You may pay more for this niche appliance, but the Hava countertop dishwasher is a terrific bit of kit. If you don’t have space or plumbing for a traditional dishwasher, it’ll save you from having to wash up by hand and give you great results.
If you don’t have the floor space or plumbing for an under counter or freestanding dishwasher, don’t feel condemned to endless washing up by hand: we’re now in the age of the countertop.
Yes, this is a dishwasher that sits on a counter. You fill the water tank by hand and discharge all the wastewater into a drain or a bucket. You can use this compact appliance in small houses, apartments, dormitories, on boats and in camper vans or motorhomes, as long as you are near a power point.
And Hava is one of the leading brands in this area. Let’s take a closer look.
Design and build
The Hava countertop dishwasher resembles an object lifted from a space station. At 43cm by 43cm, it’s square with a glossy white plastic body and a long black control panel above the door. The door spans the entire front of the appliance and features a large transparent panel so you can see the washing process as it runs through the cycle.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
Although it’s technically portable, it’s heavy at 28.7 lb/ 13kg, so you won’t want to be moving it around too much. It’s also tall at 46cm, so you’ll need to check that it will fit underneath any wall cabinets you may have above your chosen worktop location.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
Plus, as the water tank lid is on the top of the appliance, at a possible 136cm from a kitchen floor, some people are going to require a step to be able to fill the tank.
Aside from the actual appliance, you also get an inlet hose with a screw socket to connect the appliance to a water tap, a drain hose with a hose collar for the wastewater, a manual and an information sheet, and accessories for the dishwasher: a storage rack that clips into the side of the wire dishwasher drawer, a cutlery basket, a water pitcher to fill the water tank, and a plastic fruit basket for washing fruit.
There is a bit of orientation required at first. As we’d hadn’t used a countertop dishwasher before, we needed to figure out the best place for the appliance near both a plug point and a drain point. The power cable is 105cm long, and the drain hose is 154cm long, so you need a spot between the two.
Furthermore, if you want to connect the dishwasher to a tap, the inlet hose is 154cm long and has a screw socket on the end, so you’ll need a tap with a hose end. You can’t just stick it onto your kitchen tap.
You connect the drain hose to the water outlet at the back of the machine, then tighten the hose collar through the hose collar screw with a Phillips screwdriver. You then have three options for your sewer connection. You can drain into a sink or bucket, or you can connect the hose to a drainage pipe or a sink drainpipe, which will require additional hose collars not supplied with the appliance.
We went with the simple option of filling the tank with a jug and draining it into a sink. The drain hose has a sucker cup on the end, so we could stick it to the side of the sink, but the sucker cup doesn’t adhere to mottled surfaces, so be careful if your sink surface has any texture.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
We then plugged the appliance in and began to fill the tank. You use cool water, as the appliance heats it for you, and it takes five litres. The appliance will beep when you reach the limit, so do remember to turn it on before you start filling to get this alert.
Operation and performance
Once you open the door, the internal LED light comes on, and will turn off within two minutes; the light also turns on to indicate the end of the drying process.
To use the appliance, you simply load the dishwasher, put your detergent into the niche at the bottom of the door, choose your mode and press start.
We found we could get about three to four place settings in the dishwasher with judicious placement, although Hava suggests a two to three place setting capacity. We managed to fit four dinner plates of 26cm diameter, three short tumblers, and four 250ml mugs into the inside cabinet, along with the cutlery basket. Do note that the appliance will not take plates of 28cm diameter or above without tilting them to fit. The cutlery basket has 28 slots, of which four are large apertures and six are long.
There are five washing modes – normal, speed, soft, baby care/heavy and fruit – and one drying mode.
The normal mode washes at 55°C/ 131°F, and then rinses in both cold and hot 68°C/ 154.4°F water, for 69 minutes, and then dries for 60 mins, so the cycle is just over two hours in total. This might seem like overkill for four dinner plates and a few glasses and mugs, but it’s hard to argue with the results. The appliance drains well and quickly and everything comes out incredibly clean.
The dishwasher beeps when it’s finished, and if you want to pop in a plate when the cycle has already started, you simply press pause, wait for the spray arms to stop, add your forgotten plate, then press start again.
The speed mode washes at 50°C/ 122°F, rinsing at 62°C/ 143.6°F, for 29 minutes with a 60-minute drying time, so just under an hour and a half in total. We found this fine for lightly soiled plates and would probably use this setting on a regular basis for everyday tableware that had just been used.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The soft mode washes at the same temperatures as normal mode, but the wash cycle is ten minutes shorter. The baby care/heavy mode washes at 55°C/ 131°F, rinsing in hot 75°C/ 167°F and cold water, for 89 minutes with a 60-minute drying time, and is the mode for grimy tableware, baby bottles, and pet products (although, obviously, don’t wash baby bottles alongside your dog’s dishes). We found this mode to be very much a “blast everything off” cycle, and tableware or cookware would need to be in a real state for us to use it.
Then you have the fruit mode, where you can use the supplied plastic fruit basket. This is for hard fruit and vegetables, and rinses apples or carrots in cold water for 19 minutes. We tried it with potatoes and were rather impressed.
The dry mode is interesting. It gives you 60 minutes of extra hot air drying. If you use it in combination with a wash cycle, you extend the drying time by 100%, or you can use it separately to dry table and cookware already in the appliance. Again, if you activate this mode, the dishwasher will also automatically ventilate the dishes for 15 minutes every 75 minutes over a three-day period.
So basically, it will keep your dishes, cutlery and mugs clean, dry and sanitary for long periods, so if you have a boat or caravan, you can leave your dishes in there and they’ll be perfectly fresh for your next use.
Cleaning and maintenance
Hava suggests you wash the filter system once a week under running water, and use a washing-up brush to clean out the coarse and fine filter. The spray arms can be removed for periodic cleaning, and you just wash them under running water as well.
In the UK, the Hava countertop dishwasher has an energy rating of F on the new appliance energy rating scale that came in last year, which would have been A+ on the old scale. With the cost of energy increasing currently, we don’t want to suggest an estimated annual running cost for the dishwasher, but Hava estimates using 0.384 kWh per cycle if you use cold water to fill the appliance, which, if you use it once a day, would be 140.16 kWh per year.
The stated sound level is 60dB, which is roughly equivalent to an air conditioner and quieter than an average washing machine. We certainly didn’t find it intrusive.
Price and availability
The Hava countertop dishwasher costs $399.99 in the US and is available from Hava. In the UK, you can buy it from Amazon for £380.95 or direct from Hava for €398.95. It’s a bit pricier than models from some rivals but it isn’t the most expensive – that honour goes to brands like Bosch and Zanussi.
The Hava countertop dishwasher does what it is supposed to do, and it does it well. Yes, you are paying a premium for the fact it is a countertop compact design, but there’s only so much you can shrink an appliance and still retain a viable level of operation and performance at a reasonable price point.
All that considered, we liked this dishwasher a lot. It fits a niche, it’s well built, and your cookware comes out clean.