In an ideal world, there would be many mansions.
Actually, in an ideal world, there would be enough mansions for everybody.
Till we figure out how to build an ideal world, plenty of people live in small spaces. Students in college. City-dwellers in older apartments. Millennials. Older people who’ve downsized to let their kids have their inheritance early.
Smaller-scale living is absolutely a thing, but that’s no reason to skimp on the conveniences of 21st century technologically-enhanced living.
But if you’re going to live a technological life in a tiny space, you need miniature, but still effective machines to make your life easier. The 18 inch dishwasher is the perfect example of hardcore household technology, scaled to fit smaller-scale living.
But before you get one, take a look at our list of the best 18 inch dishwashers, because they’re by no means all the same.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
Top 5 Best 18 Inch Dishwasher
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
How much can you fit in an 18 inch dishwasher?
That depends if it’s a Bosch or not. In the Bosch 800 series, you can fit a full 10 place settings. That’s dinner party ready, whether or not you can fit ten people round a table in your living space. Three people, three meals, one day, boom – turn on the Bosch at the end of the day and everything’s clean and sparkly ready for tomorrow’s breakfast.
It can fit 10 place settings thanks to addition of an uncommon third rack. And, usefully given the unpredictable size and shape of some dishes, you can adjust the third rack to accommodate those odd shapes and sizes.
Taking the space restrictions to heart and innovating around them, Bosch has given the 800 series of 18 inch dishwashers a clever splittable silverware basket too – rather than all clustering together, the split allows for more silverware to get washed at once.
We know what you’re thinking. It’s an 18 inch dishwasher, how advanced are its programs going to be?
Well, we’re not about to tell you it has all the tricks of its bigger brothers, certainly. But the Bosch 800 can hold its own in terms of what you really need. It has 6 wash cycles, including heavy, auto, normal, delicate, express, rinse/rinse and hold and 5 options, including a delayed start, half load, delicate, sanitize and extra shine option. You need more than that?
It also comes with a program called PrecisionWash, which kicks intelligent sensors and precision spray arms into gear, meaning you don’t need to run a pre-rinse cycle to get your dishes sparkling clean.
One of the main issues with some bigger, more lumbering dishwashers is the noise they make. Especially if you’re in smaller accommodation with neighbours on all sides to consider, the noise factor can really become an issue that can stop you running your dishwasher for fear of the impact on others.
The Bosch 800 series applies no fewer than 18 sound reducing technologies in its system, including what it calls an EcoSilence motor system (comprising of 2 brushless motors). That means it runs with just 44dBA, 14 decibels higher than a whisper, 16 lower than normal conversational speech. Noise problem? What noise problem?
Perhaps sensibly then, it also comes with an InfoLight feature. That means it shines a light on the floor to tell you it’s running – because it’s so quiet you otherwise might not know.
And finally, it’s equipped with “AquaStop,” a feature that minimizes the risk of leakage or flooding, and warns you any time something’s not quite right with its operation.
That’s a great deal of dishwasher in an 18 inch machine, and the combination of high technology in a small machine, plus the impressive space for dishes and the configurable internals like the third rack and the splittable silverware basket, make the Bosch 800 series our top pick for best 18 inch dishwasher.
- Room for 10 place settings
- Adjustable third rack
- PrecisionWash function
- Quieter than normal speech
- Splittable silverware basket
- AquaStop prevents leakage
- Might be too much dishwasher for customers who want something simple
You know that scene in shampoo commercials and some coming of age movies, where a young woman takes off her glasses, shakes out her hair, and instead of being myopic and doubly blinded by overgrown bangs, the so-far geeky young woman is revealed as an aspirational bombshell?
Meet the Frigidaire Front Control Built-in Tall Tub. It does more or less the same thing. But in dishwasher form.
With the best will in the world, even the Frigidaire’s friends wouldn’t necessarily call it stunning to look at. You might well walk past the FFBD1831US in a showroom or appliance store.
But that’s the wonder of online shopping – you can compare models side by side, irrespective of the flashy lights and the sexy control panels and the looks of a morgue refrigerator.
When you do that, the Frigidaire swishes its metaphorical hair and you begin to see it in a whole new light.
First of all, it’s roomy enough for 8 full place settings. Not the 10 of the Bosch, but still, that’s a lot of dishes in one go, which means it scores over some other dishwashers. And be honest, you don’t know that many people you want to have round for dinner.
It comes with only three cleaning cycles, but it has a removable self-cleaning filter to help it stay an effective dishwashing mini-monster.
If the Bosch is too much dishwasher for you and your needs, the Frigidaire might well be the Goldilocks machine for you – just right. Not too big and complicated, not lacking when it comes to performance.
It has a sanitize cycle for germ-killing cleaning, both heavy wash and energy saving cycles, as well as the standard delayed start function. It’s also fairly quiet, running at 52 dBA – lower than conversational speech – so it won’t disturb the neighborhood.
The reputation of Frigidaire in white goods extends back for decades, and the FFBD1831US 18 inch dishwasher delivers simple, effective dishwashing in a confined space. And in case anything goes wrong, it also comes with a full warranty.
- Takes 8 full place settings
- Three cycles
- Delayed start function
- Removing, self-cleaning filter
- Full warranty
- Energy saving cycle
- Thirsty machine – takes a lot of water per cycle
The Danby shoulders its way onto our list not for its surprising physical presence for an 18 inch dishwasher, but for the upscale elements that set it apart from some of the less impressive dishwashers.
A standalone machine on wheels, it can be moved around your kitchen when need be. That’s a fact that gives you kitchen options in limited spaces.
Also, once the Danby comes into your kitchen, it comes to play hard – 8 place settings at a time can feel the cleansing power of the Danby, and it brings 6 wash programs to bear, to help ensure your dishes are sparkly when they come out.
Among those programs are an eco cycle to use less water and energy, and no fewer than 4 hot cycle options, up to and including the sanitize program. Like the Bosch, its interior space is customizable to some extent, with fold-down tines allowing for more to fit in for cleaning per cycle.
And like others on our list, it features a 24-hour delayed start option to help you wash whenever you want to, not only when you’re there to babysit the machine.
The Danby may be in the middle of our pack, but don’t mistake that for being a machine you can afford to brush off. It delivers some solid programs and cycle options, with a customizable interior. That makes the Danby a dishwasher that can make your life a lot easier without breaking your bank.
- Space for 8 place settings
- Fold-down tines to rearrange the interior space
- Wheels, meaning you can give yourself more kitchen space options
- 24-hour delayed start
- 6 program options
- Sanitize function
- While fold-down tines are fine as far as they go, the upper rack can’t be adjusted
- There’s no child-lock on this model
GE is a leading name in kitchen and white goods, and it has been for decades. Its entries into any particular field deserve attention not just because of the company’s reputation, but because it’s had decades to refine what it does.
What it does is identify problems, and then research and build machines to solve them.
The GE 18 inch PDW1860KSS is a built-in dishwasher that can clean 8 place settings at a time. It has seven cycles in its bag of tricks, including a cycle for glassware and an air dry cycle. That gives it a wide capacity to deal with anything you could need it to do, within a compact unit that fits your space-limited lifestyle.
Adding to the available internal space within the 18 inch dishwasher, the GE machine has collapsible tines and an adjustable upper rack.
What’s the GE difference in this machine? There are a few. It has a ‘piranha’ solid food disposer. That involves a stainless steel blade rotating at 3,600 RPM, pulverizing particles and stopping them from clogging up the system.
It also comes with an ‘AutoSense’ system, involving a light beam scanning the dishes in the dishwasher, and assessing soil levels, water temperatures etc, and matching them to an appropriate cycle. It’s also the only dishwasher on our list that has the capacity for wifi connectivity, and the remote access options that brings.
That’s a pretty definitive GE difference.
In terms of an external difference, the GE machine has integrated light-touch electronic controls, matching a smooth look with a barely-touch control panel. And alongside other dishwashers on the list, the GE operates at 47 dBA, between a whisper and standard conversation.
With a company as large as GE, it’s no surprise that it comes with a limited 1-year entire-appliance warranty.
A solid 8-place dishwasher with a handful of elements that lift it above most players in the world of the 18 inch dishwasher, the GE PDW1860KSS delivers a lot of top-notch functionality with a GE twist.
Pros: Fairly low priced, washes lightly soiled dishes without a heated dry thanks to its Air-Dry Cycle.
Cons: Loud; operating at 60 dBA noise level.
- Space for 8 place settings
- Adjustable and customizable interior space
- Piranha solid food disposer
- AutoSense system to scan soil levels
- Low noise level
- Wifi connectivity
- 1-year warranty
- Adjustable rack, but there are dishwashers on the market offering more place-setting space
The SPT Energy Star SD-9241W is a portable dishwasher, meaning it can give you a wider range of kitchen space options than the built-in options.
With a capacity up to 8 standard place settings, it’s a more energy-efficient dishwasher than many on the market, using just 3.7 gallons of water per wash cycle.
With a range of 6 programs, including an energy-efficient program and a glassware setting. It also brings a heat dry setting and a delayed start option to its 18 inch package.
Two washing arms ensure all the dish surfaces are hit with cleaning power, and are easily removable for cleaning.
There are two racks here, allowing for all kinds of tableware. The portability and easy faucet connection of the unit means it’s among the most straightforward dishwashers on our list, It also comes with a drain tube and mounting brackets, and is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.
- 8 place setting capacity
- Removable arms ensure every surface is hit by soapy water
- Automatic detergent dispenser
- Energy star rated
- Uses only 3.7 gallons of water per load, for environmental economy
- Comes with mounting brackets and drain tube
- 1-year warranty
- Bottom door sometimes doesn’t seal – leading to a leakage worry
- The instructions that come with the unit can be confusing
Best 18 Inch Dishwasher Buying Guide
When you’re looking for an 18 inch dishwasher, there are several things to consider. Besides the space issues of your particular kitchen and the depth issues of making sure your dishwasher fits into the room and the space, there are extra issues to think about.
How many place settings do you actually need?
Our leading 18 inch dishwasher takes the top spot not least because it gives you the option of stacking up to 10 place settings at a time, and cleaning them all.
The reality is that anyone with the restricted kitchen space to need – and make the most of – an 18 inch dishwasher probably doesn’t need 10 place settings washed at one time. But for a family of three, say, that could equate to dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for one day. Running the dishwasher once at the end of all that is a more environmental, and economically viable way of using the machine than dishwashing after every meal.
So if you’re a family of three or four, that makes sense for you.
If on the other hand you live entirely alone, the likelihood of you accumulating 10 place settings without also accumulating mold and stink is very small. So go for a machine that doesn’t give you too much empty space per wash, but might well give you other features that speak to your particular lifestyle, like the GE with its piranha solid food particle smasher.
Before you buy an 18 inch dishwasher, take a note of how many dishes you use on any given day. Perhaps even keep a dish diary for a week or two to see what your requirements actually are. There’s no need to pay out for capacity you don’t need, so get a handle on the capacity you do need before you shop.
If you live in an environment with neighbors on every side, don’t underestimate the importance of lowering the noise factor of your dishwasher. Every machine on our list has had its noise production lowered.
Always go as low noise as possible, because then you won’t feel the need not to run the machine in deference to your neighbors.
All The Pretty Programs
When people think of 18 inch dishwashers, they usually think of them as basic, stripped-down machines that deliver basic dishwashing.
That’s no longer the case by any means. Delayed starts, eco-programs, light beams to assess soiling levels, blades to carve up food particles, and huge efforts to lessen the noise made by the machines are among the innovations in our list of the best 18 inch dishwashers. They don’t need to be basic any more.
That means you get to choose between the programs and the technological options that are most useful to you. Take the time to match the programs offered by the machines on your short list with the needs of your life and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why get an 18 inch dishwasher?
Space is the first and foremost reason to choose a smaller dishwasher. If you live in a space-challenged environment, the 18 inch dishwasher can give you the life enhancement and time-saving of a full dishwasher, scaled down to the space you have.
How important is the noise level of an 18 inch dishwasher?
If you’re living in a detached property, it’s only as important as your own nerves. If you’re living in a shared property, or are surrounded by neighbors, you should always go with the quietest machine possible.
That’s firstly a consideration for your neighbors, but at least as much, a quiet machine stops you having to worry about the reactions of your neighbors whenever you run your dishwasher. Having a quieter machine means you’ll feel freer to use the machine any time you need to.
What programs are vital in an 18 inch dishwasher?
That depends on the particulars of your own life, but having a sanitize function is always high on the list, because any dishwasher that doesn’t have a sanitize option can’t guarantee your dishes will be bacteria-free.