Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (2023)

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (1)

With so many different types of dishwashers available, it can be overwhelming to find the one that’s right for your household. Look for a dishwasher that offers the features you need in a style that fits your home. Below, we cover many of the different types of dishwashers and their benefits, so you can find a dishwasher that best fits your needs.

Select a link below to jump to a question about the different types of dishwashers

Installation Size Location of control panel Features Colors and finishes

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (2) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (3)

Types of dishwashers by installation

Your standard, built-in dishwasher is typically installed using a permanent connection to your home’s plumbing. However, you can also find portable dishwashers that don’t need a special connection and just use the kitchen sink faucet.

Select a type of dishwasher to learn more:

Built-in or Under Counter Portable Dishwashers Panel-Ready Dishwashers

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (4) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (5)

Built-in or undercounter

Built-in or undercounter dishwashers are the most common type of dishwasher. They typically come in two different sizes, the standard 24-inch dishwasher, and a more compact 18-inch wide variety. They come with unfinished sides, because they typically slide in between cabinets underneath a countertop.


  • Takes up no counter space and minimal floor space

  • Usually have more features than portable models such as specialized washing and drying settings, larger capacities than portable options, and sometimes even a third rack

  • You can use your kitchen sink and run your dishwasher at the same time because they do not require a faucet connection

Shop Whirlpool®Built-In Dishwashers

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (9) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (10)

Portable dishwashers

Great for people who live in small spaces like city apartments, trailers or RV’s, portable dishwashers are best for when kitchen space is limited. They don’t require their own plumbing connection, instead they rely on a faucet adapter that connects to the sink. There are different model sizes available, including the standard 24-inch, a more compact 18-inch, as well as smaller countertop models.Learn more about how a portable dishwasher works.


  • Since they don’t need a permanent setup, you can take your portable dishwasher wherever you move
  • Can provide additional countertop space as many portable dishwashers have a wooden butcher block-type surface
  • Typically offers a lower price point than their built-in counterparts

Shop Whirlpool®Portable Dishwashers

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (12) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (13)

Integrated or panel-ready dishwashers

Another built-in style, these types of dishwashers let you add a more personalized look to your kitchen. Panel-ready dishwashers are compatible with customized exteriors that you can match to cabinetry for a more streamlined look than traditional dishwashers. They do require plumbing installation, so they need a permanent space within your kitchen.


  • You can create a cohesive look with existing cabinetry

  • Can soften up your space because they don’t have the more industrial look of typical dishwashers

  • Typically offer similar features as other built-in dishwashers so you can find one that fits your family’s needs

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (14) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (15)

(Video) Detergent packs are kinda wishy-washy (Dishwashers Explained)

Types of dishwashers by size

When purchasing a new dishwasher, you’ll want to consider the size of your household as well as the space that you have in your kitchen. While the standard size for portable or built-in dishwashers tend to be 24 inches wide, you can also find more compact sizes like 18-inch wide models or smaller, as well as oversizedand tall tub dishwashers for larger capacities. To learn how to measure the space for your new dishwasher, this guide to dishwasher dimensions will show you what size dishwasher you need.To explore other considerations when choosing the right appliance, read about quiet dishwashers.

Select a dishwasher size to learn more:

Standard Size Dishwashers Small or Compact Dishwashers Large Capacity Dishwashers

Standard size dishwashers

The standard size for a built-in dishwasher is roughly 24 inches wide by 24 inches deep and 35 inches tall. You’ll find various models that offer different features like delayed start, quick cycles and even third racks.


  • As the most common size for dishwashers, you’ll find plenty of variety in features, finishes and price points

  • Ideal for bigger families that go through dishes quickly and cook often

  • While you may sacrifice on under cabinet space, you’ll keep counter space intact

ShopWhirlpool®Standard Size Dishwashers

Small or compact dishwasher

For small spaces that don’t have a ton of room, compact dishwashers can be a good option. They can still offer the same features as full-capacity dishwashers, but with a smaller footprint. Measurements for compact dishwashers are typically 18 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 35 inches tall, though it may vary by model.


  • Though there isn’t as big of a selection as standard-sized dishwashers, you can still find them in a variety of styles and finishes

  • Depending on model and features,compact dishwashers may be priced lower than some full-sized models

  • They provide the functionality of a standard-size dishwasher, without having to sacrifice as much lower cabinet space.

Shop Whirlpool®Compact Dishwashers

Large capacity dishwashers

While most standard-sized dishwashers can fit an average of 12 place settings, larger capacity dishwashers can usually fit at least 14 place settings, if not more. While some are the standard 24 inches in width, others come in oversized widths ranging from 30-42 inches wide.


  • Can come with a third rack option that allows for more dishes and utensils to be loaded into the dishwasher, like Whirlpool® 3rd Rack Dishwashers thatthat fit extra mugs and bowls

  • Best for larger families or if you entertain often

  • Since they can fit more, you could potentially run your dishwasher less often and fit oversized serving platters

Shop Whirlpool®Large Capacity Dishwashers

(Video) How to Correctly Load your Dishwasher...

Dishwasher options by location of controls

Dishwashers typically come in two different styles based on the location of the control panel: front control dishwashers and top control dishwashers.They both offer different features and benefits and the one you pick is purely a personal preference.

Select control location to learn more:

Front Control Dishwashers Top Control Dishwashers

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (23) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (24)

Front control dishwashers

Front control dishwashers are, like the name suggests, dishwashers that have their control panels facing frontward so that you can see all the buttons and screen at first glance. They typically have a recessed or integrated pocket handle below the controls of the dishwasher, as opposed to a front-facing handle.


  • Cycle indicator screen or light is usually visible, so you don’t have to open the dishwasher to see how much time you have left

  • Can be more budget friendly than top control dishwashers

  • Buttons are more accessible

Shop Whirlpool®Front Control Dishwashers

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (27) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (28)

Top control dishwashers

Top control dishwashers are designed with control panels hidden away on top of the dishwasher door. The control buttons are not visible when the dishwasher door is closed for a minimal, sleek look.


  • Some offer handles that also double as towel racks

  • Gives a more seamless and integrated look to your kitchen

  • Panel-ready models are available in this style

Shop Whirlpool®Top Control Dishwashers

Dishwasher types by features

Besides capacity, one of the most important parts of picking a dishwasher is the features it offers. Depending on the model, you may find dishwashers that feature third racks, stainless steel tubs or even soil sensors, among others.

Select a dishwasher feature to learn more:

(Video) Best Dishwasher Review | Top 9 Dishwashers of 2022
Third Rack Dishwashers Stainless Steel Tub Dishwashers

Third rack dishwashers

Dishwashers that offer third racks can boost the number of items that you can wash in one cycle. They can also have adjustable second racks for items that are taller or bulkier like pitchers, serving ware or cookware.


  • The convenience of a third rack allows you to place silverware, serving utensils and other awkwardly-shaped items into the dishwasher more comfortably

  • Some models have deeper third racks that can give you additional room for small bowls or mugs

  • They are becoming increasingly popular, so you may be able to find a dishwasher with a third rack within your budget

Shop Whirlpool®Third Rack Dishwashers

Stainless steel tub dishwashers

While standard dishwashers usually have a plastic tub, higher end models can come with a stainless steel tub. Stainless steel tubs are a durable option for heavy usage.


  • Stainless steel is a durable material

  • Retains heat better, so may be more efficient in cleaning and drying dishes

  • Runs a quieter wash cycle than standard plastic tub dishwashers

Dishwasher options by finish

As varied as dishwasher features and sizes are, there’s even more variety to be found among dishwasher finishes. You can find them in black, white, stainless steel and black stainless among other options, so you’re bound to find a dishwasher that not only satisfies your kitchen needs but also your aesthetic.

Click to view different dishwasher finishes:

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (35)

Black dishwashers

  • A classic choice that’s always in style

  • A versatile color that complements various styles

  • Helps ground lighter kitchens

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (36)

White dishwashers

  • A popular color with many options across price points

  • A neutral option that integrates well with a range of styles

  • Brightens up your kitchen

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (37)

Stainless steel dishwashers

  • Goes well with just about any material or finish

  • Available in a variety of shades and tints to match your style

  • Fingerprint resistant finishes available from Whirlpool brand for an easy-to-clean option

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (38)

Black stainless dishwashers

  • A contemporary take on a classic finish

  • Offers a softer feel than traditional stainless steel

  • Fingerprint resistant finishes available from Whirlpool brand for an easy-to-clean option

(Video) Best Dishwashers 2022 – Only 3 worth buying!

Shop different Whirlpool®Dishwasher finishes

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (43)

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Learn more about Whirlpool®Dishwashers

  • Dishwasher Buying Guide: How to Buy a Dishwasher in 2023 Type, size, efficiency, cycles and budget are all things to consider when buying a dishwasher. Use this dishwasher buying guide to find the right fit for you.
  • How to Measure for Standard Dishwasher Sizes Learn how to measure dishwasher cabinets for all standard dishwasher sizes. You’ll find out how to measure dishwasher width, height and depth for your kitchen.
  • Parts of a Dishwasher: A Quick Reference Guide Curious about how dishwasher parts do their job? Learn about the parts of a dishwasher with this guide, then discover how these parts work to clean your dishes.

Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (47) Types of Dishwashers: Styles & Options Explained | Whirlpool (48)

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What are the three types of dishwashers? ›

There are three main types of dishwashers found in household kitchens: built in, portable, and drawer.

What is the difference between dishwashers? ›

Higher-end dishwashers have less space between tines so you can fit more dishes. They also tend to have more jets to help water reach into these smaller spaces. If you have bigger dishes, higher-end dishwashers usually offset the smaller spaces with foldable tines so you can still fit your pots and pans.

What is the difference between a slide in and built-in dishwasher? ›

A built-in dishwasher is designed to be installed under kitchen countertops and connected to your home's plumbing. Whereas a portable dishwasher, also known as freestanding, does not require these plumbing connections and can be wheeled into your kitchen and connected to your sink with a hose.

What is the #1 rated dishwasher? ›

What dishwasher should I buy in 2023? Though our team rated the Samsung 24-inch Top Control DW80R9950US as our best overall dishwasher, the best dishwasher for your needs will depend on your budget, available space, desired finish, and must-have features.

Why is a stainless steel dishwasher better? ›

Stainless steel dishwasher tubs are more durable and, as we said, can withstand higher heat temperatures. On top of a better clean, the energy-efficient ratings are better than that of a plastic tub since stainless steel ones retain heat better.

Which brand of dishwasher lasts the longest? ›

Miele dishwashers are the longest-lasting dishwashers that you can buy. The company claims that its products will last for 20 years of average use.

What is the difference between an integrated dishwasher and a freestanding one? ›

With a freestanding dishwasher, the exterior and control panel are exposed, while an integrated dishwasher will be fully installed within a kitchen unit, hidden by a door that matches your cupboards.

What type of dishwasher do restaurants use? ›

Door or hood type commercial dishwashers

All very quickly, with a large number of racks per hour. Hood type dishwashing machines are suitable for standard commercial kitchens.

How many years should a dishwasher last? ›

However, dishwashers don't last forever. The life expectancy of a dishwasher is about 10 years, according to manufacturers surveyed by Consumer Reports. However, issues with the appliances tend to develop within the first five years.

What to look for when buying a dishwasher 2022? ›

What to look for when buying a dishwasher
  • Cleaning cycles. Dishwashers that cost more generally come with extra cycles and drying options. ...
  • Drying options. ...
  • Noise level: what's a good decibel level for a dishwasher? ...
  • Colors and styles. ...
  • Price range.

Is it better to put the dishwasher pod in the bottom of the dishwasher? ›

Dishwasher detergent pods should always be placed in the detergent dispenser compartment. If you leave place the pod at the bottom of the dishwasher it may dissolve too quickly during the pre-wash. This would result in no detergent for the main wash cycle - reducing the efficiency of the wash cycle.

Are freestanding dishwashers better? ›


Another major advantage of freestanding dishwashers is that they cost less than built-in models. Both types of dishwashers feature energy-saving cycles that keep your utility bills down, but a freestanding unit doesn't require special installation.

What month do dishwashers go on sale? ›

September and October

Look for good deals on your dishwasher starting in September and running through Halloween. Dishwasher pricing during these months is especially low at large home center stores, where seasonal items are sold as well as appliances.

What is the most common problem with a dishwasher? ›

A dishwasher that doesn't drain properly is one of the most common dishwasher issues faced by homeowners. However, as frustrating as it may be, it's rarely something you can't solve yourself.

Is A Bosch dishwasher worth the money? ›

Out of all the dishwashers we tested, Bosch dishwashers came the closest to fully washing away the toughest types of stuck-on soils—even when we used the shortest (one-hour wash) cycle or a cheap detergent. Like most dishwashers, they're all efficient enough to earn the Energy Star badge.

What is the most common problem with a Whirlpool dishwasher? ›

Most common problems with Whirlpool dishwashers

The dishwasher does not drain properly. The detergent cup is not working properly. The dishwasher is not filling with water. The dishwasher door is leaking.

Is it worth servicing a dishwasher? ›

There are several reasons to opt for repairing your dishwasher, rather than replacing it, if possible. It's often more cost efficient, it's better for the environment to reuse your appliance, and it's a lot less of a hassle than shopping for and installing a new one.

Are new dishwashers better than old ones? ›

95+% of new dishwashers are Energy Star rated.

In a nutshell, it means that they are all using less water & energy – which also means that cycle times will be longer so that they operate more efficiently.

Why are Bosch dishwashers so popular? ›

They're as quiet, spacious, and fast as any dishwasher you can get for less than $1,000. And they seem to be more reliable than other brands, too. The cleaning performance is excellent across the Bosch lineup. Even the low-end 100 Series cleans as well as the premium 800 Series.

Why can't you put stainless steel water bottles in the dishwasher? ›

"We do not recommend washing your stainless steel bottles in the dishwasher as doing so may cause discoloration of powder coat finish. Instead, we recommend that you hand wash your bottle with a non-abrasive dish soap. For a deep cleaning, we suggest cleaning the Lid O-Rings with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar.

What dishwasher cleans the fastest? ›

There are several brands that offer a cycle that will run approximately 60 minutes. Bosch (Speed 60), Jenn-Air (One Hour), Kitchen Aid (Express), Maytag (Quick Wash) and Whirlpool (One Hour). These cycles work best with freshly soiled dishes, pre-washing may be needed.

Why do dishwashers run for 3 hours? ›

Today's dishwashers use less water and energy than older models, making them more efficient than dishwashers in the past. That means they need to run longer to get the same level of performance and allow sensors to assess whether your dishes are being properly cleaned.

Who makes Bosch dishwashers? ›

Bosch Home Appliances is part of BSH Bosch and Siemens Home Appliance Group, the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world. Inspired by the lifestyle of today's discerning customers, all Bosch products combine efficiency, quietness and quality with unrivaled ease of use.

How much should you spend on a dishwasher? ›

On average, a new dishwasher costs about $970, although you can spend $250 for a basic model or upward of $3,500 for special features like steam-cleaning and noise control. If you don't know how to install a dishwasher, you'll want to budget about $200 for professional dishwasher installation costs.

Do you have to put a door on a fully integrated dishwasher? ›

With fully integrated dishwashers, the front of the appliance must be covered with a door panel that matches the kitchen units. The operating panel is no longer visible. The dishwasher is operated from the top when the door is opened.

Do freestanding dishwashers need to be plumbed in? ›

The best thing about a freestanding dishwasher is that it can be placed just about anywhere you want it. If you have a drainage point and a water connection, the how-to of hooking up a freestanding dishwasher is simple - there is no direct plumbing is needed for these nifty units.

What is the difference between a commercial dishwasher and a glasswasher? ›

Glasswashers are especially designed to deliver great wash results while also protecting and maximising the life of your glasses. A dishwasher, on the other hand, is suitable for all your crockery and cutlery as well as small pots and pans.

Are commercial dishwashers better than residential? ›

The main benefit of a commercial dishwasher over residential is speed. Commercial models have extremely fast washing cycles and dishes require little drying time – this allow them to meet the high dishwashing demands of restaurants and businesses.

What are the two types of dishwashing techniques? ›

There are two common ways to hand wash dishes: by "diluting" dish detergent in a sink or dishpan filled with water, or by squirting detergent directly onto a sponge or the dirty dish (called the "neat" method).

Who is the best person to install a dishwasher? ›

As with anything in the home relating to water, a plumber is the go-to professional to hire for dishwasher installation. There are specific codes regarding household plumbing that must be adhered to, and plumbers work with these codes daily.

What is the first thing you should do with a new dishwasher? ›

Like A Pro: Tips For The First 100 Days With Your Dishwasher
  1. Step 1: measure the water hardness. ...
  2. Step 2: adjust the water softening system. ...
  3. Step 3: top up the salt. ...
  4. Step 4: add rinse aid. ...
  5. Step 5: add detergent. ...
  6. Step 6: run one hot cycle.

How much should I pay to have a dishwasher installed? ›

Professionals charge between $100 and $450 with an average of $190 for a basic installation into a pre-existing infrastructure. They will also take care of disposing of your old dishwasher for you, which is an added bonus.

How often does the dishwasher need be drained and cleaned out? ›

Clean the dishwasher monthly. Be sure the water temperature is high enough to clean and sanitize dishes and the dishwasher.

Is replacing a dishwasher easy? ›

Replacing an existing dishwasher is a relatively easy job (provided you've measured up correctly and your new dishwasher fits in the space under your bench). All the infrastructure you need – power, water, drainage and space – are already in place.

What is the number 1 dishwasher? ›

What dishwasher should I buy in 2023? Though our team rated the Samsung 24-inch Top Control DW80R9950US as our best overall dishwasher, the best dishwasher for your needs will depend on your budget, available space, desired finish, and must-have features.

What dishwasher breaks down Least? ›

Bosch is among the more reliable brands of dishwashers. GE and Frigi- daire are more repair-prone than Bosch, Whirlpool and Miele.

What is the difference between integrated and built-in dishwasher? ›

With a freestanding dishwasher, the exterior and control panel are exposed, while an integrated dishwasher will be fully installed within a kitchen unit, hidden by a door that matches your cupboards.

What are the 2 types of dishwashing? ›

There are two common ways to hand wash dishes: by "diluting" dish detergent in a sink or dishpan filled with water, or by squirting detergent directly onto a sponge or the dirty dish (called the "neat" method).

What is difference between ADA compliant and standard dishwasher? ›

What is an ADA Compliant Dishwasher? While subtle, ADA compliant dishwashers come with a few key differences. Most notable is ADA dishwasher height. While standard dishwashers measure between 33–34 inches tall, ADA dishwashers measure 32 inches tall in order to fit beneath compliant countertops.

What's the difference between freestanding and under bench dishwashers? ›

What's the difference between an underbench dishwasher and a freestanding dishwasher? Underbench dishwashers are fitted underneath a benchtop in your kitchen, while freestanding dishwashers are stand-alone units that can function anywhere there is access to water and drainage.

Which is better freestanding or integrated dishwasher? ›

Choosing freestanding or integrated appliances depends on your kitchen layout and design scheme. A smaller kitchen would benefit from integrated appliances owing to their space saving benefits, offering you a clean finish and an open feel to your space.

What should you look for in a dishwasher? ›

Dishwasher Features
  • Cleaning Power/Performance. Clean and sanitize dishes with these advanced wash options: ...
  • Noise Level. If finding the quietest dishwasher available is a concern for you, check the decibel level. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Water and Energy Savings. ...
  • Tub Material. ...
  • Control Options. ...
  • Filters. ...
  • Sensors.

What are the five dishwashing methods? ›

  • 5 Step Manual Dishwashing Procedure.
  • 1) Prewash 2) Wash 3) Rinse 4) Sanitize 5) Air Dry.
  • Sanitizing Solutions must be maintained at an effective level. Verify effective concentration stated by the manufacturer.

Which is the best for dishwashers gel powder or tabs? ›

Powder detergent is most effective at removing most of these stains. If you aren't dealing with hard water, though, and you aren't trying to pinch pennies (powder is also the most cost-effective dish detergent option), tablets are the most effective option on the market, according to Consumer Reports.

Do you want higher or lower dBA dishwasher? ›

Any dishwasher with a decibel level of 44 dBA or lower is usually considered to be quiet. For most, a rating of 40 dBA and below is the best bet as it is considered to be virtually silent no matter the wash cycle setting.

What are the three most important rules when using a dishwasher? ›

Avoid overloading.

Crowing glasses and plates can cause them to chip or break (and they won't get clean either). Allow the machine to cool before reaching in to prevent burns from the steam. After loading or unloading the dishwasher, close the door, so others won't fall over it.

What does dBA mean when buying a dishwasher? ›

What is a dishwasher's decibel rating? Dishwasher noise levels are measured in dBA. This stands for “A-weighted decibels,” which essentially measures how loud something sounds to the human ear. Every increase of 10 decibels doubles the perceived noise level of a dishwasher.

What happens if you put top rack only on bottom of dishwasher? ›

The heating element in dishwashers is typically on the bottom of the machine, which means the top rack is comparatively cooler than the bottom. If you put an item marked "top rack only" in the bottom rack, you may find it has discolored, warped or become damaged by the end of the cycle.

Can you take top off free standing dishwasher? ›

Freestanding Dishwashers

They come standard with sides and a top, and they connect the same way underbench dishwashers do. Freestanding units can be built under a bench, but keep in mind that the top would need to be removed, and for some units this is not an option.


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