Kristen Hicks on October 12, 2017 7 Comments Table of Contents Types of 18 Inch Dishwashers Factors to Consider When Buying Popular Brands to Consider A small kitchen doesn’t mean you have to give up on the convenience of a dishwasher. One of the best options for small kitchens are 18-inch dishwashers. With a slim build, these appliances are designed to fit into a small space and still do the job of washing a decent number of dishes. For homes with just one or two people, they make more sense than larger dishwashers since you don’t have to wait as long for the dishwasher to fill up before you run it – no more doing dishes by hand because you don’t feel like the dishwasher’s full enough to run without wasting water or energy. However, an 18 inch dishwasher is certainly not the best choice for everyone – large families with ample-sized kitchens will probably be happier with a larger model – but for the people with limited space to work with or fewer people using the kitchen, they just make sense. If you think an 18” dishwasher is what will work best for you, our buyer’s guide can help you determine how to find the best one for your needs. Types of 18-Inch Dishwashers When you start browsing your 18-inch dishwasher options, you’ll notice that you have two main options to choose between. Built-in 18” Dishwashers Built-in 18” dishwashers are designed to be installed under a counter, so they’re more integrated into your kitchen space. These look like most of the dishwashers you encounter in home kitchens, just smaller. They’re generally considered quieter than portable models and often look good in the space where they’re installed. Going with a built-in dishwasher makes the most sense if you already have a built-in space in your kitchen where you’re replacing a former 18” appliance, or if you’re building or remodeling a kitchen. If you don’t already have a space available in your kitchen where an 18” dishwasher would fit, then installing one becomes a much bigger and more costly job, which isn’t to say it’s not an option, just a harder one. But some people will prefer a dishwasher that fits neatly into the space rather than being kept somewhere separate from the counters and cabinets. In Summary: Integrated into the kitchen Looks good Doesn’t require extra floor space Expensive Permanent Quiet Portable 18” Dishwashers Portable 18″ dishwashers can not be stored under or built into your countertops, which means you have to be sure you have space for them elsewhere in your kitchen or home. These are easier to set up if you don’t already have a built-in space in your kitchen, and are generally cheaper than built-in dishwashers. You do have to make sure with portable 18” dishwashers that you have enough floor space for them. While smaller than traditional dishwashers, 18” dishwashers still take up some serious space and you won’t get very far with your purchase if you can’t find anywhere to put it. If your kitchen is especially small, you may be able to store it in another room and roll it in as needed, but you’ll need to make sure you have enough space in the intended room as well as close to the sink for the times you hook it up for use. And you’ll also need to consider if you’re willing to put that much effort in each time you use it – rolling a dishwasher between rooms is less work than doing all your dishes by hand, but it is still work. One other benefit of portable dishwashers is that renters who don’t want to buy one and then leave it behind for the next tenants can take it with them to the next place they live. If you don’t own the space you live in and your landlord isn’t open to buying a dishwasher for it, then a portable dishwasher makes the most sense. If you find yourself in this scenario, then you should also consider a countertop dishwasher. In Summary: Requires floor space Can be stored somewhere other than the kitchen Affordable You can take it with you when you move Factors to Consider When Buying an 18” Dishwasher To pick out the best 18 inch dishwasher for your home, there are a number of factors you should keep in mind during your search. Size If you already know you’re thinking about an 18” dishwasher specifically, then obviously size is an important consideration. You either have a specific space to fill or limited space to work with (or both). Either way, even already knowing the 18” part, you need to make sure that all of the dimensions of a dishwasher you consider will work with the space you have in mind. Make sure you measure the available space before you start browsing. If you’re going with a portable dishwasher you plan to store somewhere other than where you’ll be using it you have two spaces to measure, where you’ll be keeping it and where it will need to sit while in use (so somewhere close to your kitchen sink). Think about height as well as length and depth, and consider not just if it will fit, but if you’ll still be able to move around the kitchen comfortably once it’s there. Capacity Capacity is related to size, but there are other factors that play a role in how much you can fit in your dishwasher as well. You should consider both the number of dishes you’ll be able to fit into the machine, as well as the types of dishes. If you don’t cook much, then being able to fit a few cups, plates, glasses, and silverware may be all you ever need, but if you often make large meals in order to have leftovers or host friends, then you’ll want to be able to get larger pots and pans into the dishwasher as well. What works best in terms of dishwasher capacity will therefore vary person by person. Think about the dishes you use the most often and look at pictures of the rack layout for the 18-inch dishwasher you consider. If you end up stuck doing a lot of dishes by hand simply because the ones you use the most don’t fit, the dishwasher won’t be saving you much time and energy after all. The Best 18-Inch Dishwashers (Ranked) We took customer reviews and ranked the best 18-inch dishwashers View the List Cost The good news is that 18” dishwashers cost less than full size ones, so you’re starting out from a place of saving money. Within this smaller dishwasher category, you’ll find a variety of costs based on what you want from your machine. One of the biggest indicators of price with 18 inch dishwashers is whether you’re looking at built-in or portable models. While high-end 18” portable dishwashers can cost you more than the more affordable built-in models, in general a built-in model will cost more than a portable one. Most 18” built-in dishwashers fall somewhere in the range of $400-$1000, while portable dishwashers start at around $200 and go up to $700 or so. Within both categories, you can expect to pay more for units manufactured by brands known for producing high-quality products and for those that have handy features like adjustable racks or more wash settings. In some cases, spending more upfront can save you money in energy and water use over time and ensure you get a dishwasher that does the job with less rinsing or pre-washing required (which makes your life easier). Cycle Settings The more settings a dishwasher offers, the more power you have over each cycle. If your priority is saving on water, you’ll want a setting that offers that. If you want to make sure your tough dishes get cleaned thoroughly while knowing that the times you wash more delicate dishes you can make sure they’ll be fine, then having both delicate and heavy cycle settings is important. Generally, 18 inch dishwashers will offer similar settings to the ones full-size dishwashers have, so you shouldn’t have to give up anything in exchange for the smaller size. Do some browsing to see what the different 18-inch models on the market offer, and consider what your main preferences and needs are in order to choose a dishwasher that provides the settings you’ll want and use the most. Energy Efficiency Newer dishwashers in general use less energy than older ones and 18” dishwashers will use less energy than full-size ones to begin with, but amongst different dishwasher models in the category you’ll find some that are specially designed to save on energy use. If you want to be sure to choose a dishwasher that’s energy efficient, look for the Energy Star designation. Energy Star dishwashers are 12% more energy efficient and use 30% less water than dishwashers without the Energy Star rating. Noise Dishwashers can get pretty darn loud. If you’re sensitive to noisy appliances and don’t want to deal with a dishwasher that will drown out conversations or make enjoying your TV show impossible whenever it’s in use, then you should make a point to look for options that have a reputation for being quiet. Some brands will advertise certain models as being particularly quiet, but really the best way to know before you buy is to look at customer reviews. People usually comment on it in their review if they think a dishwasher is really loud, or if they’re impressed with how quiet it is. Functionality A good 18-inch dishwasher will get the dishes good and clean without you having to do additional work. If you have to pre-clean all your dishes first, then it kind of defeats the purpose of having a dishwasher. This is another category where one of the best ways for you to get an idea of how well your dishwasher will work before you buy is to look at what reviewers say. Naturally, functionality is one of the most important considerations people have when you’re shopping for a new dishwasher, so if customers feel the dishwasher is getting their dishes clean, they’ll let other potential customers know. Another factor that relates to functionality is the different settings a dishwasher offers. Being able to choose the right setting for the dishes you’re washing can make a difference to ensuring your dishes come out ready to use each time. Rack Size and Adjustability This relates back to the earlier category of capacity, but is worth bringing up on its own. Your dishwasher’s rack will have a lot to do with how you’re able to use it and what dishes you can clean in it. Features like tines that you can bend down or adjustable racks provide a lot of flexibility in being able to fit the rack to your needs for each use. And a rack that isn’t well suited to the types of dishes you use can result in regular frustration when you have to wash commonly used items by hand all the time. If you’re buying online, look at some pictures of how the dishwasher rack is set up on the different models you consider before you buy and see if there are any complaints in the reviews from people who have a hard time fitting the dishes they have into the dishwasher. Since 18” dishwashers are smaller than full-size models, you want a dishwasher rack that’s designed to help you get the most out of the size you have and some models pull this off better than others. Aesthetics An 18” dishwasher may be smaller than a full-size one, but it’s still big enough that you don’t want it to be an eyesore – especially if you’re getting a built-in dishwasher that will be relatively permanent. While there aren’t a lot of 18-inch dishwashers designed with aesthetics as the main concern, they do come in a range of styles, finishes and colors, so you should be able to find one that fits in with the style of your kitchen. Popular Brands to Consider In addition to everything above, you should take into consideration brand reputation when choosing your 18” dishwasher. As with any electronic appliance, dishwashers can be prone to a number of malfunctions if they aren’t made well or properly maintained. If you want yours to work well consistently for years to come, making sure you go with a brand known for making dishwashers that last is paramount. To help you know what you’re getting with the main brands offering 18” dishwashers, we looked at customer reviews of dishwashers sold by each. Here’s a summary of what customers are saying about them. Avanti Avanti sells built-in dishwashers that most customers are very happy with. Reviews say the dishwashers are good quality, work great, are fast, quiet, and hold a lot of dishes for the size. While negative reviews aren’t all that frequent, those that did have issues with their Avanti dishwasher say the customer service they received for their problem wasn’t good. The vast majority of customers are happy, but the unhappy ones warn that you won’t get help if you need it. Bosch Bosch sells built-in dishwashers with mixed, but mostly positive reviews. Happy reviewers say the dishwasher cleans dishes well and is impressively quiet. Unhappy reviewers mostly complain about finding it hard to fit their dishes into the machine, although other customers say they have no problem with that. As long as the racks work well for your dishes, you’ll likely be happy with Bosch. Danby Danby offers both portable and built-in 18-inch dishwashers, including several Energy Star rated models. Most reviewers are happy, although there are some exceptions. The positive reviews say that Danby’s dishwashers are a great value and work great. The occasional negative reviews complain the product doesn’t last long enough or is too loud. Most customers are happy, but a few have issues. EdgeStar EdgeStar’s dishwashers earn generally positive reviews for being easy to install, cleaning dishes well, and offering good value for the price. Customers also comment on being able to load a lot of dishes at once, the amount of features offered and the long life the units offer. A few reviewers commented about their dishwasher leaking, but the reviews are largely positive across the board. On the whole, EdgeStar’s reputation is solid for this category. Frigidaire Frigidaire sells both portable and built-in dishwashers that are generally well reviewed by customers. Reviewers praise their dishwashers for working well, being quiet, fitting a lot of dishes for the size, and being a good value for the cost. Some mention buying a new Frigidaire to replace one that lasted many years, suggesting that you can get a long life from these units. On the whole, their reputation for 18-inch dishwashers is solid. Summit Summit’s 18 inch dishwashers don’t have that many reviews, but the ones they have lean toward the positive. Customers say they get dishes clean and offer a good value for the cost. A couple complain about them being hard to load, but others say you can fit a good number of dishes into them for the size. On the whole, reviews suggest they’re a good choice. Sunpentown Sunpentown sells both built-in and portable dishwashers that are generally well reviewed by customers. Reviewers say they like that the dishwashers are energy efficient, that they clean dishes thoroughly, and that they’re easy to use. There were a few complaints from customers that mentioned missing parts or having trouble getting the dishwasher to work right, but most customers are happy with the purchase. Final Thoughts While they may be smaller in size, 18” dishwashers can do everything that full-size dishwashers can – just with fewer dishes and while taking up less space. Don’t feel like the size of your kitchen has to keep you from the convenience of a dishwasher. Take some time to find the 18” model that’s right for you. Just because you have a small kitchen, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the convenience of a dishwasher. Check out our buyer’s guide to help you find the best 18 inch dishwasher for your home.