There’s no perfect way to wash a few dishes. The modern dishwasher is designed to hold place settings for more than a dozen people . . . yet hand-washing is extremely inefficient, using more water and energy than a dishwasher. Given that the average U.S. household is only about 2.5 people, shouldn’t we have a better way to wash only a little?
For sure. And the Tetra countertop dishwasher offers just that.
Designed by Heatworks in conjunction with Frog, the Tetra is a countertop dishwasher coming later this year. It’s built to wash two complete place settings (including plates, bowls, glasses, and silverware) with just half a gallon of water in 10 minutes. As an added bonus, it requires no water hookups, and no installation beyond plugging it in. Plus its body is transparent, so you can watch the whole dishwashing show at work. (And don’t even act like you’re too cool to stand in your kitchen with a glass of wine and let that hypnotic process burn precious minutes of your life away.)
The key innovation at play is actually the Tetra heating element. Rather than a large, hot electric coil–the kind used by most dishwashers–the Tetra deploys graphite electrodes that selectively heat minerals that exist in water, in what Heatworks promises is a more efficient, temperature-controllable way. Apparently this heating method also eliminates the whole “don’t wash plastic containers on the bottom rack” problem, sanitizing your more fragile dishes without melting them–assumably by keeping the water temperature more even through the entire device.
But the user experience that this technology enables is what makes the Tetra so attractive. The Tetra doesn’t just wash your dishes. The way it heats, and steams, means it can wash garments, sanitize baby bottles, clean fruit, and even cook seafood. (Though, please allow this skeptic to advise you not cook seafood in the thing right before washing your baseball cap.) Also, because it doesn’t connect to a water line, the Tetra actually requires you pour water into the system for each cycle, ensuring the consumer is mindful of their own water usage. In this sense, the Tetra is not just green–it promotes a green mind-set.
The Tetra isn’t available just yet, but it will be on the market later this year for $300. And if it performs as advertised, it sounds like the perfect apartment dishwasher/cooking device–just the sort of “smart kitchen” product that defies the tired clichés of that label.