Dish Table Buyers' Guide

Dish Table Buyers' Guide

Dish tables are kitchen work tables designed specifically to optimize the workflow of washing dishes in a commercial kitchen and to interface with commercial dishwashers. Many have built-in sinks, which may be either a single-compartment pre-rinse sink or a full three-compartment sink. Some are constructed to go over the top of an undercounter dishwasher, while others are made to be installed flush against a door-type machine or as part of a conveyor machine line-up.


All dish tables have raised edges to help contain liquids and the tops of the tables are always stainless steel, but beyond that there are several differences to consider when deciding which table will work best in your kitchen.

  • While some models are all stainless steel, for operators on a budget there are also options that have galvanized steel legs and undershelves. Models are available in 18-gauge steel up to the sturdier 14-gauge, and the gauge of steel can have an impact on the price.
  • Crossbars, which are stainless or galvanized steel rods that run between two or more legs, are available on some models to help add stability. These may be in fixed positions or adjustable to allow for storage underneath the table.
  • Any dish table that is made to be placed against a wall will have a backsplash, though these vary in height. On many models the angle where the backsplash joins to the table is coved with a wide enough radius to make cleaning easier.
  • Rolled-rim edges on dishtables add strength to the work surface and also make the unit more safe and comfortable for the operator, as it prevents sharp 90-degree edges.
  • Dish table feet may be made of steel or plastic; steel is more durable, but plastic can prevent damage to the floor. Adjustable feet can help make level installation easy, and come standard on many models.

Dish Table Shapes

Because these tables are meant to optimize workflow, it is important to know the layout of your dish room before you purchase tables. Tables are available in left-to-right or right-to-left configurations, and are also available in straight, corner, and island designs.

Corner designs are made to fit into the corner of a room, so they have backsplashes on both sections of the table. Island designs look similar to those, in that they turn at a 90 degree angle, but one end is meant to turn out into the room rather than be against a wall, so it will lack the backsplash seen on the corner models.

Be sure you know which side of each table your dishwasher will be on, and include the dishwasher's width in your measurements. Dish tables are available in lengths from 23 to 143 inches long to accommodate dishrooms of any size.

Soiled vs. Clean Dish Tables

The two main types of dishwasher table are "soiled" and "clean." As you may guess from their names, a soiled dish table is where dirty dishes are collected and organized for washing, and the clean units are where dishes are placed after they are cleaned until they are moved to drying racks, dish carts, or put away. Some clean and soiled tables are sold in pairs to make purchasing and installation easier.

Soiled dish table features:

  • Usually includes a pre-rinse sink for removing food scrap. If you cannot have a pre-rinse sink, consider getting a table with a scrap hole that you can place a trash can under.
  • Often has a built-in shelf above or below the table for storing empty dish racks.
  • Island-style tables are common, with one end extending out into the room to make it easy for servers to stage dirty dishes.

Clean dish table features:

  • Flat table with room for an optional booster underneath for high-temp dishwashers.
  • Must be long enough to accommodate the racks of dishes that will be coming out of the dishwasher.
  • Can have a table limit switch installed on the end with the dishwasher, so that if the dish trays get too backed up, the dishwasher will cut off instead of continuing to try to push racks out.

Features & Accessories

Purchasing a dish table with the right features and accessories can greatly impact the workflow in your dish room. Below are some of the features you may wish to consider.

  • Some dish tables are made with cabinets or undershelves built in, providing extra storage for cleaning solutions, dish racks, or other equipment. In some cases, if you purchase a table without an undershelf, one or more can be purchased separately and added after the fact.
  • One of the most useful purchases you can make in conjunction with your table will be a pre-rinse faucet. These have a long, flexible hose equipped with a nozzle that sprays water at high pressure to help remove food from dishes quickly and easily.
  • A pre-rinse basket can be useful in helping protect your plumbing from clogs. These baskets are placed in the pre-rinse sink to catch food debris and are easily emptied. Most also include bars across the top to enable you to slide food racks over the top as you rinse.
  • For after the dishes are clean, if you are using a low-temperature dishwasher, your dishes will need to be dried before they are put away. Sorting and draining shelves are ideal for this. These shelves mount on the wall over the clean dish table, and are either a solid shelf with a drain, or a tubular shelf to allow more air to circulate around the dishes to speed drying.

While most commercial dishwashers are of a similar height, some manufacturers have introduced models with varying depths in recent years. Because of this, when considering a dish table purchase, we recommend calling to speak with one of our representatives at 1-800-541-8683 to ensure you get tables that are compatible with your dishwasher.