fit on a countertop or slip into the smallest cupboard, it has three wash programs including eco, one hour and quick for when you can’t wait. Even more impressive, there’s a steam function, a baby care program to sterilize bottles, and even a fruit washing program if you’re really lazy and can’t be bothered to wash your own fruit.

It would be ideal for a couple or someone who lives alone and can be used almost anywhere as it is possible to fill the tank manually rather than hooking it up to the water supply, it even comes with the jug to do so. It’s a bit noisy and takes a long time to dry, but we loved its reliable washing performance that never failed to clean our dishes.

Buy now £209.97, Appliancesdirect.co.uk

Russell Hobbs Countertop Dishwasher RHTTTDW6B

Dishwashers may not be the most exciting looking, but this sleek black model from Russell Hobbs was easily the most attractive of all the ones we tested. With room for up to six place settings, it needs to be connected to the water supply and it’s larger than some models, so it requires a decent amount of space, but it definitely earns its gallons once there.

There are six programs to choose from, including a quick half-hour wash and a glass setting if you want everything to sparkle. We used to stick to the universal setting, which was powerful enough for dry food, but also took our cups up a notch. It even managed to deal with the bowls used for porridge, the biggest challenge of any dishwasher. There’s a rinse aid and salt indicator so you can be sure you’re always getting the best performance and the delay timer is handy for setting the wash to start when it suits you.

Buy now £259.99, Robertdyas.co.uk

The verdict: Countertop dishwashers

The Bosch Series 4 SKS62E32EU Compact Freestanding Dishwasher is a high-performance investment that will put an end to the dreaded sink of dirty dishes for good. If you live alone and prefer a cheaper model that takes up less space, opt for the Klarstein aquatica 54.5 cm countertop dishwasher.

For larger spaces, we’ve also revised the 10 best standard dishwashers

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