Navigating the World of Commercial Dishwashers
Shopping for a commercial dishwasher can be a beast of a task. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you see low temp, high temp, chemical sanitation, conveyor systems, undercounter washers, glasswasher, and dishtables all lumped together. But luckily, we have written this short guide to help you navigate the world of commercial dishwashers.
High Temp vs Low Temp
One of the features you must consider when shopping for a dishwasher is the method of sanitation. You can either choose a high temperature sanitation or a low temperature method, which can also be referred to as chemical sanitation.
High Temp - In a high temp dishwasher, your dishes are sanitized by a 180 degree hot water rinse. This hot water rinse is a strong benefit of choosing a high temp system over a low temp system because it eliminates the need to use sanitizing chemicals. Since chemicals are not used in the sanitizing process, your dishes will not have any residual chemical smell, nor will you run the risk of having chemicals damaging fragile glassware. Also, with a high temp system, you will not have to spend money in the long-term replenishing sanitizing chemicals.
Another added benefit of choosing a high temp system is that grease and other residues are cleaned off more effectively. The 180 degree hot water helps soften and liquefy grease and other residues, allowing them to be rinsed off easily.
A third benefit of a high temp dishwasher is that your dishes dry quickly after the rinse cycle is completed. The high temperatures helps the water from the rinse evaporate quickly once the dishwasher door is opened, saving you time and effort.
However, there are a few caveats to a high temp dishwasher. One potential issue is it generally requires a more involved installation process. If you were to purchase a high temp system, you would have to set up the proper electrical circuit, in addition to your plumbing, as high temp systems generally require 208v/240v electrical service. Another consideration is that a high temp system might require a condensate hood to remove the extra warmth and moisture from your kitchen. Many city codes require a Type-II hood over any steam or heat producing unit to ensure that condensation does not drip onto any food preparation areas.
Low Temp - A low temp dishwasher sanitizes your dishes through the use of chemicals rather than 180 degree hot water. In many settings, such as a bar, a low temp system is the preferred choice because it helps you avoid unwanted clouds of steam as well as hot glassware. Let’s face it, who wants to pull up a seat at a steamy, sauna-like bar and pour a nice cold beverage into a warm glass?
However, there is a cost to avoiding steam clouds and hot glassware. The first potential problem you might run into with a low temp dishwasher is the inability to remove tough stains and stuck-on residues. The water temperatures found in a low temp system may not be hot enough to rinse off grease and residue effectively, leaving you with the need to run multiple wash cycles.
Another drawback with a low temp dishwasher, is the potential for higher long-term cost. Since a low temperature system sanitizes dishes with chemicals, there is ongoing need to stock up on pricey chemicals.
A third issue that you can run into with a low temp dishwasher is the smell and residue from the sanitizing chemicals. These chemicals can sometimes leave a film on your dishes as well as a chlorine smell. The smells and residues that are left behind can ruin your sensory experience when wine or bourbon tasting.
Four Types (Capacities): Countertop, Undercounter, Door, Conveyor
A second consideration to take into account when purchasing a commercial dishwasher is type, which will determine your dishwashing capacity. In the commercial dishwasher world, there are four types that you will come across and many of these formats are available in high or low temp.
Countertop - A countertop unit like the Jet Tech F-14 is ideally suited for applications where space is at a premium. Places where a countertop unit would be a good choice include food courts, espresso bars, mobile carts, offices and daycares (sanitizing toys is a breeze!).
A drawback of a countertop model is its limited capacity. The Jet Tech F-14 for example, can only handle up to 20 racks an hour or 120 small dishes an hour.
Undercounter - Undercounter commercial dishwashers are very similar to the dishwashers that you would find in a home and are the best compromise between size and capacity. An Insinger RL-30 undercounter unit accommodates a 20 x 20 inch rack, and can process up to 30 racks an hour, or roughly 750 dishes an hour.
A specific type of undercounter dishwasher is a glasswasher, which is a unit is specifically made to wash glasses. These glasswashers, which are a perfect choice for a bar, are made to fit under your countertop and are designed to be gentler on your glassware, reducing breakage. Some models even include a built-in drainboard, providing you with a glassware landing area.
Door -A door type dishwasher, such as the Jet Tech F-22, features a tall lift up/pull down door that allows racks to slide in and out easily. Also, these doors allow you to wash larger sized dishes and trays. In most settings, these dishwashers are connected to dishtables to form an assembly line that combines pre-rinsing, washing, and drying into a streamlined process.
For many small to medium size restaurants or food service providers, a door type dishwasher is a good choice. For instance, the Insinger CS-5H is capable of handling 65 racks an hour or 1625 dishes an hour.
A pot and pan dishwasher is a subset of the door type dishwasher. These units feature extra clearance so that they can accommodate larger items such sheet pans and mixing bowls. Pot and pan washers also offer increased power in their wash systems so caked-on food is washed off quickly and efficiently.
Conveyor -The conveyor dishwasher is the granddaddy of them all. A conveyor system can easily handle over 200 racks or more per hour, equivalent to over 5400 dishes an hour! These models are best used in large kitchens and cafeterias.
Questions to Ask Before Buying
As you try to narrow down your dishwasher choices, ask yourself these questions:
- What type of business do I have?
- What am I washing?
- How much washing do I need per hour?
- How much space do I have to install a washer?
- What type of sanitation do I require?
- What is my budget?
Hopefully as you consider these questions, you can start to hone in on a specific type of dishwasher that would suit your needs. We recommend two brands- Insinger and Jet Tech. Dishwashers made by Insinger provide higher throughput model for model, while Jet Tech washers provide a great bang for your buck. Also, many of Jet Tech’s models are Energy Star certified.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions or if you need further guidance in finding the best dishwasher for you!