Tabletop dishwashers are set to be the next appliance craze for small kitchens – but do they actually work?

Are they compact convenience or just worktop clutter?

White tabletop dishwasher on kitchen worktop
(Image credit: Aldi)

Tabletop dishwashers have been trending more than ever as people are seeking compact solutions that won't compromise space.

If you're working with a small kitchen layout, then you might have decided that having a dishwasher is out of the equation. However, tabletop dishwashers – also known as countertop dishwashers – might just change the game. 

If you're not yet clued up on this clever gadget, a tabletop dishwasher is exactly what it sounds like: a dishwasher small enough to sit on your worktop, just like your best air fryer or microwave, for example. They're currently trending on TikTok with #minidishwasher racking in 18.1 million combined views, with one recent video alone boasting over 400,000 views.

But of course, despite the fact that dishwashers are cheaper than handwashing the dishes in the sink, these nifty kitchen appliance solutions also beg the question: are they actually worth it? Do you really save money and how easy are they to install? Or have you just signed yourself up for more worktop clutter? We've got the answers...

White fitted kitchen units grey polished concrete floor toy dog open dishwasher door

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

Are tabletop dishwashers worth it?

'Tabletop dishwashers are designed to fit on worktops or small kitchen surfaces, making them ideal for compact kitchens, apartments, or small households where space is limited,' explains Matt Ayres, appliance expert at RDO Kitchen and Appliances.

Therefore, just from face value alone, they could be seen as a must-have to add to your small kitchen appliance layout. Not only that, but their smaller size also means you typically use less water and energy, ultimately helping you save energy at home and cut costs on your bills.

Matt even goes on to say that tabletop dishwashers offer easy installation, too as they can be simply plugged in just like any of your other worktop appliances. Better yet, this means that it can also be easily packed away or moved when necessary.

It's a true renter's dream if you ask us. Not to mention, the task of cleaning a dishwasher will be even easier.

'Just remember they will need to have a water supply and also somewhere to drain,' adds Michael Forbes, product manager of dishwashers at AEG, 'this can be the sink.'

White tabletop dishwasher on kitchen worktop

(Image credit: Aldi)

However, it's also important to consider that while tabletop dishwashers are a compact and non-permanent solution for a small kitchen, they don't come without their flaws.

As with any small kitchen appliance, you'll be sacrificing even more valuable space on your worktop. While tabletop dishwashers are easy enough to pack away and store when not in use, if you intend to use them frequently, they'll likely live on your kitchen worktop permanently.

Of course, with the nature of its size and capacity, tabletop dishwashers won't be that effective or comfortable for households of more than around four people.

Lastly, they can get pretty noisy. 'Because they are not hidden behind a cupboard door, they can produce more noise than a built-in unit,' warns Michael at AEG. So, maybe keep those super late-night dishwasher runs to a minimum for your own sanity.

White tabletop dishwasher on kitchen worktop

(Image credit: Aldi)

How to save on running costs

Similarly to considering the cost of running a traditional dishwasher, when assessing whether tabletop dishwashers are worth it, Dennis Digwa, appliance expert at RGBDirect notes that there are a few factors you ought to keep in mind before making the purchase as well as help you reduce running costs:

  • Energy efficiency – Look for dishwashers with a good energy efficiency rating. Energy-efficient models may cost more upfront, but they can save you money on electricity bills in the long run.
  • Water usage – Consider the water usage of the dishwasher. Water-efficient models can help reduce your overall utility costs.
  • Electricity costs – Assess the energy consumption of the dishwasher. The cost of electricity can vary depending on your location and energy provider (especially after the new January energy price cap).
  • Frequency of use – If you plan to use the dishwasher frequently, it may be more cost-effective compared to handwashing, especially if you have a large number of dishes to clean regularly.
  • Size and capacity – Consider the size and capacity of the dishwasher. If you often run small loads, you might be able to maximise efficiency and minimise costs by avoiding underutilisation of the dishwasher's capacity. 

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Are tabletop dishwashers any good?

Tabletop dishwashers are ideal for small spaces and budget-conscious people. Not only is the initial cost of purchasing a tabletop dishwasher lower than an integrated or larger freestanding dishwasher, but they also consume less energy and water resulting in lowered energy bills.

How are tabletop dishwashers plumbed in?

'They usually require a standard electrical outlet and a connection to the kitchen faucet for water intake and drainage,' explains Matt Ayres, appliance expert at RDO Kitchen and Appliances. 'No permanent plumbing alterations are necessary, making them a hassle-free addition to your kitchen.'

At the end of the day, the choice will always lie with you. But, we hope this little rundown has assisted in helping you get the most bang for your buck should you opt to enter the realm of tabletop dishwashers.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.