The 10 Best Built In Dishwashers
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in October of 2016. If you're still doing your dishes by hand, then you owe it to yourself to check out these built-in dishwashers. They'll give you back hours of your life, as they're capable of blasting off caked-on food and grease from your dinnerware with no pre-rinsing required. You'll have more time to spend with your family, watching TV and generating additional dirty wine glasses to clean. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 30, 2021:
Not only great for busy households and large families, a dishwasher can also clean more effectively and is more hygienic. Most modern machines are built into the kitchen cabinets and feature a drop-down door, which can either be in the same finish as the appliance or can be retrofitted with a panel to match the rest of the kitchen. In this update, we removed several outdated models and replaced them with their most up-to-date counterparts.
Dishwashers generally come in two sizes, a standard 24-inch model and a compact 18-inch one. 18-inch models are good for small families or kitchens with limited space and usually have an eight-place setting capacity. The EdgeStar 8-Place, the Avanti SS Panel, and the Danby 18 Inch are all compact options that are available in a variety of finishes, with the latter featuring a smart setting that detects how dirty the dishes are and selects the best cycle. The Kuppet Countertop is a notable option as it can also be used as a freestanding model. Its sleek glass door and stainless steel accents will complement any modern kitchen decor and incorporate the electronic touch controls.
24-inch models usually have a 12-16 place setting capacity, and choosing the best one will depend on which features you value the most. The Bosch 800 Series is an extremely quiet option thanks to multiple insulation layers and a sound-absorbing base, it also is one of the largest, with room for 16 place settings. The LG Top Control, although quite expensive, boasts Wi-Fi connectivity that works with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to start wash cycles at any time, monitor performance, check cycle status and lock and unlock the door, all from your smartphone.
February 21, 2020:
A lot of the models on our previous list were a bit outdated, as various companies have come out with new versions since. One of those new models is the Frigidaire Energy Star 24-Inch, which offers very simple controls that let you manipulate a variety of effective cycle settings. The balance of features, from its capacity to its run times and self-cleaning filtration system, position this model at the top of the market.
We added a few new models from a selection of trustworthy companies, as well, including the Bosch Benchmark Series 24-Inch, which is one of the quietest options available, running below 40 decibels. The only thing holding this otherwise very capable model back is the user interface, which may require frequent trips to the included manual until you find the settings that work best for your dishes.
We also included a few boutique models in our special honors section that offer things like app connectivity, a wide variety of color options, and reliable cleaning functions. They're all a bit more expensive than our primary offerings, but are worth it if you want to customize the look and performance of your kitchen.
Hestan KDW 24-Inch If you're building a custom kitchen, this company might be your best option for finding the right color and materials to either blend in or jump out from within your planned decor. You can select from a wide range of tones, or get a custom wood panel mounted on the front, and the model's performance is nothing to sneeze at, either. It's extremely quiet at just 42 decibels, and it offers a third rack for added flexibility. hestan.com
Dacor Contemporary 24-Inch This model employs a handful of proprietary technologies designed to maximize water pressure, detect and attack stuck-on foods, and release steam at the end of the wash to reduce the appearance of streaks and spots. It boasts Wi-Fi connectivity to integrate with your preferred home automation system, and it can clean up to 14 place settings at a time. dacor.com
Thermador Star-Sapphire Users pressed for time will appreciate the 20-minute hot water cycle this model offers. It has an extensive array of controls, which will be a boon to some owners and create a lot of confusion for others, but ultimately its features are more impressive than not. You can use the company's smartphone app to control a variety of settings, including the color of its internal LED lights. thermador.com
The Benefits Of A Built-In Dishwasher
Consider that a typical hand-washing slurps up an average of 23 gallons more than a dishwasher, and about double the energy.
If you think that owning a dishwasher means that you’ll be considered an incorrigible water-waster with sky-high utility bills, think again. They’re actually extremely efficient, and are excellent conservers of both water and energy. Consider that a typical hand-washing slurps up an average of 23 gallons more than a dishwasher, and about double the energy. Making the switch can save consumers nearly 5,000 gallons of water and plenty of kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Trimming your energy and water use gives the environment an extra boost by helping to reduce the unfortunate consequences of burning fossil fuels, such as greenhouse gases and air pollution.
Eco-friendly advantages aside, there’s also the fact that a dishwasher simply cleans dishes better than you do. They can heat water to a germ-killing 140 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that is way too hot for human hands, but ideal for disinfection. And while you may not spend up to 90 minutes cleaning pans with leftover caked-on casserole, your trusty dishwasher will. A normal wash cycle includes an initial rinse, a rigorous main wash, and a final rinse that also serves to kick off a condensation drying process. While the average person typically doesn’t have the time for all that, your machine sure does.
Unlike older detergents, modern cleansers use enzyme technology to break down foods. When used in conjunction with a high-quality rinse aid, dishes get a thorough cleansing with way less effort on your part. So while it used to be common routine to do a quick pre-wash before loading up the machine, it’s now recommended that you don’t, which is an extra convenience welcomed by busy parents, students, and professionals alike.
The Mark Of A Good Machine
Whether you live in a house with an old-fashioned, washer-less kitchen or are simply looking to ditch that old Maytag from the 1970s, you’ll want to think about which features are indispensable to you as you consider our list.
If you run your loads overnight when everyone is sleeping, you’ll need something quiet. Look for a machine that has a volume level between 41-46 decibels. A typical conversation clocks in at around 60 dB, so a washer that makes less noise means you won’t have to stay silent in the kitchen while it’s running.
Look for a machine that has a volume level between 41-46 decibels.
Collectors of unique crockery and fancy glasses may have plenty of items to show off to guests, but loading unwieldy pieces into a standard washer can feel like playing Tetris. Thankfully, there are options outfitted with adjustable or removable shelves and collapsible tines, which are perfect for wedging in that overlarge vase. Another thing to consider is what’s coating the racks. Nylon tends to be tougher than vinyl and PVC, and therefore should take longer to crack or wear down. And when perusing cutlery compartments, look for the ones with slots for each utensil. This way your flatware stays separate instead of nesting together, so there’s no chance that your machine will overlook any hidden grime.
Many models also come with what’s called a soil sensor. Excellent for keeping your utility costs low, this clever feature reduces water use. It assesses the level of filth on your dishes and adjusts the amount of energy and water it will take to get your cookware spotless. This way, you’ll know that each load has been optimized to give you consistent results.
Those with large families or a limited supply of kitchenware will want the option to complete loads quickly. Otherwise, you'll kick yourself later when you're waiting for that spaghetti pot to come out of a seemingly endless cycle. Another factor to consider when kids are around is a strong latch. Most machines come with a child safety mechanism included, but always try to ensure that it's a reliable, long-lasting lock.
The Birth Of The Dishwasher
Humans have been dreaming up labor-saving devices since antiquity, but the dishwasher was born in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. As with many inventions, it had a few false starts, most notably in the mid-1800s. American inventor Joel Houghton patented a hand-cranked soaker made of wood, which held dishes in a barrel and sprayed them with water. A decade or so later, L.A. Alexander attempted to take the idea a step further, adding a rack that would spin through water. These machines were simply too impractical to gain traction, and they never took off.
Her contraption used a specially measured wire compartment placed inside a motorized wheel.
Meanwhile, Josephine Cochrane, a wealthy socialite living in Shelby, Illinois, was becoming increasingly irritated with her servants, who kept damaging her fine china. Fed up with their carelessness, she opted to create a machine that would safely clean her precious kitchenware. Being the daughter of a civil engineer and the granddaughter of the inventor of the steam engine, Josephine was well-positioned to dream up such a design. She created her first model in her backyard with the help of mechanic George Butters. Her contraption used a specially measured wire compartment placed inside a motorized wheel. The wheel rested flat within a copper boiler and would turn as hot soapy water shot up from beneath. It was a success, and she was awarded a patent in December of 1886.
Just like the Ferris Wheel, electricity, and Aunt Jemima's pancake mix, Cochrane's dishwashing machine made its big debut at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, where it won the highest prize in its category. Within a few years, orders from restaurants and hotels were coming in, and factory production began in 1897. The business was later bought out by the Hobart Corporation, who marketed the product under the KitchenAid brand.
German manufacturer Miele invented the first electric dishwasher in Europe in the late 1920s. At this time, dishwashers were mostly owned by the wealthy. They wouldn't become common household items until the 1950s, when homes that had plumbing that could handle the extra hot water started popping up in the suburbs.