Built-In Dishwasher

With so many brands, types and styles of dishwashers to choose from and with greater energy efficiency and reduced noise levels than ever before, dishwashers are capable of doing the dirty work quietly and with less energy.

Available in sizes ranging from compact countertop units to full-size built-in models, even if your kitchen does not have enough space to accommodate a large model, there is probably a portable dishwasher that will fit. Dishwashers, like many products, are more technologically advanced than ever before, but have options for most for almost any budget.

Before you begin shopping, determine how much you are willing to spend and measure out the space where would like the dishwasher to go.

Dishwasher Types

Generally speaking, dishwashers fall into three categories: built-in, portable and compact units. Built-in dishwashers install underneath the kitchen counter and are a fixed appliance. They are equipped with adjustable foot levelers to make them fit perfectly in a space. Built-in dishwashers include numerous styles. Thus, this category gives you the most options when deciding on the right unit.

Portable dishwashers are designed to move. In kitchens where undercounter space is not available, a portable dishwasher can be a good solution. They are built with casters for easy mobility and can be rolled to and from the sink when not in use.

Compact dishwashers are small enough to sit atop your countertop. Units average 17 inches or so in height, so they conveniently fit under most upper cabinets. They require no installation and simply hook up to the sink faucet for their water supply. Compact units, by design, can only wash a few place settings at a time, so they are most useful for individuals or couples who never have many dishes to wash.


Although brands use different names for their new features, most are variations on the same basic functionality. New dishwashers feature multi-stage water filtration systems, automatic sensors that adjust the cycle according to the level of food soil, impressive cleaning jet configurations, quiet sound packages for less noise and bulk detergent dispensers.

Other features commonly found include hard food disposers, adjustable upper racks, hygienic condensation drying and all electronic, one-touch controls. Concealed control panels are a feature of fully integrated dishwashers.

Dishwashers can feature anywhere from 4 to 16 wash cycles. From fine china and glassware to pots and pans, quick washes and rinse-only cycles (depending on the model), your dishwasher will give you plenty of options.

Many new dishwashers are Energy Star rated, and some models use a third less water and require less than 300 kilowatt-hours per year of electricity.

When you evaluate dishwashers, look as much into the water and power use features as the operational ones, for you want a unit that will be cost effective in the long run. Other than styling, try to base your decision upon the space you have to work with, the capacity you need for your family and the level of convenience and power you desire in a dishwasher.

Dishwasher Styles

When you start to look at the different dishwasher styles, the choices become much more numerous. Compact units are fairly few in number, while portable units come in both 24- and 18-inch varieties, depending on the size you need. The more common Built-in units, on the other hand, give you plenty of styles from which to choose, including: full console, tall tub, integrated, undersink, 18-inch and drawer dishwashers.

Full Console

Full console dishwashers are the basic style available. They are installed under the counter, but they are not integrated into the kitchen's design. Full size and available with the features of the particular brand, full console dishwashers are the place to begin your search, for they provide for all-around kitchen cleanup.

Tall Tub

Tall tub units feature increased measurements between the top and bottom of the wash tub. Thanks to a new configuration, manufacturers were able to widen the distance between the racks and give you more room for oversized dishes. A tall tub design is a feature of many dishwashers, meaning it may be combined with other types.


Integrated dishwashers are designed to blend seamlessly in with the kitchen cabinetry. They are built-in units, but they install as if there is no gap between the unit and the adjacent cabinetry. Fully-integrated units feature a completely seamless front, while semi-integrated units have a front-mounted control panel, so they are not entirely disguised. Some integrated units are meant to accept a custom panel so they blend in with the woodwork.


These built-in units are designed to fit directly underneath the kitchen sink, making loading up a sink full of dishes quick and easy. They are smaller in order to fit with the sink and trap, and are generally narrower than full-size units.

18-Inch Units

Whereas the standard width is 24 inches, 18-inch dishwashers are perfect for smaller kitchens where limited space comes into play. 18-inch units may be portable or built-in.

Drawer Units

The most integrated of the integrated style, single and double-drawer dishwashers, feature fully concealed controls and outer pull-out drawers. With a custom panel, they'll resemble your lower kitchen cabinets.

Dishwasher Brands

The companies that produce dishwashers are as numerous as for any other appliance. The most selection can be found among the makers of domestic, home-use dishwashers, while a few select brands produce commercial units for the food and beverage industry. The more well-known domestic dishwasher manufacturers include General Electric, Hotpoint, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Kenmore, Maytag, Amana and LG. Other makers include Electrolux, Bosch, Viking, Heartland, Miele, and Danby.

Commercial dishwasher manufacturers include Jet Tech, CMA, Hobart and Lamber. Commercial units cost many thousands of dollars and are built for frequent, hard use. Domestic dishwashers are available for as little as $150 or $200 for compact countertop units. Prices go up to $2,000 and more for top-of-the-line, fully-stocked dishwashers from the best brands.