What is a Built-In Dishwasher?

A built-in dishwasher is considered standard in most homes. It is designed to be installed underneath your countertops and aligned nearly flush with your cabinets for a permanent placement in your kitchen. Popular in many homes, built-in dishwashers help you spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your recipes. KitchenAid brand provides a range of dishwashers that can help you streamline your cleaning process while maintaining a stylish look for your kitchen. 

Person using the top control panel of a built-in dishwasher Person using the top control panel of a built-in dishwasher

How Does a Built-In Dishwasher Work?

A built-in dishwasher connects to your home’s plumbing and is always ready when you need it, eliminating the need to hook up anything to your sink. These models are installed underneath your counters and can integrate seamlessly with the flow of your kitchen. Learn more about how a dishwasher works with our guide.

Opened dishwasher with top rack full of colored plates Opened dishwasher with top rack full of colored plates

What is the Difference Between a Built-In and a Portable 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.

Freestanding dishwashers are typically 18 inches wide, serving as a compact solution for smaller homes. However, if you want more capacity, built-in dishwashers come in larger sizes. A standard built-in dishwasher is 24 inches wide and many homes have undercounter cut-outs sized to fit.

Portable dishwashers provide flexibility of placement when connecting to your sink, while built-in models allow for seamless integration in your kitchen and a more permanent connection to your plumbing so they’re always ready to use. Learn more about the different types of dishwashers to find the one that suits your cooking style and cleanup preferences.

Dishwasher rack filled with clear glasses and blue plates Dishwasher rack filled with clear glasses and blue plates

Why Have a Built-In Dishwasher?

Built-in dishwashers have a wide range of features and can be installed under counters for a better flow in the kitchen. In fact, panel-ready models can even provide a wall-to-wall cabinet look for a truly seamless integration. Due to the insulation padding, these models also tend to be quiet during a washing cycle. No matter your routine, a built-in dishwasher can help you keep your kitchen decluttered and leave your cookware clean and ready to use for your next meal, like this model from KitchenAid brand with ProWash Cycle capabilities.

 Person loading the top third rack of a dishwasher with a green bowl  Person loading the top third rack of a dishwasher with a green bowl

What are the Pros and Cons of a Built-In Dishwasher?

A built-in dishwasher has many advantages. Learn more about its benefits to see if this model is right for you.

What are the Pros of a Built-In Dishwasher?

  • Integration with kitchen cabinets: Enjoy the convenience of a built-in dishwasher without disrupting the flow of your kitchen layout. Opt for panel-ready models for a fully seamless integration.

  • Dedicated plumbing: An integrated dishwasher is connected to your home’s plumbing system and saves you time and effort by eliminating the need to connect to a faucet or sink.

  • Easy access: With your dinnerware on the table and your wok resting on the stove, take advantage of the convenient access to quickly load everything into your dishwasher without the need to hook it up to the sink.

  • Quiet: Continue entertaining your guests without the concern of a noisy washing cycle in the background. This installation style tends to dampen noise due to the use of insulating padding. Select KitchenAid® models feature a 44 dBA decibel rating, which provides a quiet cleaning cycle without sacrificing performance. Learn more about choosing quiet dishwashers to run discreetly after you are done cooking.

What are the Cons of a Built-In Dishwasher?

  • Less storage space after installation: Installing a built-in dishwasher may sacrifice a small section of your cabinetry, though it will open up floor space in your kitchen. KitchenAid offers a wide variety of built-in dishwashers to maximize storage capacity.

Stainless steel KitchenAid® built-in dishwasher Stainless steel KitchenAid® built-in dishwasher

How to Choose a Built-In Dishwasher

When choosing a built-in dishwasher, the first step is to measure the desired space in your kitchen and find the perfect dishwasher size to match. From there, consider the features, style and control panel configurations that complement your preferences in the kitchen.

When it comes to control panel configurations, you have the option of either top control or front control dishwashers. Top control dishwashers provide sleek, minimal appeal with the control panel discreetly placed on top of the appliance door, making it less visible when the dishwasher is closed. Front control dishwashers display the control panel on the exterior of the appliance, allowing easy access and quick activation of a washing cycle. Shop top control and front control dishwashers from KitchenAid.

After considering the size, placement and control panel configurations, be mindful to select the model with the right style and capabilities that you need.

KitchenAid offers a wide variety of dishwashers with convenient features, such as this model with FreeFlex Third Rack capabilities that take cleaning to a new level with more room to load glasses, mugs, bowls and more.

The flexible designs and advanced features of built-in dishwashers provide the best of both worlds with functionality and visual appeal to match your kitchen and preferences. Check out this dishwasher buying guide for more insight on choosing the right model for your home.

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