Types of Kitchen Dishwashers

Types of Dishwashers: Which Style is Right for You?

(Last Updated On: January 2, 2022)

Dishwashers are excellent appliances to have in any household. In addition to helping to save a considerable amount of time, a dishwasher is also effective in sanitizing dishes and reducing the risk of illness caused by germs and bacteria. 

Dishwashers are available today to suit the needs of various lifestyles, homes and families. Each of these dishwashers varies when it comes to installation requirements and portability. Before you hit the local appliance store or shop online for a new dishwasher, it is important that you know which one is right for you and your kitchen.

Full-Size Dishwashers

A full-size dishwasher has the ability to accommodate over 120 pans, pots, plates and cutlery pieces. In fact, with some of the largest models, you may even be able to squeeze in as many as 150 different items for washing.

A full-size dishwasher is great for someone who hosts large dinner parties and has a lot of washing to do. These kitchen dishwashers are generally about 24″ wide and they are usually water and energy-efficient. If you have the need and space, a full-size dishwasher is your best option. Full-size dishwashers are available built-in or freestanding.

Built-In Dishwashers

Built-in dishwashers can be fully integrated with the entire front panel hidden behind a cabinet door. They can also be semi-integrated with most of the front panel covered, but with the control panel visible. Because built-in dishwashers are most common, they have the most available upgrades and model varieties.

Built-in kitchen dishwashers provide easy access with no need for relocation to the sink for use. There is no faucet hookup, so the sink can be used for other things when the dishwasher is running. This type of dishwasher requires installation into the plumbing of the home. A permanently installed dishwasher is not recommended for rental homes or apartments.

Freestanding Portable Dishwashers

Full-size freestanding dishwashers are similar to the more traditional built-in models. This type of dishwasher is ideal for rental homes, apartments, and for anyone who relocates often. These dishwashers do not require any special plumbing installation, just a parking space.

The operation of a freestanding dishwasher is simple. When not in use, it can be rolled into a laundry room or against a back wall in the kitchen. To wash dishes, just wheel it over to the kitchen sink, connect the adapter to the faucet and use it just like a conventional built-in dishwasher.

In general, freestanding dishwashers have the same capacity and features of built-in models, and they provide the same cleaning quality as well. Unlike with their build-in counterparts, this type of dishwasher does not require the sacrifice of any storage space, but you should review your kitchen format to ensure you have a convenient location for it.

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Slimline Dishwashers

The best option for a kitchen without a lot of space available is a slimline dishwasher. At only 18″ wide, they are smaller than traditional full-size dishwashers are, but are still able to accommodate as many as 100 items per load.

Just like the full-size dishwashers, slimline dishwashers are available built-in or freestanding. Built-in slimline dishwashers can be fully integrated or semi-integrated just like the traditional built-in models. These dishwashers are ideal where space is limited, but for the number of dishes washed the larger models are more water and energy-efficient.

Counter Top Dishwashers

Another option when space is a concern is the countertop dishwasher. Usually, these portable dishwashers are roughly the size of a large microwave and available in two different styles.

The most popular and effective countertop dishwashers use electricity to operate. The other type of countertop dishwasher relies solely on water pressure, which is fine as long as sufficient water pressure is available. The electric models feature built-in water heaters, which gets dishes cleaner and saves energy.

Countertop dishwashers usually have a capacity of about 50 items, which will accommodate roughly four place settings. They are more energy and water efficient than full size and slimline dishwashers.

Also Read: Check Best Quality Counter Top Dishwasher

Drawer Dishwashers

Drawer dishwashers are also often referred to as dish drawers. These unconventional dishwashers are typically costly, but are regarded as the most convenient type of dishwashers available and can change the way you do dishes. However, only a few brands are available on the current market.

Things to know about drawer dishwashers include that they are available in two different styles: single-drawer and double-drawer. Both styles require the same permanent installation of a traditional built-in dishwasher.

The main benefits of a two drawer dishwasher are due to the drawers operating independently of one another. This means that you can opt to run both or just one at a time. It is even possible to use different wash cycles for each drawer.

These dishwashers save energy by washing smaller loads. Dishwasher drawers are ideal for someone living alone or couples that only have a few dishes to wash. No bending is required to load these dishwashers and they include similar features and cycles to many high-end models.

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Dishwashers are a great way to save time and effort in the kitchen.

Regardless of home and family size, a dishwasher is available to suit your specific needs. Once you have determined the type of dishwasher that is right for you, the next step is to choose the features that you want.

Guide to Dishwasher Prices

Dishwasher prices vary enormously…  from less than $350 for the standard, no-frills models up to $1,500 or more for the high-end units.  

So what do you get for your money at different price points?

Generally speaking, you don’t get cleaner dishes by paying more.  Most tests show that cheap dishwashers are quite effective at cleaning your pots and crockery.

At the lower end of the price range, you will find the American-made models for around $200 to $300.  The washing performance may be fine; however, these models are not known for quiet operation or much rack flexibility.

Budget dishwashers may feature some extras like a food disposal that will reduce the need for pre-rinsing and save water.

The higher you go up the price range, you will find higher quality models with more advanced technology like electronic sensors, stainless steel interiors, and more. 

Let’s start our price guide with these high-end dishwashers …

Dishwasher Prices: $1500 +

In this price category, you will find some of the high-end standard size built-in dishwashers.

The most popular brands that you will find in this category include AGA, Asko, Bosch, Dacor, Gaggenau, GE Monogram, Heartland, KitchenAid, Miele, Thermador, and Viking.

Available finishes within this price range generally include Black, Stainless Steel, White, Panel Ready, Ivory, and more.

They typically have all the bells and whistles you would ever want … and possibly many features you will never use!

Dishwasher Prices: $1,000 – $1,500

In addition to the built-in standard dishwashers that you will find in this price range, you will also find the two-drawer dishwasher models, which are the most energy-efficient dishwashers currently on the market.

The brands that you should expect to find within this price range include AGA, Asko, Bosch, Dacor, DCS, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, GE, GE Monogram, KitchenAid, LG, Miele, Scholtes, Smeg Thermador and Viking. You get the same finish options that you get with the higher-priced models.

These dishwashers typically feature 4 – 10 cycles and fully integrated, semi-integrated or full console controls.

Some models also feature a cutlery tray, stainless steel interior, hard food disposal, china/crystal setting and Energy Star rating.  They are nearly all designed for quieter than average operation.

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Dishwasher Prices: $800 – $1,000

The brand names that you will find within this price category include Asko, Blomberg, Bosch, DCS, Electrolux, Fagor, Fisher & Paykel, GE, GE Monogram, KitchenAid, LG, Miele, Smeg, Viking and Whirlpool. For this price, you will find both built-in as well as single drawer dishwashers that are available with finishes that are black, stainless steel, white or panel ready.

The dishwashers in this price range may have 4 – 10 wash cycles, but most will only have four to six. Most models in this category have fully integrated controls, but full console and a few models with semi-integrated are available.

Only a few of these models feature a cutlery tray and most have stainless steel interior. A china/crystal setting is available on more than half of the models found within this category. Although only a few of the models in this price range feature a hard food dispenser, almost all are Energy Star rated.

Dishwasher Prices: $500 – $800

The brands with dishwashers that fall into this price category include Asko, Blomberg, Bosch, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, Frigidaire, GE, KitchenAid, LG, Maytag, Samsung, Summit, Viking and Whirlpool. The finishes that are available include black, bisque, stainless steel, white, panel ready and slate.

You will find models with 3-9 cycles and most control styles are fully integrated or full console, but some are available with semi-integrated controls. Although most models do not have a cutlery tray, a few styles do. Most come with a stainless steel interior, many feature a china/crystal setting and almost all are Energy Star rated.

Dishwasher Prices: $350 – $500

In this category, you will find portable, built-in and countertop dishwashers by Amana, Avanti, Blomberg, Bosche, Danby, Frigidaire, GE, Hotpoint, Maytag, Summit, Sunpentown and Whirlpool in practically any finish other than panel ready. Available types include built-in, countertop and portable with 3 to 7 cycles.

Dishwasher Prices $350

The brands that you will find within this category include Amana, Danby, Frigidaire, GE, Hotpoint, Maytag, Sunpentown, and Whirlpool. The available styles are built-in and countertop with 1 to 6 cycles.

Most of these budget dishwashers do not have a cutlery tray, stainless steel interior or china/crystal setting, but you may be able to find a few models that do.  Dishwashers in this category are often small, and some are not so quiet.

We recommend you check user reviews carefully regarding noise and reliability if you are keen to buy a dishwasher at the low-end of the price range. 

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