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What to Know Before Buying a Small Dishwasher—Our Simple Guide

Doing dishes is a chore you probably don’t look forward to doing, at any time of day. And if you’re living a fast-paced life, the kitchen sink will always detain you for a minute or two.

For this reason, more young adults today want the convenience of a small dishwasher. It not only saves time and keeps the sink neat and clean, but also ensures the sanitary and safe handling of your utensils and delicate silverware.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of things to look for in a small dishwasher. These are ideal for small apartments, as well as for placing in an RV or near an office sink.

Our Guide to Buying a Small Dishwasher

To some, dishwashers are just an unnecessary luxury. For instance, they aren’t easy to install, and they’re sometimes on the pricey side.  You might need a professional to install it for you, or it may not be within your budget.

The good news is, you can now pick up a small dishwasher offering no-fuss installation, and they’re more affordable than ever.

Before we get to our guide, here are some of our top picks for small dishwasher:


Danby DDW621WDB Countertop Dishwasher

This compact dishwasher works for a small kitchen, whether standing alone or in a small corner near your sink. It’s easily installed by hooking it up to your kitchen’s faucet. And it’s compatible with most kitchen taps.

Danby DDW621WDB Countertop Dishwasher

An LED display allows you to track its wash cycle, and it has a delay option so you can program its cycle according your schedule. Its six cycles are: Soak, Glass, Normal, Economy, Rapid, and Intensive.

Danby’s white exterior may be flimsy, but its stainless steel interior makes it durable and easy to clean.

Why We Like this Dishwasher

  • Product Dimension: 19.69 x 21.65 x 17.24 inches
  • Capacity: 11.7 Liters
  • Noise: 52 dB (Ultra Quiet)
  • Material: Steel
  • Type: Countertop
  • Energy Consumption: ≈203 kWh/year
  • Input: 115 V
  • Option Cycles: 6
  • Place Settings: 6
  • Cord Length: 5 ft


SPT SD-9263W Portable Dishwasher

If you have a little extra space, small freestanding dishwashers will also work for you. Like countertop types, they’re easy to set up and install and are ideal for a small family. This one in particular can be placed almost anywhere.

SPT SD-9263W Portable Dishwasher

This SPT model offers generous dish capacity with eight different wash settings. It even has an adjustable upper rack for larger plates. It has six programs, including Glass, Normal, Heavy, Eco, Rapid, or 90 Min.

Why We Like this Dishwasher

  • Product Dimension: 23.63 x 17.64 x 35.63 inches
  • Capacity: 5 gallons
  • Noise: 52 dB
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Type: Freestanding
  • Energy Consumption: ≈237 kWh/year
  • Input: 120 V
  • Option Cycles: 6
  • Place Settings: 8
  • Energy Star: Yes


Farberware FDW05ASBWHA 

For really small kitchen spaces, Farberware is a  popular small dishwasher due to its compactness. Its digital LED control and see-through window highlight its sleek appearance. Aesthetically speaking, this dishwasher makes a fine appearance on your kitchen counter.

Farberware FDW05ASBWHA

Its five-wash program includes normal, glass, rapid, fruit, and baby care. It sanitizes baby bottles and toys aside from just standard dish cleaning. You can use all types of dishwashing detergent for it as well; however, pods like Cascade Dishwasher Pods are ideal for longer washing cycles.

In addition, it has improved drying performance to prevent unwanted odors. It’s a built-in type dishwasher with 5-liter tank capacity for portability. 

But you can hook it directly to a faucet as well. This unit fits right into dorm settings, small apartments, or campers.

Why We Like this Dishwasher

  • Product Dimension: 17.3 x 16.5 x 17.3 inches
  • Capacity: 5 liters
  • Material: Plastic
  • Type: Built-in
  • Energy Consumption: ≈130 kWh/year
  • Input: 120 V
  • Option Cycles: 5


Farberware Professional FCD06ABBWHA

This Faberware small dishwasher is one of the best-performing compact dishwashers. It offers seven washing cycles, namely: Light, Normal, Heavy, Glass, Speed, and Baby Care. It even includes a Self Clean program as well for added versatility.

Farberware Professional FCD06ABBWHA

It also includes a spacious six-place setting and a cutlery basket with foldable rack shelves, and washes various types of materials in a single load.

For more sanitized utensils and baby implements, it has an extra drying feature, and it subsequently boosts the water’s temperature to remove germs and viruses.

Also, this small dishwasher has a quick installation process by directly attaching to your tap. You may also use adapters if it doesn’t fit.

Why We Like this Dishwasher

  • Product Dimension: 21.7 x 19.7 x 17.2 inches
  • Capacity: 5.92 ounces
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Type: Freestanding
  • Energy Consumption: 680 W
  • Input: Not Stated
  • Option Cycles: 7
  • Place Settings: 6


Furrion 18″ Built-In RV Dishwasher

Using a small dishwasher on your RV or boat can make life easier. This small dishwasher is actually designed for campers but can also be installed in other kinds of structures.

For instance, it has a stainless steel enclosure that withstands vibrations on the road. Its system also uses less water and detergent than your standard residential dishwasher.

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Besides that, this trailer dishwasher has a stainless steel finish for more durability and a light-touch electronic control panel. Furthermore, its double rack further provides additional space for a larger load.

It’s specially made for travelling; securing the utensils while you drive. It also includes four wash cycles: heavy, normal, light, and speed.

The machine is durable and is designed to withstand certain environmental conditions on the road or the seas. Aside from being economical, it’s generally less noisy.

Why We Like this Dishwasher

  • Product Dimension: 17.5 x 22.88 x 33.31 inches
  • Capacity: 16 liters
  • Material: Brushed stainless steel
  • Type: Built-in
  • Energy Consumption: 625W heating element
  • Input: 120 V
  • Option Cycles: 4


Fisher & Paykel DD24SAX9 N Full Console Dishwasher

This small dishwasher rivals a full-size dishwasher when it comes to capacity. It includes a seven-place setting to accommodate various cutlery and flatware.

It also has six wash cycles: heavy, normal, normal eco, delicate, fast, and rinse. These wash options allow you to clean everything from delicate crystal to heavy pots and pans.

Fisher & Paykel DD24SAX9 N Full Console Dishwasher

If you want a fully automatic system, then have a look at this unit. The speed cycle will take care of your dishwashing chores faster. It also has minimal noise levels as it works at a very low decibel rate.

Like most small dishwashers, it’s rather easy to set up and install. It looks best in modern kitchens as it complements premium and contemporary styling.

The unit also has an easy open and close mechanism as your typical kitchen drawers do. Furthermore, it’s Energy Star Certified and ADA compliant.

Why We Like this Dishwasher

  • Product Dimension: 16 1/8 x 23 9/16 x 22 9/16 inches
  • Capacity: 7 place settings
  • Material: Stainless Steel interior
  • Type: Free Standing
  • Energy Consumption: 151kWh/yr
  • Input: Not stated
  • Option Cycles: 6
  • Place Settings: 7


What to Look for in a Small Dishwasher

There are a few options to consider when shopping for the right small dishwasher for your needs.

For instance, there are built-in types, portable, or countertop models. These models also vary when it comes to their special features and capabilities.

You should choose a dishwasher that’ll properly service your household. Most small dishwashers are ideal for a family of about 4 to 6. If you have a bigger family, though, you may need a full-size washer to accommodate all your dishes in one go. You can identify this through the dishwasher’s place settings.

Here are some features worth checking out when shopping around for a small dishwasher:


Place Settings

Place setting measures the capacity of a dishwasher. To illustrate, one place setting usually consists of several serving pieces.

It may include dinner and dessert plates, a glass, teacup, saucer, bowl, and flatware. Small dishwashers can accommodate 6-8 settings, but it depends on the brand. Initially, you can assess how much of these assortments you can wash at a time.


The Energy Star rating certifies the energy efficiency of appliances. Generally speaking though, it means that it consumes less electricity than other non-certified appliances.

Aside from the electric bill, these products can also cut down on water usage. Such machines have an innovative design and efficient washing cycles.

Furthermore, they help maximize cleaning but with less water consumption. If you want to save on utility bills, then look for small dishwashers with Energy Star certification. You can find this as a yellow star sticker on the machine.

Space-Saving Design

Small dishwashers are ideal if you have a small working space in your kitchen. There are freestanding types that sometimes come with wheels, which you can easily put in an unobtrusive place by the wall.

However, most compact and small dishwashers are either portable or countertop style. These types of dishwashers will fit under cabinets or in a small space by your kitchen counter. These are the best types of small dishwashers if you’re renting because you can easily move them out without needing technical help.

Washing Cycle Features

Washing options vary from brand to brand. There are small dishwashers that can perform up to four washing cycles.

But some modern versions can have up to seven cycles. Here are some common cycle features you can find:

Normal/ Regular Wash Cycle

The normal cycle is the basic program of any small dishwasher. This is the cycle that’s ideal for soiled dishes. It works on average loads without excessive energy consumption.

Heavy Wash Cycle

This wash cycle effectively cleanses and removes burnt and crusted food. It’s the cycle used for washing heavily soiled pots and pans. It’s also tough on grime and oil. However, this cycle uses more energy than the normal wash cycle.

Economy Wash/ Energy-Saving

The ECO cycle uses less energy and water than the normal cycle. It’s best for mixed loads with different soil levels and uses a lower water temperature. However, it may require a longer washing period.

It skips the heating and drying cycle. You can instead choose to air dry the utensils to lessen energy consumption

Light Wash/Delicate/Glass

Some dishwasher manufacturers don’t recommend loading fragile items in the dishwasher for washing, as they won’t hold up to high temperatures and might risk breaking.

However, some small dishwashers include a Glass Cycle option, which takes care of your fine china without the dangers of cracking.

Rapid/Fast/Speed Wash

Rapid wash is the wash cycle that’s ideal for lightly soiled dishes. It provides quick cleaning in as short as 15 minutes to an hour.

It also shortens washing time but boosts the water’s temperature. You’ll get that fast wash whenever you need more time off.

Soak Cycle

The soak cycle allows you to pre-rinse dishes if you’re going to do a full wash at a later time. You can use this for normal or glass selections. However, it’s also extremely helpful for easy washing of heavily soiled items for the next cycle.

Sanitizing/Baby Care Cycle

The most modern versions of small dishwashers include wash cycles for sterilizing baby gear. The Sanitizing Cycle uses an extended washing cycle and higher water temperatures for steaming.

It can effectively remove bacteria and germs that normal washing cannot do.

Noise Level

Noise level matters when choosing a small dishwasher. It’s one consideration most buyers tend to look for when buying this type of appliance because if you’re living in a tight space, you’ll never escape those annoying gurgle sounds.

Most dishwashers have a noise level of around 46-60 decibels or dB(a). The lower the dB(a), the quieter the washer. Sadly, it also correlates to the price of the washer as well.

Most high-end dishwashers have lower noise levels, but they’re also a bit expensive. At 50-60 for some small dishwashers, it should be good enough, while anything lower than 46 dB(a) will be much better.



There are a lot of options for buying a dishwasher. Before buying one, consider your lifestyle. Most of these small dishwashers are not just compact for small spaces. They’re also more affordable than full-sized washers.

But lastly, it’s always your budget that has the last say. So, choose wisely and spend wisely.