COMMERCIAL DISHWASHER BUYING GUIDE
A used commercial dishwasher Australia is built to deliver speed, reliability and performance in any busy professional kitchen. Far more powerful than domestic models, commercial dishwashers produce sparkling results in less time – essential for a smooth and efficient day-to-day operation. These machines can clean and sanitise even the dirtiest crockery, cutlery, utensils or pots.
There are a number of important factors to consider when buying a dishwasher for your kitchen. Finding the correct size and load capacity is vital, but you also need to think about installation as well as water supply and quality. Our commercial dishwasher buying guide will help make your decision easier.
TYPES OF COMMERCIAL DISHWASHER
The three most popular types of commercial dishwasher are under bench dishwashers, pass-through dishwashers and conveyor dishwashers. These machines can vary greatly in size, power and output, with each bringing valuable and unique benefits to different types of catering establishment.
Finding the most suitable type for your venue depends on your kitchen layout and available space, and how much crockery you need to clean each day. Below, we look at the key features of each commercial dishwasher.
TIP: Check and double-check the size, dimensions and power requirements before purchasing any dishwasher. If it’s too big or powerful for your premises, you may not even be able to install it. If it’s too small, it may not be up to the task of meeting your cleaning requirements.BROWSE ALL DISHWASHERS
UNDER BENCH DISHWASHER
An under bench dishwasher will fit neatly under the counter in a small or medium-sized kitchen. A popular choice for cafés, bars and small restaurants, a compact dishwasher usually requires manual front loading and emptying.
- Compact design: Can be positioned where they are needed. Perfect for smaller sites
- Rapid wash: Far faster than domestic dishwashers. Cycles are usually around three minutes
- Front loading: Easy to access and clean
- Approximate dishwashing capacity: 0-500 plates/hr
BROWSE ALL UNDER BENCH DISHWASHERS
PASS THROUGH DISHWASHER
A pass through dishwasher makes the cleaning process even faster. These large commercial units use technology similar to undercounter dishwashers, but feature a distinctive design that allows pre-rinsed plates to be loaded quickly.
- Large size: Designed for a more efficient and productive dishwashing process. Position a pass through dishwasher between two dishwasher tables for maximum effect
- Rapid wash: Pass throughs tend to wash at the same speeds as their under bench equivalents, but quick loading and operation speeds up the whole process
- Working height: No bending down! As the user pulls the hood down, it is much easier to operate than an under bench dishwasher. However, the height could make it difficult for some staff to use
- Approximate dishwashing capacity: 600-1200 plates/hr
For high volume cleaning and an automated performance to match, a conveyor dishwasher is unbeatable. These machines can wash hundreds of racks per hour, automatically channeling racks of crockery or glassware through a large chamber. Also known as a rack dishwasher, they are perfect for large canteens and the busiest mass catering venues.
- Large size: Makes the dishwashing process more efficient. For maximum effect, position it between dishwasher tables with pre-rinse jets or sprays
- Time saving: Conveyor system is far more productive than smaller dishwashers. Clean a day’s worth of dishes in an hour!
- Drying option: Some premium rack dishwashers will have your plates ready for service again in minutes, thanks to a drying chamber
- Approximate dishwashing capacity: 1750-2250 plates/hr
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Powerful commercial dishwashers require a significant amount of water and power. Many will need a hardwired mains electricity connection, although some smaller models may be able to operate using a standard domestic 10A or 15A plug. For more information about power supply, read our Single Phase vs 3 Phase Power Explained guide.
You should also pay particular attention to positioning before installing a dishwasher. Is it close to your power and water supplies? Will it fit in the space available? If you’re installing an under bench dishwasher, remember to take into account the space required to open the door. Will it cause an obstruction or trip hazard during loading or unloading?
Commercial dishwashers can also release a lot of steam when the door is opened. Could you also install a kitchen exhaust hood to help with extraction?
TIP: Professional dishwasher installation is recommended. Larger machines, particularly pass through or conveyor dishwashers, often require a site survey prior to installation too. It is far more complicated than simply hooking up the power and water, so getting it right first time will ensure your dishwasher is fully functional and operating in the most efficient way possible.
GRAVITY DRAIN OR DRAIN PUMP?
Commercial dishwashers need to dispose of dirty water quickly and efficiently during the wash cycle using a dishwasher drain hose. To do this, they drain it away using either gravity or a powered pump. If the dishwasher’s waste outlet is higher than the drain standpipe, a gravity drain is sufficient. However, if the outlet is below the standpipe, a drain pump is required – otherwise, your dishwasher won’t drain. This diagram shows the difference between the two types.
Many dishwashers come with an integral drain pump already included. Alternatively, an external drain pump can be fitted. Before purchase, check the planned position of your machine. Assess the dishwasher plumbing situation by checking where the drain is in relation to the unit’s waste outlet.
In some cases where the outlet is slightly lower, a gravity drain may still be suitable. If you can place the machine on a compatible dishwasher stand to raise its height. This solution will also make it more comfortable and easier to access for your staff.
WATER PRESSURE AND RINSE BOOSTER PUMPS
All commercial dishwashers use powerful water jets to thoroughly clean their loads. Your machine will reduce with low water pressure.
There are many factors that could affect water pressure. A single wash basin could harm your dishwasher’s effectiveness if there’s not enough pressure. Generally, commercial dishwashers require water pressure of around 2 bar to perform at their very best.
It is extremely important to check your water pressure before buying any commercial dishwasher. If there is insufficient pressure, you should look for a machine with an internal rinse booster pump. These can also be fitted externally if needed.
TIP: Looking for a simple way to test your water pressure? Use the ‘thumb test’ – cover the spout of a tap with your thumb and turn on the water. If your thumb completely prevents any water from leaving the tap, you may well have a low water pressure and would benefit from a rinse booster pump. If in any doubt, we recommend having a site survey carried out by a professional.
WATER SOFTENERS AND LIMESCALE
The hardness of your water is another key consideration before buying a dishwasher. Limescale can quickly build up on internal components in hard water areas. Which will have a real impact on the machine’s efficiency and performance. In severe cases, or if left untreated, it could cause the machine to fail. Leading to expensive repairs that won’t be covered by the warranty.
If your site is in a hard water area, choosing a dishwasher with water softener built in is essential. These water softeners break down and remove the calcium carbonate in the water before it enters the machine.
Standard water softeners are available in automatic or manual choices. Both will require occasional regeneration to perform at their very best. But automatic versions can be programmed to do this outside of working hours. With manual water softeners, a staff member will need to manually add dishwasher salt on a more regular basis.
Some commercial dishwashers come with an automatic water softener. Also a warning indicator, that will alert you when additional salt is required – perfect for busy establishments.
TIP: Before buying a dishwasher, contact your water supplier and ask them about the water hardness in your location. They will be able to advise you on whether a water softener is absolutely necessary.
Commercial dishwashers use intelligent washing cycles to clean contents thoroughly. To do this, using the correct doses of dishwasher detergent and dishwasher rinse aid is essential.
Dishwashing detergent and rinse aids are usually sold in five-litre containers. Machines will draw in the cleaning chemicals via internal pumps, ensuring the preferred amount. Dosing can be set during the installation, this is called commissioning.
Different chemicals will have different concentrations, so always read the container’s instructions to ensure you use the correct dilution.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s the difference between a commercial dishwasher and glasswasher?
Dishwashers tend to reach higher temperatures which makes them more efficient for cleaning dirty plates and utensils. A glasswasher is, as the name suggests, specifically designed to clean glassware. It takes extra care to keep delicate glasses intact and sparkling.
Can I use a dishwasher as a glasswasher?
Yes, but not recommended as you’ll risk damaging your glassware. However, some premium Winterhalter dishwashers feature adjustable power settings which enables you to adjust your wash cycle when cleaning glassware.
Can I use a glasswasher as a dishwasher?
No – the results won’t be as good. Glasswashers aren’t designed to deliver the intensive high-heat washes that you expect from commercial dishwashers So the clean will not be as thorough or as sanitary.
Why does cutlery rust in my dishwasher? It’s stainless steel!
The idea that stainless steel will never rust is a common misconception. It can. For more information, see our How to Clean Stainless Steel guide. To prevent rusting or ‘pitting’ in cutlery and other utensils, try following these simple steps:
- Wash silver and stainless steel items in separate loads. If that’s not possible, keep silver cutlery in a separate section of the dishwasher
- Pre-rinse food off cutlery and utensils. Acidic or salty residue can quickly seep into microscopic holes in stainless steel
- Make sure your dishwasher detergent and rinse aid doses are correct
- Check for excess dishwasher salt if you have a water softener fitted – this could also be causing rust