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The Definitive Commercial Dishwasher Buying Guide

Sanitation is imperative in any restaurant. That is why your commercial dishwasher has to work harder than any other piece of equipment in your commercial kitchen. When it comes to a commercial dishwashers ,there are essentially two types one can choose from: low temp or high temp. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages but first let me explain the difference between the two.

A low temp dishwasher washes the dishes at a lower temperature than its counterpart. Due to the lower temperature, these dishwashers rely on a chemical bath to sanitize dishes. Even though these dishwashers are said to be ineffective in removing grease, they are also more energy-efficient because of their lower temperature. Their lower temperature causes them to use more water and deposit chemicals into drainage systems. It has also been said that these dishwashers have a tendency to damage flatware and plastics. These dishwashers are priced at a much lower cost on the initial purchase.

High temp dishwashers wash dishes at a higher temperature than the low temps. These particular dishwashers must go up to 180ºF to meet NSF regulations. These dishwashers use more energy than most low temp dishwashers. They flash dry the dishes at the end of the wash cycle, which reduces food safety risks. High temp dishwashers rely on an internal booster heater as the mechanism that heats up the temperature of the water. This has its drawbacks as well because it essentially means there is one more element that can fail. Overall, the initial cost of the high temp dishwasher is much greater than the low temps.

Whether you are buying a low temp or high temp commercial dishwasher, the last thing you want is not enough clean glasses and plates to serve your patrons. This is why it is important that you buy the appropriate sized commercial dishwasher to go in your kitchen. Most dishwasher manufacturers list the number of racks a particular model can process within an hour. Most racks can hold 18 dishes or 36 glasses. If you want to know how to calculate the amount of racks you need to wash per hour, use this method to do so:

  • Roughly 35 racks of dishes are produced for every 100 meals that are served. 
  • Your commercial dishwasher should be able to easily handle a high volume of demand during the busiest days of the year.
  • Commercial dishwashers usually have a 5-10 year lifespan, so add 10%-20% capacity for future growth.

  • You have to take into account the pots and pans and other items that need washing in the kitchen. Door type dishwashers can typically handle 100-150 racks per hour. This makes them ideal for a large quantity of dishes getting dirty in a given day.

    Now that you understand how many racks you need for your commercial dishwasher, it’s important to understand what type of commercial dishwasher you need. There are essentially three types of commercial dishwashers: undercounter, door type, and conveyor style.


    Undercounter commercial dishwashers are similar to residential models and can usually handle up to 35 racks per hour. These have low temp options, like the CMA L-1X16 Undercounter Low Temp Dishwasher or the ET-AF-M American Dish Service Undercounter Low Temp Dishwasher, and high temp options, like the F16-DP Jet Tech Model Undercounter High Temp Dishwasher or the 351HT@40 Moyer Diebel High Temp Dishwasher. They use a built-in heating element to flash heat dishes and ware to 180ºF for sanitation based on NSF standards.

                                                              Door Type

    Door type commercial dishwashers are larger than undercounter models and can handle up to 150 racks per hour. These also have low temp options, like the EST-AH CMA Door Type Low Temp Dishwasher or the AFBB American Dish Service Door Type Low Temp Dishwasher, and also high temp options, like the Jet Tech F-22 High Temp Dishwasher or the MD-2000 Moyer Diebel High Temp Dishwasher. They have a door that opens and allows racks to easily slide in and out. Some models have a conveyor that allows the constant processing of dish racks. Due to the large quantity of dishes that get dirty, these commercial dishwashers are seen most often and ideal for restaurant use.


    The conveyor commercial dishwashers, like the K-44ET Meiko High Temp Dishwasher or the ADC-66LOW American Dish Service Low Temp Dishwasher, are high volume commercial dishwashers and can process and clean over 400 racks per hour. These models are most often used in cafeterias and institutions that have a large number of dirty dishes that almost constantly need washing.

    Some commercial dishwashers actually require separate booster heaters, like the C-4 Hatco Compact Booster Heater or the PMG-60NG Hatco Powermite Booster Heater. These units stand alone and are the heating mechanism that heats up the water to the NSF approved temperature. These units operate separately from your commercial dishwasher and insure enough hot water is available to wash the dishes. Most undercounter and door type commercial dishwashers have built-in booster heaters. The external booster heaters are typically used for conveyor type commercial dishwashers.

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