If you want a dishwasher but don't have space for the standard built-in units often installed under kitchen countertops, you might still be able to find one that fits your home. Dishwashers come in varying sizes, including "compact." Compact dishwashers do the same job that full-sized washers do; they're just smaller and hold fewer dishes at one time.
A standard dishwasher is usually about 24 to 30 inches wide, 25 inches deep and 34 inches tall. The typical size of a compact dishwasher is about 18 inches wide, 22.5 inches deep and 32.5 inches high. A compact dishwasher is fairly similar in depth and height to a standard, but it's much narrower. Drawer dishwashers are even smaller than compact washers are. Portable dishwashers also come in compact sizes.
Compact dishwashers have a much smaller load capacity than the full-sized version. Whether a dishwasher is standard or compact is actually defined by its capacity, not its overall size. A compact dishwasher holds fewer than eight place settings plus six serving pieces, whereas a standard typically holds at least 12, plus six serving pieces. A place setting is assumed to have five pieces. For an individual or a small family, the tiny size and capacity may seem more convenient than having a large dishwasher, as you don't have to wait as long as you would to fill a standard dishwasher.
Though they are less common than standard dishwashers, compact dishwashers are not extraordinarily expensive in comparison to standard models. A standard dishwasher starts at about $200, and a compact dishwasher typically costs about $350. If you are buying a compact dishwasher because you only need to wash dishes for a few people, you may save money on water and energy by not using a full-sized dishwasher.
A compact dishwasher might appeal to you for several reasons. It takes up less space, which is important if you have a small kitchen. It's more practical if you live alone or with only one or two other people, as it can take a while to fill a full-sized dishwasher to capacity in a small household. If you entertain frequently, a compact dishwasher is a good addition to a butler's pantry or wet bar.
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images