Top Control vs Front Control Dishwashers: Which One to Choose?

by | Last updated Oct 21, 2023

Have you ever found yourself in a store, looking at dishwashers, and scratching your head over terms like “top control” and “front control”? You’re not alone! The big question: Top Control vs. Front Control Dishwashers – what’s the difference, and which should you pick?

Buying a dishwasher might seem simple, but getting into the details can be a tad confusing. There are so many types and features out there! But don’t worry; this blog will break it down for you. We’ll discuss what each type means, their good and not-so-good points, and which one might best fit you.

So, if you’re thinking of getting a new dishwasher or just curious about the topic, keep reading. By this end, you’ll have all the info you need to make a smart choice.

Efficiency Matters to Buyers

An impressive 77% of consumers consider energy and water efficiency a top factor when choosing between dishwasher models. Go green and save!

What’s a Top Control Dishwasher?

Visual demonstration of someone selecting a cycle on a loaded top control dishwasher.

You’ve probably seen a dishwasher that looks seamless on the outside, without any buttons or controls in the front. That’s a top-control dishwasher for you! Unlike the traditional front-control dishwashers with visible buttons and dials on the front panel, top-control dishwashers have their controls hidden on the top edge of the door. You’ll see the buttons or touch controls when you open the dishwasher door. It’s like a little secret control panel! This design gives the dishwasher a sleek look and ensures you don’t accidentally press any buttons while walking past.

Pros and Cons of Top Control Dishwashers

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and discuss what’s great about these dishwashers and what might make you think twice.

Benefits of Top Control Dishwashers

#1. Sleek Design

Top-control dishwashers offer a smooth, streamlined look without buttons or dials on the front. They blend beautifully into your kitchen, especially if you’re going for a modern or minimalist vibe.

#2. Accidental Bump-Proof

If you’ve got bustling kitchen activities or playful kids running around, the top control design ensures they don’t accidentally start or stop a wash cycle by bumping into the buttons.

#3. Easy Cleaning

Cleaning is a breeze without controls and dials on the front. Just a simple wipe-down, and you’re good to go!

Downsides of Top Control Dishwashers

#1. Visibility Issues

Since the controls are on the top, you can’t easily see the ongoing cycle or time remaining without bending down or opening the door.

#2. Potential Learning Curve

It might take a little time to adjust if you’re used to controlling dishwashers. Remembering to set everything before closing the door can be a slight change in routine.

#3. Price

Top control models are slightly more expensive than their front control counterparts. However, many believe the aesthetic appeal and other advantages justify the extra cost.

What’s a Front Control Dishwasher?

Displaying someone selecting a cycle on a loaded front control dishwasher.

Imagine entering a kitchen and spotting a dishwasher with buttons or dials on its face, easily visible and accessible. That’s a front control dishwasher for you! As the name suggests, the controls are located on the front panel. It’s the design many of us grew up with and are familiar with. When you want to start a cycle or adjust settings, everything is right before you, making it super convenient.

Pros and Cons of Front Control Dishwashers

Now, while they may sound basic compared to the top control models, there’s a reason why front-control dishwashers are still a popular choice. Let’s dive into the pros and cons.

Benefits of Front Control Dishwashers

#1. Easy Access

The controls being right on the front means you can quickly set or change cycles without bending or opening the dishwasher door.

#2. At-a-Glance Monitoring

Do you know how long you’ve left on that cycle? Just a quick glance at the front panel, and you’re informed. No need to interrupt your dishwashing flow!

#3. Generally More Affordable

If you’re on a budget, front control models might be the way to go. They tend to be more pocket-friendly than top-control designs.

Downsides of Front Control Dishwashers

#1. Potential for Accidental Changes

With controls on the front, they can easily get bumped or changed accidentally. Picture a bustling family dinner preparation, and you’ll get the idea.

#2. Less Sleek in Appearance

Unlike the seamless look of top control models, front-control dishwashers have a more functional and traditional aesthetic. They might not blend as smoothly into modern kitchen designs.

#3. Cleaning Challenges

Those buttons and dials can gather grime, making cleaning a tad more tedious compared to the smooth design of top control models.

Exploring Dishwasher Panel Types: Differences and Impact on Design

When diving into the realm of dishwashers, it’s not just about whether you should go for top control or front control. A crucial, often overlooked aspect is the panel type. The dishwasher’s panel significantly influences its appearance, functionality, and how it integrates into your kitchen’s overall design.

Standard Panel Dishwashers

These are the most common types and what many of us envision when thinking of dishwashers. They have a functional design, typically displaying the brand’s logo. They might have front controls, making them easy to use, but only sometimes seamlessly blend into cabinetry.

Custom Panel Dishwashers

Want your dishwasher to be a chameleon? Custom panel dishwashers allow you to attach a panel that matches your kitchen cabinets. This makes the dishwasher “disappear” into the cabinetry, offering a unified look. It’s a favorite for homeowners who prioritize aesthetics.

Semi-integrated Dishwashers

A halfway point between standard and fully integrated designs. The control panel is visible, but a custom panel can still cover most of the dishwasher door, allowing some to blend into the kitchen design while retaining accessible controls.

Fully Integrated Dishwashers

The epitome of sleek, modern kitchen design. Fully integrated dishwashers are hidden behind a cabinet panel, and their controls are on the top of the door. They offer a clean look, emphasizing a clutter-free environment. They’re especially fitting for minimalist or contemporary kitchens.

Making the Decision: Top or Front Control?

You’ve explored the world of dishwashers and now stand at the crossroads: top control or front control? It might feel like choosing between vanilla and chocolate ice cream, but hey, each flavor has its unique charm! Let’s break down the reasons you might lean towards one over the other, helping you pick the perfect dishwasher delight for your home.

Reasons to Choose Top Control Dishwashers

#1. The Modern Appeal

If aesthetics are high on your priority list, the sleek design of top control dishwashers might win you over. Their seamless appearance can elevate the entire look of your kitchen.

#2. Child-Proofing and Safety Features in Dishwashers

Have curious little ones at home? With the controls tucked away, there’s less risk of kids starting or stopping a cycle on a whim. Modern dishwashers not only focus on design and efficiency but also prioritize safety. Many models have safety locks, anti-flood protection, and sensors that detect potential issues. These built-in safety features in dishwashers ensure that your family, especially the youngest members, remains safe while the appliance is in operation.

#3. Streamlined Cleaning

Without a cluster of buttons on the front, wiping down your dishwasher after a cooking session becomes a breeze. It’s the little things in life, right?

Reasons to Go for Front Control Dishwashers

#1. Easy Control

The straightforward design means everything’s right there. No bending, no opening the door—just set and forget.

#2. Budget-Friendly Choices

If you’re keeping an eye on the wallet, front control models generally come with a friendlier price tag. Great value without compromising on performance.

#3. User-Friendly Quick Monitoring

Want to sneak a peek at how much time’s left on that cycle? With front control, it’s as simple as glancing over while you’re cooking or brewing that cup of tea. This user-friendly feature ensures you’re always in the know without any fuss.

Modern Tech, More Complexity?

Did you know? Some top-of-the-line dishwashers now boast over 30 unique advanced features! From auto-soil sensors to Wi-Fi connectivity, dishwashing has gone high-tech!

Do Top Control Dishwashers Fit Under Counters?

Showcasing of a loaded top control dishwasher seamlessly fitted under a kitchen counter.

It’s a question many ask, especially when they’re eyeing that sleek top control dishwasher. The short answer? Absolutely! Top control dishwashers are designed to fit snugly under standard countertops, just like their front control counterparts. The only difference is the location of the controls. Instead of being on the face of the dishwasher, they’re discreetly tucked away on the top edge of the door. So, when you slide the dishwasher into place under the counter, everything fits smoothly. This design not only keeps your kitchen looking clean and clutter-free but also ensures that your working space is optimized.

Can You Start a Top Control Dishwasher with the Door Open?

Well, you might be scratching your head thinking, “Why would I want to do that?” But hey, it’s good to know all the quirks of your appliances, right? Here’s the deal: Generally, you can’t start any dishwasher (be it top control or front control) with the door open due to safety features. The dishwasher door must be securely latched for the cycle to begin. This feature is a safety precaution to avoid any accidental water spillage or mishaps. So, if you’re trying to get a cycle going on a top control dishwasher, ensure the door is properly shut, then set your desired cycle, and off you go!

The Door Lock Mechanism

Most dishwashers come equipped with a door lock mechanism that activates during a wash cycle. This nifty feature ensures water and steam stay inside, protecting you and your kitchen.

Other Important Things to Know About Dishwashers

A loaded dishwasher in the kitchen depicting Other Important Things to Know About Dishwashers

Alright, so now you’re getting the hang of dishwasher jargon. But there’s always more to learn! Here are a few more tidbits to boost your dishwasher knowledge:

Energy Efficiency

Look out for dishwashers with an Energy Star rating. These models are designed to save money on utility bills and are kinder to our planet. Double win!

Size Matters

Dishwashers aren’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on your kitchen space and family size, you might opt for standard, compact, or drawer dishwashers. If you’re uncertain about what size is perfect for your needs, take a look at this guide on Choosing the Right Dishwasher Size.

Noise Levels

If your kitchen is open-plan or you’re just noise-sensitive, check the decibel (dB) rating. Lower dB means quieter operation.

Special Cycles

Beyond the regular wash and dry, many modern dishwashers offer unique cycles like “Sanitize,” “Quick Wash,” or “Eco Mode.” Interested in diving deeper into these settings? Check out Dishwasher Cycles and Settings. Tailor your wash to your needs!

Maintenance is Key

To keep your dishwasher in top shape, regular maintenance is crucial. For instance, cleaning filters is essential for optimal performance. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out these Easy Steps to Clean Your Dishwasher Filter. Additionally, using rinse aids can be a game-changer for that sparkling finish on your dishes.

Final Thoughts on the Top Control vs Front Control Dishwashers

Alright, folks! How exciting has this dishwasher journey been? We’ve dived deep, unraveled mysteries, and laid out the facts about top-control and front-control dishwashers. Both have their unique flair and honestly, there’s no wrong choice. It depends on what tickles your fancy and fits snugly into your kitchen dreams. So, why wait? It’s time to elevate your kitchen game! Go out there, pick your champion, and let every dishwashing session be a testament to your impeccable choice. After all, life’s too short for dishwashing regrets. Make your pick and dazzle those dishes!

At WashDryDazzle, our primary goal is to equip you with invaluable knowledge to simplify your day-to-day tasks; to explore more, check out our central hub of Dishwasher Guides.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are front-facing controls on a dishwasher?

Front-facing controls refer to the buttons, dials, or touch controls located on the front panel of the dishwasher, allowing users to easily set or adjust washing cycles.

Does the installation process differ between top-control and front-control dishwashers?

No, the installation process for top and front control dishwashers is fundamentally the same. The primary difference lies in the control placement rather than how the unit is installed.

How does efficiency differ between top-control and front-control dishwashers?

The efficiency of a dishwasher is primarily based on its design and technology, not on the placement of its controls. Top-control and front-control dishwashers can be equally efficient if they employ the latest energy-saving technologies.

Which brands offer both top-control and front-control dishwashers?

Most major dishwasher brands, including Bosch, Whirlpool, Samsung, and LG, offer top control and front control models.

How does the door design impact the choice between top-control and front-control dishwashers?

Top control dishwashers often have a sleeker door design since controls are hidden, whereas front control models have visible controls, affecting the overall appearance of the door.

How does user experience differ between top-control and front-control dishwashers?

Top control dishwashers offer a sleeker look, with controls hidden, ensuring an uninterrupted facade. Front control models provide easy access and visibility to controls. The best user experience largely depends on individual preferences and kitchen habits.



Home Appliances Expert

A. Ditta, a highly regarded authority in home appliances, contributes his expertise to With 15 years of global experience, Ditta's writings stand out for their quality, accuracy, and user-centric approach. Recognized as a reliable source for washing and drying products, his in-depth knowledge and commitment to providing clear, accurate advice make him a trusted guide for readers worldwide. Ditta’s work is a testimony to his profound expertise in the industry.