Small Dishwashers

Small dishwashers are a refreshing alternative to hand washing in households with limited space. Families and individuals can get all the benefits of a modern appliance without sacrificing precious floor area in the kitchen when they are not washing dishes.

The types of compact appliances available include:

  • Narrow dishwashers:  Built in and integrated dishwashers are typically 24 inches wide.  However, some manufacturers make a slimline range which is only 18 inches wide.
  • Smaller wheeled units.  These portable dishwashers can be full-sized, but are more usually narrow models.  They are placed directly on the floor and hooked up to the kitchen sink.  The set of wheels attached to the base means the appliance can be easily slid from its hiding place to the sink and back again when the job is done.
  • Countertop dishwashers:  This type of small free-standing appliance sits on your kitchen benchtop and is about the size of a microwave.  A hose is usually included in the purchase so the unit can be easily connected to a water source.
  • Single Drawer:  Most people have seen the dishwashers that have two individual drawers, instead of a hinged door opening.  But did you know you can buy one single drawer individually?  This can be a great mini dishwasher if you're short on space.
  • Under Sink Dishwasher:  Chances are you've never heard of this type.  It's designed especially for the space under your sink. 

Popular Brands

Kenmore, Danby, Frigidaire, Maytag, Kitchenaid, Bosch, GE and many others produce mini dishwasher models. These come in a variety of sizes with color options and extensive features lists. Many produce more than one type, with some freestanding and others equipped with wheels so consumers have more options when choosing a compact appliance. Many of these manufacturers have earned just as many high ratings for their small units as they have for larger ones. Consumers should review the individual model when shopping each brand.

Small Dishwasher Features

The features list can make a big difference in the appeal of each small dishwasher model. Most include nylon coated racks with a drop down door that is much like larger appliances. Kenmore’s models include a Heated Dry function that uses hot air to quickly dry dishes and reduce the presence of water spots.  A tall tub can accommodate larger pots, pans and platter size dishes.  Kenmore also offers a high temperature wash and heavy duty cycle setting that can take on tougher jobs.

Danby’s units include automatic detergent dispensers and a hose storage solution. The three tier spray system thoroughly cleans dishes when any of the seven built in wash programs are used. The upper rack can be adjusted.  A water softening system and stainless steel spray arm make Danby’s offerings even more appealing. Most freestanding compact dishwasher models can handle between seven and ten place settings per wash. Approximately 3.5 gallons of water are consumed during the average cycle of most small models.


Consumers have a few options when browsing small dishwasher sizes. Larger freestanding models measure around 24 inches wide by 37 inches high with a depth of around 26 inches. These will require more storage space, which should be considered before making a purchase.  Wheeled units should not be lifted so a direct, even path from the storage location to the usage area must be accessible. The dishwasher should be stored on the same floor as the kitchen to avoid mobility issues with stairs.

Who Should Buy a Small Dishwasher?

Small appliances are designed to offer more flexibility to those who live in apartments, condos, mobile homes and other tight living spaces. Freestanding units do not require counter space and often feature wheels so anyone can easily slide the appliance into place without doing any heavy lifting. The only downside is that the appliance will require a place to remain when not in use, which could take up a bit of space in a closet. Consumers should measure storage space to make sure adequate room is available. Smaller units, such as countertop and single drawer dishwashers, are also sold and require no floor space to store or use.

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