Commercial dishwashers are essential for foodservices that want to ensure their dinnerware, beverageware, flatware, and cooking accessories remain safe and sanitary. Also known as ware washing machines, dishwashers are one of the most expensive and important investments a restaurant owner can make. As a result, it’s absolutely imperative to choose the right machine for your specific operation.
Different Types of Commercial Dishwashers
With so many unique options available, comprehensive research is warranted before deciding which dishwashing unit is perfect for your particular establishment. This guide will help prepare you to make an informed decision regarding which dish machine is best for you.
High Temp Dishwashers vs. Low Temp Dishwashers
High temperature dishwashers often utilize external booster heaters to maintain washing temperatures between 150-160°F. Thoroughly sanitizing items with a final rinsing temperature of 180°F, commercial high temp ware washers produce a significant amount of steam and require condensate hoods. Although these mandatory condensate hoods prevent water damage and ensure optimal safety, they also add to the initial cost and require more space for installation.
Low temperature dishwashers wash and rinse items at temperatures between 120-140°F. As a result of their water not reaching the 180°F required for sanitization, low temp units utilize chemical sanitizing agents. Usually comprised of chlorine, iodine, or ammonium, chemical sanitizing agents are a constant cost for restaurants that use low temp dishwashers. Fortunately, low temp units usually enable you to save upfront by not requiring condensate hoods (check local policy). Sanitizers aren’t required by high temp ware washers and don’t always remove stubborn residue like grease and lipstick. These sanitizers also have potential to damage items made of materials like plastic, steel, silver, aluminum, pewter, and other metals. Make sure to always use a sanitizer that is compatible with your wares.
Both high and low temp ware washers use detergent and rinsing chemicals. Dishes washed by high temp commercial dishwashers typically have faster wash cycles and quicker dry times than those washed by low temp machines. If you’re operating a bar, be aware that hot glasses require ample time to cool so they won’t heat up cold beer. Chemically sanitized glasses can diminish a beer’s natural flavor and prevent it from foaming, which will require you to serve more beer in each glass.
Although commercial high temp dishwashers have higher upfront costs, use more energy, and require more water than low temp ware washers, it’s the general consensus that high temp units are less costly over the long-term. This is mostly due to the high cost of sanitizing chemicals that are required by low temp dishwashers.
Conveyor dishwashers are ideal for high-volume cafeterias, hospitals, and dining halls. Exceptionally powerful, these ware washing machines are capable of sanitizing hundreds of racks per hour. Constructed with durable stainless steel, these robust units require significant space, but their efficiency frees up your staff for other important tasks.
Nearly all of the conveyor dishwashers we offer are Energy Star-certified and can help reduce electricity usage. Requiring hard-wiring by an electrician, these commercial ware washing units feature easy-to-program controls that enable you to pre-set washing conditions. Conveyor dishwashers are available as high temp and low temp models.
Under counter dishwashers are the most compact commercial dishwashers we offer. Ideal for smaller bars and kitchens where space is at a premium, these commercial dish machines conveniently fit beneath counters. Available in high- and low-temp styles, these dishwashers are the most labor-intensive commercial units because they require staff to bend down and manually load dirty items.
Capable of sanitizing 20-30 racks per hour, these front-loading dishwashers are best-suited for smaller operations and should be installed in areas where they don’t interrupt workflow. Ensuring your foodservice always has clean glassware, dinnerware, and flatware, these units feature doors that possess large handles and are easily opened or closed.
Single- and double-rack dishwashers are smaller versions of conveyor dishwashers. These commercial units are designed to hold and quickly sanitize racks of dirty dishes and utensils. Just insert the rack, close the door, initiate the cleaning cycle, and within seconds your items will be clean!
Sanitizing 25-60 racks per hour, commercial door type dishwashers are best suited for medium-sized operations. Available as high- and low-temp models, these commercial ware washing machines do not take up as much space as conveyor units and can be conveniently stored between two dishtables or in a vacant corner of the kitchen. Many units require more energy than an outlet can offer and consequently need to be installed by an electrician.
Some door type dishwashers are designed to clean pots and pans. Since removing residue from these items requires a longer cleaning cycle, these units sanitize less racks per hour. Also available are ventless dishwashers that boast Energy Star-certifications.
Glass washer machines specialize in washing glassware and are perfect for bars and pubs. Available as both low- and high-temp models, many of these commercial ware washing machines occupy minimal space, and fit conveniently under bars. Whether you need to sanitize beer glasses, cocktail glasses, wine glasses, or water glasses, these washers ensure your customers always have sparkling clean glassware. Capable of washing 20-30 racks per hour, many units are Energy Star-certified and great for reducing electricity costs.
Taking daily usage into account is also important when deciding which dishwasher is right for you. In general, restaurants produce about 35 racks of dirty dishes per 100 meals served. But depending on the type of foodservice you operate, these numbers can vary. Fine-dining restaurants have less table turnover but use more dishes per guest. Fast food establishments serve more guests but use fewer plates or trays.
Keep in mind that dishes from the kitchen will need to be cleaned also. Taking more time to wash than dinnerware and flatware, pots and pans should be considered when deciding on a commercial dish machine.
It’s one thing for your dishwasher to clean items during your restaurant’s downtime, but it’s even more important for your machine to keep up with breakfast-, lunch-, and dinner-time rushes. Be sure you know the volume of dinnerware, flatware, and beverageware that needs to be sanitized during your restaurant’s busiest time of the day, week, month, and year.
Every restaurant owner wants his or her foodservice to thrive and bring in more customers. Consequently, it’s advisable to purchase a dishwasher that has 10-20% more capacity than you initially need. This ensures that when your customer base starts to grow, your ware washing machine will still be up to the task of handling busy rush hours. As properly maintained commercial ware washing machines usually last 5-10 years, investing in a slightly larger machine ensures you won’t need to upgrade again before then.
Before committing to a dishwasher, it’s essential to know how much free space is available in your kitchen. Be sure to consider height, width, depth, and any potential clearance requirements. Once all that is known, you can narrow down your ware washing options to what will fit in your space.
If you opt for a high temp dishwasher that requires a vent hood, you will need to also account for the installation of a vent hood. Many commercial dishwashers require wiring by a professional electrician. Drainage areas must also be taken into account when installing select units.
Ware Washing Equipment and Accessories
Ware washing equipment and accessories will help ensure your dish washing operation remains organized, efficient, and functioning to its full potential.
Booster heaters help dishwashers reach temperatures that enable thorough sanitization. Most commonly used by high temp dishwashers, booster heaters are rated according to how many degrees F they can add to water. Whether you need your low temp unit to reach 120° or your high temp unit to reach 180°, booster heaters ensure your commercial ware washing machines function as they’re supposed to. Many commercial dishwashers include built-in booster heaters and do not require additional units. If your high temp washing machine already reaches 180°F, or your low temp unit reaches 120°, then a booster heater is not necessary.
Our booster heaters come equipped with pressure-reducing valves, high temperature control, and low water cut-offs that prevent unit burnout. These heaters also help washers thoroughly remove food residue and rapidly dry items. The booster heaters are insulated with fiberglass to prevent heat loss, and the more compact models are sized to conveniently fit next to your ware washing unit.
Dishtables are ideal for constructing dish washing stations that enable you to get the most out of your commercial dishwasher. Providing plenty of space for bus tubs full of dirty glassware, dinnerware, and flatware, dishtables are made of galvanized or stainless steel and available in a wide range of shapes. By combining your ware washing machine with a dish table, you will help your staff operate as efficiently as possible.
Temperature test strips ensure the water in your high temp dishwasher reaches an adequate temperature of 180°F. If the temperature reads less than 180°F, then you know adjustments must be made and a booster heater might be necessary.
Warewashing water softeners help remove mineral deposits from the water that’s used by your commercial dishwasher. By doing so, these softeners reduce the long-term maintenance required by your ware washing machine. These water softeners also extend the lifespan of your machine and enable detergents to clean more thoroughly, which will leave dishes, glasses, and utensils looking spotless.
Pot and pan brushes are great for removing debris before placing items in your dishwasher for a through sanitization. Available in a wide variety of styles and sizes, the brushes we offer are strong enough to remove stubborn debris and soft enough not to damage pots or pans.