Commercial vs Domestic Dishwashers: What Are The Differences?

When running a restaurant, bar or coffee shop, resources can be limited – particularly in those early days. As a result, you have to make a number of tough financial calls, including the type and quality of appliances you buy for your premises. Instead of buying appliances specifically built for commercial usage, some businesses that provide food and drink to customers elect to ‘cut corners’ and buy household appliances.

So is there a major difference? The short answer is yes, there are a number of differences that you should be aware of before making a decision. At Repair Aid, we install, service and repair commercial and domestic dishwashers – so we know a thing or two about dishwashers. In this short article, we’ll detail what separates commercial dishwashers from their domestic counterparts.


A key difference between commercial and domestic dishwashers is that most commercial units will heat water to 180 degrees; domestic models, on the other hand, heat at a much lower temperature. While it is true that a lower heat means that there will be less energy expenditure, it’s really not the full picture. That’s because commercial models work faster than domestic models, thus reducing the time that water needs to be heated and not making it a like-for-like comparison. In actual fact, most commercial machines actually have a hot water feed that allows them to heat the water in an energy efficient manner. Additionally, you may find yourself having to wash certain dishes again due to grease and residue – further exacerbating the costs.

While the smaller expense of buying a cheap, commercial dishwasher may seem appealing in the short-term, it often isn’t worth it in the long-term – with these dishwashers often having the highest maintenance and operating fees. However, on the flip side, high capacity commercial dishwashers may lead to more breakage of glass – which is another overhead to take into account.


Sparkling Clean Glasses In Dishwasher

As aforementioned, commercial dishwashers do a better job of cleaning the domestic models due to the higher temperatures. One of the worst things you can do to a customer is serve them food or drink in a dirty dish or glass. Therefore, having a commercial model reduces the chance of this happening. Additionally, the heat at which commercial dishwashers reach means that plates are hygienically clean. After all, even though we may not be able to see something unhygienic, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Residential dishwashers are not set up to produce the steam required to kill bacteria; commercial machines, however, heat water to such a level that it kills and removes pathogens.


Kitchens, cafes and bars need to run smoothly and quickly in order to meet customer needs – especially when it’s rush hour. Despite your great marketing efforts to drive people through the doors, you may find that a domestic dishwasher will undo all of your good work. If you don’t have dishes clean fast enough, or those dishes end up half-dirty due to cutting corners with fast cycles, you’ll end up losing those customers before you’ve had the chance to build any loyalty. In terms of speed, domestic models don’t hold a candle to commercial models.


dishwasher capacity

While domestic dishwashers now have a higher capacity than they ever had in the past, they’re still not as high capacity as commercial dishwashers. That doesn’t meant that your commercial dishwasher has to take up a lot of space. Under-counter dishwashers, the bridge between domestic and commercial dishwashers, are of similar size and dimensions to residential models – but with added capacity and speed.

For those with a bit more space in their kitchen, commercial conveyors are behemoths with a massive capacity. While they do take up a lot of space and they cost quite a bit, they’re a great investment if you envision your kitchen and bar to be very busy.

Additional differences

One other consideration is noise. If your dishwasher is going to be, for example, under a bar or counter, then you’re going to want to consider an under-counter dishwasher as commercial models – particularly those of a higher capacity – are noisy. Additionally, what will be the cost of installation, repair and on-going maintenance for your make and model of choice? This is definitely a consideration. However, if you’re in London, consider Repair Aid. We offer great rates and excellent response times on all makes and models of domestic and commercial dishwashers.

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