A dishwasher is one of the more important pieces of equipment in commercial kitchens since they form the backbone of the support area. Buying a new dishwasher is not an easy decision - some can only handle low to moderate volumes of dishes and utensils; others are heavy-duty setups that are built to run all day long for high usage. A constant influx of patrons at a restaurant means that dishes pile up fast and the chefs will need clean utensils and flatware at hand to prepare and serve food quickly. Getting the right model for your kitchen setup is crucial. The type of model that suits your kitchen best will depend upon the number of meals served per hour, the floor space available in your washing area, the availability of hot water, the kind of power outlet available for the dishwasher, and whether you need to clean delicate items, such as glassware, alongside the dishes.
Common Dishwasher Types
Undercounter Dishwashers: These dishwashers typically resemble residential dishwashers and take up little space on the kitchen floor. These are ideal for establishments such as cafes and restaurants running a smaller operation. Undercounter dishwashers have specialized attachments to fit commercial racks and usually feature a single door for loading and unloading. Although they are small in size, they are still rugged and meant to be run at high capacity, typically ranging from 20 to 30 racks per hour. Energy-efficient and able to be tucked away underneath a countertop, these warewashers can take care of flatware, stemware, and glassware. Larger pots and pans are something they struggle with, and if you need to regularly clean those, you may need a larger style of dishwasher instead.
Door-Type Dishwashers: These dishwashers take up a little more floor space than undercounter dishwashers, but have a higher rate of output. These typically operate at waist height and can feature single or double racks for cleaning kitchenware. Door-type dishwashers offer more vertical space to efficiently clean larger pots, oven-pans, and other unwieldy cookware. These are a worthy solution for cleaning at restaurants and food establishments running a lively business. Ideally, these can easily clear 35 to 60 loaded racks per hour, but use more water and electricity than a countertop model. Door-type washers can be purchased in a style where the rack can be simply pushed in with the loaded dishes and pulled out with clean ones, or an L-shaped configuration, where the dishes can be loaded in the front and taken out through the adjacent side.
Conveyor dishwashers: Conveyor dishwashers have the highest output rate out of all the other types available for the commercial kitchen and can easily handle 150 to more than 200 racks every hour. These employ a belt where the dishes and cookware can be set on racks and washed sequentially. There is no need to wait for a wash cycle to complete before loading them, and dish racks can be put in and taken out on a first-in, first-out basis. Conveyor dishwashers are typically employed for larger operations such as restaurants operating at high volumes, hospitals, cafeterias, and hotels. Models that employ a high temperature for sterilization may require an external booster heater for ideal operation. Because of their high output and fast cleaning times, these dishwashers require more floor space in the warewashing area.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Commercial Dishwasher
Washing requirements: An important question that you need to ask yourself when buying a dishwasher is the kind of kitchenware you will be employing to wash. Undercounter dishwashers are great for washing flatware and glassware but struggle with larger pots and utensils. Door-type dishwashers offer excellent versatility in terms of being able to wash almost everything in the kitchen while still saving on floor space. Conveyor-style dishwashers can clean everything from plates to glasses and large utensils while sanitizing them, but they take up a large portion of the floor space in the washing area and are generally the most expensive types of washers.
The Volume of Dishes Being Washed: Perhaps the most important factor to consider when buying a commercial dishwasher is the output rate of the washer employed. The cleaning ability of commercial dishwashers is usually described in terms of racks per hour. Undercounter dishwashers are the lowest in terms of output, while conveyor types are the highest. A good idea to find your ideal appliance is to estimate the number of dishes that require washing at the busiest times of the restaurant. If your estimate is below the actual number, it means that the operation will slow down during peak hours, while going overboard will result in wasted beginning capital, energy, and possibly floor space as well.
Washing Temperatures: Commercial dishwashers typically come in either high temperature or low-temperature variants. The general washing process remains the same, with both using detergent to clean the dishes, but the difference lies in the final rinse cycle. The high-temperature models employ heat in the range of 165 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit to sanitize dishes. These require vent hoods and booster heaters as additional accessories and typically run more expensive than the low-temperature models, both in terms of price and operational costs. Conversely, the low-temperature variants employ sanitizing chemicals as a part of the final cycle, which can corrode certain types of kitchenware and impart an aftertaste to drinks being served in freshly washed glasses. Because they don't need to reach high temperatures to fully clean dishes, they are cheaper to run and come with a lower price tag.
Space Availability: Before making a purchase decision, it is important to determine the space you have available in your washing area. Undercounter dishwashers are the smallest of options and can be easily tucked away without taking much floor space. Door-type dishwashers are larger, but due to the vertical nature of their orientation, they also do not need a lot of kitchen area. Conveyor dishwashers, being the largest models available for the commercial kitchen, require quite a bit of kitchen space for the appliance itself and additional accessories like booster heaters.
Best Commercial Dishwashers
The Hobart CUL-1 Centerline is an under-counter dishwasher that can run approximately 24 racks per hour. It is a low-temperature model, utilizing chemical sanitization, freshwater rinse, and requires only 0.84 gallons per rack. The dishwasher measures 22-11/16" wide x 24" deep x 32-5/16" high. Features include service diagnostics, error notifications, delime notifications, and the appliance runs from the standard 120 volts, 60Hz wall outlet. Included in the package is one peg rack and one combo rack. The warranty is valid for 1-year for parts, labor, and travel times during normal working hours within the USA. The machine is available for purchase at Chef Buyer.
The CMA Dishmachines UC50E dishwasher is a combination dishwasher/glasswasher that sits under the counter at 23-7/16"W x 24" D x 33-5/16"H. This is a high-temperature sanitizing model with an inbuilt 6kW booster heater and thermostat. Output is at 30 racks per hour and the appliance has a double-skin stainless-steel construction. Thermal temperatures reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit for thorough sanitization. The dishwasher is available in either a 208-volt variant with a 6.0 kW booster heater or a 230-volt option with a 6.53kW booster heater. Available at Chef Buyer.
From the makers at CMA Dishmachines, the E-C Dishwasher can comfortably run 40 racks per hour. This door-type dishwasher is Energy Star qualified and uses a low-temperature chemical sanitizing method to clean kitchenware. The controls are top-mounted and the appliance has a stainless-steel construction. Features include a 1HP wash pump, one open and one peg rack, as well as a deliming system to get rid of scale build-up. This dishwasher is economical with water and uses only 1.01 gallons per cycle. Available in either 115 or 220-volt variants, this machine can be purchased at Chef Buyer.
The AM15-1 Door-type dishwasher from Hobart is an excellent appliance that can use either hot water or chemicals to sanitize. It can run about 58-65 racks an hour and features solid-state controls with a digital status indication. It can be run as either a high temperature or a low-temperature dishwasher and has four washing cycles, ranging from 1-6 minutes. The construction is stainless-steel and the appliance runs at 208-240 volts. It is Energy Star compliant and comes with a standard 1-year parts and labor warranty. You can pick this fantastic kit at Chef Buyer.
The Jackson WWS RACKSTAR 44CE is our recommendation for an excellent conveyor-type dishwasher. It can run an approximate 223 racks per hour and uses only 0.35 gallons of water per rack. The controls are fully automated and the appliance has auto-fill systems and a digital temperature readout. Features include double-wall insulated doors, a splash-shield, stainless-steel construction, a 3HP water pump, Energy Star compliance, and a ¼HP conveyor belt. The dishwasher is backed by a 1-year warranty for manufacturing defects, material, or workmanship for the original seller. This conveyor-type dishwasher is available at Chef Buyer.
Hobart CL44EN-ADV+BUILDUP Conveyor Dishwasher
This dishwasher from Hobart is a premium conveyor-type model from a trusted brand. It houses a single tank and can wash up to 202 racks per hour at a very economical .62 gallons/rack. The enclosure panels are insulated and made from stainless steel. The appliance has advanced microprocessor controls, which alert the user about water temperatures and the quality of water being used. It also houses a stainless steel booster with 30kW of power. Installation is free within a 100-mile radius of a Hobart service office. The CL44EN-ADV+BUILDUP is perfect for handling large loads of dishes at once and can perform its duties for years without breaking down. Available for purchase from Chef Buyer.