Portable dishwashers offer many of the same features as their traditional full-size counterparts, but in a smaller size, sometimes much smallest: footprint. That can make deciding on the right one difficult. You’ll want to consider everything from the overall size of the drive and its capacity to how tall and how much it is. More specifically:
For most people shopping for a portable dishwasher, size is the most important concern. The amount of kitchen space you have available will determine the size of a unit you can purchase. For anyone with very little space (such as RVers), an ultra-compact model might be the only option. Apartment dwellers may want to look for compact models, or they may have the space to accommodate a free-standing alternative that slides neatly among your other kitchen appliances. If space is not an issue, you can also consider a large model (24 inches wide) to give you maximum capacity for washing everything from cutlery and crockery to pots and pans.
Remember, too, that most counter models are reasonably portable (30-50 pounds). But the heavier models are designed to be semi-permanent and “live” on your countertop.
As a general rule, portable dishwashers are noisier than permanently installed models. The noise level of dishwashers, including portable dishwashers, is typically measured in dBA. The higher the number, the louder the machine.
Most of the older models are in the 50-55 dBA range, which is about as loud as light traffic and an electric toothbrush, respectively. Quieter models, like the RCA 24-inch countertop dishwasher we recommended above, are almost completely silent. Note that anything higher than 60 dBA will usually mean you’ll want to be in another room while it’s running.
Many portable dishwashers have fewer features than traditional models. For example, you may be limited to only two or three types of wash cycles (eg Normal, Intensive, Soak, etc.). However, some include additional features, such as an eco mode to conserve water, a bladed food grinder that pulverizes large food particles, or a delay start feature that lets you delay the wash cycle for up to a full day.