The Best Compact Countertop Dishwashers for Small Kitchens and Tight Spaces

Compact countertop dishwashers have become an increasingly popular home appliance for folks living in apartments, RVs, or houses with smaller kitchens. Unlike bulky standalone dishwashers that require permanent installation under the counter, these countertop units can easily be set upon your existing counter space when needed and taken away or stored when not in use.

With their space-saving design and portability, compact countertop dishwashers provide an efficient and affordable alternative to hand washing dishes. They can hold anywhere from 4 to 6 place settings of dishes and silverware, while offering handy cycle options like Heavy, Normal, Light, Rinse Only, and more. Many models are Energy Star certified these days for energy efficiency as well.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be looking at the top 5 best compact countertop dishwashers along with the key factors to consider when choosing one for your needs. You’ll also find answers to frequently asked questions about how these dishwashers work and what to expect. Let’s dive in!

The Top 5 Compact Countertop Dishwashers

After extensive research comparing dozens of models on the market, these are our top 5 picks for compact countertop dishwashers based on performance, ease of use, reliability, and customer reviews:

1. Danby DDW621WDB – Best Overall

For a sturdy and reliable option with great performance, the Danby DDW621WDB tops our list as the best overall compact countertop dishwasher.

  • Key Specs:
    • Holds up to 6 place settings
    • 6 wash cycles (Intensive, Normal, Light, Glass, Rapid, Soak)
    • Stainless steel interior tub
    • Energy Star certified
  • Pros:
    • Taller items fit nicely in the top rack
    • Very quiet operation at just 52 dB
    • Features a delayed start option
    • Optional heat dry function
  • Cons:
    • Exterior made of plastic prone to scratches
    • No child safety lock

With a solid and simple design focused on functionality, the Danby DDW621WDB delivers excellent cleaning results even with dirtier loads. The Normal and Intensive cycles do a great job while maintaining quiet operation. For the price, this is a fantastic value that should provide years of reliable use.

2. Farberware FDW05ASBWHA – Most Affordable

As one of the most budget-friendly options, the Farberware FDW05ASBWHA compact countertop dishwasher is our pick for overall value and affordability.

  • Key Specs:
    • Holds up to 5 place settings
    • 5 wash cycles (Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, Rapid)
    • Customizable upper rack
  • Pros:
    • Very affordable price point
    • Small footprint (17.2 x 19.5 x 21.6 inches)
    • Quick wash cycles finish faster
    • Operates at a quiet 59 dB
  • Cons:
    • No heat dry option
    • Racks can feel flimsy
    • No child safety lock

While you do lose a few options like the heat dry function, the Farberware FDW05ASBWHA still delivers solid performance for the very wallet-friendly price. The Normal cycle does a good job cleaning most loads. Just make sure delicate items are secured well in the racks.

3. hOmeLabs HME010042N – Best Portable

Featuring a lightweight and compact design, the hOmeLabs HME010042N is our pick for the best portable countertop dishwasher option.

  • Key Specs:
    • Holds up to 6 place settings
    • 6 wash cycles (Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, Speed, Rinse)
    • Stainless steel tub
    • Weighs only 37 lbs
  • Pros:
    • Extremely easy to install, remove, and transport
    • Good cleaning performance overall
    • Adjustable upper rack
    • Optional heat dry function
  • Cons:
    • Smaller capacity at just 6 place settings
    • Slowest cycle time taking 2 hours

The hOmeLabs portable dishwasher is perfect for efficiency kitchens, campers, office settings, or anywhere you need an occasional dishwasher option. Just hook it up to the sink when needed and wheel it away when done. The simple controls and cycles work well for basic daily loads.

4. BLACK+DECKER BCD6W – Best for RV and Camping

For RV and camping enthusiasts, the BLACK+DECKER BCD6W is our top choice as the best countertop dishwasher for off-grid use.

  • Key Specs:
    • Holds 6 place settings
    • 6 wash cycles (Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, Speed, Rinse)
    • Compact 17.2 x 19.5 footprint
  • Pros:
    • Can connect to an RV kitchen sink or use self-contained water reservoir
    • Sturdy and durable construction
    • Easy to operate mechanical controls
  • Cons:
    • Loudest option at 66 dB
    • No drying function
    • Plastic tub prone to odors

If you need a dishwasher for your RV or camping adventures, the BLACK+DECKER BCD6W is built to handle being moved around easily. You fill up the integrated reservoir tank yourself, so no plumbing hookups needed. Just note the noise level is higher than other options.

5. Edgestar DWP62SV – Best Countertop

And finally, the Edgestar DWP62SV takes our last spot as the best countertop installed compact dishwasher.

  • Key Specs:
    • Holds up to 6 place settings
    • 6 wash cycles (Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, Speed, Rinse)
    • Stainless steel tub
    • condenser drying
  • Pros:
    • Sleek countertop design
    • Very quiet at 55 dB
    • Touch button electronic controls
    • Quick connect water adapter included
  • Cons:
    • More expensive than portable models
    • Tall glassware may not fit well in top rack

While it requires some countertop modification for installation, the Edgestar countertop dishwasher is a sleek and powerful option. The integrated condenser drying and near silent operation make this a great choice for apartment or condo living where noise needs to be kept to a minimum.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Compact Countertop Dishwasher

Beyond just the top brands and models, there are a few important factors you’ll want consider when determining the best compact countertop dishwasher for your needs:

Place Settings/Capacity

Compact countertop dishwashers typically hold between 4 and 6 place settings. Consider how many people are in your household to choose adequate capacity. Solo dwellers can get by with 4 place settings, but dishes add up fast with families so look for 5-6 place settings.

Installation Type

There are three main installation options:

  • Countertop: The dishwasher sits directly on your kitchen counter, hooked up to the sink. Usually the quietest option but requires some counter space.
  • Portable: Roll the dishwasher next to the sink when needed, then wheel it away easily. Great for small kitchens but you have to hook up the water feed each time.
  • Convertible: Can be used as either a countertop or portable unit for the ultimate flexibility.

Wash Cycles

Look for models offering multiple cycle options to handle lighter and heavier loads:

  • Heavy: For pots, pans, baked on dishes. Needs longer wash time.
  • Normal: Suitable for most everyday mixed dish loads.
  • Light: Quick cycle for lightly soiled dishes. Saves water and energy.
  • Rinse Only: For rinsing partially cleaned dishes or fresh loads.
  • Glass: Gentler cycle for delicate glassware. Uses lower spray pressure.

Having the right cycles improves cleaning efficiency and avoids wasting water on excess cycles.

Extra Features

Added features to look for include:

  • Delay Start: Set dishwashing to run at off-peak times when energy rates are lower.
  • Child Lock: Prevents accidents by locking the controls.
  • Heat Dry: Better drying performance, but uses more energy.
  • Adjustable racks: Accommodate different mixes of dishes.
  • Sanitize: Gets dishes ultra clean and bacteria free with extra hot rinse.

Noise Level

Countertop dishwashers run much quieter than full sized, around 50-65 dB compared to 60-75 dB. Look for models with the lowest decibel rating for the most peaceful operation.


Expect to pay in the range of $200-$500 for a good compact countertop dishwasher. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better quality. Focus on the right cycles and features you need for the space.

Brand Reputation

Stick with recognizable brand names like Danby, hOmeLabs, Farberware, BLACK+DECKER, and EdgeStar that are known for quality and reliability.


Look for models where the filter and interior parts are readily accessible and easy to clean periodically. This prevents odor buildup and keeps the dishwasher fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions About Compact Countertop Dishwashers

Do compact countertop dishwashers require a permanent water hookup?

Countertop and portable models simply hook up to the kitchen faucet when needed, no permanent plumbing required. Portable dishwashers use an adapter that attaches to the faucet. Countertop models hook up via quick connect water lines.

How do you drain and fill the reservoir on portable dishwashers?

Portable compact dishwashers contain an integrated water reservoir tank that must be manually filled and drained. To fill, simply pour water directly into the reservoir. To drain, remove the rubber draining cap on the side and empty water into the sink.

Can you wash pots, pans and other cookware in a compact countertop dishwasher?

While capacity is smaller, you can wash most typical cookware like pots, pans, baking sheets, etc. in a compact dishwasher. The key is properly arranging items in the racks so spray arms can circulate freely. Just avoid extra bulky pots that might block the arms.

How long do typical wash cycles run on a compact countertop dishwasher?

Cycle times range quite a bit from 30 minutes on up to 2 hours for the heavy duty cycle. Most normal cycles average 60 to 90 minutes. Quick rinse cycles can finish in as little as 30 minutes for lightly soiled loads.

Do I need to pre-rinse my dishes before washing in a compact countertop dishwasher?

While you don’t absolutely have to pre-rinse, it helps by removing any large food particles that could clog the system. At minimum, scrape off any solid leftovers into the garbage before loading. A quick rinse makes the wash cycles even more effective.

Do compact countertop dishwashers use special detergent?

Nope! They use the same dishwasher detergent as full sized models. Look for powder or gel/pack detergents specifically made for dishwashers. Don’t use hand dishwashing soap which can cause oversudsing issues.

How much counter space do compact dishwashers take up?

The footprint is quite small, with typical dimensions around 17-19 inches wide x 21-22 inches high. Measure your existing counter space first before purchasing to ensure the dishwasher will fit. They can even tuck away nicely on apartment kitchen islands.

How noisy are compact countertop dishwashers compared to full sized models?

Great news here – compact countertop dishwashers operate much more quietly than their larger counterparts. Noise levels range from 55-65 decibels, while full sized dishwashers run from 60-75 dB. That’s a noticeable difference!

Are compact countertop dishwashers energy efficient?

Most compact models these days meet Energy Star ratings for efficiency. They use less energy and water than washing dishes by hand. To conserve even more, use the light or eco wash cycles whenever possible to match the load size.

Is any special installation or setup required for countertop dishwashers?

Countertop models are designed for quick and easy setup. For portable models, simply wheel into position near the sink and attach the faucet adaptor for each use. Countertop units can sit on existing counters and hook up to water lines in just minutes.


Compact countertop dishwashers provide an extremely useful cleaning solution for smaller kitchens, apartments, offices, RVs and more. They save the hassle of hand washing, while taking up a fraction of the space compared to full sized dishwashers.

We hope this guide has helped summarize the top compact countertop dishwasher options along with the key buying factors like installation method, cycles, noise, and capacity. Measure your available counter area first, then use our tips to pick the right model to suit your space and budget. With the convenience these little machines provide, finding room for a compact dishwasher is well worth it!

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