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How to Choose a High- or Low-Temperature Commercial Dishwasher

Hobart hot cold faucets 09 19High-temperature and low-temperature dishwashers each their own particular set of advantages.If you’re working in foodservice, then you’re also in the dishwashing business. Dishes, silverware, glassware and everything else essential for food prep must be sparkling clean and sanitized. So, once you’re in the market for a new warewashing system, it’s imperative to research the different types of models available.

Number of meals served per hour, space considerations and the budget will help determine the type of machine that works best for your kitchen. In addition, you should research whether a low-temperature or a high-temperature commercial dishwasher is the best choice.

Not sure about the benefits of each option? A high-temperature washer uses very high heat (150-180 degrees F.) to both wash, rinse and sanitize the dishes. They are ideal for operations with more challenging food soils like egg and cheese and are better at removing lipstick from glassware. Equipment add-ons like a booster heater and a vent hood are usually required. A low-temperature washer still heats the water but not to the degree of a high-temp model. The low-temp machine relies on a chemical sanitizer to achieve proper sanitization, and additional equipment like a vent hood normally is not needed (however, check your local municipal code to be sure).

Technological advances over the years have benefited customers in terms of water and energy savings. Ventless energy recovery models (a premium feature for high-temp units) make experiencing the benefits of a high-temperature wash simple and easy. These models use steam from within the washing chamber to raise the temperature of the incoming cold water, so the machine doesn’t have to work as hard to reach its required 180 degrees F. for sanitization. The result? Less energy is needed to operate the machine, and better working conditions are experienced by your employees due to the steam elimination. And, because the steam condenses and is removed from the chamber, a vent hood is not required—a $3,500 savings alone. 

Consider All the Costs

High-temp commercial dishwashers usually cost more up front and can slightly impact utility bills due to the energy needed to heat the water. Low-temperature models may come with lower price tag, but the chemicals needed for the sanitation process must be purchased continuously. Low-temp machines also use more water than the high-temp versions, which can factor into the overall investment. Considerable prescrapping is required with low-temp models to avoid the potential for rewashing.

Because high-temp dishwashers need a vent hood to deal with steam, the location of the machine must be carefully planned. Even though the high-temp machine’s steam rises up through the hood, it’s a good idea to make sure the dishwasher is placed far away from the customer area. 

Think About the Hidden Benefits 

Both low-temperature and high-temperature dishwashers come with not-so-obvious advantages. High-temp machines produce dishes that are quickly dry after they exit the washer, which means that items can be put back into service faster. This is especially helpful during busy times. As for the low-temp washers, they are typically available in standard electrical service (120/60/1 – similar to a home appliance hook-up), which can be an advantage for operations where electrical service isn’t adequate to power a high-temp machine. Just remember that you will achieve a better, more consistent wash with a high-temp unit. Low-temperature, chemical sanitizing machines are best suited for applications where lighter soils dominate. 

Hobart offers a full line of high-temperature dishmachines, as well as efficient low-temp models to choose from, including the LXeC undercounter, and the AM15 door-type dishwashers. 

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