A dishwasher is an excellent appliance to quickly and efficiently clean up after a big meal so that dishes don’t sit in the sink where they attract pests. This is especially true in apartments where insects and rodents can invade from neighboring apartments in the building. However, upgrading a kitchen appliance is rarely a cheap process, so it’s important to be budget-conscious when looking for a new dishwasher.
The best dishwashers under $500 are typically suitable for small homes, apartments, and condos and have an average capacity of four to eight place settings. These efficient machines don’t use the same amount of water as a full-size dishwasher, and they can come with a range of different wash settings and features, like safety locks or sensor wash cycles. The list below is a good place to start the search for the best dishwashers under $500.
- BEST OVERALL: Portable Countertop Dishwashers, NOVETE Compact
- RUNNER-UP: EdgeStar DWP62SV 6 Place Setting Portable Dishwasher
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Danby DDW631SDB Countertop Dishwasher
- BEST COUNTERTOP: BLACK+DECKER BCD6W Compact Countertop Dishwasher
- BEST PORTABLE: Farberware FDW05ASBWHA Complete Portable Dishwasher
- BEST STANDARD: EdgeStar BIDW1802BL 18 Inch Wide Dishwasher
- BEST FOR QUIET OPERATION: SPT SD-2225DW Compact Countertop Dishwasher
- BEST FOR QUICK OPERATION: Farberware Professional Compact Portable Dishwasher
- BEST EFFICIENT OPERATION: hOmeLabs Digital Countertop Dishwasher
- ALSO CONSIDER: KAPAS Portable Countertop Dishwasher
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Dishwashers Under $500
Don’t rush into a decision before fully understanding the product. Picking out a dishwasher under $500 should take some time in order to consider the best features and options available to you instead of defaulting to the cheapest product. Think about the dishwasher type, size, cycles, and energy efficiency, as well as several additional important product factors detailed below.
Type and Size
When trying to decide on the best dishwasher for the home, the first thing to determine is what type and size of dishwasher would be suitable. Dishwasher capacity is measured in place settings. One place setting includes a large dinner plate, small snack plate, saucer, bowl, coffee cup, drinking glass, knife, two teaspoons, a dinner fork, and a small salad fork.
- Standard dishwashers are rarely found for under $500, but these products are very popular for large-family homes. They are generally installed under the counter in the kitchen and have a large capacity that allows them to hold between 12 and 16 place settings.
- Freestanding dishwashers are smaller than standard dishwashers, though they both sit on the floor. Freestanding models typically have a pair of wheels and a pair of stationary feet so that the appliance can be moved around the kitchen on the wheels when necessary. These appliances can fall into the portable dishwasher category, but they are larger than countertop dishwashers with a capacity of about eight to 12 place settings.
- Countertop dishwashers are small enough to be categorized as portable dishwashers. These products are made for apartment living, taking up a small amount of space on the counter instead of floor space. The capacity of these appliances ranges from just four to six place settings.
Cycles and Energy Efficiency
After determining what type of dishwasher is the most suitable for your space, it’s time to look at the available performance features. Dishwashers under $500 can actually come with a surprising number of cycle options, including light, normal, and heavy cycles, but can also incorporate more specialized settings like an energy-saving cycle, a rinse cycle, a pots-and-pans cycle, and a speed- or quick-wash cycle.
Energy efficiency should also be a concern, so you don’t end up wasting money paying expensive utility bills to operate the dishwasher. Dishwashers can range in consumption from 2 to 5 gallons of water and between 0.7 and 1.5 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per cycle. For more efficient water and energy consumption, choose a dishwasher with an energy-saving mode.
Dishwashers of all sizes and types typically feature a dish rack, but the size, shape, and even the number of racks can differ among products. Some dishwashers have removable or adjustable racks to make it easier to wash tall glasses, large plates, pots, and pans. These products may also have fold-down tines to adjust the available space to the dishes or cookware that’s being washed.
Another possible feature to be on the lookout for is a third rack. This isn’t a full third rack, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up a lot of space. Instead, it’s essentially a shallow rack at the top of the dishwasher for oversize utensils, like ladles and spatulas, or small cups and other objects, like shot glasses or espresso cups.
Control Panel and Design
Appliances stand out in the kitchen, so you should put some effort into looking for a dishwasher that matches the aesthetic of the room. These appliances typically have a modest range of colors, including white, black, or silver, but they can sometimes have more vibrant options like blue or red.
The design of the dishwasher also extends to the control panel and even to the functions of the appliance, with many products offering baby-care functions to super-heat dishes in order to sterilize baby bottles and accessories. Other dishwashers come with safety locks to keep kids from opening or operating the dishwasher and anti-flood systems to monitor the water level and shut down the intake if the water level rises too high.
The noise level of a dishwasher doesn’t seem like that big of a deal until you put the dishes to wash when the baby is sleeping and spend the next hour trying to get the now-crying child back to sleep. With this type of scenario in mind, manufacturers developed quieter dishwashers, so they are more appropriate for small homes, dorms, apartments, or anywhere that noises must be kept below a certain level.
Noise level for dishwashers is measured in decibels (dB); most models have a decibel range from 45 to 60 dB. As a guideline, a standard vacuum cleaner or hairdryer creates about 70 dB of sound, while a normal conversation ranges from 60 to 70 dB. Refrigerators generally operate at about 50 dB, while a whispered conversation is just 20 to 30 dB.
Our Top Picks
This list of top products was selected based on the important criteria mentioned above, including the type, size, noise level, rack configuration, cycles, energy efficiency, and overall quality to help you find the best dishwashers under $500 to keep the kitchen clean.
Keep the kitchen neat and tidy with the high-quality cleaning power of the NOVETE countertop dishwasher that features two water supply methods and five washing modes, including normal, speed, ECO, baby care/heavy, and fruit. The fruit mode refers to about 20 minutes of cold water rinsing that is appropriate for either dishes or fruits and vegetables.
This countertop dishwasher weighs just 34 pounds, and it has enough capacity to wash up to four place settings, making it suitable for couples and small families. Fill the dishwasher using a direct connection to the faucet, or manually fill the tank with a bucket, cup, or any other type of container that can hold and pour water. After washing the dishes, switch the dishwasher to the dry function to ensure the newly cleaned dishes are completely dry when they are unloaded.
This countertop dishwasher has a six-place-setting capacity, making it a suitable choice for an individual, a couple, or even a small family. It operates at just 52 dB, helping to keep the kitchen clean without flooding the home with loud droning sounds. The dishwasher weighs 44 pounds, and it comes with the hoses and adapters needed to connect to the faucet and an easy-to-use digital display.
Made for use in a modern kitchen, the countertop dishwasher from EdgeStar has a stainless steel exterior and features a bold digital display. This dishwasher can be set for seven different wash cycles, and it comes with a dish rack, cup shelf, and cutlery basket. It’s an efficient model that is Energy Star rated and uses just 2.85 gallons of water in a single wash.
Danby’s countertop dishwasher comes at an inexpensive price, allowing users to upgrade from their current countertop dishwasher without emptying their wallets. This appliance weighs 44 pounds and runs at a noise level of about 55 dB, which is quieter than a regular conversation. Load up to six place settings into the pullout rack, utensil compartment, and fold-down cup rack.
This countertop dishwasher is Energy Star–compliant with low water consumption of just 3.1 gallons per wash cycle. It is also made with a delayed start system that prompts the dishwasher to automatically start after 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours, depending on the user’s preference. Just choose from among the seven dishwasher cycles to get started, including rinse, rapid, glass, normal, heavy, eco, and baby care.
With a six-place-setting capacity, this countertop dishwasher is sized for a small to medium family, providing enough space for a full meal’s worth of dishes so that plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery can be quickly cleaned after a meal. It has seven wash programs, including intensive, normal, eco (energy-saving), glass, 90 minutes, rapid, and soak, allowing users to choose the best program for each load. It also has the option to delay the start of a cycle by up to 24 hours, and it comes with a child lock.
The Black & Decker countertop dishwasher weighs 46 pounds, and the product comes with all the necessary water hoses and connections for immediate use. It’s a great choice for families with infants and anyone living in an apartment or condo because the dishwasher produces just 60 dB of sound, which is about the same noise level as a normal conversation.
The portable dishwasher by Farberware is a compact product that can be picked up, moved around the room, or loaded into a vehicle with relative ease. It weighs just 35 pounds, and it’s equipped with dual-fill options, allowing the user to connect the dishwasher directly to the faucet or to fill the dishwasher manually with a bucket of water. This versatility makes it a great option for both the home and to take camping, so users never need to worry about washing dishes by hand, even while enjoying the great outdoors.
The Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher contains a 5-liter water tank and enough capacity to wash just two place settings. However, it does include a baby care function to sterilize baby bottles and other infant accessories, keeping them safe from bacteria, fungus, mold, and viruses. Despite the small size, it functions well for an individual, a couple, or a new family, and it has a pullout dish rack and cutlery rack.
Available in white, black, and stainless steel, this standard dishwasher needs to be installed under a kitchen counter where it doesn’t take up floor space and can be secured directly to the counter. This product has a small capacity for standard dishwashers with enough space for just eight place settings, but this is more than enough for a medium-size family to keep the kitchen clean, even after a large meal.
The standard dishwasher is an affordable option that comes with six wash cycles, including heavy, normal, ECO, glass, rapid, and rinse. It weighs 53 pounds and operates at just 52 dB to help ensure that putting on a load of dishes doesn’t disturb anyone. The dishwasher is equipped with a leak sensor that will automatically shut off the water intake if a leak is detected, protecting the home from water damage.
Living in an apartment or a condo can come with official noise restrictions that can limit the type of appliances and even when certain appliances can be used, but with the SPT countertop dishwasher, users can run a load in the middle of the night if they feel like it without disturbing anyone. The dishwasher operates at a maximum noise level of 55 dB, which is less than the volume of a normal conversation.
This countertop dishwasher weighs just 43 pounds, and it also comes with the necessary hoses, connector, and a universal faucet adapter so that installation is quick and easy. It has a stainless steel interior and a bold white exterior with a capacity for up to six place settings. Just place the dishes in the slide-out rack or the utensil rack and set the dishwasher to one of the six wash cycles, depending on the items being washed.
This Farberware countertop dishwasher is designed for efficiency and convenience with a speed-cleaning cycle that can wash the entire contents of the dishwasher in only 45 minutes. But this is just one of seven dishwasher programs including light, normal, heavy, glass, baby care, and a self-clean setting that allows the dishwasher to clean itself. At less than 45 pounds, it’s a good choice for small kitchens, apartments, dorms, or larger RVs.
The countertop dishwasher is available with either a white or black exterior, and it holds up to six place settings in the pullout rack, the fold-down cup racks, and the cutlery basket. This dishwasher also features a drying function that adds extra heat to the final rinse in order to enhance drying results. It has a child lock and comes with all necessary hoses and adapters to connect the dishwasher right away.
The hOmeLabs countertop dishwasher doesn’t just look great, but it actually helps users to save money on their utility bills by keeping water and electricity consumption to a minimum. It’s an Energy Star–certified model with seven wash cycle programs, including the energy-saving Eco mode that reduces the amount of water used and the time spent on lightly soiled loads of dishes. Other wash cycle programs include normal, heavy, glass, quick wash, rinse, and baby care.
This countertop dishwasher weighs 42.5 pounds, and it comes with the necessary hoses, connectors, and a faucet adapter, allowing users to quickly install the dishwasher at the kitchen sink. It runs at a very low noise level of just 50 dB and has a capacity for up to six place settings, making it a good choice for a small family or a couple.
Use this versatile countertop dishwasher to help keep the kitchen clean throughout the week and to quickly tidy up after a big meal. It has enough space to fit up to four place settings, and the dishwasher has a 60-minute drying program so users don’t need to worry about hand drying the dishes while unloading the dishwasher. The appliance operates at about 60 dB and weighs only 26 pounds, allowing it to be picked up, moved to a different counter space, or loaded into a car.
This countertop dishwasher is a great choice for camping because it doesn’t just connect to a faucet for automatic filling; it can also be filled manually with a simple bucket. It comes with five wash cycle settings including standard, quick, strong, ECO, and rinse. The rinse cycle is actually referred to as the fruit cycle because it’s a 19-minute cold water rinse that can also be used to wash fruits and vegetables.
FAQs About Dishwashers Under $500
Even after deciding which of the best dishwashers under $500 is ideal for your home, there may still be some lingering questions about these machines. Take a look below to get the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about dishwashers so that you can feel confident in your decision.
Q. What should I put in the dishwasher to clean it?
Clean a dishwasher by placing a small cup of white vinegar into the dishwasher and running it on a high-heat cycle; the vinegar will cut through oil and grime, so you only need to wipe the interior dry when the cycle is complete.
Q. When should I replace a dishwasher?
It’s advised to replace the dishwasher when it regularly stops in the middle of a cycle or if it has problems starting. Another sign that it’s time to upgrade is if the dishwasher no longer cleans the dishes the way that it did originally. This will typically begin to happen after 5 to 10 years of use.
Q. How many gallons of water does a dishwasher use?
On average, a dishwasher will use between 2 and 5 gallons of water per cycle, though this depends on the size of the dishwasher and the wash cycle that’s selected.
Q. How do I pull out my dishwasher?
Countertop and portable dishwashers can typically be pulled out without any extra steps, but a standard dishwasher is often secured to the underside of a countertop, so you would need to remove these screws before the dishwasher can be slowly pulled away from the wall. Keep in mind that the drain line and electrical connection should remain attached when the dishwasher is being pulled out.