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Dishwasher Sizes and Styles—Choosing a Commercial Dishwasher

Indeed, most patrons don’t think about dishwasher sizes, types, or styles when choosing a place to eat out. However, dishwashers are an important consideration for owners of any establishment that runs a kitchen.

The type of commercial dishwasher you choose can make or mar the experiences of your patrons or customers. For this reason, it’s probably not a good idea to skimp on the size and style of the dishwasher for your establishment.

We’ll get into the nitty gritty of everything you need to look for when buying a commercial dishwasher in a moment. But for now, it’s important to note that a good-quality machine for your commercial dish cleaning needs should:

  • Thoroughly clean your dishes so that they’re all in pristine condition before serving your customers
  • Clean dishes as quickly as possible to eliminate the long wait for clean dishes to serve customers
  • Be easy to use so that kitchen staff can operate it with minimal learning curve
  • Meet all sanitary requirements for commercial establishments to avoid health code violations

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing a commercial dishwasher for your kitchen. Obviously, not all establishments have the same dish cleaning needs and can’t all use or accommodate a standard dishwasher.

If you’re thinking of buying a machine that will suit your specific dishwashing needs, here are the major dishwasher sizes and styles to choose from.

Undercounter Commercial Dishwashers

Undercounter Stainless Steel Sanitizing Dishwasher

The best dishwasher sizes for small restaurants, coffee shops, and bars fall into the category of undercounter commercial dishwashers. These are compact and space-saving options.

Here’s the thing, though. Undercounter commercial dishwashers don’t hold large amounts of dishes at the same time. While these options are the most affordable of all commercial dishwashers, they will slow things down in a high-capacity commercial kitchen.

Undercounter commercial dishwashers, such as this stainless steel sanitizing model, look somewhat like dishwasher models designed for home use. They even share a lot of similar features. However, they hold more dishes and clean quicker than home kitchen dishwashers.


  • Most affordable option for commercial kitchen
  • Takes up less space
  • Easy installation
  • Frees up countertop


  • Can only hold a limited number of dishes



dishwasher top shelf full of glasses

If you mostly need to clean glasses, getting a dishwasher specializing in cleaning delicate ware would be the best thing to do. This is where glasswashers excel.

These options combine the gentle water flow needed to keep delicate and sensitive glassware from breaking with the high power of commercial dishwashers. They are ideal for commercial kitchens that go through glasses very quickly, with bars being the most common example.

One common misconception about glasswashers (thanks to the name) is they are specifically for cleaning glassware. This isn’t the case at all.

Glasswashers can effectively clean most other types of dishes as well. But they have been specially designed to handle sensitive glasses exceptionally well.

A lot of these options come as undercounter styles, making them quite affordable. That’s not to say you won’t find Glasswashers in other styles, although that would usually mean paying extra.

Glasswashers are your best bet if you need a commercial dishwasher that can quickly and efficiently handle glassware without damage.


  • Highly efficient and quick cleaning solution for glassware
  • Cleans thin glassware without damage
  • Can clean several other types of dishes


  • Not the best choice for kitchens that require frequent cleaning of large pans and pots


Dishwasher Door Type / Rack Dishwashers

Jackson Conserver Door-Type Dishwasher

Door type dishwashers are the most common choice for commercial kitchens and for good reason. These offer higher capacity than most undercounter models. But most importantly, they are fast and highly efficient.

Typically, a dishwasher door type commercial dishwasher features a large door on the front that allows you to fill up the rack with dishes before feeding it into the dishwasher and closing the door. It churns out clean dishes in no time, making it one of the best dishwasher sizes for busy commercial kitchens.

On the downside, they tend to use more energy and water than most other commercial dishwashers. Also, they take up more kitchen space, making them unsuitable for smaller kitchens.


  • Easy to use
  • Fast cleaning capabilities
  • High capacity


  • Tend to consume more water and use up more energy
  • Premium price


Conveyor Dishwashers

conveyer type dishwasher

If you need a commercial dishwasher that offers the highest capacity, you should be looking at conveyor type dishwashers.

Keep in mind that these options take up the most space, so if your kitchen is already short on space, this might not be your best bet. Consider smaller dishwashers or expand your kitchen if you think it will be worth the cost and hassle.

Conveyor dishwashers are best suited for cafeterias with a huge amount of daily traffic, where large loads of dirty dishes are handled several times in a meal period. Typical commercial kitchens where these are found include hotels, hospitals, and schools.

These options are rather on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to price. However, they provide extremely quick and powerful cleaning, higher power, and can handle a large number of dishes at a go.

This is your best bet if your establishment has a high demand for dish cleaning.


  • Very fast cleaning
  • Highly efficient cleaning
  • Can handle large


  • Not suitable for small kitchen
  • More expensive than other options


Buying Considerations

commercial dishwashers in a kitchen

There are some practical considerations to make when choosing a commercial dishwasher. Buying one is not only about price tags, styles, and dishwasher sizes. You need to choose options that meet the specific needs of your commercial kitchen.

The wrong commercial dishwasher can cost you several times its initial price and negatively impact your business. Conversely, choosing the right one can lead to an increased bottom line since your kitchen will run more smoothly.

Here are some of the most important considerations before buying a commercial dishwasher.

Size and Capacity

Two of the topmost factors to consider are the size (dishwasher dimensions) and capacity of the machine you plan to buy. It’s useless to buy a product that won’t fit into your space.

For this reason, the first thing you need to do is to measure your space before you even start scouting for a commercial dishwasher.

Whether you run a small coffee shop, cafeteria, bar, or a large restaurant, commercial kitchens are usually busy places with quite a number of employees working in them at once.

Besides the need to choose a dishwasher that fits your space, you also have to consider if it will obstruct the free flow of foot traffic in your kitchen. The last thing you want is an efficient machine that causes inefficiency because it’s placed in the wrong spot.

Finding a dishwasher with the right capacity without jeopardizing how smoothly work goes on in your commercial kitchen is a delicate balancing act.

As you already know, the bigger the dishwasher capacity, the more dishes it can hold. But you also need to take space into consideration.

If your kitchen can only allow a small and compact dishwasher that can’t wash enough dishes simultaneously, it can lead to longer wait times for customers. In other words, you’ll be faced with potentially unsatisfied customers that can result in a loss of clients.

On the flip side, a high-capacity dishwasher in a small space might churn out plenty of clean dishes at a time but hamper worker’s efficiency.


Unless you’re loaded with cash, a dishwasher’s cost is arguably the most important consideration after deciding on the size. Regardless of your establishment’s size, you don’t want to throw away money by purchasing an expensive machine when a fairly affordable option would serve your purpose exceedingly well.

Typically, an affordable undercounter-style dishwasher should suffice if you run a small establishment. Unless you have heavy traffic and need to have clean dishes as quickly as possible, choosing bigger dishwasher sizes and styles might be overkill.

For larger cafeterias, an ideal dishwasher would be a conveyor option, but only if they have high dish cleaning demand. Mid-size businesses, such as restaurants, need to strike a balance between small undercounter and large conveyor styles. In other words, a mid-priced, door-type option should do the trick for most restaurants.

Apart from the initial purchase cost, you need to also factor in installation fees. Plus, these appliances tend to use significant amounts of water and energy, so you’ll have to consider the recurring energy and water bills.

As you shop around for the best dishwasher sizes and styles, look for energy-efficient models with better water usage.

Ease of Use

No matter how fast your dishwasher is, it will slow things down if your kitchen staff experience difficulty operating the machine or have frequent issues with the machine.

Look for machines with racks that make loading and unloading easy. Efficiency should be the watchword when choosing a dishwasher, so look for features that will make the process easy for everyone involved.


Whether you choose a high-temperature or low-temperature dishwasher is usually a matter of personal preference. However, it’s important to know the difference between the two before you make a purchase.

High-temperature commercial dishwashers wash dishes at temperatures of up to 180°F (82°C). This ensures dishes are fully sanitized and dry a lot faster. However, these models generally have more upfront costs as well as consume more energy on an ongoing basis.

On the flip side, low-temperature models don’t get the water very hot, so chemicals are required to sanitize the dishes. However, these dishwashers cost less upfront and don’t consume as much energy as the high-temperature options. But you still have to buy chemicals on an ongoing basis.

On the whole, high-temperature dishwashers are better if you consider environmental impact since they don’t require dumping of chemicals into drainages.