The dishwasher has become a must-have in the modern home: many couldn’t imagine life without it. For those that live in small-sized houses, though, a full-size dishwasher isn’t an option. Then there’s the issue of a direct water hookup, sometimes equally impossible for those living in older homes. This is what makes the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher so compelling.
Rather than rely on a water connection to work, you fill the dishwasher tank with water from the faucet. This is one of literally a handful of countertop dishwashers able to do this: most still require a water hookup to work. Just a little over a gallon of water washes two place settings, approximately a fifth of the water you’d use to clean these same dishes by hand.
We had been looking for a countertop dishwasher for years, but everyone we saw required a direct water hookup. We couldn’t resist trying this out after discovering the Farberware Professional Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher (that’s a mouthful!) in a TikTok video. Unfortunately, most of the reviews online didn’t seem to be from people who had purchased the device, so that didn’t help much either. So we decided to test it out for ourselves.
We have now owned the Farberware Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher (specifically the FDW05ASBWHA) for over six months and absolutely love it. Is it temperamental sometimes? Sure, but there are no regrets, and we’ve used it heavily, and it’s still washing our dishes as good as it did on the first run.
Setting Up the Dishwasher
We’re not going to lie to you: the Farberware Portable Countertop Dishwasher isn’t very portable and is on the beastly side, especially in weight. Weighing nearly 50 pounds and requiring a foot and a half of depth, width, and about two feet of clearance off the top, you’ll need some space for this thing.
But the washer is ready to go otherwise. All you need to do is remove it from the box, empty out the basket (you’ll also get a fruit wash basket), attach the included hose, feed it to a drain, plug it in, and fill it up. An included 1.3L water pitcher helps you do this: it will take just a bit over three full pitchers before you hear a series of beeps indicating the water tank is full.
That’s all you need to do. We’d argue the most challenging part of this was getting the dishwasher out of the box due to its size. You might notice some water in the machine itself: this is normal as every dishwasher is tested before leaving the factory.
(Editor’s Note: Farberware also provides a faucet adapter, so if you can attach it to a permanent water source, we’d certainly recommend doing that — filling it can get old quickly. But if you have no other choice, the tank will do.)
Operating the Faberware Countertop Dishwasher
The Farberware Countertop Dishwasher includes five washing programs. The Normal wash cycle takes a little over two hours to complete and runs through several wash and rise cycles, including a drying feature at the end. The rapid cycle completes in only 40 minutes by taking out one of the rise cycles and forgoing drying, while a baby setting uses higher temperatures to sterilize bottles and toys.
Newer versions of the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher, such as the FCDMGDWH and FCDMSDWH, may also include UV or a “hygiene” setting, which is similar to the Sanitize mode here on the FDW05ASBWHA. If you have delicate glass, you can use a lower temperature glass setting, and there’s even a fruit wash setting, which allows you to wash and sterilize fruit with the included fruit basket.
We’ve found ourselves sticking with the “rapid” cycle more often than not. We found the two-hour “normal” setting to take too long, and with lower quality dishwashing detergent left dishes cloudy. We ended up just drying ours or leaving the door open to allow them to air dry better. You can even watch it do its work thanks to an interior light illuminated for the beginning of the cycle and a glass window: a feature that might be a bit strange for a dishwasher but fun to watch.
We’ve not tested any of the other options on the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher yet, so we’ll have to get back to you on those features with further use. We also don’t have the UV feature on our model, which is a bit of a bummer.
Surprising Performance and Cleaning Power
We were ready for the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher to disappoint us somehow. After all, a built-in dishwasher has much more real estate to work with, uses a stainless steel interior rather than the Farberware’s plastic, and can work with oversized pots and pans.
Yes, this dishwasher is small. But it essentially works using the same concepts as a full-size dishwasher would. It uses the same detergent, although we’d recommend a higher-end liquid detergent like Cascade Complete or Cascade with Oxi. There weren’t many dishes we couldn’t figure out how to fit, except for our oversized plates. And over time, we gave it more challenging food residue to work with, and in just about every case, the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher could get our dishes clean.
We only experienced issues on heavy loads, especially with the silverware rack. If you’ve jammed the basket full of dishes below, the water jets don’t make it sufficiently to your silverware, and the “rotating” water jet on the top doesn’t adequately get the water to all the silverware. It’s really one of the few issues we experienced.
You also cannot use any rinse aids, as they can damage the dishwasher. We’ll take these minor issues in stride. While you’ll get some water spots, especially if you have “hard” water, it’s not a massive issue, and they wipe right off. It’s a heck of a lot better than hand washing them.
How many dishes can the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher handle?
In our experience, we’ve been able to clean about 10 pieces of silverware, four cereal bowls, and at least four to six cups (and even a spatula or two) successfully. Just remember that too many dishes on the bottom row might result in a less than optimal clean for any silverware above it. It takes some experimenting, but you’ll quickly determine what works best for your needs.
How do you clean a Farberware Countertop Dishwasher?
You’ll need to regularly maintain your dishwasher after wash cycles where you’re dealing with especially soiled dishware. While it gets your dishes super clean, we’ve found a buildup of residue on the bottom front of the inside of the dishwasher around the door seal. You’ll also want to regularly clean the metal tray and attached filter as well. While it does an excellent job of pulverizing residue enough to flush it out during a draining cycle, this will also get a build-up. Again, not a major issue but something to keep in mind.
The bottom line: This Dishwasher works
We hoped that the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher would be the answer to our dishwashing prayers, but were ready to accept some compromises. Surprisingly, there weren’t many. This thing is cleaning dishes and full-size dishwashers we’ve had in the past, even if its cleaning cycle might be on the long side.
Just remember its limitations, and you’ll be fine. This is really only good enough for those living alone or with someone else. Larger families will need a larger countertop unit — and unfortunately, those models require a permanent hookup to your pre-existing faucet.
Have you purchased one of the Farberware Countertop Dishwasher models? We’d love to hear from you. Share your experiences below in the comments.