Iron Kitchen: Dishmachines

Selecting the right Dishmachine…

The debate over high temp vs. low temp goes on forever. Usually, we find that most restaurants have a set dishmachine preference that they rarely deviate from. No matter which side you are on, we can all agree that either side has clear advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two, and see how we can make an informed decision for your restaurant.

The Differences

First, what is the difference between a high temp and a low temp dishmachine? The key differentiating factor between the two models is the sanitation method. High temp machines use high sustained heat, a minimum of 180 F, to sanitize the contents, while low temp machines use lower temp water and chemical sanitation agents to clear away any harmful bacteria. Here is an overview of the key differences:

High Temp Machines
Low Temp Machines
  • Use heat to sanitize dishes and glassware
  • Water must reach 180 degrees F to meet NSF regulations
  • Some models use slightly more energy than a low temp dishwasher
  • Do not require sanitizing chemicals
  • Use chemicals to sanitize dishes and glassware
  • Are not as effective at removing heavy grease
  • Some models are slightly more energy efficient than high temp models
  • Use more water and deposits more chemicals into drainage systems

Depending on what kind of chemicals you are buying, and your water conditions, the savings of a low temp model may outweigh energy savings of a high temp model. We find in most cases though, that the savings for either model are roughly the same.

So which dishmachine should I buy?

Below are a few key factors for helping you make a S.M.A.R.T. decision about your next machine.

  • S.ize

The size of the dishmachine is important because it determines the number of plates, glassware, and other wares that will be able to be washed per hour. On average about 35 racks of dishes are produced for every 100 meals served. Becuase dish machines have a 5 – 10-year lifespan, you’ll need to add 10% – 20% capacity for future growth. You’ll also want to consider dishes produced by the kitchen in your calculation of how many dishes per hour.

  • M.ethod of Sanitation

High Temp machines require a vent hood to collect excess moisture and prevent property damage, and the formation of dangerous mold. There are machines that have built-in hoods, but in some states, this may not be enough. Be sure to check your local regulations for any specific requirements for food service operations.

  • A.vailable Space

How much space is available in your kitchen? A conveyor may seem like your ideal dishmachine, but if you only have a small space available, you may need to reconsider your layout or chose a different type of machine.

  • R.ush

Your dish machine should be able to easily handle peak demand volumes like Valentine’s Day dinner rush, or Mothers Day brunch. If your machine can’t handle you at your busiest times, it’s not the right fit for you.

  • T.ype of Soil

The type of soil you are cleaning plays a large factor in determining your machine choice. If the food soils are especially heavy or greasy, a high temp machine may be the right choice for you. Depending on the wares you are washing, a specialty detergent or rinse aid may also help cut through some tough soils.

Other considerations

Boosters: As we know from the above, High temp machines must reach 180 F to meet NSF regulations for sanitizing food contact surfaces. While most locations have water that is hot enough to meet this minimum, some locations require an additional booster heater to maintain that temperature. this is especially helpful in the cold winter months when some locations may experience a drop in water temperature due to heat loss through the piping.

TDS: TDS refers to Total Dissolved Solids or the relative hardness of your water. Hard water impedes the chemical cleaning action of detergents and rinse aids, and renders chlorine nearly ineffective. Ask for a water quality report from your water district to see what conditions are like in your area. Your Advantage Service Advisor can also do a quick hardness test to get more precise information about your location.

Voltage Available: While not a problem for most locations, the voltage available can be an issue for some older buildings with limited power, and fewer electrical options. Some even require an electrician to come out and make changes to the existing outlets to accommodate newer machines.



While there are lots of different factors involved in selecting the right dishmachine for your location, the decision is ultimately in your hands. Advantage Chemical Representatives will conduct a thorough survey of your location and can make a recommendation based on your specific conditions.  Use the contact us form here to request more information!