One thing is for certain when it comes to buying new appliance – there is more choices, perhaps too many, then ever before. Competition has been growing fiercely in the home appliance industry as both European and Asian manufacturers are bringing their products to the United States. This is especially true when it comes to the built in kitchen dishwasher. This article will try and make selecting a new built in dishwasher simple and easy.
1. Determine your size
Dishwashers come in two standard widths – 18″ wide and 24″ wide. The large majority of dishwashers sold in the U.S. are 24″ wide models. 18 inch wide machines are generally used where space is at a premium or a large dishwasher is not necessary. For instance, city dwellings, home wet bars, or one bedroom apartments are places you will often see an 18 inch side dishwasher. Dacor has recently introduced a 30 inch wide dishwasher available in both stainless steel as well as custom panel ready. However, since they are the only manufacturer for the sake of this article I will not label this as a standard size.
2. Determine your preferred door style
Full Console: The days of all dishwashers looking the same are over. Traditionally, dishwashers all had what I will call a Full Console and these are still available. Full console dishwashers are still popular especially in lower priced models. This type has the control panel at the top of the dishwasher door – usually about 4 inches high. Since a picture is worth a thousand words here is a link to a popular full console dishwashera
Fully integrated: perhaps the most popular style in recent years due to their sleek, clean look – these dishwashers have the controls on the top leaving only a solid door and handle. Cycle options are selected and then the user closes the door which activates the dishwasher to start the cycle selected. Since many new dishwashers are so quiet you literally can not tell they are on, some fully integrated add a small display on the front or a light that is aimed on the floor as visual indicators of cleaning status.
Semi or Partially Integrated: It was mentioned at the beginning of this article that there are more and more choices and the semi or partially integrated dishwasher is one of the newest types to come to market. These are a sort of cross between full console and fully integrated dishwashers having the controls on the top while at the same time having a display or panel in the front.
Custom wood panel ready: These are dishwashers that are designed to accept a custom wood panel to match the kitchen cabinetry and are available in both full console and fully integrated styles with the later dominating the market. Matching appliance handles or cabinet hardware may be used as a means to open the unit. This is a popular choice during kitchen remodels as it allows the designer to “hide” or blend in the dishwasher focusing guests attention to the homes décor.
Dishwasher Drawers or the DishDrawer: The DishDrawer was original designed and manufactured by Fisher Paykel Dishwasher, an appliance manufacturer from New Zealand who holds dominant market share in its home country as well as Australia. These are available in double drawer and single drawer configurations. More recently, dishwasher drawers have been introduced from DCS, Jenn-Air, Kitchen Aid, and Maytag. These are an excellent choice for those who would benefit from running smaller loads more often as the drawers can operate independently.
These are on wheels and are not required to be built in having finished sides. Often used when the cost of modifying cabinetry is not in the budget or when space does not allow a permanent dishwasher. Portable dishwashers may be left freestanding or could be kept in a closet, rolled out, and hooked up to a kitchen faucet and sink as needed.
While we did not cover the specific features of dishwashers, using this guide to narrow down you selection will save you a great deal of time when beginning the selection process. Remember that nearly any dishwasher you choose will be quieter, more efficient, and offer improved cleaning when compared to your current machine.