Best commercial dishwasher 2023: Buyer's guide

buyer's guide

What’s inside this buyer’s guide


  1. Introduction
  2. What is a commercial dishwasher?
  3. Different types of commercial dishwashers
  4. Features to consider
  5. Other purchase considerations
  6. Best commercial dishwashers
  7. Used commercial dishwashers - worth considering?
  8. Frequently asked questions
  9. Commercial dishwasher glossary
  10. Keep your cash. Use ours!



Whether you're running a cosy cafe or dishing out magic in a ritzy restaurant, spotless crockeries are your secret to a stellar impression.

For any sizable food service, a commercial dishwasher is a must-have, but with so many brands waving for your attention, where do you even start, especially if you're on the hunt for the first time?

Worry not!

This commercial dishwasher guide will walk you through the key features, spotlight the top brands, and answer those questions that might be bubbling up in your mind.

There’s also a straightforward glossary to keep things clear.



What is a commercial dishwasher?

Designed for busy commercial kitchens, commercial dishwashers, also known as warewashing machines, are engineered to wash a huge load of dishes, glasses, and other utensils, ensuring they come out sparkling clean in just a matter of minutes.

They're built tough, ready to tackle heavy workloads and ensure every kitchenware is spotless and sanitised.

Plus, they're resource-efficient, which means they use less water and energy.

From streamlining operations to ensuring impeccable hygiene, choosing the right dishwasher is a game-changer.


Different types of commercial dishwashers

In a commercial setup, the following types of dishwashers are common.  


Conveyor dishwasher

A stainless steel conveyor dishwasher

If your business demands cleaning hundreds of plate racks every hour, a commercial conveyor dishwasher, also known as rack-type dishwasher, is your go-to solution.

This heavy-duty machine efficiently handles high volumes (think 1700 to 2200 plates and above/hr) with its automated conveyor system.

Some commercial conveyor dishwasher models may come with a drying function, ensuring your dishes are ready for immediate use once the cycle concludes. However, this might mean longer cycles.

Do note, conveyor dishwashers are sizable machines, so ensure you've got ample space in your venue for installation and operation.


Pass through dishwasher

A pass through commercial dishwasher

A pass-through dishwasher, also known as a hood-type dishwasher, features a lift-up hood, making it a breeze to slide racks of dishes in and out.

Designed to sit between your kitchen benches, not beneath them, they necessitate a flat surface on either side for optimal use.

These models can typically handle 600 – 1200 plates per hour.

Many of these models are designed for simplicity; just pull the hood down over the soiled dishes, and the machine kicks into action without the need for multiple button presses.

Some even have the added convenience of automatically lifting the hood once the cycle wraps up.

There's no need to stoop to load or unload dishes, making it a back-saver.


Under bench dishwasher

Commercial under bench dishwasher

An under bench dishwasher is a sleek addition that fits seamlessly under counters in smaller kitchens.

Ideal for cafés, bars, and cosy restaurants, these compact machines, often dubbed front loaders, require manual loading and unloading.

While they might resemble your household dishwasher, they're in a league of their own when it comes to efficiency.

Not only do they boast quicker wash cycles, but some of the models can also manage an impressive 500 plates per hour.


Specialised dishwasher variants


Under counter glasswasher

A glasswasher is tailor-made for cleaning all things glass, be it wine glasses, pint glasses, tumblers and more.

While they meet the high-temperature demands of commercial dishwashing, they operate with gentler water pressure to ensure your delicate glassware doesn’t shatter.

Some models can tackle up to a whopping 2,000 glasses in an hour, wrapping up a cycle in just about 90 seconds.


Pot washer

Heavy duty front loading pot washer/ware washer

Pot and utensil washers specialise in cleaning larger kitchen items like pots, pans, baking trays, and big containers.

For kitchens that see a lot of action, having this type of washer can be a game-changer.

Their design, featuring tall doors, ensures ample space to accommodate even the bulkiest cookware that wouldn't fit in a regular dishwasher.



Features to consider

Let’s dive into a commercial dishwasher machine's essential features, to make sure you're truly getting your money's worth.



Dishwashers come in all shapes and sizes.

While the dishwasher type has the primary say in its size, the make and model decide the actual dimensions.

So, before you set your heart on a specific commercial dishwasher, take a moment to measure up your kitchen space.


Conveyor dishwashers

These are perfect for tackling a heap load of dishes, but their substantial size demands a significant portion of your kitchen space.


Pass through dishwashers

They are more compact than the conveyor models, but they do need room on either side to accommodate the benches that make the workflow smoother.

Also, overhead clearance is a must for easy dish rack movement.


Underbench dishwashers

The best thing about underbench dishwashers, aka front-loading models, is that they typically align with standard kitchen and bar bench heights.

However, it's always wise to verify your countertop dimensions before getting the machine.

Also, take into account if the model you’re choosing needs an overhead canopy for ventilation.

The width is another factor.

Ensure there's enough room for essential accessories, hoses, and drainage systems.



How many plates have you got stacking up each hour?

Pint glasses piling up after a busy evening?

Or perhaps a mountain of utensils post-dinner rush?

The answers to these queries will help you decide the right commercial dishwasher capacity for your business.


Conveyor dishwashers

These are the best for bustling venues where dishes queue up by the hundreds.


Pass through dishwashers

For those with a steady but not overwhelming flow, the pass through models strike a harmonious balance, making them a favourite of medium to large dining establishments.


Underbench dishwashers

For the cosy corners, where conversations flow over coffee or cocktails, the undercounter dishwashers, with their modest capacity, fit just right.

Investing in a dishwasher that's too extravagant might leave you with a machine that's underutilized, wasting both your funds and precious kitchen space.

On the flip side, a smaller dishwasher might leave your team awaiting the next batch of sparkling cutlery. And your customers waiting for food.

So, choose wisely.


Vent or ventless

Dishwashers with hood

Most heavy-duty commercial dishwashers need a hood to vent the hot air and steam produced during the process.

The hood not only keeps your kitchen's ambience in check but also ensures a comfortable temperature for your team by expelling heat and moisture.

The exact hood requirement will depend on the type and model of the machine and also the size of your kitchen.

Generally, if you're eyeing anything commercial other than the under-bench models or a ventless one, be prepared to accommodate a separate hood.


Ventless dishwashers

The ventless models are a game changer. Instead of sending all the heat outside, they cleverly harness this energy.

Some savvy models even recycle the steam for the next wash cycle, giving a nod to energy efficiency.

If you have a snug kitchen or find the hood installation a tad challenging, the ventless model might just be your kitchen ally.

A word of caution: while they're efficient and space-saving, they might not match the dish output capacity of their hooded counterparts.

It's all about weighing your priorities and making an informed choice.



All the water used to clean the dishes needs an exit route.

Here's a quick rundown of your drainage options:


Gravity drain

Think of this as the natural way.

Water simply uses its weight to exit from the bottom of your commercial dishwasher machine.

It's a cost-effective method, but there's a catch.

Larger food particles might get stuck inside, as gravity alone might not be enough to push them out.


Pump drain

Here, a pump actively pushes the water out, ensuring even those stubborn food bits are removed completely.

While they're efficient, remember, they come with more moving parts. Over time, these parts might need some extra care.

Plus, these models might be more expensive and require more energy to run.

Also, pay attention to where the drainage is located in the dishwasher.

Proper positioning ensures efficient water exit.

Always ensure your wastewater disposal aligns with local regulations.

It's not just about clean dishes; it's about responsible operations too.


Wash cycle and cycle time

Commercial dishwasher machines come with a variety of wash cycle options to be tailored for every dish's unique story.

A 'light' cycle might be all you need for the ‘lightly used’ side plates, but for the ‘more used’ utensils, you'll want to crank it up to a 'heavy' wash.

Imagine running a bustling restaurant or bar.

You're going to need a constant stream of sparkling dishware.

So, the speed at which a dishwasher does its job or the cycle time is crucial.

Some commercial models can whip through a cycle in a mere 90 seconds, while others might take as long as 240 seconds, all depending on the chosen program, make, and model of the machine.

Some commercial dishwashers even come with a special sanitation cycle to ensure extra cleanliness.


Chemical dispensers

Chemical dispensers are the trusty sidekicks of your commercial dishwasher machine, ensuring your machine is always equipped with the right cleaning agents so you don't have to refill every time.

Many of the large dishwashers come with these dispensers built-in, streamlining the process.

The three most common types of chemical dispensers are soap dispensers, rinse agent dispensers and sanitiser dispensers.

Always stick to the food-safe chemicals your machine's maker recommends. It's like giving it the right fuel for optimal performance.



Other purchase considerations

Energy efficiency

Commercial dishwashers are undoubtedly efficient, but with great performance comes a notable energy consumption.

Compared to home variants, commercial dishwashers are engineered for rigorous, frequent operations, often demanding a higher electrical current, sometimes even reaching up to 20 amps.

Before you decide on a model, it's a good idea to check out its energy requirements. Some might need a direct connection to your power source.

You can usually find this information on the appliance's label or in its user manual.

The good news is many leading brands are stepping up their game.

They're designing dishwashers that are both powerful and energy-efficient.

The ventless models are real champs at saving electricity.

So, when you're in the market for a new commercial dishwasher machine, consider going for an energy-efficient model.

It might be a tad pricier upfront, but it'll save you on energy bills in the long run.

Plus, it's a win for the environment.


Water efficiency

It's not just about sparkling dishes and energy consumption; it's also about how smartly your machine uses every drop of water.

After all, every litre saved is a nod to both our environment and your budget.

Some of the best commercial dishwashers now come equipped with jet sprays that promise pristine plates while being stingy with water.

These models might come with a higher price tag, but remember that reduced water consumption and quick wash cycles can make that investment worthwhile in the long run.

Some of the best commercial dishwashers available in NZ use only 2-3 litres of water in each cycle.


Water temperature

The dishes should not only be clean but also free from bacteria and contaminants.

According to the guidelines, the water should be heated to at least 80°C during the final rinse to sanitise the crockery.

It's the industry gold standard to get rid of any lingering bacteria and meet essential hygiene requirements.

If your shortlisted dishwasher isn't hitting this mark, it’s not the right choice.

While some commercial dishwashers boast built-in heaters, letting you feed them straight from the tap, others might need a little boost.

In such cases, you’ll need an external booster heater.

Ensure that your dishwasher can efficiently reach the desired temperature, especially during those busy hours when every minute counts.

A noteworthy feature of some premium commercial dishwashers is a temperature display.

This allows your staff to monitor the water temperature in real time, ensuring every dish is washed under optimal conditions.


Water pressure

Your commercial dishwasher machine needs the optimal water pressure to fill its tank and do its job efficiently.

With low water pressure, the dishwasher might struggle to fill up and clean the load promptly, leading to delays.

A commercial dishwasher equipped with a rinse booster pump can resolve this issue.

It's like giving the dishwasher a little boost to ensure it performs at its best, no matter the water pressure challenges.

Choose wisely to keep your kitchen workflow smooth.  


Safety features

Here are some of the must-have safety features for a commercial dishwasher.

Overheat protection: It turns off your dishwasher if it gets too hot, keeping fires and damage at bay.

Door interlock: It ensures that unless the door's snugly shut, the machine won't start.

High water temperature protection: If the water gets too hot, this feature hits the brakes on the operation.

Automatic shutoff: Think of it as a built-in timer. It ensures that the machine is turned off automatically when not in use.

Tight seals and minimized gaps: These simple features keep water and steam strictly within the machine, ensuring no slips or other mishaps.

Most commercial dishwashers from reputed brands are designed with these safety features in mind. So, if you’re investing in a branded model, probably it’s already equipped with all these. 


Ease of use and cleaning

In the fast-paced world of the food industry, you need equipment that keeps up with the buzz.

So, your commercial dishwasher should be ready to roll whenever you need, making the wash routine a breeze for your team.

Easy-accessible, intuitive controls are a must.

Now, if this machine is going to be used throughout the day by multiple staff, it's essential to consider its user-friendliness.

If you’re pondering on a hood dishwasher, opt for one with a hood that’s light to lift. Some elite models in the market come with automatic hood lifting.

Let's not forget the post-shift cleanup.

A dishwasher designed with cleaning simplicity in mind is a game-changer.

Look for models with parts like rinse filters and spray nozzles that pop out effortlessly, making the cleaning ritual simple.

When it comes to material, stainless steel stands tall.

Not only does it gleam with elegance, but it's also a breeze to clean and maintain.


Noise level

Every machine produces noise, and commercial dishwashers are no exception.

While larger models might naturally be a bit louder, many are designed with noise-reducing features to keep things on the quieter side.

Curious about the exact noise level?

The manufacturer's manual has all the details.

Remember, opting for a quieter machine contributes to a smoother workflow and a happier team.



Best commercial dishwashers



Hobart Logo

Born in 1883, Hobart has been redefining the dishwashing game for over a century.

Hobart introduced the world to the SENSOTRONIC - the genius brain behind intelligent dishwashing.

It intuitively detects varying washware types and empty conveyor sections, adjusting operations accordingly. The result? Optimal cleaning, resource efficiency, and a streamlined experience for your team.

Thinking of levelling up your dishwashing game, here are some Hobart stars you should know about.

Hobart Profi FX under counter dishwasher is a stellar performer. Beyond its impressive 720 plates/hr output, this model introduces an optional 2-in-1 double rack system, enabling simultaneous cleaning of two racks and high resource saving.

Hobart Profi AMX heavy duty pass through dishwasher is tailored for high-demand settings, this German-engineered unit boasts six automatic cycles and diverse cycle time options. Remarkably, it achieves its efficiency while consuming a mere 2 litres of water per cycle.

Check out more Hobart commercial dishwashers here.


Electrolux Professional

Electrolux Logo 

Electrolux Professional is a trusted partner of commercial kitchens. The brand has consistently prioritized high productivity, low lifecycle costs, and user-friendly designs.

The range of Electrolux commercial dishwashers is nothing short of impressive. From the sleek glasswashers and undercounters to the robust hood type and expansive rack type models, there's a tailored solution for every kitchen, big or small.

The undercounter dishwasher – 502072 boasts hot water rinsing and wash-safe control. Its gentle yet powerful wash pump, combined with rotating washing spray arms, ensures pristine cleaning of even the most delicate dishes without chipping.

Advanced electronic controls, a self-cleaning cycle, and an eco-conscious water usage of 3-4 litres per basket make it a top choice.

The other model, Green & Clean hood type dishwasher – 504254, is an advanced and powerful machine ideal for large businesses. It ensures a consistent 84°C rinse temperature, thanks to its built-in atmospheric boiler.

Energy-saving, lime-resistant, and equipped with self-cleaning cycles, it's a perfect example of efficiency and innovation.

Check out Electrolux Professional commercial dishwashers here.




 Starline Logo

Starline by Washtech is one of the most popular brands in commercial warewashing.

Born in 1981, Washtech has grown to become Australasia's top player in professional dishwashing, offering a diverse range from nifty undercounters to mighty rack conveyors.

Starline UL is a premium undercounter model that efficiently handles up to 60 racks an hour. It's quiet and efficient, thanks to its thermal and acoustic insulation. With its user-friendly electronic controls and a mere 2.6 litres of hot water per cycle, it's a blend of performance and eco-friendliness.

Stepping into the pass through arena, the Starline M2 is a force to be reckoned with. Tailored for those bustling restaurants, it boasts easy-use controls, multi-cycle options, and a robust 316-grade stainless steel build. It's just as water-efficient with 2.6 litres per cycle.

Need more power? The CD120 conveyor dishwasher is your answer. With a whopping 120 racks per hour capacity, this machine combines efficiency with simplicity, thanks to its electromechanical controls and automatic start/stop feature.

Check out Starline's commercial dishwashers here.




Winterhalter Logo

At Winterhalter, German precision meets warewashing innovation. Since its inception in 1947, Winterhalter has been setting the gold standard in the commercial warewashing arena.

For the Kiwis on the hunt for unparalleled dishwashing prowess, Winterhalter is a name to reckon with. Their dishwashers aren’t cheap, but if you’re ready to spend the money, they make a top choice.

Here's a sneak peek into their stellar lineup.

Winterhalter UC-M under bench dishwasher is a compact yet mighty machine. With a capacity of 40 racks/hr, it offers customisable washing pressure and temperature settings, ensuring spotless results every time.

When you’re looking for a powerful solution to handle high-volume warewashing, Winterhalter Workhorse PT-M pass through dishwasher is a model to consider.

It brings the right blend of power and sophistication to your kitchen. The touchscreen controls, Varipower wash pressure adjustment, and clouding sensor make it a breeze to operate.

Add to that features like rinse booster pump, waste water heat recovery, and quadruple filtration, and you've got a machine that's both efficient and eco-friendly, using just 2.2 litres of rinse water per cycle.

Check out Winterhalter commercial dishwashers here.



 Krupps Logo

Krupps is an Italian brand that's been revolutionizing the commercial warewashing scene for over half a century.

Imagine a blend of sleek design, cutting-edge tech, and sheer efficiency. That's Krupps for you!

In New Zealand, their Elitech range is a popular choice. Take the EL51E undercounter dishwasher for instance. It boasts a whopping 1080 dishes/hour productivity, sips just 2 litres of water per cycle, and sports a UNIKO tempered glass touch screen. Efficiency and style? Check and check!

If you're all about non-stop dishwashing action and care about the comfort of your team, the Elitech EL60E hood type pass through dishwasher is your match.

With four customizable wash cycles, an integrated drain pump, and features like self-diagnosis and self-cleaning, it's the perfect blend of performance and convenience.

Check out Krupps commercial dishwashers here.



Used commercial dishwasher - worth considering?

Spending thousands of dollars on a new commercial dishwasher can put a strain on your budget and cash flow.

If you’d prefer not to invest a lot of money in new commercial kitchen equipment, a cheaper, used commercial dishwasher for sale might be the solution you’re looking for.

SilverChef’s range of ‘Certified Used’ commercial equipment is mostly ex-rental equipment sourced from businesses we know and trust.

The equipment is typically less than two-and-a-half years old, has been fully refurbished by us, and is backed by a three-month parts-and-labour warranty.

Considering the effective, or useful, life of a commercial dishwasher is much longer, you can be sure our Certified Used products have plenty of life left in it.

You can either buy or finance the ‘Certified Used’ (and clearance) equipment on our website. (We’re one of the few financiers, if not the only one, in New Zealand that funds second-hand commercial kitchen equipment).

Read more about ‘Certified Used’ equipment.



Frequently asked questions

How to use a commercial dishwasher machine?

The use of a commercial dishwasher machine can vary based on its type and model.

Always a good idea to peek at the manufacturer’s guide for the best tips.

Here's a general guideline:

  • First, make sure the chemical dispensers aren't running on empty, the drain's shut, and the machine's all clean and ready to go.
  • Get the tank grid and basket wheels in place. Shut that hood or door and power it up.
  • Now it’s time to fill up the tank and get that water nice and hot.
  • Before you load up those dishes, give them a quick check and brush off any leftover food.
  • Pick the right wash cycle for your load, and let the machine work its magic.
  • Once it's done, grab those sparkling dishes out, drain the water, and give the dishwasher a good clean.

Most commercial dishwashers skip the drying part.

If you're looking for that, you may opt for a model that’s designed with this feature.

You may also think about getting a post-rinse heater to help dry the dishes.


Where to buy a commercial dishwasher in NZ?

There are several reputable outlets and suppliers where you can purchase commercial dishwashers.

Whether you're looking for a brand-new model or a pre-used option, it's essential to choose a trusted retailer that offers quality products, warranty options, and reliable customer service.

Checking out the online stores of top commercial kitchen equipment suppliers is always a good idea. Visiting your local commercial kitchen equipment retailer can also help you make an informed decision.

If you're on the hunt for the best deals, SilverChef offers both new and certified used commercial dishwashers for sale on easy weekly rents with a flexible finance solution - Rent-Try-Buy. This way you try out the equipment, before committing to buy it.

Remember, investing in a quality dishwasher can save you time and money in the long run.

Check the collection here.


What’s the best commercial dishwasher brand in New Zealand?

Navigating the world of commercial dishwashers can be a journey, especially with so many renowned brands vying for the top spot.

Hobart commercial dishwashers stand out with their long-standing reputation for durability and reliability.

Starline commercial dishwasher machines, on the other hand, are celebrated for their efficiency and robust performance.

Electrolux Professional brings to the table sleek designs coupled with advanced technology, while Krupps impresses with its precision in wash cycles, ensuring every dish comes out spotless.

Lastly, Winterhalter, one of the best commercial dishwasher brands in NZ, has been gaining traction with its innovative features and user-friendly interfaces.

While each brand has its unique strengths, the best choice aligns with your specific business needs and operational preferences.


How much does a commercial dishwasher cost?

Let's demystify the commercial dishwasher price tags.

Starting with the undercounter models, these compact wonders typically range between $5,000 and $8,000.

However, if you're leaning towards the more advanced options from top brands, prices can surge beyond $11,000.

For those considering pass-through dishwashers, the entry-level models begin at around $6,000, but as you explore enhanced features and premium brands, you might find tags stretching up to $26,000.

Lastly, the conveyor dishwashers, the titans of the industry, commence their pricing journey from an impressive $50,000.

The perfect balance between functionality and budget should guide your choice in this diverse market.





Commercial dishwashers come equipped with a filter to catch residual food particles.

Regular filter checks and cleaning are a must for smooth working of the machine.



Dishwashers use hoses to channel water from the water supply to the machine and into the right machine areas during cleaning.


Heating element

This component heats the water within the dishwasher, ensuring effective grease removal and sanitation.



Working with the pump, the impeller boosts water pressure within the dishwasher for better circulation of detergent and water.



These are the compartments within commercial dishwashers designed to hold various kitchenware.

Instead of counting individual items, efficiency is often measured in racks per hour due to varying load sizes.



This control feature sets the wash cycle duration, ensuring consistent and efficient cleaning.


Water valve 

This component regulates water entry into the dishwasher, ensuring the right amount for each cycle.


Wash curtain 

Some conveyor-type dishwashers incorporate barriers or curtains to minimize water splatter and ensure dishes transition smoothly.


Keep your cash. Use ours!

We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look for in a commercial dishwasher and how to choose the right model for your needs.

If you want to know more, you can always reach out to the SilverChef team.

Hospitality equipment can be expensive, and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.

Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.

Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it gives you unrivalled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.

You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.

If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 50% of the rent you paid in the first year and 25% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.

Read more about Rent–Try–Buy.