Trying to decide if moving from no dishwasher to a compact one (to save space) would cause me to regret it in the future.
Do you have an 18 inch one and regret it?
Yes and no! That's not helpful, is it? I'll explain... I got a compact dishwasher about 2 years ago. I did not have a dishwasher at the time. The space I had was too small for a standard dishwasher. I live alone and have lots of dishes/silverware so I don't run it that often. There have been times I wished I had a larger one, specifically when there is tupperware or pots and pans involved. A larger one would no doubt be run more often as I would be able to fit those things in, instead of just washing them up by hand. I think that is what you need to consider. Would you want to put pots, pans, and larger items in the dishwasher and how often would you want to run it?
Considered a Miele 18" DW (or a Bosch as 2nd choice), but instead chose a Fisher & Paykel single drawer 24" wide, about 16" tall dishwasher, with the intent of putting a 6" drawer both above and below it (they make these DWs in two different heights now). I found this to be a better space-saving option, since the upper drawer made an excellent place to store utensils right near the sink, which I wouldn't have with a full-height 18"w DW. But I would take any decent 18"w dishwasher over none at all.
I love my 18 inch, no regrets. It's just me and my DH. We only cook from scratch, no processed foods or take out, and typically it needs to be run only every other day.
Love our Miele; no regrets in eight or so years. We were a family of three (now two w/DD in college) and only ran our full size DW every two or three days so ended up hand washing high use items. Our Miele gets run daily so I always have my favorite mug available at breakfast. DH (family cook) typically cooks from scratch 3 meals/day, but with DD gone we eat leftovers more often.