Tankless Tetra: Portable Dishwasher for Small Homes Saves Time & Water

A dish-washing machine is often the first thing to go when space needs saving in a tiny home, small condo or studio apartment, but this little invention aims to provide a better option for more average-sized households.

Developed by Heatworks, Tetra is a tankless washer aimed at one-to-two-person homes that can help save 1,500 gallons of water annually (as compared to hand-washing dishes). It’s about the same dimensions as a microwave and requires no plumbing hookup, making it nice and portable — it can be set on counters, stored in cabinets or tucked under islands. Water is poured in by hand and a single cycle takes just a few minutes.

Detergent demands are also reduced and the process of adding them simplified, with a built-in tank that stores fluid for a few dozen rounds at a time. And as much for fun as anything: the gadget is see-through, so you can watch the cleaning process.

The device is small, but made to hold up to 10 plates and glasses (or: about two place settings, compared to the 12 or so of a normal-sized washer for bigger houses). It also has various internal bases that can be swapped out depending on the needs of a different user (or particular wash cycle). It costs around $300.

From the founder: “Our research indicates that although the average household is comprised of 2.58 people, the modern dishwasher holds place settings for 13 or more. This makes people believe that they either need to hand-wash their few dirty dishes — which wastes 10 times more water than using a dishwasher — or wait for a fill load to run a cycle. With Tetra, we hope to change people’s mindset.”