Best slimline dishwasher 2018: compact dishwashers for smaller kitchens

Slimline and countertop dishwashers put a big benefit in a small space

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Compact dishwashers and slimline dishwashers are compromise appliances: if you had the room, you’d buy a full-sized one. But just because most dishwashers fit a standard kitchen cutout doesn’t mean that they should, and if you think slimline models can’t be as good as their more ample equivalents you might be surprised. 

What’s changed is that slimline models aren’t always designed by taking a full-size model and chopping a few centimetres off everything. Good ones are designed from blank sheets, with manufacturers finding clever ways to ensure that a smaller footprint doesn’t mean a lesser device.

How to buy the best slimline dishwasher

The first thing to be aware of is that the best slimline dishwashers are just as expensive as full-sized ones: it’s the tech that costs the money, not the capacity.

There’s an exception, and that’s countertop models. Nobody lusts after them and they tend to be more basic than a really basic BASIC program such as 

10 PRINT “T3 IS THE BEST”

20 GOTO 10

But while they’re basic, they’re still better than washing dishes and they can be particularly handy in galley kitchens and the comedy kitchens landlords sometimes inflict on their tenants.

You’re buying to fit a space here, so the first thing to consider is whether it’s a freestanding appliance to stick in a cutout or corner or if it’s to be integrated into the rest of the kitchen. Integrated devices expect you to stick a cupboard door on them and to have a board in front of them: if your kitchen units are raised on legs without baseboards then a freestanding model may look better.

With slimline dishwashers, it’s important to ensure that you can actually wash your stuff. Adjustable top baskets are essential if you want to wash wine glasses as well as plates, or to move cups out of the way so you can wash bigger things in the main section. The more flexibility the shelves have, the happier you’re likely to be.

Pay attention to the noise level if you’re in an open-plan kitchen/lounge. A few decibels (dB) here or there might not seem much on paper but there’s actually a massive difference between an almost silent 41dB and a wash that’s closer to the 50dB mark.

The best slimline dishwashers, in order

1. Smeg D4SS-1 Slimline

Best slimline freestanding dishwasher

Specifications
Type: Freestanding
Size: H 850 x W 448 x D 600
Energy efficiency: A+
Reasons to buy
+Easy to fit by dishwasher standards+Good performance and value
Reasons to avoid
-Too… Many… Programmes…

45cm wide and very reasonably priced, at least by Smeg standards, this is both slimline and freestanding. In other words, a cinch to install, at least by dishwasher standards. 

Despite its size, there’s space for 10 place settings, with a maximum diameter of 30cm, which should be sufficient for anyone short of Henry VIII. 

There is an overtly bewildering plethora of washing programs, from Soak, Rapid (a 27 minute blast), Crystal and Delicate Quick to ECO, ECO Quick, Auto 45-65, Normal Quick, Super, Strong and Fast. Well, who doesn't like something that's strong and fast?

AquaTest tech means this Smeg can adjust heat and water usage to suit the amount of muck in the water. That's still quite unusual in a slimline dishwasher.

2. Miele G 4782 SCVi

Best premium slimline dishwasher

Specifications
Type: Integrated / Slimline**Size** 448 x 570 x 805mm**Energy Efficiency** A++
Reasons to buy
+Incredible energy efficiency+Great for glassware+Child safety lock
Reasons to avoid
-Only 9 place settings

It may take rather a long time to recoup your extra outlay on this Miele from power bill savings wrought by that extra plus in the energy rating. But then again, Miele appliances do tend to have exemplary longevity, so maybe it'll pay for itself eventually. If you really want the best, this is it.

What makes Miele different is a combination of build quality – you won’t find wheels rolling down your lino with this dishwasher, and not just because if you can afford a Miele you probably don’t have lino. At 41dB it’s quieter than a library, and clever design flourishes abound. 

The GlassCare system uses softer washing to avoid damaging glasses, something dishwashers are notorious for, and SensorDry optimises drying according to load size and ambient temperature. DetergentAid monitors the wash and adjusts rinse aid, salt and detergent accordingly for best results with minimum wastage. 

Miele has even considered the layout of the cutlery tray and how best to avoid anything getting scratched. There’s a child safety lock to ensure your kids don’t get scratched either.

3. Siemens SR26T897EU

Finger-print free forks and energy efficiency too

Specifications
Type: Freestanding / Slimline
Size: H84.5cm x W45cm x D60cm
Energy Efficiency: A++**Place settings** 10
Reasons to buy
+Great build quality+Great energy efficiency+Great performance

If you like German engineering but can’t quite justify dropping more than a grand on a dishwasher, the Siemens is less expensive than the Miele but still hugely impressive. 

It doesn’t quite fondle your fondue forks or caress your crockery in the way the Miele does, but it comes very close and has even more WordsJoinedTogether including aquaStop, autoProgramme, aquaSensor, varioFlex Pro, varioDrawer Pro, varioSpeed Plus and rinseBastard. Only one of those is made up.

MarketingBollocks aside you’ve got overlapping spray arms, glass protection, sensor control, water quality sensing, ten place settings, miserly water consumption and an A plus plus energy rating, a very quiet 44dB noise level and great drying performance. A clever fingerprint reduction system – yes, they called it antiFingerprint – that should keep digit marks off your forks. It’s expensive but it’s also veryClever and reallyEfficient. 

4. Bosch Serie 4 SKS62E22EU

Best tabletop dishwasher

Specifications
Type: Tabletop
Size: H 500 x W 550 x D 450mm
Energy efficiency: A+
Reasons to buy
+Perfect for smaller homes+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Basic functions

Bosch has long made the tabletop dishwasher of choice for Western Europe, and this Serie 4 incarnation maintains that. 

It comes with enough space to accommodate six average-sized dinner plates, a few side plates, a quartet of mugs, a carving knife or two and a clutch of cutlery. 

Like most mid-priced dishwashers, it also comes equipped with a sensor that measures the level of contents within and adjusts water consumption accordingly. And because it’s pretty quiet, it shouldn’t disturb the peace if you live in a studio or open-plan.

The Serie 4 features five washing cycles from 40 to 70 degrees C, and does a stand up job, whilst squatting on your worktop. A good thing, in a small package.

5. IKEA Medelstor

Don’t worry, you don’t need to build it yourself

Specifications
Type: Integrated/Slimline
Size: 44.6 x 55.5 x 81.8 cm
Energy Efficiency: A+
Place settings: 9
Reasons to buy
+Effortless integration with IKEA kitchens+5-year guarantee+Automatic opening

If you’ve got or are getting an IKEA kitchen, this is the perfect fit: it’s designed to slot into your kitchen with an IKEA worktop (sold separately), IKEA door (sold separately) and handle (guess what). No, it isn’t made of particle board and you don’t have to assemble it yourself.

With room for 9 place settings it’s not the most capacious slimline dishwasher you can buy but for a reasonable price you get good cleaning performance and all the current state-of-the-art, must-have features, such as Beam On Floor, which shines light on the floor while the dishwasher is working, and automatic opening, which pops the door open a tad to help dry your dishes post wash. 

As you’d expect from IKEA there’s been some serious thought about where things go, so in addition to the removable cutlery basket you can fold down the cup shelves and plate racks to suit.

The top basket is adjustable, the audio alert isn’t frighteningly loud and the Quick Wash takes just 30 minutes. It uses less water than many rivals and still has a very solid A+ energy rating. 

6. Beko DFS05010W

A budget bargain that doesn’t cut corners

Specifications
Type: Freestanding / Slimline
Size: (H)85.0 x (W)45.0 x (D)60.0
Energy Efficiency: A+
Place settings: 10
Reasons to buy
+Respectable capacity+Several quick programmes+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Boring even by dishwasher standards

Few dishwashers look exciting, but this one really is very drab indeed. Then again, it does exactly what those 'sexy' dishwashers do, but for a fraction of the cost. 

Not only does this VFM machine have a range of programmes that deliver great results in a relatively short time but also A+ energy efficiency. The top basket is adjustable so you can choose between tall glasses or tall plates, a feature you only realise you need if you buy a dishwasher that doesn’t have it.

The Beko is simple and straightforward: if you want a snazzy digital display or a computer brain the size of a planet, this isn’t the dishwasher for you. 

At 49dB, it is a bit on the noisy side, and there's no child lock, but it's hard to complain given the price.

7. Essentials CDWTT15

When even slimline dishwashers are too big for your space

Specifications
Size: H 438 x W 550 x D 500 mm
Energy Efficiency: A+
Place settings: 6
Reasons to buy
+Cheap and cheerful+Beats doing the dishes
Reasons to avoid
-With dishwashers, bigger is better

Countertop dishwashers have a bad rep, but they can be a handy option for where kitchen size or plumbing issue make even a slimline appliance impossible. This Currys exclusive is a decent and exceptionally cheap example. 

The Essentials countertop dishwasher has six place settings, a relatively low 49dB noise level and low water consumption. It’s A+ rated for energy efficiency, with a quick wash function and the usual selection of Eco, Glass, Intensive and timed wash cycles. 

While it’s hardly the fastest – a normal cycle is 195 minutes – it’s still better than doing the washing up yourself or having a kitchen full of dirty plates the morning after you’ve had pals over. 

It's a bugger to load, due to the small size, but realistically that's unavoidable.