When choosing a dishwasher, there are only two main types to choose from: built-in or freestanding. Determining which one is ideal for your home will depend on your kitchen layout, dishwasher features, and preferred style.

Style and design

Built-in dishwashers are installed under your kitchen counter to fit flush to your cabinets, creating a streamlined look. Conversely, freestanding dishwashers come with a finished door front and do not need the kitchen cabinet door attached to their front.


Built-in dishwashers are usually 24 inches wide and can accommodate between 12 and 14 standard place settings. These are the best for households with three people and above because they can hold a lot of dishes at once. On the other hand, most freestanding dishwashers are usually smaller, about 18 inches wide, and hold about 8 place settings, and are ideal for small households with two to three people.


Built-in models typically have more advanced features than freestanding models, such as specialized wash cycles, multiple spray arms, and targeted sprays for hard-to-clean items like pans and baking dishes. But freestanding dishwashers also have nice features such as loading sensing technology, digital timers, and multiple cycles.

Versatility and convenience 

Built-in dishwashers are permanently installed, so you have to leave it behind when you move out of the house, but a free-standing dishwasher can go with you.

Unlike built-ins, freestanding dishwashers do not occupy the space under the counter and give you extra storage space. In addition, the top of the freestanding dishwasher is also covered with cutting boards giving you extra prep space. However, freestanding models take up floor space and can make a small kitchen appear more cluttered. On the other hand, built-in units stay out of the way under your counter, giving you more room to roam about in the kitchen.

Built-in dishwashers are plumbed directly so they can run while you use your kitchen sink and faucet. On the other hand, freestanding dishwashers connect to your faucet and prevent you from using the sink for some time. You still may be able to run water if they have a bypass valve, but this setup is still less convenient than built-in.

Cost and installation

Freestanding dishwashers are less expensive than built-ins and usually do not need special installation, which usually involves extra costs. They usually come with the necessary accessories to connect to your kitchen faucet and drain directly into the sink. Built-in dishwashers require connecting to water lines, which may lead to additional costs if hiring a plumber and modifications.

Fully Integrated Dishwasher vs Semi-Integrated

Integrated dishwashers have a kitchen cabinet door attached to the front of the unit, which makes it look like the dishwasher is built into the cabinets giving a seamless and sleek appearance. But there are two types of integrated dishwashers: fully and semi-integrated, and the following comparison will help you determine which one is best for your home.

Style and design 

This fully built-in dishwasher actually camouflages with your kitchen cabinets by perfectly fitting in it with its flawless and similar design.

Fully integrated dishwashers are built into the kitchen cabinet and stay completely hidden inside the cabinet. They are ideal for people who want to have a flawless, clean look. Semi-integrated dishwashers also blend in with your kitchen cabinets, but they have a control panel located outside the door. The disadvantage of the fully integrated models, even though they look nice, is that you would have to open the door to check the timer or make any adjustments to the control panel.

Size and capacity

Both fully integrated and semi-integrated dishwashers mostly have a standard size of 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 35 inches high. Neither one has more capacity as they can hold similar place settings, and both are family-size dishwashers capable of handling large loads.

Cleaning and Efficiency

Both types of dishwashers have advanced features to ensure effective cleaning and efficiency. You can expect different cycles, eco modes, adjustable racks, heated drying, and special wash cycles targeted at pots, etc. Some latest models even have Wifi connectivity and can be controlled from your phone, which is so cool.


Because fully integrated models are installed so deep into the cabinet, they are the quietest of all dishwashers as the surrounding cabinet walls muffle the sound. Semi-integrated dishwashers are exposed, and so they are generally a bit noisier than the fully-integrated dishwashers.

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