What Kind of Commercial Dishwasher is Right for Your Business?


Shopping for the Right Commercial Dishwasher

It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to food service or if you’re a seasoned vet, anytime you are purchasing a new piece of equipment, you’ll want to receive the most efficiency from it.

When looking for your commercial dishwasher, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of business do I have? Fine dining, casual dining, catering, bar, etc.
  • How many covers do I expect to serve per hour and what does a typical place setting consist of?
  • How much space do I have for my dish pit?
  • What kind of sanitation do I want and have the requirements for?
  • What kind of accessories do I want/need?

Investing in a commercial dishwasher or dishmachine for your business is a big deal. By taking the necessary steps to figure out which unit is best for your operation, you’re saving yourself a lot of frustration, time, and money.

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Commercial Dishwasher Options to Consider

Soiled/Clean Dish Tables

Soiled and clean dish tables make life a lot easier in a commercial kitchen. When servers and bussers can place dirty dishes on a soiled dish table, the dish person can start removing food and loading the dishwasher right away. Once the dishwasher is done sanitizing, those dishes can be moved to the clean dish table where they can air dry.

A soiled dish table is equipped with a 20″ x 20″ sink for easy food removal and pre-washing, while the clean dish table is a flat surface.

Dish tables are available in right or left-hand configurations. Be sure to specify which way you need your set up to be when selecting a new dish table for your kitchen. Also, remember to take the dimensions of your space into consideration. Dish tables come in a variety of lengths and sizes, with some tables built for a corner configuration.

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Pre-Rinse Units

A good pre-rinse will help eliminate debris and food particles before your dishes go into the dishwasher. A pre-rinse unit makes cleaning your soiled dish table much easier, as leftover food can be sprayed directly into the sink, then into the food waste disposer.

Food Waste Disposer

A food waste disposer keeps the dish pit in full swing when it comes to removing and disposing of leftover food. The removed food goes directly into the waste disposer where it is then ground up and discarded through the drain. The food particles are small enough to not clog up the drain, saving you money in plumbing bills. Disposer can be mounted in the sink or in a cone mounted within the dishtable.

Built-In Final Rinse Booster for Hot Water Machines

A built-in final rinse booster simply increases the incoming water temperature to 180 degrees for hot water dish machines. These can be specified for a 40 or 70 degree rise depending on your needs. Many machines come standard with a built-in booster.

External Final Rinse Booster

An external final rise booster is available when the hot water dishwasher you choose does not have a built-in booster, or when the available water temperature in your area is below 140 degrees. These units are sized by the amount of hot water that is used by the machine in the final rinse load.


Extra High Wash Tank

An extended hood design is beneficial if your establishment uses a lot of tall trays, large dishes and pots. An extended hood will add about 6” to your tank height, so make sure that your kitchen ceilings are tall enough to support this type of hood design.

An extended hood will also decrease the amount of steam that comes out of your machine once the cleaning cycle is finished. This will help prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries, as well as prevent damage to the kitchen from too much moisture.

Dish Racks

Dish racks are a required accessory for most dishmachines and dishwashers. Plus, they’re great for storing dishes once the wash and sanitizing cycle is finished. The standard rack is 20″W x 20″D, however the height of the rack will vary depending on the type of dishes used.

There are three varieties of dish racks:

  • Plate racks – For various types of plates; can be ordered with extenders
  • Peg racks – For easy placement of glassware and mugs
  • Flat racks – For flatware and large items such as pots or half size sheet pans
  • Glass racks – For most types of glassware
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Dish Carts

Dish carts are handy for storing your plates and reducing the likelihood of injury to your staff. Dishes can be loaded and transported via a rolling dish cart instead of carried by a staff member. You know that awkward feeling you get when you hear a stack of plates falling on the ground and breaking? With a dish cart, you’ll forget what that ever sounded like.

Shelves for Dish Rack Storage

If you have the space and want to store your dish racks nicely and out of the way, a wall mounted rack shelf will work perfectly.

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Manual Wash Cycle Control

A manual wash cycle control will let you know when it’s time to delime your dishwasher. Depending on the hard water content in your area, you may have to delime more frequently to prevent buildup.

Steam Coil Tank Heat

If you have live steam heat available at your foodservice business, then a steam coil tank heat system can be used for hot water dishmachines and dishwashers.

Chemical Measures

If you’re opting for a low-temperature dishmachine, chemical test measures are a must have. Your sanitizing solution must be up to health code or you run the risk of unsanitized dishes and possibly a violation if the health inspector decides to make a surprise visit. If your sanitizer isn’t meeting standards, these chemical test measures will tell you about it.

Electrical, Water and Drainage

Before you purchase a commercial dishwasher, make sure you have enough voltage for the machine and double check the water and drainage requirements for your area.

Electrical Requirements

No matter what type of dishwasher or dishmachine your purchase, all of them will have an amp load. An amp load is the amount of electricity that an electrical circuit requires from the power source. If the amp load is too high for the building power source to maintain, it can blow a fuse and shut down the dishwasher as well as other appliances.

Check your power source to make sure it can support the dishwasher model you choose.

High-Temperature Machine:

  • 208v/240v, 1 or 3-phase power amp load will vary by manufacturer
  • 480v/3ph option is available

Low-Temperature Machine:

  • Usually 120v/1ph, amp load will vary by manufacturer

Water Requirements

Door and undercounter hot water dishmachines typically require 1/2″ – 3/4″ water piping.


Indirect air gap floor sinks iare required for commercial dishmachines and dishwashers. This means that the pipe the used water drains through must be a few inches above the floor drain. Indirect air gap drainage prevents debris from flowing back into your machine should a clog ever occur in the building drainage system, which would otherwise ruin your dishwasher. As for all installation purposes in your commercial kitchen, your local code will dictate what is required.


About Author

Rachael Niswander

Rachael is a writer in Denver, Colorado with an affinity for food and all things food-related. When she isn't writing or doing other foodie things, Rachael enjoys reading, hooping, tattoos, dancing, learning about herbs and natural living, and spending time with friends, her husband Michael and their two cats, Tip Toes and Pippin.

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