U-Select Buying Guides: Undercounter Dishwashers

By Phil Scoble

If you’re looking for a new dishwasher for your business, then you’ve come to the right place – here are the questions you want to ask yourself to help you choose the right dishwasher for your business.

Replacing an Existing Machine 

If you are replacing an existing machine, this is a much simpler process, but you still need to do a bit of detective work: 

1: What size is it? 

This is simple -what space do you have into which to place a machine? This can be one of the quickest guides to the model you need – most models fall into the 400 or 500mm sizes. 

2: What basket size does it have? 

It’s good to check the size of existing basket your machine has to see what you have been working with – 390mm and 490mm are the industry standards. 

The larger you can get, in many cases, the better, as it is quicker and more efficient in terms of energy and water usage to have a larger machine. So if you can fit in a larger machine, and have the budget, definitely better all round to GO BIG.

3:Where are your waste water connections? 

This is an important consideration as it will determine if you need a drain pump or not. Machines without a drain pump depend on gravity to help the water drain away. So if your waste water connection  is higher than the out pipe for your machine, then you need a drain pump. 

However, if you HAVE a drain pump but don’t need one, you may sometimes have to install an up pipe (a stood-up pipe placed into the drain which you run the waste pipe from the machine into) to stop the high pressure water jet from the machine damaging your drains, depending on your setup. 

4: Do you need a water softener? 

Water softening matters to all equipment that uses water, but a dishwasher is particularly prone to being affected. Hard water leaves more deposits when heated, and requires more detergent to create a lather to actively wash. If you are in a hard water area and DON’T use a softener, you will find your machine will use more detergent, will take longer to heat up and, eventually, the water boiler can actually rupture due to the limescale deposits. 

Check online what the water hardness in your area is and if it is defined as ‘medium’,  ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’ by your local water supplier, we’d advise you to get a water softener. If you are in a hard or very hard area, it’s absolutely vital. Many dishwashers are available with an integral water softener, which just require being topped up with salt every couple of days. You can also use an external softener, but these require space and a power supply. 

It is also good to know that if you DO need a softener and you choose not to have one, then if your machine breaks and limescale buildup is the cause…you WON’T be covered under the warranty, and will have to pay call out charges and for parts, which can REALLY add up. 

5: What water pressure do you have? 

Low water pressure can really affect the operation of your dishwasher – as the tank needs to refill partially after every wash – you can get breakdowns if the tank takes too long to fill – which is caused by low water pressure.

If your water pressure is below 1.5 bar – you can check by filling a jug with water for 6 seconds. Multiply the number of litres that flow during that 6 seconds by ten. If you get a figure above 10, you should have enough water pressure for your machine to operate properly. Below 10 and you may need another solution to ensure your machine works to its best. 

If you have low pressure, there are two options – a rinse pump booster or a break tank. Both these systems can be included on various machines, but can also be installed separately. 

6: What power does it need and what kind of power connection does it have?

Is your machine powered through a three pin plug? Is it wired into the wall? Does it have a commando connection? (see the picture on this page if you don’t know what that is). You can also check the circuit on your fuse box to see what power rating you have. It often doesn’t matter, as machines can be changed to suit different power ratings. But this often requires a charge and a professional could be needed to install the machine, which you will normally have to arrange yourself. 

If you don’t already have a machine

If you are buying a dishwasher for the first time, all the questions above apply, but start from the space you have in your kitchen and then work through the rest of the points – does the space you’d like to place the dishwasher in have drainage, power etc?  

Our advice

The larger the machine, generally the more efficient it will be – so get the biggest undercounter machine that your budget and the space available allows. 

We’d advise, if you are in a larger establishment, to consider buying a double skinned machine, which saves money as it retains heat better, and is also quieter. 

We’d also recommend for you to consider one of the premium brands for your dishwasher, if you are at a very high-traffic site. If you look after the machine (see water softening and water pressure particularly) these brands will last longer and, ultimately, save you money in the long term, because they will outlast budget brands. 

Merrychef Eikon e2s
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