The research shows that more and more Americans are moving into cities, living in small apartments and tiny homes, and generally less enamored with having lots of stuff.
The reasons for this are pretty varied. Older Americans seem to want a smaller home to make it easier to age in place, and young people want to live in cities, where space is at a premium. So it looks like downsizing is on the up and up.
But appliances can cause some headaches. In the kitchen, instead of dealing with straight square footage, counter space is the limiting factor. And the bathroom may not be large enough to accommodate a standard laundry set-up. That’s why there is a billion-dollar market for compact appliances.
With so many choices, we decided to showcase some of the compact kitchen and home appliances that aced our lab tests well enough to stand up to their full-sized counterparts. You may have to give up a walk-in closet, but your kitchen can still can still bring its A game.
1. Samsung RT18M6215SG/AA refrigerator
Dimensions: 28.8” x 66.8” x 31.9” (W x H x D)
The Samsung RT18M6215G/AA is one of the most highly-rated apartment fridges we’ve ever tested. It excelled at maintaining consistent temperatures and looks stunning, all the while taking up only 6.38 sq. ft of floor space.
There are plenty of other small fridges out there, especially those with top freezers, but what sets this Samsung apart is the FlexZone. It allows the freezer to be converted into more fridge space. If you’re looking to live that fresh, farmers’ market lifestyle, you’re going to need more room for produce and less for frozen pizzas.
2. Danby compact refrigerator
Dimensions: 33.07" x 20.75" x 21.3" (H x W x D)
If you want to go even smaller, Danby makes a fantastic mini-fridge. The Danby DAR044A6LDB is both a looker and a good performer. During testing, it kept consistent temperatures and delighted us with its angled can dispenser. You’ll also appreciate the brightly lit interior accompanied by glass shelves.
We think that the retro red exterior looks classy and will go with numerous home designs. Its 4.4-cubic-foot capacity is small, but that also means it can fit snugly under a counter.
3. Premier 20-inch electric range
Dimensions: 20.125" x 24.5" x 40" (W x D x H)
Did you know that you can get a range with an oven that’s only 20 inches wide? That’s a savings of 10 inches of space compared to your standard slide-in range.
The sacrifices are minimal. You still get four burners, a two-rack oven, and a storage bin at the bottom. The oven has a 2.4-cubic-foot capacity, which isn’t large enough to accommodate a Thanksgiving turkey, but a chicken will definitely fit.
Premier makes its 20-inch gas and electric ranges in both black and white.
4. Breville Smart Oven Pro
Dimensions: 18.5” x 14.5” x 11” (W x H x D)
Small kitchens can sometimes lack an oven, instead relying on a cooktop. Our research and testing show that the Breville Smart Oven Pro is a strong alternative to a full-sized oven. It’s powerful enough to bake a pan of bread or slow roast meat.
The Smart Oven Pro also helps take the guesswork out of toasting, presenting options for bagels, toast, and pizza on its LCD screen. While there are other toaster ovens that cost less, we think the Breville is a perfect addition to any tiny house kitchen.
5. Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 (8 Quart)
Dimensions: 13” x 12.5” x 12.5” (H x W x D)
The Swiss Army Knife took off because it was an easy way for people to carry many tools in a small package. The same design ethos is instilled in the Instant Pot Duo, one of the best-selling pressure cookers of all time. It’s seven cooking tools in one and we think it's perfect for single people and small families.
Our testers really liked the fact that this Instant Pot can whip a hearty meal in no time. It’s user-friendly design lets an amateur cook roast spiralized squash in just seven minutes or make evenly cooked risotto in under half an hour.
6. GE GPT225SSLSS portable dishwasher
Dimensions: 25.375” x 36” x 23.6” (D x H x W)
This portable GE dishwasher has wheels and can be run off a hookup to a sink. When it’s not in use, it has a countertop—so instead of taking usable space, it adds to it.
Also, unlike other portable dishwashers, this GE cleans as well as entry-level Bosch models. It also has a stainless steel tub, which cuts down on noise.
Of all the portable dishwashers we’ve ever tested, the GE GPT225SSLSS was by far and away the best one.
7. Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY food processor
Dimensions: 11” x 7.9” x 14.8” (D x W x H)
Many food processors can take on tasks usually relegated to a stand mixer, but take up half the space.
The Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY is the top food processor we’ve ever tested. While it may be a bit more expensive than other food processors we tested, it impressed us with its ability to mince, slice, and even whisk.
Get the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY at Abt for $199.95
8 and 9. Miele W1 compact washer and Miele T1 compact dryer
Dimensions: 23.5” x 25.375” x 33” (W x D x H)
While you can fit a washer and dryer in a bathroom or closet if you have the space, in Europe, it’s very common to have the washer and dryer near or in the kitchen. The design allows for a more efficient use of the limited wet wall space.
The Miele W1 is the best compact washer we’ve ever tested. Its stain-removal is unparalleled in the compact market. Also, it has specialized conveniences including detergent dispensers that automatically release the correct amount of soap based on the weight of your laundry.
The accompanying compact dryer, the Miele T1, is also amazing. Not only does it dry clothes well, but it has a special compartment for scented pods that perfume your laundry the perfect amount.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.