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Dishwashers and Tiny Houses: 4 ways it works, but is it worth it?

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If you’re like me and you’d still cook even if you’re living in a tiny house then maybe you’ve also thought about dishwashers… Especially ones that are small enough to fit in your ever-so-tiny kitchen.

Right now we live in a micro-apartment but we love cooking. And even though our kitchen is really small, we still do it every day. Sometimes we even cook for friends and family… So yeah, I wish we had a dishwasher at times! But, I’m still not 100% convinced that it’s worth it. And I’ll explain why below…

Dishwashers for Really Small Kitchens

So while doing some research on which ones might work, I decided I’d put together this blog post based on my findings so that’s what you’ll find here along with my thoughts.

Countertop Dishwashers for Tiny Houses so you can use it daily easily? But it takes up so much counter space!


Image: Amazon.com

My concern is that these countertop versions to me aren’t worth it because they still take up too much space in our already tiny kitchen if you decided to leave it out all the time.

And although compact, they’re still pretty big so it wouldn’t be fun putting it away and getting it out when you want to use it.

So here’s another idea I think you’ll like on how to make this “countertop dishwasher in a tiny house idea” better

Choosing a Countertop Dishwasher and including it in your Design

Image: CompactAppliance.com

Image: CompactAppliance.com

I think I like this idea and I’d definitely consider it before building (if you can). But if you’ve already built your house it still might be doable. Maybe, right?

I was thinking instead of buying a normal built-in dishwasher you can make your own micro version of a built-in with one of these countertop versions… This way you can still have more storage space which to me is a little more important. And it’s no big deal that’s it’s a small dishwasher because I’d still wash my pans by hand. I’d just want to use it for help with cups, plates and utensils. Scroll below to see a preview of what it might look like in a tiny kitchen. What do you think?

Image: CompactAppliance.com

Image: CompactAppliance.com

Oh and then there’s this one that comes in silver and seems pretty good too. Good price, free shipping and plenty of positive reviews.

Anyways, it could end up looking something like this if done right..

Image: KitchenHip

Image: KitchenHip

Okay so on to yet another idea that might work if you’ve got the spare floor space in or near the kitchen. This, I think, is the perfect solution for my situation.

Slightly Larger Portable Dishwashers if you’re in a Micro Apartment or Small House


Image: Amazon.com

I think this might be the best option for me. Since I’m just renting a 400 sq. ft. apartment, I don’t really want to do any renovations. So I’m not going to go with a built-in of any sort. But I do have a little bit of extra floor space near the kitchen where this portable dishwasher could work. It’s just more than I wanted to pay but this is probably my best option long-term. And I might even gain a little extra counter space in the kitchen because of it.

Image: CompactAppliance

Image: CompactAppliance

There’s also this white one with a good price, great reviews and free shipping over at Compact Appliance that you can also check out and consider if you want. I’d probably go with either one of these (probably in white because it matches my fridge & oven) for my micro apartment’s teeny kitchen.

A Portable & Tiny Dishwasher so you can put it away when not using it?

What you see above is the Gota tiny dishwasher design concept. So no, it’s not real. You can’t buy it. But it’s an interesting idea that might work for people like us. If it can do lots of utensils, cups and some plates I’d be pretty happy.

Another Mysterious Tiny Countertop Dishwasher


Image: MyNewPlace.com

It seems like this one is- or at least- has been out on the market before but unfortunately, I couldn’t find anywhere online that you can order it or check on reviews for it. If you happen to find something on it be sure to let us know in the comments (include the link, please) because we’re all curious.

But if I have to put it away everyday, will I ever use it often enough to justify not only buying it but storing it since I only have so much space in my apartment?

Would you?

For me, I thought, “most of the time it’s going to be less work to simply do the dishes manually than have to set it up, hook the faucet up to the hose, etc.”

So Yeah- Do You Even Think It’s Worth it to get a Portable Dishwasher?

…Or even a dishwasher at all (in a really small kitchen)?

I’m not even sure that getting a dishwasher is worth it because most of the time we don’t use that many pans and plates to cook. It’s only tedious when you have friends and family over and you use lots of utensils, cups, and plates. But that’s not everyday.. I guess those are the moments where the dishwasher is valuable.

But I’m still not sure it’d be worth it taking up all of that space because even the smallest dishwashers are still pretty big in a small space (especially in our tiny apartment’s kitchen). Although I’m still considering this one because I have the floor space for it in the kitchen and it would add a little more counter space to it too. It’s just that it costs almost $600. What are your thoughts on dishwashers and tiny spaces?

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 86 comments… add one }
  • Ian
    October 18, 2013, 8:31 am

    I have owned one of those bench-top dishwashers. Actually I had it in the adjacent laundry on top of my front-loader washer. It did a good job, but is not big enough for pots and pans. I have a full-size dishwasher in my current house and I love it. But I’m lazy, have always disliked washing up and cleaning up immediately after the meal. But in a tiny house, I think you have to be organized and consistent and clean up after each meal, and put away. If there was a need to trade space in a tiny, I would far rather prefer a front-load clothes washing machine than a dishwasher.

    • Alex Pino
      October 18, 2013, 5:12 pm

      Good point Ian. I’d take the washer/dryer too over a dishwasher any day if that was the choice.

  • Doris
    October 18, 2013, 8:41 am

    are you serious??? With space at a premium? My grand mother washed dishes into her 80s. How many dishes can 1-2 tiny house people generate? How lazy! A washer/dryer would be a real TH luxury in certain climates. But a dishwasher? You could wash the dishes in the time it takes to set the thing up. Awkward and bulky.

    • Alex Pino
      October 18, 2013, 5:13 pm

      I think you make a valid point. Especially if there’s that set up time.

    • October 18, 2013, 6:25 pm

      For everyday usage in a tiny home, yes I’d agree it’s somewhat lazy. However, if you like to entertain and frequently have large numbers of guests over, having a dishwasher can be an absolute blessing – for one, having to do dishes for the 5-6-7-8 people visiting is a huge time consumption when you have a limited visit window. Plus, in a small space, it’s rather unseemly to have all those dirty dishes just sitting around after the meal, AND even for those of us who pitch in to help our hosts, there isn’t exactly much room to do that in a tiny home kitchen!

      • Frank J Berry
        February 26, 2022, 7:01 am

        An “unseemly look”….doesn’t exist in a Tiny House…nor do the people who live in one…even think in those terms; soon, no one will be able to live in anything bigger than a very small house or THOW, the way inflation is going. Such statements as being “unseemly” won’t even occur to people.

        If we keep “down this economic tract”, and the Bible says we will, we’ll get much worse before we get better,…this will become the ONLY way to live in 5-7 years. Who’s going to pay $750,000 for a house that once cost people 35k in 1970, 400K in 2020,…and will rise accordingly to 750K by 2030? Answer: no one.

        So unseemly…That’s funny! Our government will have already by then; taken our cash, gold and belongings…and we’ll all be living in a regimented environment…tracking every single move we make, buy, think or feel. We’ll all be on a Universal Payment System…now being experimented with. Guys,…I kid you not.

    • Eric
      October 19, 2013, 8:06 am

      The trick is to permanently mount a dishwasher, because most people would not want to “set up” a clothes washer. An important point to note for all these comments is that dishwashers use less water than most people use for washing dishes, and does it at higher temperatures, making the dishes more sanitary. As to the point that you could have the dishes done before the dishwasher can finish them, that’s true, but YOU aren’t washing them in that case and can do something else, like wipe counters, or clean the stove, or read a book. Most people don’t buy a car just so they can walk to work, especially for a 6 mile commute. It’s possible to do that, but not pleasant. Now the last point: dishwashers use so little water and energy for this everyday task that if you are single and stop rinsing glasses for reuse, or using paper towels for sandwiches, or whatever you’re doing that makes a single person use less than 3 pots and 6 place settings in an entire week (which would easily fill most dishwashers to at least 70% capacity) then you will have enough and it will pay to use it. I am a kitchen designer, my kitchen is 9 by 10 feet with 3 doors and a window. I gave up 20% of my cabinet space for my dishwasher and with 2 adults and one dog, I run it at least once every day, sometimes twice. I carry my lunch with non-disposable dishes, I use reusable bottles and eat a bowl of cereal every day, we drink at least 2 cups with coffee every morning and the dog bowls get washed a few times a week. I cook healthy food to add to my dog’s dry food, and that generates a single pot and the storage bin to clean every few days. My dishwasher is completely worth the space as it saves me time, results in cleaner, more sanitary dishes, and costs me less in utilities.

      • Mimi
        October 19, 2013, 9:09 am

        Not to mention studies have proven that people who use dishwashers get sick less often than people who hand wash their dishes.

        Plus, there is never a good reason to call people names like lazy.

        • Chris Cooper
          February 20, 2014, 11:12 am

          Life is too short to spend a minute washing dishes. I live in a tiny place. Nothing worse than spending time actually cooking something (not microwaving) after a long day and then having to wash up. I also think having a built-in, 18″ dishwasher is worth the sacrificed cabinet space if it means being able to quickly rinse dishes, put them in the dishwasher and then run the dishwasher every 3 days or so. Plus it uses less water and sanitizes the dishes better with a dishwasher. This keeps the kitchen tidy and clean when one doesn’t have the time to do the dishes after every meal. NOT lazy, just busy.

        • Allie
          May 22, 2023, 7:40 am

          I know this is an old post, but Mimi is very incorrect. Recent studies from Sweden have found it actually LESSENS sickness & allergies by hand washing!! A study from Ohio State also found that 100% of dishwashers swabbed contained multiple types of bacteria. On another note, our tiny house has a medium-sized farmhouse sink – one time I let the dishes pile up for two days (we both work from home too). I then set a stopwatch to see how long this HUGE pile of dishes took me, including scrubbing and disinfecting my sink – 13 minutes. Total. For 48 hours worth of dishes for 2 people and a large dog home all the time, in less than 300 square feet, that sink was piled HIGH. So that means we spend possibly up to, 45 minutes a week washing dishes between the two of us. I don’t find that a huge burden split between the two of us. By the way, we can actually fit a countertop dishwasher in our kitchen built-in if we wanted to. We choose not to though!

          Here is a link to one study for reference: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/02/17/peds.2014-2968.full.pdf+html

    • Mechelle
      May 12, 2015, 10:58 am

      You appear to be forgetting that some people have disabilities that limit what they can do or the amount of energy for it. Are THEY lazy?

      • Doris
        May 12, 2015, 6:06 pm

        I’m a retired teacher with a lot of “disabilities” myself. I work with my sister-in-law helping “disabled” vets. None of us have a dishwasher.
        And Mimi, as a retired high school teacher, I definitely know the definition of “Lazy.” 🙂

      • Deborah
        December 12, 2016, 1:37 am

        I bought my mother a dishwasher just like the one in the first pic of the article. She uses it all the time because she is disabled and is not able to stand at the sink for hardly any amount of time because of her legs. She loves it and uses it every 2 to 3 days. (-and she is an OCD freak-) She rinses everything off that she uses in hot water at the sink and sits them in the drainer rack and at the end of the day she puts them in the dishwasher. They don’t have any food particles or anything on them but the dishwasher washes them better than she can and sterilizes them to get the germs off. She also likes it because she can put her nick knacks in it, canisters and other glass objects sitting around the house in it once a month to clean those items as well.

        I had a dishwasher when my 2 oldest children were smaller but never used it because I didn’t seem to need it. I had time and was able to wash by hand. Years later when I had 3 kids, raising them on my own, working 9 to 10 hours a day, helping kids with homework, cooking, bath times, housecleaning I started using it because I needed to. I also started baking my meat instead of frying it. That way I had time to help my kids with their homework while the meat was in the oven and it saved us time. I got called lazy from some certain people for doing that. When you are raising kids on your own and you have to work long hours you have to find ways to save time so you can do everything you need to do in 24 hours.

        You can’t call people lazy if you don’t know there circumstances. Just saying!!

        • Natalie
          December 12, 2016, 11:39 am

          Thank you so much for sharing Deborah! It’s so important to consider there are reasons to have certain “luxuries” that go beyond laziness. I miss my dishwasher all the time, and I know it’s because I’m lazy, but you had very good reason to want and use one! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • October 18, 2013, 8:59 am

    I used to have a small portable dishwasher like the one you say you’re considering in your article. Since it was on casters, I found it doubled nicely as a mobile island that was handy for doing prep work and decorating cakes, but the maintenance of keeping a dishwasher clean only gave me another housekeeping chore that eventually had me giving mine to a friend, who like me, used it for a time, but tired of cleaning it. Dishwashers are not great with heavily soiled dishes and cookware, and I find that I would rather just wash my dishes by hand. For sanitation, I use a solution of one Tablespoon chlorine bleach to one gallon of scalding water to give plates and utensils a hygienic final rinse in my dish drying rack. This method is acceptable in commercial kitchens by food safety codes in most states.

    • Alex Pino
      October 18, 2013, 5:14 pm

      Thanks DJ.. There’s always those pros/cons. And I think in most cases a dishwasher is just unnecessary in a small space.

    • Mickey
      December 28, 2020, 2:50 pm

      I’ve worked in food service and in kitchens for about 5 years, I have my food protection license. Never put bleach on your dishes. No one does that there is food grade sanitizer. Don’t contaminate any food or dishes or pots with bleach.

  • MotherLodeBeth
    October 18, 2013, 12:26 pm

    A dishwasher is a must for me. First off, even in this small place I entertain a lot and detest paper plates which are a waste of money and trees.

    And having friends with weakened immune systems (cancer etc) a dishwasher is a godsend to make sure everything is sterile.

    They also make great dishwasher drawers that are a lot like the freezer and or refrigerator drawers. They save space and do an excellent job. Many many new and remodled small apartments have all three around here.

    • Alex Pino
      October 18, 2013, 5:15 pm

      Good point. I was waiting for someone who liked to entertain because in THAT case it DOES make sense.

  • Athena
    October 18, 2013, 12:57 pm

    Reading these “how to cram a dishwasher into tiny spaces” all over the web just cracks me up! 😀 I grew up bone-achingly poor, but that was never an excuse for living in disarray or lack of cleanliness; even the rags got washed in the stream in summer and a pan of hot water in the winter, then folded and put away when dry. Dishes: all neatly stacked in a pan of hot soapy water to cover; soak for half an hour, scrub with a brush under water, rinse in another shallow pan of clear water, drain/dry/put away. MEGA easy, no one died of cooties, and it STILL used less water than a dishwasher! To this day, I prefer not to have a dishwasher, as they ‘re slower and use more water than I do. AND they take up space, break down, etc….no, thanks.

    • Alex Pino
      October 18, 2013, 5:15 pm

      Wow, well said Athena, thanks!

    • Sharon
      October 18, 2013, 11:21 pm

      Dishwashers use less water than hand washing. The new ones are Great! Just me and Jim, we put our dirty dishes in after each meal, we always make sure they are rinsed a bit, and every other day we run it. Then we unload it in 5 minutes.
      I am 76 and resisted a dish washer for years.Now I could just kick myself for all those years I listened to negative comments! Baking is fun again. BTW, we hand wash our pots and pans, we don’t have that many. Read your directions and learn to use it! There are some do’s and don’ts, like spin your arm each time before you start, don’t mix aluminum with stainless, its easy and quick once you figure it out. We love ours.

    • Eric
      October 19, 2013, 8:10 am

      A dishwasher uses less than 3 gallons of water per load of up to 12 place settings and a few pots and pans. If you are using less than that, only harsh chemicals will help you get them as clean as the dishwasher would have.

      • Athena
        October 21, 2013, 12:22 am

        Sorry, Eric-
        I’ve debunked this question before, I can do it again:
        I realize that folks today are into chemicals, but after 45 years of washing my dishes in this way, I’ll stick to a tried, true, cheap (and healthy) way of getting the job done:
        A) First dishpan has just under a gallon of hot water with baking soda dissolved in it ; put the dishes in it right after eating…food slides right off. Dried-on food needs to be soaked for a few minutes.
        B) Meanwhile, the teakettle is getting the rinse water hot (with a bit of white vinegar) washed dishes get boiling water poured over them, and then put in a rack to air-dry. The pots (done after the dishes) are then rinsed and put to dry.
        C) Later,after the dishes and pots are processed through, and both batches of water are cool, pour it on your vegetable garden (there’s no chemicals!) I know it makes my tomatoes markedly sweeter.
        D) Basically, this brings me back to my original point: the miniscule amount of time saved by cramming a dishwasher into a tiny living space can’t stack up against my method, which is easygoing, minimal fuss, healthy (cooties don’t like boiling water because they can’t develop an immunity against it)…and you get tomatoes!

        • Eric
          October 21, 2013, 6:55 am

          No need to be sorry Athena, I don’t mind being debunked. I am not, however, “into” chemicals and the volume of dishes I use each day would require your process to be repeated at least twice daily if not 3 times. I’m glad it works for you, but as I have better things to do with my time and your process is quite unlike (and far more efficient than) the system others use to do dishes (which certainly involves more than 1 gal of water and a tea kettle to rinse), I will gladly leave you to it and recover the 40 minutes per day by doing things I enjoy far more. Plus, I REALLY enjoy not having a dish drainer on my counter. It’s actually my possibly only OCD trait.

        • Athena
          October 21, 2013, 9:28 am

          Okay. But–No tomatoes for you!
          *Runs off, gleefully clutching tomato crop
          to her bosom* Lol!

        • Eric
          October 21, 2013, 10:01 am

          ‘s OK, Athena. I’ll use the time I don’t spend washing dishes to tend my tomatoes and can them at harvest…. ah, who am I kidding, my in-laws will do that all for me, and I will spend the time walking my dog. I am glad you have found a way for you to do a necessary daily task that works for you (though not for me) and has a lower impact on the planet. Were I to wash my own dishes, they would pile up, I would need massive chemicals and water to correct the mess, and I would spend more time doing it, and we all live different lives. Good for both of us that we have each found a relatively low impact way that works for each of us.

        • Athena
          October 21, 2013, 3:46 pm

          Two words: “Edible dishes!” 😉

        • Jaroslaw
          March 19, 2015, 2:24 pm

          Eric – if you prefer a dishwasher, that’s fine of course. Most people I know almost wash the dishes before they put them in the dishwasher. But even if you don’t do this, it is time consuming to load each indivdual item as opposed to placing all the silverware in one motion and all the plates in another into the dishpan. You’re not saving near as much time as you think. The ‘chemicals’ Athena was referring to (I think) were high powered auto dish compounds and rinse agents. Very strong compared to liquid dish soap. And of course, you realize the tea kettle is heating while you do the dishes, so it doesn’t take any extra time either. Lastly it doesn’t take anywhere near 40 minutes to do regular dishes (unless you’re speaking of three times a day, but then that would be loading and unloading a dishwasher several times – more time consuming than a dishrack – since you say you have a high volume) and you STILL have to scour most larger pots by hand.

        • Lila
          August 11, 2016, 12:47 pm

          I love your no chemical method of cleaning dishes! I will be starting this method in my home today. My dependence on dishwashers stems from needing to do two things at the same time in my tiny house. But I would love to run my dishwasher with just a baking soda tab in it and collect the water into my compost!

  • Muzikmaker
    October 18, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Doing the dishes is OK by me…and….it was great when I had a place with a dishwasher……….either way worked. Then my husband and I started doing foster care. So besides our own 3 kids, we often had 3 or 4 foster children at the table, too. Naturally, everyone had their designated night to do dishes. Then one day when I saw my husband take a glass out of the cupboard and hold it up to the light, it occurred to me to ask why he kept doing that. He said because some of the kids were apparently just dipping the glasses in the water and not actually using the dish cloth on them and he could still see greasy finger and lip prints on them…………ewwwww…….!! Shortly after we got a dishwasher. I went to a resale shop and bought extra glasses and dishes compatible with my set and that’s the only thing I put in the dishwasher……..the personal glasses, dishes and silverware. Serving dishes and pots and pans take up too much room and I would need them before the next meal anyway to cook and serve the food in.

    When I was doing home health in other peoples homes (12 and 24 hour shifts), I found myself holding the glasses up to the light and seeing other people lip prints, so it isn’t just kids that dunk the glasses in the water and think they are clean.

  • Nia
    October 18, 2013, 1:35 pm

    I plan to have a small dishwasher permanently set up in my little-not-quite-tiny house. I’m a single mom with two kids and a dishwasher does save me time. I prefer not to do without my dishwasher. We live in a very small apartment now and the dishwasher is one luxury that I’m thankful for every day.

  • Kathy Handyside
    October 18, 2013, 1:50 pm

    I’ve been without a dishwasher for years. Since it’s just me in the house, I can wash my dishes myself. I do like the compact dishwashers, but I think I’d rather use space for something else, like my harpsichord.

    • Alex Pino
      October 18, 2013, 5:16 pm

      Haven’t had one for years either. Except for a few short months while I was in between places. And during those times.. I hardly ever used it! I guess I’m just used to doing it by hand after all these years. My parents never used to use it either. Mom always did them by hand.

  • mattisan
    October 18, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Yes the compact water pressure powered dishwashers are obtainable for about $120. Here is one place: http://www.hometone.com/water-powered-portable-countertop-dishwasher.html#_amqqm3f

    • Alex Pino
      October 18, 2013, 5:17 pm

      Cool! Thanks.

    • Adina Hirschmann
      October 18, 2013, 10:54 pm

      When I first moved into my apartment, I had one of those pressure-powered machines. Unlike a regular electric-pump model, they use a lot of water, since they don’t recirculate. They also depend on the temperature of whatever comes out of the faucet. The regular dishwashing liquid is not strong enough to remove tough foods with just the water and drains out very quickly. The plastic wash arms fit on with friction and don’t stay attached under the water pressure. I thought I might try it as just a rinser, but the impeller stalled many times. 8 later found a full-size old GE portable that hooks up to the faucet that I could wash a whole lot more dishes. Uses less water than the pressure model, and rolls out of the way for using my pop-up table. Now looking for a newer 18″ floor model that takes up less space, but does the same job, with a few more energy-saving features. Also stainless or black to match my new appliances. Conclusion: what seems the cheapest and energy-efficient may not work out that way. Whether countertop or on floor casters, the best thing , mechanically and otherwise, is to stick with the tried-and-true and not throw your hard-earned money down the drain.

      • October 19, 2013, 10:32 am

        You might want to consider dishwasher drawers. Two mini dishwashers one holds clean dishes and the other dishes waiting to be cleaned. This eliminates the storage space need for your dishes. Once the clean dish drawer is empty run the dishwasher and use the empty drawer to hold dirty dishes for the next run.

  • Karen
    October 18, 2013, 9:26 pm

    Here is my suggestion for a tiny house dishwasher. It works very well and looks great. http://www.fisherpaykel.com/ca/kitchen/dishwashing/dishdrawer/DD24SDFX7/

  • Laura Graham
    October 18, 2013, 9:31 pm

    I love a dishwasher. I can’t get the greasy dishes, bowls and glasses nearly as clean and sanitized as a dishwasher with ultra hot water. Most pots and pans are done at the sink which is why I prefer one large sink rather than a double sink. I do not like the counter top washers because I can never have enough counter top! I like the built in washer that is just under the edge of the counter that is shown above. I know they make slim under counter washers, too, but the one shown is nice because you don’t have to lean over as far to load it! I would have to have more than the tiniest 100 sf house anyway, so a dishwasher is a must. Other kitchen appliances I want are an oven large enough for a 1/2 size baking pan(13×18) or a turkey, but not a microwave. A 3-4 burner stove top. Fridge with freezer. Room for stand mixer and blender on counter. They are too heavy to lift up and down. Another must have appliance duo is washer/dryer. I believe these things can fit in a tiny house, but not an ultra tiny. Thanks for all the research, Alex.

  • Kat
    October 19, 2013, 12:41 pm

    I would go for the dishwasher because I have Raynaud’s Disease which is an intolerance to extreme temperatures. Hot water is too painful for me and so a dishwasher will always be more sanitary.

  • Mags
    October 19, 2013, 3:27 pm

    We are off grid. We haul every drop of water we use from a spring, and we dug a cesspool, which we covered with wood and dirt over all. We can’t cope with this much water use. I’ve learned how little water it takes to wash my clothes and body. I take a shower in a big bowl with less than 2 gals water. Dishwashers are only functional if you have a dedicated water and waste system.

    • Adina Hirschmann
      October 20, 2013, 3:01 pm

      Do you treat your water before you use it (boil, use disinfectant tablets, etc.)? I would be worried about waterborne pathogens and pollutants remaining on the dishes and my skin after rinsing. That’s why municipal water is treated and filtered through many stages before it comes out of the faucet. Also, during a shower, some of the water gets aerosolized, so you inhale some of it. There are many “degrees” of off-grid living. When my family had our RVs, they had their own water tanks that filled from a hose (approved for drinking water) and stayed pressurized with 12-volt compressors.

  • Jan Dregalla
    October 19, 2013, 6:53 pm

    I like my dishwasher in my small house but not sure it would be a good value space-wise, money-wise. storage-wise and use-wise for a tiny home. Also, I’ve been in a tiny house with a washer/dryer. It worked well but shook the whole tiny house when it was running. The owner said, if he had to do it over again he probably wouldn’t do it. He does live in an RV park so has access to city water but if you’re off grid, it seems it would use too much water. Just thinking outloud…I do dislike doing dishes.

    • Adina Hirschmann
      October 19, 2013, 7:52 pm

      BTW, to make rolling my dishwasher easier, I purchased some inexpensive handles made for window sashes at the hardware store and attached them to the sides of the butcher block top at all 4 corners, facing each other (parallel), with strong screws. Enables both pulling and pushing the machine. Cabinet handles might also work, so long as they screw in from the front, to match your decor.

    • Sharon
      October 21, 2013, 9:06 pm

      It’s not the amount of water they use, they just won’t work without a pressurized water system. Like an automatic washer.

  • Athena
    October 19, 2013, 11:08 pm

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  • Carrie Luna
    October 20, 2013, 12:23 pm

    The Danby dishwasher runs 429. 00 at best buy and they have a few others that have nice reviews and energy star ratings even cheaper. I think it would be worth the added expense to bump out the end of the kitchen just enough
    To add a closet to hold the dishwasher and a small washer (and stackable dryer too if you live in a very cold climate) if youwon’t be moving your tiny house a whole lot. You would save time driving to the laundry And not have to sacrifice your already designated spaces. Should not add more than a couple thousand to the cost of a tiny dwelling. My husband and I recently adopted three children, filling up our empty 4 bedroom house. So We are converting an old shed on our property to a tiny house for our grown children and grandchildren when they visit. We bumped out the side of the shed to include a bunk and closet area to hold the washer and dryer- now the dishwasher idea is intriguing me- much to dear Hubbies dismay…

  • Doc
    October 20, 2013, 12:32 pm

    The dishwasher will be a must for us as well. As will be regular washer/dryer. Neither myself or the little woman can bend over a kitchen sink any more. With technology today it’s hard to go wrong with a dishwasher for sanitation and water consumption. Old habits die hard. When the little woman was hand washing them the faucet ran nonstop for rinsing and the same to get hot water before starting. Whereas the dishwasher heated only what it used, recirculates and sanitized as well.
    We live in about 1000sq ft two bedroom now. Just the two of us and four rescued cats, two with special needs. That’s 12 dishes daily for them, three meals a day for us plus pots and pans. We have one there in our very small kitchen space. I thought the cupboard space was too valuable to give up. We don’t even miss it now. We put it in the end of an L near the sink, lost one narrow door and the dead space in the corner that housed dry goods that you couldn’t/ wouldn’t get to anyway. Less waste now too.
    So, yea, the tiny will have intentional space for one too.
    There’s My 2 cents.

  • alice h
    October 21, 2013, 7:07 pm

    No dishwasher for me. At my island place I use two large stainless steel bowls that hang on the wall when not in use, one for wash one for rinse and air dry on the rack. They can also do double duty as bowls and on nice days I can take the “sinks” outside if I want. In my tiny studio apartment I use the good old kitchen sink. Sometimes if there’s just a couple of things to wash I fill the largest, least messy dish with hot soapy water and use a scrubber to wash things using that water in descending order of mess – plain hot water to rinse out the tea pot, goes to the teacup with a drop of soap, then on to my cereal bowl, then the plate. Cutlery can soak in the teacup for a bit first. Each item is dried as soon as the water goes to the next item. If there’s a party and I end up with a big load of dishes it’s still not a problem to hand wash. I don’t find a dishwasher necessary but I can see where lots of people would prefer to have one.

    Sometimes people use more dishes than they really need though. There’s nothing wrong with serving food in the pot it was cooked in rather than using fancy serving dishes. Most of my friends who haul their own water in and out find ways to lessen the number of things that need washing.

  • Ronald Pottol
    October 21, 2013, 8:21 pm

    We have a portable (normal sized, but rolls around) we got on craig’s list years ago for $25, very handy, and a nice work surface. Works better than the landlord’s dishwasher at most of the places we’ve lived.

    I am looking at RV usage, so water consumption is key, in fact, that is most of why I’m leaning to a dishwasher.

    Also, I found this to be unusable because of the facebook etc windows on android (dolphin browser, android 4.3).

  • Ali
    November 3, 2013, 6:22 pm

    We live in a basement suite and didn’t have a dishwasher for over a year. We would end up spending at least 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes doing the dishes, my husband loves to cook. We looked at the pros and cons of having one and decided to go without because of the price. I think it was close to $600 for a portable Danby, we also didn’t know how long we would be using it for as we know our place is temporary. We ended up finding one on Kijiji used for only $50 and we are in love! If it was able to fit into the design of our tiny house then I would love to keep it. I would rather have a small apartment size dishwasher instead of a dryer.

  • Wendy
    November 26, 2013, 9:41 pm

    I’m strongly considering getting a countertop dishwasher for my 1937 apartment galley kitchen. It’d fit in the same space as my dish drainer does now (and the dish drainer never gets put away, so it’s “dead” space anyway). I’ve lived without a dishwasher for most of life. Sadly, though, I have trick thumbs, and can’t grip hard and long–makes washing dishes painful and occasionally dangerous.

  • December 4, 2013, 9:38 am

    looking to buy the counter top dishwasher the one with glass top and one hose hook up

  • Deaf Scouter
    April 4, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Came across this, KitchenAid Briva In Sink Dishwasher: http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/less-is-more-dishwasher-is-integrated-into-sink.html

    I’ve been looking for the Carocelle dishwasher too as the others are just to big for my limited countertop space

  • tammyfaith66
    May 28, 2014, 8:44 pm

    I think a compact dishwasher could be ‘small space friendly’ and useful if it was used as more than just a dishwasher…use it as a dish storage space as well…if it were fitted into a space used for storing everyday dishes…dishes are taken out during the day, used, then put back and the unit turned on….WALLA ! CLEAN DISHES…already put away to be used the next day!….what do you think?

    • Alex
      May 29, 2014, 10:32 am

      Cool idea, thanks Tammy!

  • Lydia
    June 22, 2014, 7:23 pm

    Hi from Australia. For over 34 years in the same house I have washed up, family of 4 plus various pets. Cannot begin to think of hours spent washing up twice a day. Tiny kitchen in the house, minimal storage, laundry outside under house. Hate washing up! Hated vacuuming too, lugging round heavy machines, till I bought a new Dyson, fantastic machine. In March went on a holiday where accommodation had a dishwasher, wow, so liberating even husband got right into the process. Home: dilemma: how to get one? Finally have sourced a benchtop (we don’t have lots of choices down here) so soon will be the proud owner of a dishwasher and one drudge job will be taken care of and I can get rid of the ugly dish drainer too! It won’t fit my large pots but it will get rid of the clutter of glasses, cups, plates and cereal bowls.

  • Jaroslaw
    March 19, 2015, 12:31 pm

    Alex – the dishwasher you couldn’t find pictured above is indeed off the market. I had one years ago, the brand name is Carocelle. It had small arms the size of a drinking straw to spray the wather. There was a small “cup” on the front of the machine that one squirted regular liquid dish soap into and it mixed into the sprayer water from the faucet. It was NOTHING like a real dishwasher. It was better than doing them by hand, but things like dried egg etc. would never come off, no matter how hot the water from the faucet. Still I wish I had kept it if nothing else than for novelty purposes.

    • esther
      May 9, 2020, 10:50 am

      My Dad bought me a Carocelle when I was married in 1972. It was so cute. Thanks for the memory.

  • Anne Lindyberg
    May 13, 2015, 5:49 pm

    I would be interested because they save water. In theory at least. I can get a lot of dishes done while camping in less than 2 gallons of water if the rinse water is nearly boiling. It is a big question as to whether it’s worth the storage space.

  • Larry
    May 18, 2015, 6:02 am

    This dishwasher(dw) dialog seems to have been going on for a couple of years now. The discussion remains relevant. Although I currently do not have a tiny house, I have a small galley kitchen just over 7′(2.1m) long. I also have a portable 18″(46cm)wide dw which I wheel into the kitchen from the laundry room about once a week or more often when canning, making jam or pot-luck dinners. Being single I only need to cook once or twice a week. The dw gives one a place to store dirty dishes and pots until it is full enough to contemplate a full cycle. I find this to be both efficient with time and water. But my primary drive for using a dw is to avoid detergent use. Anytime I get the smallest amount of detergent on my hands the skin hardens, peels, cracks and bleeds. The nuisance of having to use disposable gloves and ensuring they don’t get nicked by a knife or pot scrubber or get soapy water up into the top more verses the inconvenience of not simply throwing the dishes into the sink, the dw wins hands down. And I also feel good about not wasting water. As for the phosphates argument vs detergent and chlorine bleach neither one comes out a winner. Neither are suitable for a septic system. There are enzyme based dw detergents but are they any better?? Throw soapy water on plants? Never again; Twice I tried a safe? mix of baking soda and a few drops of detergent to deter powdery mildew on my dahlias and it seemed to work by killing all the leaves upon which the solution was sprayed. All that said I obviously have my need to find a solution to fitting a dw into my kitchen but I am find that the Canada / USA market simply doesn’t have suitable products for small spaces. The UK has that Candy-Trio stove/oven/dw combo. I’ve seen in as gas or ceramic top. They also have a Neff S66M63N16B compact built-it. It is both half height and drop door design but 220 volts. The ultimate seems to be a Siemens SC76M540EU in Australia, 60cm(23.6″) high model, again at 220V. It is difficult to say if my casserole dishes and larger pots will fit into anything smaller so I don’t believe counter top or drawer types will work. The AEG F552000Vi0 or a Fisher & Paykel might but I would want to take a few items to the dealer and size fit them first.
    The need for pressurized water doesn’t bother me as a demand pump with small pressure tank can often be salvaged from old RVs. This makes a shower more pleasant because i can hook up one of those new demand hot water heaters that only activate when you need hot water. I’ve found some for less than CAD$400.

  • Richard Sauerzopf
    June 4, 2015, 1:09 am

    Trust me, the new counter top dishwashers are very much worth it. I’ve got the Danby. It’s still made in China, but Danby is an American company with excellent parts and service. I needed that with my older machine. Now, with my new one, which I ordered ship to store for about two hundred dollars at Walmart, the quality is so exceptional that I doubt that I will ever need to have it repaired during its normal work life. It is remarkably quiet. All you hear is the softest “swoosh” of water. It has several settings. On some of these, it sanitizes dishes, and has an active drying function. It does an admirable job even with pots and pans. It accommodates six full place settings easily, along with lots of silver ware and utensils, plus some serving dishes. It is very easy to hook up, and to disconnect, or it can be built in, with the proper equipment and the knowledge and skills of an experienced plumber/installer. You could put it on an inexpensive cart, have room to store more stuff beneath, as long as the hose is level or above the all in one snap attach water and drain hose fitting. It has a real detergent and water softener, or “Jet Dry” dispenser. And, yes, it is MUCH more efficient than hand washing, and with much less breakage. It is the best route to go now. These little machines have gotten very much better of late because there is a massive market for them in east Asia, principally. Get the Danby, though, since if something goes wrong, you will have accountable people standing behind your machine. I know. They are helpful, and it does matter. Their prices are good too… But, be warned, as far as I know, though the interior is solid stainless steel, the exterior, if you get the steel look option, is a painted finish, and not actually brushed metal. I have the white machine. The black one is pretty modern looking too. Of course, you could always paint it Harvest Gold, or Avocado Green, and add some Con Tac paper peel and stick plastic wood grain highlights, if the aesthetic of the early seventies is more your thing…

  • Anissa
    September 10, 2015, 9:58 pm

    The round 19 inch countertop dishwasher is made by Carocelle Industries and retails around $233.00

  • barbara
    December 29, 2015, 7:54 am

    Hay Tiky house,
    I’m also interested in the tiny dishwasher concept and the last one of these to be more acurate … so I look on the internet and after a wile I found the yep of the company who produces them with the comment below:
    “I hate to do the dishes. I wanted to get a portable dishwasher that would fit on the countertop….so I ordered one from Carocelle. It came…and it stunk. It does not have electricity, it runs on water pressure….it barely gets the dishes wet. It continually drains throughout the entire cycle…wasting a lot of water. You have to stand there to turn the water off. Its a piece of crap that wastes plastic, landfill space, water and money. The company will not talk to me about a refund. They do not answer phone calls or emails or inquiries from the Better Business Bureau. I hate them.”
    I was realy exited about it but now I’m just sad about it…

  • Deborah
    December 12, 2016, 7:43 pm

    I meant to mention in my previous post that the countertop dishwasher that I bought my mom was a Danby from Compact Appliances. I bought it for her in 2004 and as of 2016 it is still in great shape. She doesn’t wash pots and pans in it because all she uses is a medium iron skillet and a small Teflon pan and they clean up easily no matter what she cooks in them. She has a small kitchen and her frig was at the end of the counter so she had us move her frig on the other wall across from the counters and a small computer desk at the end of her counter to sit the dishwasher on and the hoses reach the sink fine. She has a pretty flower arrangement sitting on it and it looks nice and is functional. Just wanted to add this in case someone needed a review.

    • Natalie
      December 13, 2016, 7:22 am

      Thanks for that! Very helpful. — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Taylor Vance
    January 3, 2017, 2:11 pm

    Forty-two years ago I used to have the countertop dishwasher you call the mystery one. I loved it because it saved time and water. It is basically a rinsing machine. There may have been a soaping function, but I found it only excelled at rinsing.. So here’s what I mean…when you hand wash, you soap and rinse each dish, which is why hand washing takes so much time and can use much more water than an electric dishwasher. With this, you soap, place the dish in this washer, and when all are soaped and placed you connect the water line and rinse all the dishes at once. You just have to set a timer to remind yourself to turn off the water. I’m looking for one to buy right now, in fact. So if you figure out where to buy it, please let me know. (Are you able to read the brand name? I enlarged the photo and still could not.)

    It is not likely to be a tiny house-friendly appliance because it will take up about two square feet of counter space. I did have it in a tiny kitchen in a one bedroom apartment, and would do it again,but my guess is most people won’t find it space-efficient.

  • Sandy Hamilton
    June 3, 2017, 9:40 am

    Years ago (1979-80) I found one of the round ones that sit on the counter. It was great but for the water I used I could have easily just done the dishes myself. I was in a an old early 1960’s mobile home and didn’t have a cabinet big enough to put it in so it sat on the counter to the side of the sink. Not Tiny Home friendly IMHO. But it was cool. 🙂

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 5, 2017, 4:24 pm

      I would just hate losing the counter space, but sometimes cool wins 🙂

  • ReddWing
    June 5, 2017, 10:51 am

    I currently own the 1st white rectangle countertop dishwasher. It’s size makes it hard to move for me and so does it’s weight. However if you have no shoulder injuries it shouldn’t be a problem. In 1988 we bought an RV, the salesman really pushed one “add-on” for $400.00 $800.00 or $1200.00 and if that husband wasn’t already dead I’d want to wring his neck now ! (lol I’m kidding) the $400 was a washer-drier unit 12x12x12 inches $800 was 18x18x18 inches $1200 was the $800 one PLUS it had a 2 tier dish rack that went into it and it had all the “bells & whistles” on it. Such as an alarm been for adding fabric softener or rinse aids. It was supposed to be able to wash 2 pair jeans, 4 tee shirts, 4 undies, 8 socks-4 pairs at one time and get them clean. I don’t remember the dishes numbers. But I have been trying to find one of these units or at least a company name. Because my thoughts are it may have been ahead of its time…BUT I bet it would do nicely now. As it’s size makes it easy to move AND as it does TWO jobs I bet you’d leave it out a bit longer than “normal” but I bet it would be busy the whole time it was out. I’m looking for one currently as I’m ready to sell my almost 3000 ft house and go to a delux cab-over camper while I find a little spot to put a small or tiny home or alpha gold 5th wheel or travel trailer and my camper and my workshop/trailer on without the powers that be getting their undies in a knott about the “gypsy” look on the property. I’m hoping somewhere around Santa Cruz Ca or Sedona Az will fit my dream and needs and be something in my price range.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 5, 2017, 3:19 pm

      I don’t know that I’ve ever seen/heard of one of those!

  • Veronica Montgomery
    June 5, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Hi, years ago in the 1990s, I used to own a Carocelle counter top dishwasher. I absolutely loved it. At the time I was living in D.C. in a studio apartment with no dishwasher and limited counter space. It was perfect! I wish I could find another one.

  • Lorna
    December 21, 2018, 7:22 pm

    I have had a SPT-2201W countertop dishwasher for a few years now. I loathe washing dishes. I love the dishwasher. I still have to wash many of my pots/pans by hand. Am I lazy? Maybe. Do I care? I don’t give a flying fig if others think I’m lazy because I have a dishwasher. I also don’t wash my clothes by hand and hang them on a line to dry either. I live in a self converted bus that is under 320SF. Does that make the ones who bought their homes prebuilt lazy? I made room for a washer, a dryer, a refrigerator, a freezer, a gas range and a dishwasher. It works for me. I got better things to do than wash dirty dishes. BTW, my dishwasher uses 5 gallons of water per wash and takes 30 minutes to run thru a cycle.

  • Karen curtis
    April 23, 2020, 9:49 am

    I had one of those carocelle countertop dishwashers back in the late 1960’s. I loved it and used it all thru college. Dishes – my husband never used the same dish twice. I’m looking to buy it again. I was amazed to find it on the internet by accident

    • Joie
      December 19, 2020, 6:09 pm

      If you found one, I’d love to know where. I wish I still had mine.

  • Ribbet Gills
    July 3, 2020, 7:18 am

    This one seems to be better designed than anything mentioned above. Check it out!

  • Joie
    December 19, 2020, 6:07 pm

    We had one of those Carocelle dishwashers that you just hooked up to the kitchen sink faucet. Wish I still had it. It is more efficient and economical than any “real” dishwasher we’ve ever had. Do you know if they are still made?

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 21, 2020, 2:41 pm

      Yes! I had one in an apartment about 3 years ago. It worked quite well all things considered.

  • Athena
    March 11, 2021, 5:41 pm

    I’m in a tiny studio. My kitchen cabinets are 13″ above my counter tops. While I *loathe* washing dishes, my real issue is with sanitizing cooking equipment with *tiny* inaccessible nooks and crannies. Things I can’t get either my sponge or my fingers into without a great deal of effort. Plastic (and therefore safe-for-Teflon) tools that they put those tiny crevices in so as to strengthen them. Whisks. Tongs. I have one sink, not two. I constantly worry about getting sick because some tiny particle of food I didn’t see got stuck in one of those tiny crevices that, really, only 30 minutes of blasting with too-hot-for-your-hands water will reach.

    Yes, I *do* occasionally have a completely mysterious bought of diarrhea. After 3 years of this, I’m getting really tired of just putting up with it.

  • K
    July 12, 2021, 12:48 pm

    I agree studies show dishwashers use lss water, saves you time and money too. Have you looked at the Tesla Dishwasher? It’s a small counter top designed to use less water than most dishwashers at the moment. It is still a concept but Tesla Posted it is still on track to be available sometime this year.

    • Alex
      July 13, 2021, 12:38 pm

      I’ve never heard of this Tesla dishwasher, will have to look it up and see! Thanks for sharing!

  • Nora
    July 30, 2021, 11:31 am

    Some years have passed since this original post, has any one tried the ultrasonic mini dishwashers? https://www.pinterest.com/pin/445997169355809407/
    Less than $40, available from Amazon, little larger than your hand. According to the ads you put it in the sink with your dishes, water & soap and poof – clean dishes. Some even claim you can use them to do laundry. Just curious. . .

    • Alex
      July 30, 2021, 11:59 am

      Hi Nora, that’s really interesting! Thanks for sharing! Maybe we should add that one to the list. I may order one and give it a try to see how it works. I think I found it here: https://amzn.to/3lewuYO

  • D
    November 22, 2021, 11:48 pm

    I’m disabled, so a small dishwasher was definitely worth the cost of money and space. Daily dish-washing “costs” more to do by hand than with a small machine. For me, it’s worth it!

  • Frank G.
    April 10, 2022, 12:41 am

    I remember the Whirl-e-Way of the 70’s and I would like to get one but they are from the past and not findable. I live in a small apartment so what I will do is wait until I have almost no clean dishes and utensils and 1) fill a rinse dish pan with hot water 2) soak all my dirty dishes and utensils in maximum hot water with dish soap in my kitchen sink 3) when the soapy water cools enough just quickly wash and rinse it all. And let it dry on my dish rack and put it away. Most of the dirty dishes are out of view in a dish pan under the sink in the kitchen until I’m ready to wash.

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