6 Types of Dishwasher | Popular Dishwsher Types

dishwasher types

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There are six types of dishwashers in the market: built-in, portable, countertop, integrated, commercial, and drawer.

Knowing the features, materials and average cost of each type of dishwasher will give you a nuanced understanding of which to install in your kitchen and whether you need one or not.

For instance, portable or drawer dishwashers are suitable for you if you have a small kitchen space without ample wiggle room. You may also prefer to buy a dishwasher vs handwashing your plates and glasses if you are environmentally friendly. Dishwashers use three gallons of water per load compared to 27 gallons when washing dishes by hand. 

The material of your dishwasher’s interior also matters. Tub interiors are made of either stainless steel or plastic. Stainless steel interiors cost more than plastic-made ones because they have drying and self-cleaning capabilities. Plastic-made dishwashers are just as efficient in cleaning your dishes as stainless steel, but you should be willing to dry your dishes and clean the unit’s interior more frequently.

Understanding the different types of dishwashers available in the market, including their strengths and weaknesses, can help you decide which one to choose for your kitchen. 

What are the different types available for a dishwasher?

The different types of dishwashers are built-in, portable, countertop, integrated, commercial, and drawer.

The following list includes the different types of dishwashers available in the market:

  • Built-in dishwasher

A built-in dishwasher is a convenient and space-saving alternative to traditional countertop models as they are built right into the cabinet space or under the counter. 

Built-in dishwashers may not be suitable if you plan to move into a new house as they are permanently installed in the kitchen. 

  • Portable dishwasher

A portable dishwasher is a freestanding unit that offers the flexibility to place it anywhere in your kitchen with access to water and a drain. 

Portable dishwashers are perfect for people with limited kitchen space or a kitchen that does not have a built-in cabinet or counter space. 

  • Countertop dishwasher

A countertop dishwasher is a small unit that can be placed on your counters. It works like a portable dishwasher and is easier to use than an integrated unit. 

Countertop dishwashers only do one load at a time and do not wash as many dishes as a built-in dishwasher.

  • Integrated dishwasher

An integrated dishwasher is different from a standard built-in unit because it has the same materials as nearby cupboards and cabinets, creating a cohesive style in the kitchen.

  • Commercial dishwasher

A commercial dishwasher is larger than the other types of dishwasher used at homes, such as the built-in and integrated models. 

Commercial dishwashers are used in the restaurant and hotel industry. They perform faster than other types like portable and countertop dishwashers.

  • Drawer dishwasher

A drawer dishwasher is similar to a built-in unit, but this one has a sliding drawer. 

Drawer units are smaller than integrated and built-in dishwashers, making them better for kitchens with insufficient storage space. They also suit those who only use cookware and bakeware sparingly as they wash fewer dishes than their full-sized counterparts.

What are the different ways to use a dishwasher?

The different ways to use a dishwasher include washing, sanitizing, pre-rinsing, drying, and cleaning.

Dishwashers are used primarily for washing, sanitizing and drying plates, glasses, kitchen appliance knobs, cookware and bakeware. Here are eight other uses of a dishwasher:

Wash sponges: toss smelly sponges into the dishwasher and extend their lifespan to another couple of weeks.

Clean and sanitize makeup brushes and hair ties: dishwashers are fantastic for people on the go and have little time to wash their makeup brushes and hair accessories.

Use as storage space or dish strainer: if you run out of room for your plates, glasses, cookware and bakeware, then you can use the dishwasher to air dry them or use it as additional storage space.

Disinfect kids’ and pets’ toys: dishwashers can thoroughly clean dirty Legos, balls, chew toys and rubber duckies.

Freshen up caps and knee pads: toss your baseball caps, knee pads and other sports gear into the dishwasher instead of the washing machine if you don’t want them to lose their shape and padding.

Degrease tools and car parts: turn the unit on the pots-and-pans cycle and leave all the grim and oil to the dishwasher’s care. Don’t forget to leave the electric tools behind!

Clean refrigerator shelves: crispers typically suffer from stains and terrible smell because of food items that have gone bad. Put them into the dishwasher to make them clean and shiny again.

Cook salmon: squeeze lemon juice and spread ¼ teaspoon of butter on top of the fillets. Seal them tightly with two sheets of aluminium foil. Put the salmon into the top rack and set the dishwasher at the hottest wash and dry cycle. Run for a complete cycle and pull out the salmon, cooked to yummy perfection. 

Once you learn how to use a dishwasher, you’ll find it has many use cases for kitchen tools, household items and food that need sanitizing, cleaning, washing, and drying!

types of dishwasher

What sizes do the dishwashers come in?

Dishwashers are designed in various sizes that range from portable (46 x 99 x 66 cm) to commercial (79 x 47 x 52 cm). Here are the approximate dimensions for each dishwasher type:

Built-in dishwasher: 59.7 × 59.8 × 83.5 cm

Portable dishwasher: Most portable dishwashers range from 46 x 66 x 99 cm to around 61 x 76 x 94 cm.

Countertop dishwasher: 55cm x 50cm x 44cm 

Integrated dishwasher: 59.7 × 59.8 × 83.5 cm

Commercial dishwasher: 79 x 47 x 52 cm

Drawer dishwasher: 60 x 57.3 x 41 cm

What cookware and bakeware can I clean in different dishwashers?

The cookware and bakeware that you can clean in different dishwashers are listed below:

  • Plates and glasses
  • Kitchen appliance knobs
  • Sink plungers
  • Kitchen tools
  • Sponges

Aside from cookware and bakeware, dishwashers can also clean the following items:

  • Makeup brushes and hair ties
  • Toys
  • Baseball caps
  • Sports gear such as knee pads
  • Garden tools 
  • Car parts and mechanical tools
  • Refrigerator shelves
  • Food items such as salmon and potatoes

What determines the best dishwasher type? 

The best dishwasher type can be determined by the following: cleaning and drying performance, capacity, efficiency, noise, cleaning cycles, and budget.

The ultimate purpose of a dishwasher is to clean dishes. You want a dishwasher that performs well with good cleaning power, durability, and sufficient drying. Does it have extra features that boost its cleaning power and dependability? 

Potable and countertop dishwashers may not have special features found in integrated units, like a concentrated wash sprayer that thoroughly cleans sports bottles and a wide range of bottle sizes. Many built-in dishwashers have power-spraying cycles designed to remove stubborn grease and food debris. 

The more expensive models have powerful cleaning and drying features that do not leave plastic containers dripping wet after the cycle. They also come with a lower decibel rating that is best for turning the dishwasher on overnight.

Size is a crucial consideration when shopping around for dishwashers. Choosing the right size is essential to ensure it meets your family's cleaning needs and kitchen space. 

You need to consider the frequency of dishes you need to wash each day or every few days. If you live on your own, then a compact and portable dishwasher may be enough. If you’re feeding a large family or an entire restaurant, then you may want to choose a full-sized or commercial unit.

Energy efficiency may be an essential feature if you want to use less water and reduce your monthly bills. Certain models have energy-saving features like the half-load options.

Noise is another consideration. Portable dishwashers tend to work louder than the cabinet, integrated or built-in models, which have cabinets and walls to soften the noise. Specific portable dishwasher models make more sound at an average of 63 to 66 dBA than others with a quiet operation feature. When shopping for portable dishwashers, look for models with a noise level of 55 dBA, similar to a microwave's.

Dishwashers come with various cleaning cycles such as china, sanitization, steam pre-wash, or custom wash options. You want to choose a dishwasher that has the cleaning options most important to you.

Budget is a crucial factor for choosing the best dishwasher type. Compact and portable dishwashers may cost less than full-sized built-in and integrated units, but they don't come with powerful cleaning and drying features or low decibel levels. Stainless steel interiors have a higher price tag than plastic-made interiors because they have self-cleaning features and are known to dry more effectively than plastic units. 

Are portable dishwashers safe?

Portable dishwashers are safe because of the ‘set it and forget it’ nature of this appliance. Once you put all the items inside, you only need to press the appropriate settings and wait between three to twelve hours to clean and dry them. There are no reported cases of burns, cuts or fire in using portable dishwashers.

What is the average price for a dishwasher?

The average price for a dishwasher ranges from $200 – $1,500 depending on the features, size, type, and brand.

Portable dishwashers range from $250 to $1,700.

Built-in dishwashers cost from $500 to $2,500.

Fully integrated dishwashers are priced at $400 to $2500, while semi-integrated ones range from $500 to $2,700.

Drawer or compact dishwashers cost from $500 to $1,400.

Countertop dishwashers range from $350 to $700.

Stainless steel built-in dishwashers cost more than portable metal dishwashers. Some dishwashers, like commercial dishwashers, may cost even more than residential models because of the size, capacity, cleaning and drying power.

What is the lifespan of different dishwashers? 

The average lifespan of a dishwasher is ten years. 

The frequency and maintenance of your dishwasher affect how long it lasts. Keeping up with routine maintenance and using your dishwasher as intended can help it last longer.

How does the dishwasher type affect the cleaning process?

The dishwasher type affects the cleaning process by the stacking options, pre-programmed settings and features available.

Built-in and integrated dishwashers sometimes offer stacking options, allowing flexibility in adjusting the height of the racks and making room for various sizes of cookware and bakeware. Some models come with fold-down trays, height-adjustable top baskets, cutlery trays and tall tub interiors.

Built-in, integrated, and some models of the drawer, countertop and portable dishwashers come with features that enable a more robust and thorough cleaning and drying. These features include an anti-flood device, concealed heating element, accessible filters, fans and auto-opening doors, intensive wash zones, auto-dosing detergent, hot or cold water option, and built-in WiFi or smart features. 

What effect does dishwasher type have on sanitation? 

Dishwasher types affect sanitation in terms of how thorough they clean and dry the items inside. 

Regardless of type, a dishwasher uses strong detergent, hot water, and steam drying, effectively and thoroughly removing food debris and sanitizing the dishes, cookware and bakeware. 

Built-in, integrated, and some models of the drawer, countertop and portable dishwashers come with unique features that enable a more robust and thorough cleaning and drying, such as the intensive wash zones, auto-dosing detergent, anti-flood device, accessible filters, fans and auto-opening doors, concealed heating element, and hot or cold water option.

Stainless steel models also have a self-cleaning option, which prevents pathogens caused by a lack of routine cleaning from leaking into the dishes.

Is it better to use dishwashers or hand washing in the kitchen?

Deciding whether it’s better to use dishwashers or hand washing in the kitchen boils down to kitchen space and wash frequency. 

Kitchen usability refers to the function and structure of kitchen appliances that make them easier to use. If you have a small kitchen, organizing appliances alongside other items is essential to maximize space properly. 

Hand washing does not require countertop or cabinet space compared to installing a dishwasher into the kitchen. 

If you decide to opt for a dishwasher, choosing the right size is essential to meet the household’s cleaning needs. Get a dishwasher that fits your space and can hold the frequency of dishes you need to wash each day or every few days.

Planning to install the dishwasher also impacts kitchen usability. A kitchen that has an existing space for a dishwasher can accommodate a built-in dishwasher. Small kitchens may not have room for a built-in dishwasher, so a portable or countertop dishwasher is ideal.

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