Deciding Between a High-Temp and Low-Temp Commercial Dishwasher

Whether you choose a high-temp or low-temp commercial dishwasher depends on a number of different factors.

By Kinnek Knowledge Team  |  June 09, 2018

If you’re in the market for a commercial dishwashing machine, then you may be wondering about the various benefits of choosing a high-temperature or low-temperature machine.  As a general rule, each machine has its own advantages and disadvantages, and serve different purposes.  There is no absolutely “correct” answer — fundamentally, your choice will depend on the circumstances.

It can be quite challenging to make a decision on a commercial dishwasher, as many modern units are designed to last, and you could therefore be stuck with the consequences of your choice for some time.  Let’s take a brief look at commercial dishwashers in the context of high-temperature and low-temperature functionality.

What is the Functional Difference?

High-temperature (high-temp) and low-temperature (low-temp) commercial dishwashers are not particularly complicated to understand.  Each are very capable of cleaning large volumes of dishware (and glassware) in a commercial setting, though they accomplish this function in different ways.

If you're interested in learning more about the differences between machines, we encourage you to speak with one of the many vendors on the site.

High-temp commercial dishwashers clean by heating up the water flowing through the machine itself (up to 180 or 190 degrees Fahrenheit) — the high heat of the water helps break down particulate matter and also has a secondary sanitizing effect, in conjunction with detergent and rinsing soap.

Low-temp commercial dishwashers, by contrast, operate at much lower temperatures (at maximum, 130 or 140 degrees Fahrenheit).  As such, low-temp dishwashing machines must utilize powerful chemical cleaning agents in order to properly sanitize the dishware — in addition to normal detergent.

Stated simply, the difference between high-temp and low-temp commercial dishwashing machines is the cleaning agent: heat vs. chemicals.

High-Temp Commercial Dishwasher — Considerations

If you’re considering the purchase of a high-temp commercial dishwasher, it’s important to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages.


      • Faster cycles
      • Faster dish drying phase
      • Less downtime between cycles
      • Higher volume of cleaning
      • More effective cleaning (i.e., hard to clean residue can be cleaned with just one cycle of the dishwasher)
      • No harsh chemicals


      • Tend to cost more on average
      • Require the use of a condensate hood, which can drive up costs and take up additional space in a kitchen
      • May require more frequent maintenance

High-temp commercial dishwashers are generally seen as more effective than low-temp commercial dishwashers for cleaning “hard to remove” particulate matter.  If you do not have enough employees to spend time on pre-rinsing, for example, or more frequent dish loading, then a high-temp commercial dishwasher may be the superior choice.

Low-Temp Commercial Dishwasher — Considerations

Though high-temp models are more common, low-temp commercial dishwashers are becoming increasingly popular, for a number of reasons.  They tend to be less expensive and require fewer additional equipment.  They are also easier to maintain and may be safer to use in a space-limited kitchen environment.

Consider the following.


  • Cheaper, on average
  • No additional equipment necessary


  • Cleaning chemicals may be damaging to dishware (check manual or with the manufacturer for more detailed information)
  • Cleaning chemicals can leak and damage surrounding equipment
  • Cleaning chemicals may leave an undesirable smell on dishes
  • Low-temp models may struggle to remove challenging stains and particulate matter

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