What is a Built-in Dishwasher? Facts You Must Know!

by | Last updated Oct 21, 2023

Ever looked at your kitchen and thought, “There’s got to be a better way to handle these dishes?” We all love eating, but the pile of dirty dishes afterward? Not so much. If you’re tired of that mess and want a clean kitchen without dishes taking over, you might need a built-in dishwasher. Now, you must be wondering, What is a built-in dishwasher? Don’t worry; we will cover all the information. 

Imagine a machine tucked away neatly under your counter. It’s not in your way, and it’s ready to clean your dishes while you relax. That’s a built-in dishwasher! These are like magic boxes: you put in dirty dishes, close the door, and boom! After a while, they come out clean. And the best part? They fit so nicely in your kitchen that you might forget they’re even there.

Now, if you’re thinking about making your life easier and your kitchen prettier, stick around. We’ll dive deep into everything you need to know about built-in dishwashers. By the end of this, you might just want one for yourself! Let’s jump in and learn together.

Dishwasher Popularity

DDid you know that over 75% of American homes use a dishwasher, with built-ins being the top choice!

How Does a Built-In Dishwasher Work?

A loaded built-in dishwasher showing how it works.

A built-in dishwasher operates through a series of steps designed to provide efficient and thorough cleaning of your dishes. Here’s a simplified explanation of how it works:

Loading the Dishwasher

The first step involves placing dishes and cutlery into the dishwasher racks. It’s important to arrange these items correctly to ensure efficient cleaning and avoid damage.

Adding Detergent

Once the dishwasher is loaded, add a specific amount of detergent to the dispenser.

Selecting a Cycle

You then choose a washing cycle suitable for the type and degree of dirt on your dishes. Multiple options usually range from heavy-duty cleaning to eco-friendly or quick wash cycles.

Water Inflow

When the cycle begins, water flows into the dishwasher from your home’s water supply. The amount of water used can vary based on the specific model of the dishwasher and the selected wash cycle.

Heating the Water

The dishwasher then heats the water to a high temperature, usually around 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit (60-71 degrees Celsius), to effectively remove food residues and kill bacteria.

Spraying the Dishes

Hot water mixed with detergent is sprayed onto the dishes through rotating spray arms at the bottom and sometimes the dishwasher’s top. The force of the water removes food particles from the dishes.

Draining the Dirty Water

After washing the dishes, the dirty water is drained from the dishwasher.

Rinsing the Dishes

The dishwasher then sprays more hot water onto the dishes to rinse off any remaining detergent.

Drying the Dishes

In the final stage, many dishwashers use heated air or a heated rinse (which makes the dishes themselves hot, and they subsequently evaporate the remaining moisture) to dry the dishes, although some models may require manual drying.

End of Cycle

The dishwasher signals the end of the cycle, usually with a beep or light. At this point, the dishes are clean and ready to be unloaded.

Famous Era of Built-in Dishwashers

Did you know that Built-in dishwashers became popular in the 1960s, transforming modern kitchen designs?

Exploring the Benefits: Why Should You Consider a Built-In Dishwasher?

A visual presentation of the benefits of a built-in dishwasher.

Built-in dishwashers are undoubtedly an excellent addition to any modern home. They offer a seamless aesthetic appeal, integrating beautifully with your kitchen cabinetry for a sleek, unified look. This is particularly valuable for open-plan designs where kitchen appliances are visible from other living areas.

Moreover, built-in dishwashers provide greater capacity than other dishwashers, making them ideal for families or individuals who frequently host gatherings. The increased capacity can save time and energy by reducing the need for multiple wash cycles. In addition, built-in dishwashers are typically quieter than their freestanding counterparts, which can be a significant benefit in homes with open floor plans or if the dishwasher is used during the evening.

Built-in Dishwasher is Not just for Dishes

Did you know that some people use built-in dishwashers to sanitize toys and even wash baseball caps?

Built-in dishwashers have advanced features such as various wash cycle options, delay start functions, and energy-saving modes, which offer flexibility and efficiency. These dishwashers may also increase the resale value of your home as they are considered high-value appliances. However, it is essential to consider factors such as your kitchen space, plumbing setup, and budget before deciding on a built-in dishwasher. Rest assured, with all these benefits, a built-in dishwasher is undoubtedly worth considering for your home.

Built-In Dishwashers: A Balanced View of Their Strengths and Weaknesses

A pictorial demonstration of pros and cons of built-in dishwashers.

Every appliance has its own benefits and drawbacks, and built-in dishwashers are no exception. Let’s delve into the primary positives and negatives to keep in mind.

Pros of a Built-In Dishwasher

Seamless Integration

Built-in dishwashers blend in with kitchen cabinetry, offering your kitchen a sleek and streamlined look.

Higher Capacity

They typically have a larger capacity than portable or countertop models, making them ideal for larger households or those who entertain frequently.

Advanced Features

Many built-in models come equipped with features like multiple wash cycles, delayed start, soil sensors, and more, providing a high level of convenience and efficiency.

Quiet Operation

Built-in dishwashers are usually insulated better than portable models, resulting in more silent operation.


Because they are fixed into the cabinetry, built-in dishwashers are stable and don’t need to be moved.

Cons of a Built-In Dishwasher


Built-in dishwashers require a dedicated space in your kitchen and proper plumbing, which can be complicated to install and often needs professional help.

Permanent Placement

Once installed, they cannot be moved easily. This can disadvantage those wanting to rearrange their kitchen or move homes.


Built-in dishwashers can be more expensive than other models in terms of appliance cost and installation.

Size Constraints

If you have a small kitchen or limited cabinetry space, a built-in dishwasher may not fit or take up valuable storage space.

Repair and Replacement

If a built-in dishwasher breaks down, it can be more complex and costly to repair or replace due to its integration with the kitchen cabinetry.

When deciding whether a built-in dishwasher suit you, weighing these pros and cons is essential based on your specific needs, kitchen setup, and budget.

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting a Built-In Dishwasher

An open built-in dishwasher depicting key factors to select a dishwasher.

Choosing a built-in dishwasher requires consideration of several factors to ensure it meets your needs, fits seamlessly into your kitchen, and provides the best value for your investment. Here are some critical steps to guide your decision-making process:

Measure Your Space

The first step in choosing any appliance is ensuring it fits your intended space. Measure the height, width, and depth of the dishwasher spot in your kitchen, and remember to account for the door opening.

Assess Your Needs

Consider how many dishes you typically need to wash, how often you’ll use the dishwasher, and what dishes you’ll be cleaning. This will help you determine the capacity and features you need. For instance, you might need a larger-capacity dishwasher with adjustable racks if you frequently host dinner parties.

Consider Energy Efficiency

Look for energy-efficient dishwashers to help reduce your utility bills and environmental impact. Models with an Energy Star rating usually meet these requirements.

Evaluate Noise Level

If your kitchen is close to your living area or prefers running your dishwasher at night, consider a model that operates quietly. The noise level of dishwashers is usually indicated in decibels (dB) on the product specifications.

Check the Number and Type of Cycles

Different models offer different wash and dry cycles. Some include quick wash, heavy wash, eco mode, and even auto programs that adjust the cycle based on the dishes’ dirty.

Understand the Cost

While built-in dishwashers can be more expensive upfront, they can provide long-term value in capacity, features, and energy efficiency. However, remember to factor in installation costs.

Read Reviews and Ratings

Check online reviews and ratings to get an idea of the performance and durability of the models you’re considering.

Warranty and Service

Consider the warranty period and the manufacturer’s reputation for customer service.

Efficient in Killing Bacteria

Built-in dishwashers can kill 99% of bacteria in dishes, making them healthier than hand-washing.

Remember, the best built-in dishwasher for you depends on your needs, kitchen layout, and budget. Take the time to research and compare different models before making your decision.

How Do the Various Types of Built-in Dishwashers Differ?

Built-in dishwashers, while sharing the characteristic of being installed into a kitchen’s cabinetry, can differ significantly based on a few key aspects. The standard 24-inch dishwasher is the most common type. It offers the highest capacity, making it suitable for larger households.

On the other hand, compact 18-inch dishwashers are designed to fit in smaller kitchens without sacrificing functionality. In addition, drawer dishwashers, available as single or double-drawer units, provide flexibility in washing loads of different sizes separately. Lastly, fully integrated dishwashers feature a concealed control panel for a seamless look. At the same time, semi-integrated models display only the control buttons. The differences in size, design, and functionality among these types cater to various needs and preferences, ensuring a suitable built-in dishwasher for every kitchen.

Are All Built-in Dishwashers the Same Size?

Residential dishwashers that come pre-installed in homes are available in two sizes – 18 inches (approximately 46 cm) and 24 inches (approximately 60 cm). Therefore, it is essential to consider the following factors to determine which size is best suited for your kitchen: 

For smaller households or kitchens that utilize the dishwasher sparingly, a width of 18 inches is recommended. On the other hand, a width of 24 inches is typically more suitable for larger households, especially those that use their dishwasher more frequently. 

You can select the dishwasher size that best fits your lifestyle and kitchen requirements by evaluating your lifestyle and kitchen requirements.

What is the Difference Between a Built-In and a Portable Dishwasher?   

A built-in and a portable dishwasher differ primarily in their installation, size, capacity, and functionality.

Built-In Dishwasher

  • Integrated into kitchen cabinetry for a seamless look.
  • Requires a permanent connection to the plumbing system.
  • Typically larger with more capacity, ideal for larger households.
  • Offers a wide range of features and settings.
  • Installation is more complex and usually requires professional assistance.

Portable Dishwasher

  • Mobile and can be stored away when not in use.
  • Connects to the kitchen sink for water supply and drainage.
  • Typically smaller with less capacity, suitable for smaller households or occasional use.
  • Offers flexibility in placement and is ideal for rental properties or small kitchens.
  • Installation is more straightforward and does not require professional help.
  • The choice between the two depends on several factors, including space, plumbing, capacity requirements, and personal preference.

Final Thoughts on What is a Built-in Dishwasher

We’ve just sailed through the fantastic world of built-in dishwashers, those magical machines that tuck away neatly in our kitchens. They’re like superheroes, fighting dirty dishes and giving us sparkly clean ones in return! Built-in dishwashers are transforming our kitchens into sleek, stylish spaces. They’re not just dish cleaners; some even help sanitize toys and hats. 

Now, if you’re dreaming of a cleaner kitchen without those pesky piled-up dishes, it’s time to make that dream come true. Remember, with a built-in dishwasher, you’re not just buying a machine; you’re buying peace of mind, efficiency, and extra free time! So, why wait? Dive into the world of easy, efficient cleaning and give your kitchen the superstar it deserves!

At WashDryDazzle, we’re dedicated to providing essential insights that make your daily chores effortless. Dive deeper into our comprehensive Dishwasher Education hub to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is smart technology in a built-in dishwasher?

Smart technology means the dishwasher can do cool things like tell you when it’s done cleaning or if something’s wrong. Some can even be started with a phone!

Do I need a special guide to install a built-in dishwasher?

Yes, dishwashers come with an installation guide. This guide helps someone set it up in your kitchen the right way. If you’re unsure, asking a grown-up or professional for help is good.

How does the water-saving feature work in a dishwasher?

The water-saving feature means the dishwasher uses less water to clean dishes. It’s like when you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth to save water.

Why do some dishwashers have a stainless steel interior?

Stainless steel inside a dishwasher is strong and doesn’t rust. This means it lasts a long time and keeps the inside looking clean.

How does a built-in dishwasher save space on my countertop?

A built-in dishwasher goes under your kitchen counter. So, you have more space on top to do other things, like making sandwiches!

What is child-lock safety on a dishwasher?

The child-lock safety is like a special lock on the dishwasher. It keeps kids from opening it while it’s working. It’s to make sure everyone stays safe.

What is a hard food disposer in a dishwasher?

The hard food disposer breaks down and removes big food bits left on dishes. It’s like a mini garbage can inside the dishwasher.

What is the rinse-and-hold feature?

The rinse-and-hold feature lets the dishwasher splash water on dishes to keep them wet. It’s like giving them a quick shower before the full bath later.

Is using a built-in dishwasher cheaper than washing by hand?

Sometimes, yes! Dishwashers can use less water and soap than hand washing. Plus, it saves you time. So, it can be cheaper in the long run.

Which are the top brands for built-in dishwashers?

Some of the leading brands include Bosch, KitchenAid, Miele, and Samsung.



Home Appliances Expert

A. Ditta, a highly regarded authority in home appliances, contributes his expertise to washdrydazzle.com. 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.