Dishwashers can be broadly categorized into standalone or integrated appliances. If you’re looking for a family-friendly machine, a standalone dishwasher is a perfect thing to have because it can be placed anywhere in the kitchen without requiring complicated assembly.
Standalone types can either come full-sized, slimline or compact. For practical purposes, a full-sized one is the most convenient for taking a heavy load of dirty dishes but not all kitchens have the space for it. Slimline models, however, are usually 15cm thinner than normal, so they’re easy to fit in small spaces. For those living in RVs or have tiny kitchens, a compact dishwasher is useful because it can be placed on a countertop, saving floor space.
A standalone is a more convenient choice for a kitchen. It provides more flexibility and does not require free cabinet space. If you’re planning to move house in the future, you can easily bring it along.
It also doesn’t need a professional plumber to install, as it’s designed to easily connect to your faucet. Some will have bypass valves that allow you to run water, but these models come with straight forward manuals that allow anyone to easily attach them.
This type of dishwasher will even give your more extra space. Some free standing dishwashers are covered in cutting boards or countertop materials. Roll a slimline into place beside the countertop and you will have an extension area for your prep space. Meanwhile, you can use a countertop compact’s surface for storing your pots and pans or its interior for storing clean dishes and cutlery.
Best of all, a standalone dishwasher costs less than a built-in model and yet it comes with the same features that make washing dishes time and resource-efficient. It has the same energy and water saving cycles that keep your utility costs low.
In this post, I’ve featured the best compact and slimline models that are available online. They come with several convenient functions that equal the efficiency and performance of any full-sized version. Here are my top 5 stand alone dishwashers.
The Best Standalone Dishwashers
- INDESIT 10 Place Slimline Freestanding Dishwasher
- Farberware Professional Compact Portable Countertop Dishwasher
- Danby Countertop Dishwasher
- Whirlpool Heavy-Duty Dishwasher with 1-Hour Wash
- GE Portable Dishwasher
1. INDESIT 10 Place Slimline Freestanding Dishwasher
This is an Italian brand that mainly produces freestanding washing machines. It’s popular in the UK and was recently acquired by Whirlpool. It now manufactures dishwashers like this model which features a slimline design with a 10 place setting capacity.
It’s very expensive; mostly likely, this is an imported product which explains the price tag. It’s also one of the few standalone dishwashers that are available on Amazon.
It has an A+ energy rating and comes with 5 washing programs, including a couple of water-saving features. It has a half-load option which is useful for washing a few dishes. It will reduce water and energy use if your wash load is only for a handful of glasses. If you’re in a hurry, there’s also a 30-minute quick wash option.
It’s also quiet with only 51 dB of noise output when in operation. It is also equipped with a Salt Indicator Light so that you’ll know when it’s time to top up and a Rinse Aid Indicator Light. It also has an adjustable upper basket.
It doesn’t say anything about a US warranty but across the pond, this model comes with 1 year labor warranty and 10 years on parts.
- Half-load washing function
- No mention of a US warranty
2. Farberware Professional Compact Portable Countertop Dishwasher
This a freestanding countertop dishwasher that can hold up to 6 place settings. It’s easy to install and is equipped with a quick connect assembly that includes the necessary accessories and adapters for convenient attachment to the faucet. It’s ideal for small living spaces or RV living.
It has seven washing programs: Heavy, Normal, Baby Care, Light, Glass, Speed (45 mins), and a Self Cleaning cycle. There’s also an Extra-Drying function that can be used to enhance the drying results after the final rinse. It can be used with Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, and Baby Care wash cycles.
It also has a Child Lock feature to keep children from accidentally starting the dishwasher. This comes with a 1 year warranty.
- Runs on hot or cold water
- Will wash dutch-oven sized pots
- Doesn’t work well with some detergents
- One user commented that its upper rack tilts too severely and has too large a gap between the two sections
3. Danby Countertop Dishwasher
This is a stainless steel countertop model that uses 3.1 gallons in a normal washing cycle. It can hold up to 6 place settings and comes with a silverware basket.
This is an upgraded model that features a new and improved spray arm and filter to wash dishes more quickly and thoroughly. There are 8 wash cycles: Heavy, Normal, Rinse, Rapid, Glass and Soak, Baby Bottle, and Eco.
The settings can be programmed and monitored via its user-friendly electronic LED display. It has a display timer that shows a countdown to the end of the cycle. It also can be used for to delay start by 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours.
It is also equipped with an auto detergent and rinse agent dispenser. This unit is designed for easy installation to a standard kitchen faucet.
Energy star compliant and compact, this dishwashing workhorse has a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
- Quick Connect Faucet Feature
- Has a heating element for drying dishes
- Short power cord and nozzle hose
- Some problems with shipping defects
4. Whirlpool Heavy-Duty Dishwasher with 1-Hour Wash
This is a heavy duty dishwasher that has a capacity for 12 place settings. It is also equipped with several useful wash features that can be applied to a variety of dirty dish situations.
There’s the Heavy Cycle which adds extra time to the regular cycle so that it can thoroughly clean hard-to-wash dishes without the extra elbow grease. There’s also the High Temperature Wash option which is ideal for washing baby bottles and other glassware. It also has a 1-Hour Wash cycle which allows you to save water and energy in cleaning dishes.
This model also features a Heated Dry Option so you can use a clean dry dish straight from the dishwasher. It is also an Energy Star certified appliance and comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Comes with an option for hardwiring the power connection
- Some complaints on leaking in some units
5. GE Portable Dishwasher
This dishwasher has a stainless steel interior tub and can wash up to 12-place settings.
It is equipped with a stainless steel blade that rotates at 3,600 RPM to efficiently pulverize food particles while keeping large particles from clogging the dishwasher. It also 2 wash arms that are powerful enough to wash the most stubborn dirty dish.
It also has several useful features: there’s an NSF-certified Sanitize option, a Child Lock safety function, a Delay Start setting which is good for 1-12 hours. There’s also an option for WiFi connection so that you can operate it through Alexa or Google Assistant.
It uses a 3-Stage Manual Clean Filtration and also has a Rinse Aid with Indicator and Adjustment.
This is unit is Energy Star qualified and comes with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
- Quiet at 54 dba
- Sanitizing feature
- One user said that the top rack was over-designed and inflexible
- Power cord and hoses could use more length
Buyers Guide To Buying The Best Standalone Dishwashers
Look for energy labels that certify the dishwasher's efficiency. While there are ways to improve an appliance’s efficiency, like using a full load or switching it after use, it’s still better to have a dishwasher that’s already energy-efficient.
For American products, look for an Energy Star label. Not every appliance has this. Getting one means that the product meets certain federally mandated standards on energy efficiency. It also means that Energy Star certified products must deliver a high quality performance required by consumers.
For UK dishwashers, the EU Energy label ranges from A+++ (the most efficient) to D (the least efficient). The ratings give you an indication of the annual running costs of the appliance. Older UK products may still carry the Energy Star label, but ever since the recent trade policy changes between the EU and US, appliance manufacturers are no longer allowed to use Energy star certification.
Slimline or Compact?
If you’ve got some extra floor space in your narrow kitchen, a slimline might be ideal. Some slimline models also have casters which makes it easy to roll them around. If it has a countertop surface, you can easily use it for an extension if you need one.
Compact countertop dishwashers only need space beside the sink. They’re also lighter than slimline models so they’re more portable. They’re a good choice anywhere where kitchen space is at the premium, like mobile homes, boats and tiny homes.
In general, slimline and compact dishwashers have smaller capacities than full-sized ones. Capacity is measured by the number of place settings; a setting is equivalent to a large dinner plate, a small plate, a bowl, a cup, a glass, knife and fork, and 2 teaspoons.
Most free standing models will have 9 to 10 place settings. By comparison, a full-sized dishwasher can hold about 16 place settings. Pick the best one for your needs. If you have a small household, a 9 setting would be sufficient; for larger households, pick a higher setting.
The basic water cycle features that a dishwasher must have is a Standard Wash, a Heavy Duty Wash, and a Quick or Light Mode. But many dishwashers now offer more features to make your washing experience even more convenient.
Functions like an Eco-Mode, Half-Load, and Pre-Rinse settings are present in the middle to high end model segment. Some brands will also offer wash settings for fruits and vegetables while others will include a function for washing baby bottles and glassware.
Choosing a unit with the highest number of wash cycles may not be the most practical since they tend to be expensive. Rather, pick the one that has the most number of useful wash cycles for your needs. For example, if you live alone and don’t cook often, you won’t have much need for a dishwasher with baby care function.
For big households, a dishwasher with a lot of features designed to make washing a lot of dishes easy is a plus. Some useful functions include:
- Sensor Setting – A built-in sensor that can detect how dirty the dishes are and then use the best temperature and wash settings.
- Delay Timer – This lets you control when the dishwasher begins a cycle.
- Child Lock Feature – Best for households with overly curious kids, it will prevent unauthorized use of the dishwasher by your children
- Smart Technology – Some units are designed to allow WiFi connection so that you can check on the appliance using your smartphone or use voice control through Alexa or Google to turn it on. You can also receive alerts when the detergent is low, a wash cycle has finished, or there’s a sensor malfunction.
If noise bothers you, then pick a unit that has a lower sound rating. Most dishwashers will generate a noise range between 40-60 dB, with 60 dB being the equivalent of a normal conversation between two persons. Anything between 35-40 dB is considered to be a silent model.
The standard warranty period for dishwashers is 1-year. Check the product pages for user reviews on their after-sales services. If they’re responsive and prompt in answering inquiries and resolving complaints, it’s a good sign that the brand is reliable when fulfilling the terms of the warranty.