Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Are you also tired of doing the dishes by hand? Would you like to finally buy a dishwasher, but the big models are too expensive and too clunky for you? We have the solution! There are small dishwashers that are ideal for small spaces and small budgets.

Thanks to our small dishwasher review 2021, which highlights the different types, strengths and weaknesses of this appliance, you'll be able to grab the perfect small dishwasher for your kitchen.




Summary

  • The term "small dishwasher" refers mainly to tabletop dishwashers and 45 cm wide dishwashers (standard dishwashers are generally 60 cm wide).
  • Available as a freestanding model as well as an under-counter and built-in model, the small 45 cm dishwasher, like the standard 60 cm dishwashers, offers you a wide range of possibilities in terms of layout and adaptation to your kitchen.
  • Depending on the model, its washing capacity is more or less, which is best suited to single people or couples without children.

The Best Small Dishwasher: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for small dishwashers

Guidelines to help you choose the small dishwasher best suited to your tastes and expectations will be presented later.

In the meantime, and to help you compare small dishwashers, here are some buying and review criteria:

These are the best things to consider when buying.

Size (width x depth x height)

If you are thinking about buying a small dishwasher for your kitchen, it is important to find out about the different sizes. After all, you want the machine to fit perfectly in the space you have available. When we talk about size, we refer to the width, depth and height of the dishwasher:

  • Width: In terms of width, there are 45 cm wide dishwashers for small models and 60 cm wide dishwashers for standard models.
  • Depth: The depth of all models varies between 55 and 60 cm.
  • Height: It is between 80-90 cm for all dishwasher models.

So if you want to buy a small dishwasher, you should look for a dishwasher with a width of 45 cm, which is compact and practical.

Table dishwashers are not 45 cm wide, but 45 cm high, for a width between 55 and 63 cm.

Be aware, however, that these are not the smallest dishwashers on the market. For single people who have few dishes to clean, there are tabletop dishwashers.

Table dishwashers are truly the smallest dishwashers available.

Capacity in place settings (MGD)

Before we go into too much detail, let's clarify what the term "Maßgedecken" actually means. A Maßgedeck defines a standard quantity for measuring the capacity of a dishwasher.

1 Maßgedeck = 1x soup plate, 1x dessert plate, 1x dinner plate, 1x glass, 1x saucer, 1x cup, 1x knife, 1x fork, 1x teaspoon, 1x tablespoon, 1x dessert spoon.

In this way, the following table can be created. It takes into account the different sizes in terms of place settings as well as the family situation for which the different models are best suited:

Dishwasher type Capacity in measured place settings (MGD) Family situation
Table dishwasher (45 cm high) 6 Single person
Small dishwasher (45 cm wide) 9 Single or couples without children
Standard dishwasher (60 cm wide) 12 Couples with children

Built-in / Undercounter / Freestanding

What space will your small dishwasher have in your kitchen? You don't know yet? Then you'd better start thinking about it right away! There are 3 types of dishwasher with different integration options:

  • The freestanding small dishwasher: This type of dishwasher is practical because you can place it anywhere. It's ideal if you don't have the space to fit it directly under your kitchen countertop (as is often the case when you go for a small dishwasher), or if you simply don't feel like it. However, if you want to under-mount it in a kitchen counter, make sure the cover can be removed.
  • The under-mount small dishwasher: Unlike the freestanding version, these dishwashers are specifically designed to be built into an already-equipped kitchen. Unfortunately, you cannot change the front of the appliance to match the rest of the kitchen. However, a skirting board can be fitted.
  • The built-in small dishwasher: Identical to the undercounter version except for one detail. Built-in dishwashers fit even better into your kitchen because the front of your machine can be concealed by a furniture front. There are 2 alternatives to built-in dishwashers: partially and fully integrated.
Built-in dishwasher type Features
Partially integrated The dishwasher is partially covered by the furniture front as the control knobs remain visible.
Fully integrated The dishwasher, which is completely covered by the furniture front, is no longer visible at all.

In short, your final choice depends very much on your taste and, above all, on your design options. But be careful and don't forget to think long-term! Moving house or furnishing a new kitchen happens more often than you think. A dishwasher has a life expectancy of about 10 years.

Volume in decibels (dB)

Don't neglect the noise level of your small dishwasher. Since you will be using it every day, it should make as little noise as possible.

Dishwashers below 45 decibels are considered the quietest on the market.

Generally, the noise level of a dishwasher is between 40 and 50 decibels. However, if you want more comfort in everyday life, you should choose a dishwasher that emits less than 45 decibels.

Table dishwashers and freestanding dishwashers are the noisiest, with a noise level between 48 and 51 decibels.

Don't be fooled by tempting offers that may later prove unfortunate. Often the cheapest dishwashers get louder and louder over time due to their poor quality.

Water consumption (in litres) and energy efficiency

The fact that Germans are increasingly concerned about their ecological footprint is nothing new. So, for the sake of both the environment and your wallet, check the water and electricity consumption of your small dishwasher.

Water consumption (in litres)

Although the dishwasher is more economical in water consumption compared to hand washing, in general a dishwasher needs to consume less than 10 litres of water per wash (i.e. 1800 litres per year) to be considered a good water use value.

We have compiled a table with the different water consumption intervals for different dishwasher sizes to help you choose:

Dishwasher type water consumption intervals (in litres)
Table dishwasher (45 cm high) 1800-2300
Small dishwasher (45 cm wide) 2300-2600
Standard dishwasher (60 cm wide) 2600-2800

Energy efficiency

Along with water consumption, energy consumption should not be overlooked.

You should not think that tabletop dishwashers are more efficient and economical because of their small size. In reality, they often consume more electricity.

To make it easier for you, energy efficiency classes have been defined, ranging from D (not very economical) to A (very economical). The higher the energy efficiency, the more expensive your dishwasher is.

Dishwasher type average energy efficiency
Table dishwasher (45 cm high) A+
Small dishwasher (45 cm wide) between A+ and A+++
Standard dishwasher (60 cm wide) A+++

Number of washing programmes

You should also find out about the number of washing programmes on your future small dishwasher. Energy efficiency is not everything.

Eco and low-temperature programmes also save you energy and money.

The difference between the normal wash programme and the eco programme lies in the wash temperature: while a normal programme washes your cutlery at a temperature of 50 to 70°C, the wash temperature of the eco programme is 45°C.

These take a little longer, but use less energy.

According to our research, below you will find an average number of wash programmes depending on the type of dishwasher.

Type of dishwasher number of wash programmes
Table dishwasher (45 cm high) between 5 and 6
Small dishwasher (45 cm wide) between 5 and 8
Standard dishwasher (60 cm wide) between 5 and 8

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a small dishwasher

Below are a number of relevant questions you should ask yourself before buying.

What is special about a small dishwasher and what advantages does it offer?

With a capacity of about 10 place settings, the small dishwasher is ideal for single people and couples

Small dishwashers include tabletop dishwashers, but also dishwashers with an average width of 45 cm, making them thinner than standard dishwashers.

A small dishwasher has many advantages despite its small size. It is ideal if you have little space in your kitchen for a standard dishwasher, but want to avoid piles of dirty dishes ending up in the sink after every meal.

Unlike manual washing, the small dishwasher removes even stubborn stains with its various wash programmes and uses less water.

Kleine Spülmaschine-1

In addition to the practical aspect, the 45 cm wide dishwashers are also available in several versions (freestanding / undercounter / built-in) to suit every kitchen and every taste.
(Image source: Cottonbro / pexels)

If you are looking for a dishwasher for your holiday home or camping holiday, a tabletop dishwasher is just the thing.

What types of small dishwashers are there?

Depending on your budget and design options, there are different types of small dishwashers. It's best to understand their differences and the advantages and disadvantages of each to make the best choice.

Freestanding dishwashers

If you want to invest in a small dishwasher but have a small budget and free space in your kitchen, the small freestanding dishwasher is for you.

It can be installed anywhere there is a water inlet and outlet, both on the floor and at height. Its top plate allows you to gain working space, although it can also be integrated under the worktop.

The only disadvantage is their noise level, which is often higher than integrated dishwashers, and the fact that the front cannot be adapted to the design of the kitchen. However, their price is lower.

Advantages
  • Can be installed anywhere
  • Can be underbuilt
  • Additional work surface
  • Lower repair costs because easier to access
  • Quick and inexpensive installation
Disadvantages
  • Visually not adaptable to the kitchen
  • Louder than the other variants

Undercounter dishwashers

If, on the contrary, you have a somewhat larger budget and the aesthetics of your dishwasher are very important to you, I would like to introduce you to the undercounter dishwasher.

Kleine Spülmaschine-2

The stainless steel front of an undercounter dishwasher cannot be matched to your kitchen furniture. Nevertheless, it gives your fitted kitchen a modern and stylish touch (often refers to the industrial style of lofts).
(Image source: Jon'Nathon Stebbe / unsplash)

As the name suggests, this type of dishwasher can be integrated under your kitchen worktop, giving the kitchen more unity.

Advantages
  • Can be installed under the worktop
  • Can be installed in all kitchens
  • Equipped with a skirting board
  • More aesthetically pleasing than freestanding dishwashers
  • Quieter than freestanding dishwashers
Disadvantages
  • Visually not adaptable to the kitchen
  • Slightly more expensive than the freestanding model
  • Higher repair costs because less accessible

However, you should consider a slightly larger budget for both the purchase and installation of an undercounter dishwasher.

Built-in dishwashers (semi-integratable / fully integratable)

Let's move on to the last option, the most adaptable of all: the built-in dishwasher. At the forefront of modernism, this type of dishwasher fits perfectly into the ambience of your kitchen furniture with its furniture front.

Advantages
  • Visually adaptable to the kitchen
  • Quieter than freestanding dishwashers
  • More aesthetic than freestanding and undercounter dishwashers
  • Partially integratable or fully integratable depending on taste
Disadvantages
  • High installation time and costs
  • More expensive than the undercounter model
  • Higher repair costs as less accessible

If this model is your favourite, you will have to decide between the semi-integratable model and the fully integratable model before buying. What's the difference, you may ask? The difference, even if it is minimal, is simply a matter of aesthetics:

  • Partially integrated: In the partially integrated model, the front of the dishwasher is partially hidden by the furniture front, leaving the control buttons visible.
  • Fully integrated: In the fully integrated model, the front of the dishwasher is completely covered by the furniture front, with the control knobs located on the upper width of the door. In the end, you no longer notice that it is a dishwasher.

Who are small dishwashers for?

Small dishwashers are designed for singles or couples. They are ideal if you are short on space in your kitchen, but still want to relieve yourself of your daily dishwashing duties. It guarantees you a clean and tidy kitchen.

Students especially appreciate the presence of a small dishwasher in their flat, as washing dishes by hand is not one of their favourite activities.

We do not advise families with children or large families to decide to buy a small dishwasher. This is because the capacity of this type of dishwasher is not suitable for this type of household.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a 45 cm wide small dishwasher?

Compared to hand washing

With a small dishwasher, goodbye dry and damaged hands! Although it is an investment to consider, the small dishwasher is ideal for not wasting time washing up after meals. The dirty dishes that are usually often left in the sink for several days (which is not very hygienic) can simply disappear into the dishwasher after the meal.

Advantages
  • Time-saving
  • Water-saving
  • Removes the most stubborn stains
  • Various wash programmes
Disadvantages
  • Additional energy consumption
  • Consistent price
  • Bugdet to be considered for repairs
  • High space requirement
  • Pots and pans often do not fit in

Compared to a tabletop dishwasher

As mentioned earlier, tabletop dishwashers are the smallest on the market. Due to their light weight and small size, they can be installed anywhere: on tables, on a worktop, on a shelf, etc.

Kleine Spülmaschine-4

Practical, the tabletop dishwasher is easy to install on your worktop. You can use its surface as a shelf at any time. It is equipped with a cutlery basket.
(Image source: Krystieyeo Yeo / pixabay)

However, these have a very limited capacity (about 6 place settings per wash), often use more electricity and are noisier.

Advantages
  • More washing capacity
  • More wash programmes
  • Better energy class
  • Water-saving
Disadvantages
  • Not very mobile due to its greater weight
  • Bulky and takes up a lot of space
  • Higher price
  • Cannot be placed everywhere

One strength of tabletop dishwashers is that some come with a water tank. This means that they do not always need to be connected to a water supply to be used.

Compared to a large dishwasher

When you turn to a small dishwasher, it's often because you either don't have the space for a large dishwasher, or your budget simply isn't enough to afford a standard dishwasher.

Don't worry though, there is virtually no difference in the performance of the dishwasher. It also depends on the brand, but generally the energy classes are the same for both models.

Advantages
  • More water efficient
  • Less expensive
  • Smaller footprint
Disadvantages
  • Less functional
  • Lower wash capacity
  • Pots and pans often don't fit in

We hope we have been able to comfort you in your decision to buy a small dishwasher.

How much does a small dishwasher cost?

On the question of price, it is obvious that the brand, design and type of dishwasher are relevant in the price-performance ratio.

Small dishwashers are cheaper than standard dishwashers because of their size and lower capacity. However, tabletop dishwashers are still the cheapest. Freestanding models are also cheaper than under-counter and built-in dishwashers.

Type of dishwasher price segment
Table dishwasher (45 cm high) between 200-400 euros
Small dishwasher (45 cm wide) between 200 and 500 euros
Standard dishwasher (60 cm wide) between 200 and 1000 euros

How do you clean a small dishwasher?

Like all household appliances, small dishwashers need regular maintenance. It is therefore advisable to clean them at least once a month to avoid badly washed dishes and unpleasant odours in the kitchen.

Checking the filter, the rotating arms to the cleaning salt: nothing is left to chance when it comes to cleaning your dishwasher. Watch the video below for good tips and tricks on how to clean, descale and simply maintain your dishwasher so that it continues to run smoothly.

Image source: Baloncici/ 123rf.com

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