Finding the Right Commercial Dishwasher & Accessories

Commercial Dishwashers and Accessories Buyers' Guide

Restaurants, hospitality businesses, and other foodservice operations are required to provide guests with clean and sanitary dinnerware, glassware, and flatware. In many businesses, doing that job manually isn't an option due to time constraints or production demand, so a commercial dishwasher is a must-have piece of equipment. All of these machines must be efficient and reliable, since they will have to stand up to consistent heavy-duty use, but the variety of models available means operators need to know which one will best suit their kitchens.

Types of Commercial Dishwashers

Commercial dishwashers come in four main styles: door-type, conveyor, undercounter, and flight-type. Door-type dishwashers are equipped with doors that are lifted up by large handles to provide access to the interior, while conveyor dishwashers are built to automatically carry racks from one end of the unit to the other. Undercounter dishwashers are compact, front-loading units that will fit under a countertop for use in small spaces.

Flight-type dishwashers are designed with multiple sections and are capable of meeting the highest demands for production. Because they are larger and more complex than other dish machine styles, these units can be customized for your operation and purchased from a customer care representative by calling 1-800-541-8683.

You will also have to choose between a high-temp or low-temp dishwasher. A high-temp dishwasher, as the name suggests, uses water heated to at least 180 degrees to sanitize wares. These machines will need to be paired with a booster heater if one is not built into the unit to bring the water up to the correct temperature. That will likely lead to higher utility bills than you would see with a low-temp machine, but these don't have the regular cost of sanitizing chemical refills.

In contrast, a low-temp dishwasher relies on cooler water and chemicals for sanitation. These generally use less water and are more energy-efficient than high-temp machines, but aren't always the best choice for cleaning glassware since they may leave behind trace amounts of sanitizing chemicals that can negatively affect the tastes of drinks and prevent beer from forming a frothy head. If you'll be washing delicate stemware and other glassware, you could invest in a rotary-style glasswasher, which is an undercounter unit that gently cleans and sanitizes glassware that may get damaged in a traditional dishwasher.

Commercial Dishwasher Capacities

A commercial dishwasher's capacity is rated by how many racks per hour it can wash. Although specific model capacities vary, undercounter dishwashers tend to have the smallest capacities, while conveyor dishwashers have the highest among the most common three types of dishmachines. Although some door-type dishwashers have lower rack-per-hour capacities, most are better suited to mid-sized operations. To give you a better idea of which capacity your operation needs, we'll translate different rack-per-hour ratings to a number of glasses and dishes that you can compare to your average hourly requirement.

Undercounter dishwashers can wash between 20 and 45 racks per hour and are generally used for smaller operations with a limited amount of dishes or are installed behind a bar as a dedicated glass machine. An undercounter dishwasher rated for 24 racks per hour can wash approximately 600 dishes per hour or 864 glasses per hour, while an undercounter dishwasher with a racks-per-hour rating of 40 can wash 1,000 dishes and 1,440 glasses per hour.

Some door-type dishwashers have lower racks-per-hour capacities – between 10 and 45 – but will usually carry a rating for up to 108 racks per hour. A door-type dishwasher rated for 63 racks per hour can wash 1,134 dishes per hour, and the highest-capacity of these units can handle 2,700 dishes and 3,888 glasses per hour. However, many dishmachines with lower capacities are rated for washing pots and pans, so they will run longer cycles that are better suited to removing baked-on residue.

For establishments requiring high-volume output, conveyor dishwashers are designed to wash between 202 and 287 racks per hour. At 202 racks per hour, a conveyor dishwasher can clear 5,025 dishes and 9,045 glasses per hour, while the highest-rated conveyor dishwasher will wash as many as 7,175 dishes or glasses per hour.

Commercial Dishwasher Operation

It's important to know the labor requirements for the dishwasher you purchase. Undercounter dishwashers require employees to bend down to load and unload racks, and must be installed in a place where workflow will not be interrupted when the drop-down door is opened.

Door-type dishwashers may be more easily incorporated into a dishroom or kitchen, as models are available for installation in straight-through applications, as well as corner layouts. These dishwashers put the racks at a working height, which may allow employees to more quickly load and unload them as they don't have to stoop. Paired with soiled and clean dish tables, these can allow for direct loading and unloading.

Conveyor dishwashers will require the most space for installation because of their size, but are considered a labor-saving solution because of the speed with which they can wash large numbers of racks. Although racks move through this type of commercial dishwasher on their own, they'll need to be loaded up on one side and unloaded on the other after the cycle is complete. Like door-type dishwashers, conveyor dishwashers may be more comfortable to use because racks are at a taller height and can be paired with dish tables for easier loading and unloading.

Commercial Dishwasher Installation

Rack rate is important, but finding a dishwasher to keep up with your production won't be very helpful if it doesn't fit into your layout. Before purchasing a unit, you should know the dimensions of the dishwasher and how much space you have available, including width and height, as well as any clearance requirements.

Although the installation recommendations for commercial dishwashers will vary between the types and individual units, you'll want to consider the availability of electricity, potable water, and drainage. You should also know whether your unit will require a vent hood, which removes the condensation released from high-temp dishmachines to prevent it from gathering in your kitchen.

Commercial Dishwasher Accessories

Once you've decided which commercial dishwasher to purchase, you'll need to consider which accessories will help kitchen staff optimize the dishwashing process.

Dish tables can be added in custom configurations to build out from your dishwasher, giving kitchen staff plenty of room to implement an organized washing system, and may include additional components like an undershelf, sink, or cabinet. Bus tubs are an essential part of clearing dirty dinnerware from tables and also facilitate the efficiency of a kitchen's dishwashing workflow. These come in a variety of colors, so they can be color-coded for their purposes to prevent cross-contamination of dirty and clean items.

Dishwasher racks are the best way to ensure thorough and safe cleaning of dinnerware. Glass racks should be used to keep delicate glassware from being jostled about and broken by the powerful water jets in the machine, while flatware racks are available to properly contain utensils. These racks can also be used to dry and store those items between washing and serving.

Testing your high-temp dishwasher with temperature test strips will ensure it is reaching the 180-degrees Fahrenheit required for proper sanitization.