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Choosing a commercial dishwasher: a small business guide

3-minute read

How to choose a commercial dishwasher
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

26 May 2023

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If you’re a small business in the hospitality industry, you’ll know a thing or two about washing dishes. Learn how investing in a commercial dishwasher can make all the difference, what to look for when choosing one, and whether your insurance covers it.

What is a commercial dishwasher?

A commercial dishwasher has the same function as a domestic dishwasher but has been designed with businesses in mind. Commercial dishwashers wash your dishes, cutlery, and pots to a professional standard – all in a shorter time than it would take a domestic model.

But if you can achieve the same results with a domestic dishwasher, why invest in a commercial model? Read on to find out.

Differences between a commercial dishwasher and a domestic dishwasher

Overall cost

When starting up a hospitality business, you may look for ways to initially save some money – and when you see the difference in price between domestic and commercial dishwasher models, you may be tempted to choose the former. However, while these initial costs will be less, you’ll soon discover that choosing a domestic model can include additional costs later down the line.

Firstly, it’s important to note that most commercial dishwasher units will heat water up to 180 degrees – whereas domestic models will run at a much lower temperature. Commercial models are also designed to run faster than their domestic counterparts. Between their speed and increased heat, commercial models often end up cheaper to run. This is because you’ll often have to run a domestic dishwasher for longer, or for multiple runs, in order to achieve the same result as a commercial model.

Health, safety, and hygiene

No customer wants to go to a restaurant and get a dirty glass or plate, and no restaurant owner wants to give one to a customer. A commercial dishwasher cleans things to a higher standard than a domestic model, so the chance of this happening is much lower. This is great when it comes to building up brand reputation.

Find out more about hygiene ratings for restaurants, bars, and cafés here.

Additionally, because commercial dishwashers run at a higher temperature, the heat and steam does a better job of cleaning the things we can’t see.

Speed and capacity

Dishwashers in our homes are designed to support the needs of families or couples, but commercial dishwashers support the needs of a business. These machines are often larger with a higher capacity, meaning you can keep up with the demands of your customers.

As well as being larger, commercial models also run significantly faster. This means you’re not waiting around for too long in order to get everything clean.

How to choose a commercial dishwasher

Every business is different, so what works for one business may not work for yours. When choosing which model of commercial dishwasher to buy, keep these things in mind.


We’ve already covered how commercial dishwashers have the capability to go up to 180 degrees. However, there are slightly cheaper options which don’t reach these temperatures. To make up for the lack of heat, these models sanitise dishes with a chemical sanitiser instead. Whilst this does make the dishwasher cheaper, certain sanitisers can damage your dishware – which can add additional costs down the line.


Commercial dishwashers come in all shapes and sizes – but are all bigger than a standard residential dishwasher. Decide where you’re going to put your dishwasher and choose a dishwasher which will fit.

If you’re short on space, you can choose an undercounter dishwasher. These are often the midway point between a full commercial dishwasher and a domestic dishwasher. They have less capacity than many other types of commercial dishwashers, but may work well in smaller businesses.

Extra features

While you may think a dishwasher only does just that (washing dishes), many models have additional features. Some models come with wi-fi connectivity and smart apps which help you to track energy usage, run cycles remotely, and check the machine’s status.

Commercial dishwasher insurance

Once you’ve chosen the right dishwasher for your business, you might be wondering how best to protect your investment. This will depend on your cover – but making sure your commercial dishwasher is protected can be beneficial in the long run.

Simply Business offers different types of cover for hospitality businesses, which may include appliances such as your commercial dishwasher.

If you’re looking for cover for only your commercial dishwasher, you may need business equipment insurance.

Having a commercial dishwasher in your restaurant, café, or hospitality business is not a legal requirement. When choosing a dishwasher, commercial or otherwise, consider the needs of your business and choose what is right for you.

No matter what type of dishwasher you choose, it’s a legal requirement to make sure your electrical appliances are maintained and safe to use. Read our guide to portable appliance testing to find out more.

Did you decide on a commercial dishwasher for your small business? Let us know in the comments below.

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Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

​​Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business, specialising in legal and HR content. Trained at London College of Communication, she has been creating content professionally for eight years at publications across the UK and Spain. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world. Rosanna also writes about wellbeing in the workplace. She lives by the sea and does her best writing in coffee shops.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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