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How Do I Choose the Best Compact Dishwasher?

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman

A compact dishwasher may seem like the ideal purchase if you have a small kitchen. The type of dishwasher that will fit your needs best depends on how much space you have in your kitchen, how often you plan on using the compact dishwasher, and whether you plan on taking the dishwasher with you when you move. You should also consider the dishwasher's performance and features before picking one for your home.

There are primarily three types of compact dishwashers. Counter-top versions look similar to microwaves and hook up to the faucet of the kitchen sink. Slimline dishwashers look like the standard dishwasher, but are thinner, around 18 inches (about 46 cm) wide, instead of the standard 24 inches (about 61 cm). Portable dishwashers are the same size as slimline washers, but on wheels, so they can be moved around easily. They are also not permanently connected to the water supply or drain and may be hooked up to your kitchen sink.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The size of the compact dishwasher determines how many dishes it can wash at once. For example, a counter-top dishwasher will usually only be able to wash four place settings at a time, which won't work if you have a larger family or don't want to run the dishwasher after every meal. Slimline washers or portable washers can usually handle up to eight place settings per load.

If you decide to get a compact dishwasher for a counter-top or a portable one, you'll have to find a spot to store it when it's not in use. An out-of-the-way spot, such as in a closet or near the laundry, may work if you only plan on using the washer for special occasions. If you want to use it daily, you'll need to find a permanent home for it in your kitchen, in which case a built-in slimline dishwasher may be the better choice.

Regardless of size, a compact dishwasher should clean dishes just as a well as a standard, built-in model. The washer will heat the water to the same temperature and use the same detergent. If you choose a portable or counter-top version, you may sacrifice volume for size, though, as built-in models tend to be a lot quieter than stand-alone ones. Some models let you delay the start of the washer, which may be a good option if you dislike the loud sound the washer makes and want to run it overnight or when you're out of the house.

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