Americans are living in smaller homes, according to the National Association of Home Builders. A small condo rarely has a large kitchen, so if you are moving into or remodeling a smaller home, you will probably need to buy smaller appliances to outfit it. But even though you’re giving up square footage, you’re probably not willing to give up quality. You still want the best appliances you can afford. So, top-performing dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, dryers, cooktops, and vacuums in diminutive sizes can be real problem solvers.
Wondering where to turn? For years, Reviewed has been testing appliances of all sizes. We’ve got your back. Here are some of our best small-scale luxury appliance picks:
It's possible to live without a dishwasher, but given a choice, not too many people want to. Dishwashers do a better job cleaning the dishes, and they are far more efficient than hand washing. You might want a shiny stainless steel dishwasher that cleans and dries well, but you don't have room under the counter for a standard-size model. Put away the rubber gloves—we have a great recommendation for you.
Bosch, the company that makes our favorite dishwashers, offers 18-inch models in its top series. After testing, we gave the dishwashers in the Bosch 800 series a perfect score, so you can expect the diminutive SPX68U55UC to excel.
Bosch has built its reputation on whisper quiet dishwashers that also do a great job cleaning and drying the dishes. Follow the instructions in the user guide and you will be able to fit a 10-piece place setting in this little machine. You might have a tiny kitchen, but you can still enjoy one of the best dishwashers on the market.
When your kitchen is limited in size, you need a versatile refrigerator that holds its temperature well. A refrigerator that can't maintain its temperature can cause food spoilage. It's also important that your refrigerator's crisper drawers hold in humidity to prolong the fresh life of your produce. And ideally, you want to be able to use the refrigerator's space in a variety of ways. That's a tall order, but we’ve found a small refrigerator that works to meet those needs.
You may be surprised to encounter a luxurious refrigerator with a top freezer. But the RT18M6215SG is actually a stylish convertible. This sleek black stainless steel fridge is ideal for a smaller kitchen because it uses its 18 cu. ft. of storage space very creatively. Its flexible freezer compartment converts to additional fridge space when you need it. (Think: beverages for a party.) When your friends leave, you can just press a button to reclaim your freezer.
You may not have space for a separate laundry room but keep an open mind about other laundry solutions. Where space in your home is at a premium, a compact front-load washer is a great alternative to washing your clothes at a laundromat, so look around your home for possible locations. You may be able to fit a 24-inch compact washer in a closet or hook it up in the kitchen, the way the Europeans do. With a compact washer, you get all the performance of a full-size washer, as long as you accept some minor limitations—notably, smaller loads that take longer to complete a cycle.
Miele WWH860 WCS
Miele focuses on the premium market, and the company did an excellent job with this washer. Don’t worry about wear and tear on your family’s clothes. The Miele WWH60 WCS washer rocks a patented honeycomb pattern inside its well-lit drum to permit scrubbing without fraying. In our testing, we noted that this washer removes stains as well as standard-size washers. To make doing laundry easier, Miele includes detergent and oxygen bleach dispensers to fill with its proprietary detergent and bleach. You don't need to use them, but you might want to. This washer has 21 cycles, so you can customize each load. We don't think you will find a washer that provides the level of power or options as this compact model.
A compact dryer is a far more convenient alternative to drying clothes on a clothesline. If your home is too small for a traditional laundry room, a compact ventless dryer could be your best choice. It doesn’t even need ductwork. You can stack this kind of dryer in a closet with its companion washer or find space for it under the kitchen counter.
Miele TWI180 WP
This Miele is one of the best compact dryers we’ve tested, and it's ideal for smaller spaces—it plugs into a 120V outlet and doesn’t need a vent or a drain. It pumps water from the wet clothes into a small drawer, which you empty out after every cycle. Miele's proprietary fragrance pods can add a subtle scent to your laundry. This dryer is compact but it doesn’t skimp on cycles or options. Don’t expect speedy cycles (this dryer takes between an hour and an hour and a half to dry the clothes), but when we tested, we found that all the laundry in the Miele TWI180 WP got 99.5 percent dry.
Just because you live in a small home doesn’t mean you have to cook your meals in a toaster oven. Your little luxury kitchen deserves a gas range that fits in a small space. Gas cooking appeals because it's controllable (the heat stops when you turn off the burner) and it works with any type of cookware. Plus, the learning curve is minimal.
When you're cooking a delicious dinner, you'll enjoy working on this Haier range. If you have several pans simmering at once, it's great to have continuous cast iron grates that let you slide pots and pans around easily. And when it comes to baking and roasting, the 24-inch Haier QGAS740RMSS freestanding gas range rocks a convection oven to help you get dinner on the table faster. Finally, when the kitchen is clean and you're ready to put away the cookware, you can use the storage drawer to stash your favorite skillets and baking pans.
Smart robotic vacuums
A small home can get just as dirty as any other house, maybe even more so because the existing space may be used more heavily. But there might not be a lot of room in a little home to store a full-sized vacuum cleaner. Still, cleanup shouldn't have to suffer. When run regularly, a good robot vacuum can take care of the crumbs, dust, and miscellaneous stuff that ends up on your hard floors or medium carpet. These vacuums bring you as close to effortless cleaning as you may ever experience.
LG Hom-Bot Square CR3465BB Robotic Vacuum
We think that the LG CR3465BB Hom-Bot is an exceptional smart robot vacuum. During our dirt pickup tests, the LG scored among the best of all robot vacuums we've tested. If you use it over the course of a week, it can pick up as much dirt and debris as a single clean with a full-sized vacuum cleaner. Priced in the $700 range, this model is no dime store dust buster. It provides excellent cleaning performance and is WiFi enabled to allow you to stop, start, and schedule cleaning at your convenience.
Remember: Measure, measure, measure
Before you buy, always measure the space where you plan to put an appliance. A quarter of an inch can make the difference between an appliance that fits perfectly and one that's a little off. When you're creating your ideal small home, the smallest thing can make a big difference.