Choosing the Right Dishwasher

Choosing the Right Dishwasher

Thank heavens for dishwashers. They provide sanitized dishes and cookware, and they save time and energy. Believe it or not, dishwashers use less energy than hand washing. Dishwashers also sanitize your dishes much better than hand washing because they use temperatures as high as 140° Fahrenheit. Lastly, according to Energy Star, a dishwasher can help you save up to 7,000 gallons of water per year. 

There are many different types of dishwashers to choose from.

The Traditional Built-in – Fully Integrated

An integrated dishwasher is built into your cabinetry, so that the design of your kitchen remains intact and conceals the appliance. It actually comes without finished sides or top so that it can fit into your existing cabinets to create a sleek, discreet and sophisticated appearance. 


  • Want silent dishwashing? These integrated dishwashers provide the quietest operation of all.
  • Provides the cleanest, sleekest look of all dishwashers.
  • Usually, these models have a more comprehensive set of functions and cycles than other types of models.


  • If you are planning a kitchen redesign you might not be able to move the dishwasher.
  • It would be difficult to take it with you, if you plan to move in the future.
  • A fairly expensive option, they generally run several hundred dollars more than a semi-integrated model.
  • You cannot view the settings without opening the dishwasher door.
  • Must permanently install with plumbing.

Built-in (Semi-integrated)

This is the most popular model and is made to go under a counter or other work surface designed for this purpose. These are equipped with front control panels. If you want to be able to easily check the panel while the dishwasher is operating, this type of dishwasher is for you. These units can still be partially integrated into the cabinetry, to have a sleek appearance. But, there will be a 4-5 inch panel at the top of the door front, which includes the controls and the handle. 

These dishwashers are less expensive than fully integrated models. Semi-integrated dishwashers also have several other advantages:


  • The control panel is visible – you needn’t open the door to look at it while the dishwasher is in operation.
  • You can still match corresponding cabinetry so that it is more streamlined.
  • Large choice of models due to popularity.
  • Tend to be less expensive than fully integrated models.
  • Generally, semi-integrated dishwashers are much easier to install than fully integrated ones.


  • Although it is possible to remove a semi-integrated model from the home, it can be rather involved, and care must be taken with the plumbing.
  • Many of the newer semi-integrated models are very quiet but not generally as silent as a fully integrated dishwasher.

Drawer Style Dishwasher

These non-traditional dishwasher units were introduced in around 1998. Also called dish drawers, these innovative units come either as a one or two drawer model and require the same type of plumbing as traditional dishwashers.

Convenience and energy savings are big factors in purchasing this type of dishwasher, especially the two-drawer option. This plus comes at a price though. Dish drawers are quite expensive, mostly because there are so few brands.

Drawers run independently of each other, so running only one drawer saves water and energy. When running both drawers, you are able to use different wash cycles for each. 

Single units are ideal for one- or two-person households.


  • Ergonomic design – no bending over needed
  • Drawers run independently of each other
  • Energy efficient
  • Features are similar to high end integrated dishwashers
  • Adds to the overall sophistication of the kitchen design


  • Expensive due to so few brands
  • Must permanently install with plumbing
  • Very large dishes and pots may not fit. However, newer dish drawers are being designed to accommodate larger items

Free Standing Portable Dishwasher

Freestanding dishwashers are a good option if you need flexibility and, in some instances, if you are short on space. Whether you’re looking for a slim model (18 inches wide) – these commonly will accommodate 6-8 place settings for a compact kitchen or a larger dishwasher (24 inches wide) – generally these will accommodate 10-12 place settings. 

Freestanding dishwasher models can go underneath your worktop or be stored away when not in use since they don’t need to be permanently connected to a plumbing system. Since they are built on wheels they are easily connected to your sink. 

Many have a durable countertop so that they even contribute to your counter workspace. 


  • Suitable for renters as there is no plumbing needed and you can take it with you when you move
  • Allow for more counter workspace if needed
  • Some models have the same high-end features of integrated brands 
  • Wide variety of finishes
  • Great if you don’t have a dedicated space for a dishwasher


  • You can’t run your dishwasher and use your sink faucet at the same time
  • These are generally just as expensive as built-in models.

Countertop Dishwasher

Don’t have the budget or space for a full-size dishwasher? A countertop model may be for you.

These are the most economical of all models and simply need a counter or cart to locate them close to the sink. The capacity to accommodate four place settings is most common, but larger models can handle up to six settings. Most models have generally been bare bones when it comes to advanced features, but newer models now have some enhanced washing cycles and heated drying. 

To operate, you need a connection or adapter to attach to the faucet (as with a full-size portable unit). Singles and couples may find a countertop dishwasher suits their needs. Because these countertop dishwashers are not as powerful as other types, heavily soiled dishes and pots may need to be rinsed or food residue removed before loading.


  • Most economical of all types
  • Good for singles or couples
  • Good for renters, take it with you when you go


  • Due to small size capacity, not suitable for large families
  • Not as convenient as other types – may require hand rinsing first
  • Has the least amount of functionality but newer models are adding more
  • If you have limited counter space, you’ll need a cart, which takes up floor space

Whatever type of dishwasher you choose, you can count on C&W Appliance Service to provide the very best in repair and maintenance to it and all your major appliances.  Call us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt service.


Blog Categories

Call C&W Appliance Service Today

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

For the very best in appliance repair and maintenance, you can count on C&W Appliance Service.


Customer Satisfaction Survey