Door-Type Dishwasher Buyers' Guide

Let a Door-Type Dishwasher Do the Dirty Work

Your ability to serve safe meals depends on a number of factors, not the least of which is a reliable dishwashing routine. A commercial dishwasher is a big investment, and finding the one that matches a restaurant's specific needs can be a challenge. For many medium-sized establishments, the 'just-right' solution between too big and too small is a door-type dishwasher, a format that offers a relatively compact footprint compared to the volume of dishes it can handle over the course of a service. If your dish crew needs to handle two or three dozen racks or fewer per hour, here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for the best door-type dishwasher.

Door-type dish machines are typically installed between two dishtables - one for incoming soiled dishes and another for outgoing clean dishes. Most models can be converted for either a straight-through or corner setup. That ability to convert between the two means you can incorporate the dish machine into your existing setup without having to invest in expensive tables or rearrange the dishroom.

Racks Per Hour

The most important factor to consider before you choose a door-type dishwasher is how many racks of dishes you need to wash in an hour. Compact washers may handle as few as 10 racks an hour, while the most productive units can wash a couple hundred. Picking a warewasher that can keep up with your demand will keep you stocked with plenty of clean dinnerware and utensils to get through the mealtime rush.

Choosing Between High-Temp and Low-Temp Dishwashers

High-temp dish machines disinfect dishes with water heated to at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve that temperature, these units are equipped with booster heaters, which are sometimes included with the purchase of the dish machine and other times sold separately. Low-temp dishwashers kill bacteria with a sanitizing chemical they mix with the water during the final rinse cycle. That chemical is procured from the same source as your dishwasher detergent and rinse aid. Each method offers its own benefits and drawbacks.

Advantages of Hot Water SanitizationDisadvantages of Hot Water Sanitization
No costly chemicals to buyHigher upfront costs
No worries about chemical residue being left on dishesHigher energy costs
Effectively removes grease, lipstick, and other tough residueAdditional component to maintain
Advantages of Chemical SanitizationDisadvantages of Chemical Sanitization
Lower upfront costsRecurring cost of sanitizing chemicals
Lower energy costsPotential for chemical residue being left behind on dishes
Produces less steamMay not thoroughly remove grease and lipstick

Booster Heaters

Booster heaters raise incoming water to the 180 degrees Fahrenheit necessary to sanitize dishes without chemicals. Each is designed to provide either a 40-degree or 70-degree rise. To determine which you need, measure the temperature of your kitchen's hot water during the busiest time of the day when demand for it is highest. If your building's hot water measures 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, a 40-degree rise heater will be sufficient. If the temperature is lower than that, you'll need to specify a 70-degree rise booster heater. If the water is cooler than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you may not be able to use a high-temperature dish machine without replacing or adjusting your kitchen's main water heater or boiler.

Pot and Pan Washers

Oversized door-type dishwashers are called pot and pan washers or utensil washers because they're designed to accommodate large pieces of cookware and oversized tools like full-size sheet pans, stock pots, ladles, spoons, and spatulas. Check individual product descriptions to determine the size and quantity of the cookware each model can accommodate to find one that will meet your requirements.

Additional Features to Consider

  • Extra-tall dish machines are designed to accommodate oversized wares like stockpots and sheet pans in addition to standard racks. These have smaller footprints than full-size pot and pan washers.
  • Spray hose assemblies let staff spray down the interior of the dishwasher between loads to prevent residue buildup and keep dishes coming out spotless.
  • Ventless dish machines don't need to be installed underneath condensate hoods like traditional dish machines. Instead, built-in heat recovery systems capture the steam that would conventionally be lost and use it to heat incoming water.
  • ENERGY STAR-certified models meet EPA standards for reduced electricity usage than similar equipment. Look for this certification if you want an energy-efficient warewasher.
  • Rack-sensing systems detect whether a rack is present in the machine and only allows the machine to run when one is, preventing the washer from running needlessly.