If you have a normal-sized home, you probably think you have no use for a countertop dishwasher – but the innovative Tetra by Heatworks does a lot more than just clean a small load of dishes. It’s capable of gently washing the kind of stuff you can’t normally put in a dishwasher, like plastics that can melt in high heat. It can be used as a dedicated washer for specific items like baby bottles, or kept in the bedroom for perfectly sanitized sex toys. It even has a setting to wash your produce.
That’s all great, but how well does this tiny portable dishwasher actually work? It’s a little too early to say, but the design is definitely promising. Measuring about 17 inches in height, length, and width, it’s easily small enough to fit on the counter of a tiny house, camper van, or RV and weighs just 25 pounds. Perhaps the Tetra’s greatest strength is the fact that it’s truly portable, requiring no plumbing at all to function. You just plug it in, fill the three-liter freshwater tank, load it up, and select a cleaning cycle. When it’s done, you dump out the gray water tank, which can be opened up for a full cleaning when needed.
The “standard” setting is for plates, bowls, glasses, and silverware, and the “eco/short” setting is for quick washes. Choose “stemware” for delicate glasses, “plastic” for items that are at risk of melting in regular dishwashers, and “fruit/vegetables” to wash produce (or whatever else you need to sanitize) without detergent. The shortest setting cleans in about 30 minutes, and the dishes will be totally dry within an hour.
The Tetra fits up to three place settings at a time, along with utensils and whatever other objects you can cram in there. Considering the small size of the load, you might wonder if this unit is actually just a waste of water and energy compared to hand washing. But according to Heatworks, using the Tetra to wash your dishes for just one meal a day can save over 15,000 liters of water in a single year. It also consumes less power than a standard dishwasher, using Ohmic Array Technology to heat water sort of like a microwave instead of traditional metal heating elements.
Another big convenience built into this little appliance is its detergent cartridge system. All the components of the detergent, including prewash, enzymes, and spot removal are kept separate within the cartridge so they can be custom-dosed according to the cleaning setting you choose. Each cartridge lasts at least 20 loads and costs $8.99, with replacements available online. If you’re the type to stay stocked up so you don’t run out, that probably works fine for you, but others might find it annoying that they can’t just pick up any old detergent at the store.
Tetra isn’t the first countertop dishwasher to hit the market, but it appears to be the most advanced thus far. Heatworks says the Tetra cleans 50 percent more dishes using 40 percent less water in 55 percent of the time of the leading countertop dishwasher, a Farberware model with a retail price of $399. First announced back in 2018, the Tetra is finally available to preorder for the same price, but it’ll cost $499 when the presale is over, so grab it now if you want one. Heatworks expects to begin shipping the Tetra by May 18th, 2022, which is apparently “No Dirty Dishes Day.”