What is a built-in dishwasher?

Dishwashers are invented to save homeowners the time to clean their dishes and cookwares. They use less water per round of cleaning as compared to manual washing, especially when you come from a large household.

You have probably heard of standalone dishwashers and you are thinking of making a switch. Or you’re just here simply to know if a built-in dishwasher is a worthy investment.

As always, the best choice would be dependent on your actual needs and kitchen design. It helps to know the types of built-in dishwashers, how to choose and their cons. Lastly, the budget you have to invest in one.

Also as important, descalers and cleaning aids to have on hand for your appliances to function as good as new for a long time.



A built-in dishwasher is a kitchen appliance that helps to wash your dirty dishes and designed to match seamlessly with the rest of your kitchen decor.

Also known as an integrated dishwasher, it is meant to fit neatly beneath the countertop. Sometimes with a custom cabinet door to fully conceal it when not in use.

Built-in dishwashers normally have more advanced functions as compared to freestanding dishwashers. Specialised wash cycles and targeted sprays for big cookware are examples.

This kitchen appliance is especially ideal for homes with more than 2 people, where a large number of dirty dishes are expected at one time. Built-in dishwashers can either be be fully integrated or semi-integrated.

Fully integrated built-in dishwasher | Your Casa Concept

Fully integrated dishwashers

Fully integrated dishwashers will likely be the quieter models. They are designed to be fully concealed, including the control panel. Highly appealing for its seamless look across the kitchen cabinetry.

Semi integrated built-in dishwasher | Your Casa Concept

Semi-integrated dishwashers

Semi-integrated dishwashers are also designed to fit nicely in your kitchen cabinets like a fully integrated model. However, this type has its control panel features on the exterior of the door, at the top. They are more traditional and amongst the lower priced.

No matter which type of built-in dishwasher you are planning on taking, they are all supposed to save space in your kitchen, by being somewhere fitted near your sink.



It is one of those factors to prioritise when you are looking for one – the drying process.

The drying function of a built-in dishwasher saves you even more time and effort. All that’s left to do is to put away the clean dishes and utensils.

Heat drying vs condensation drying Image credit | BELLINGHAM ELECTRIC

Heat drying refers to producing hot air by having the air fans to push steam through exhaust vents. Although this method will dry your dishes fast and spotless, it consumes a lot of energy.

Condensation drying is a process that happens when dishes are rinsed with hot water at the last cleaning cycle. Condensation forms on the cooler surface of the stainless steel interiors of the dishwasher. This would dry off the dishes.

Logically, condensation drying would use less energy as compared to the heat drying process. However, as it is ‘air-dried’, you might need to still manually wipe the damp dishes yourself.

Bottomline, it’s speed versus energy.

Either methods, it’s best to maximise the drying process with a few simple rules of thumb:

  1. Avoid overloading: Allow spaces between your dishes and/or pots for better water and air circulation.
  2. Open the dishwasher door after each cleaning cycle to allow steam to escape.
  3. Empty racks from bottom to up.
  4. Recommended to use a rinse aid to speed up the drying process.

The good news is: the newer built-in dishwasher models come with both drying options, giving you more flexibility to choose.



Dishwasher dimensions vary from brands and models.

Precise measurements should be taken prior to purchasing a built-in dishwasher. Having the measurements will help to filter your options better.

One should know the depth, width and height space that can fit the appliance. In general, the common sizes for built-in dishwashers are:

  • 810-850mm high,
  • 540-570mm deep, and
  • 585-606mm wide.

It is always good to leave a bit of room around the dishwasher, with an extra depth of 20-30mm to allow for cable space.

One must also account for ‘hidden’ measurements, like the dishwasher’s handle and potential added floor layering.

Those who are planning on buying the fully integrated built-in dishwasher should include the dimension of the matching front cabinet panel.

Image credit | WHIRLPOOL

Also important to note: measure enough room in front of the dishwasher. You will need to account for comfortable space to load and unload the dishes, while still having space to move around the kitchen.



Unlike a freestanding dishwasher, a built-in dishwasher is permanently installed into your kitchen. It will get left behind when you move. As such, built-in dishwashers are not recommended for a rental home or apartment.

Secondly, although built-in dishwashers make your space less cluttered, which is especially useful for smaller sized kitchens, permanent installation means that it is taking up spaces that you could have used for extra cabinets or drawers.

It is a considerable amount of storage space to give up. So this is a point to ponder upon for those making the switch from a freestanding to a built-in dishwasher.

Cons of built-in dishwashers | Your Casa Concept

Lastly, a built-in dishwasher must be installed, leading to additional costs, should a plumber be hired to help you connect the water lines. More costs will definitely be incurred if further modifications are needed to have your kitchen cabinetry to have the needed opening.

In summary, the downside of built-in dishwashers:

  1. Will get left behind when moving out.
  2. Reduces potential cabinet or drawer space.
  3. Expensive installation, modification and maintenance.



Like any other household appliances, especially for one that is used as regularly as the dishwasher, you need to correctly clean them so they can function efficiently over a long period of time.

Dealing with waters leads to limescale buildup. Over time, food residues like grease, starch and protein, will clog the drain and spray arms. Built up limescale and grease are usually in the hidden areas and hard-to-reach parts of the dishwasher.

For homes in areas with hard water, rinse agents are especially useful. They help to gett rid of water spots, leaving the dishes shiny and sparkling.

When you have a built-in dishwasher, make cleaning and descaling a weekly and/or monthly habit. The following recommended products can help built-in dishwashers last longer and remain consistently efficient over a long period of time.

All 4 products are from the same brand, Finish. Finish is a trusted brand for dishwasher detergents. They have a range of products that are well trusted by consumers for decades.


Finish Quantum detergent tablets | Your Casa Concept

Purpose: To remove the tougher stains, mess and grease, resulting in clean and shiny dishes.

RECOMMENDED ITEM 2: FINISH QUANTUM JET-DRY RINSE AGENTFinish jet dry cleaning agent | Your Casa Concept

Purpose: Works with the detergent to rinse the stubborn stains, especially on plastics, cutleries and tupperwares. This product would also dry dishes faster and prevent water spots (especially on your clear glassware)!


RECOMMENDED ITEM 3: FINISH DISHWASHER CLEANERFinish dishwasher cleaner tablet | Your Casa Concept

Purpose: To remove hard water stains and limescale buildup in hidden and/or important parts of the dishwasher like the spray arms, filter and pipe. It can be used during the regular load cycle, saving you a cycle and that means saving you a bit more electrical energy.




Purpose: As the name suggests, to boost the detergent strength for clean dishes. Aids in removing spots, residues and hard water film. As well as mineral buildup in the dishwasher. Leaves a delicate lemon scent.


Whether it is a standalone or a fully integrated built-in dishwasher, it all boils down to every individual’s wants and needs.

It depends on what the household needs. Like how often cooking happens in the kitchen and how many people are living in a single home.

There are also other important factors like kitchen space, financial budget and even, how permanent is the home?

Owning a built-in dishwasher might be considered as a good investment for some. And it must be known that cleaning and maintenance is just a part of the commitment.

Buying one for a new home should be simple. But If you’re making the switch from a standalone to a built-in dishwasher, make sure you plan and rearrange cabinet space to make up. Head over to another article if you need inspiration for interior design ideas for the kitchen!

Related article: Interior Design Ideas for Kitchen


** Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which allows me to earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. There are no additional costs to you.


14 thoughts on “What is a built-in dishwasher?”

  1. Hey, very useful item and I am happy because I came across it! Namely, in my house there is constant cooking, and we wash the dishes all day. It often happens that I have to wash a bunch of dishes as many as four times! It takes a lot of energy and time that could be spent on much more useful things… That’s why we decided that the first next investment will be a dishwasher. Only, we had a dilemma whether to buy a stand-alone or a fully integrated built-in dishwasher. Your article gave me an answer. Since the apartment is ours, we are not tenants, we are free to install a built-in dishwasher in one part of our kitchen.
    I have one question, which machine do you recommend and is it possible to order it through your site?
    I see that there is an article about interior design ideas for the kitchen, which will again be helpful if I change the arrangement of elements in my kitchen.
    Thanks for the useful information, I like the site and will follow it!

    1. Hi Danijela,

      That’s a lot of cooking and washing! And you are right, you can consider a dishwasher for real to save you time. Hahahah.

      It’s great that you own your apartment, so there’s a lot more flexibility there. A built-in dishwasher will be a wonderful addition to your kitchen without taking up extra square spaces.

      I have yet to research and compare which built-in dishwasher to recommend. But as a start, you can look into the brand Bosch. And hey, I might just have another article with comprehensive reviews for it!

      Thank you for your kind words, I hope you will find the other link as useful as this one (:


  2. Hi Sam!
    I’m glad to have found your Built-in Dishwasher review. There are a lot of things about built-in dishwasher’s that I learned here. Fortunately when we bought the house we live in now 5 years ago, it already had a built-in dishwasher. I am a huge fan of the setup we have and very grateful that the house we bought already had the built-in dishwasher installed. The installation costs would’ve been high. I’m also grateful we have the condensation drying type rather than the higher energy heat drying alternative.

    Your comprehensive review showed me that I need to also do the cleaning and scaling of the dishwasher. This is something that I hadn’t thought about – so thank you. Better late than never!

    1. Hi John,

      Your home already has a built-in dishwasher installed before you moved in? That’s awesome. You do get to save yourself from the trouble of measuring, choosing and then yes, installation costs.

      I would say yes to the condensation drying, but the heat drying cycle might be useful if you’re in a rush. So if you’re considering a change, it’s a bonus to have both functions available!

      Oh yes, please do. Cleaning and descaling is important for your dishwasher’s longevity. Otherwise your dishes might not turn out to be as clean as you think it is. I’m glad you’ve taken away plenty of things from here.


  3. When my kitchen is finally built, I am going to get a built-in dishwasher for sure! It will save me so much time! I hate washing the dishes by hand, so I would love to get a dishwasher. If the control panel isn’t visible on the fully built-in one, then where is it? Is it inside on the door?
    A standalone dishwasher is also practical but it would take away a lot of space. I own my property but I can understand why a standalone dishwasher would be ideal when you’re renting or moving. A dishwasher is an investment and it would be terrible having to leave that behind when you have to move.

    1. Hey Christine,

      Me too. It’s okay for one or two but if the cookware come in.. it can be a bit dreading. Hahah.

      For full console built-in dishwashers, the control panel will be on the top of the door. So it will be the first thing you see, facing down!

      Yes that’s right. It can be a headache to choose between a standalone or a built-in dishwasher. But if you have no plans of moving out in the next 5 years, built-in dishwasher it is! Still, should you have to move out for any reason, selling a home that has a kitchen with a built-in dishwasher can mean that you can price your home higher too. Maybe it’s not that much of a loss?

      Whichever it is, I hope you’ve thought it out well enough!


  4. Hi Sam,

    Have never personally used a dishwasher but I guess if you have a big family they can save a lot of trouble and having loads of dishes stacked up on the side. I find the integrated ones interesting – I think a lot of people kitchen cupboards just get filled up with junk anyway so if you can afford it I guess it is worth the investment.

    The only thing I wonder about is running costs. Obviously, there is electricity but how often does a pack of tablets or a bottle of rinse fluid last. That is what I wonder.

    1. Hi Alex,

      I believe it would benefit the big families a lot! That aside, it can also save some running water from all the washing?

      Maybe I’m guilty of an under-utilised kitchen cupboard space too actually! Hahah.

      Definitely a worry of electricity usage. Hence, it is always recommended to use the dishwasher only when it’s a full load. I’m sure the dishwasher tablets and fluid rinse would cost about the same as manual washing!


  5. I found this article useful as thinking about getting a new kitchen. I live on my in a small one bed flat, but as I own the property I see it as a good investment. I like the idea of a fully integrated dishwasher even though it takes up storage space. It will certainly make a welcome change from washing dishes by hand!

    1. Hi Kathy,

      I feel that it is indeed a good investment, even if its a small apartment.

      Makes things neat and tidy!


  6. Thanks for sharing this post! I learned a lot about built-in dishwashers. To be honest, my knowledge on this topic is very limited so posts like yours are really helpful. My mom is looking to buy a new dishwasher but just like me, she has no idea what type or brand is the best. I will definitely share this post with her. Thanks again for sharing this information and keep up the good work with your site!

    1. Hi Ivan,

      So glad this helps. Such information are definitely useful, especially for an investment as big as a built-in dishwasher.

      Thank you for your kind comment!


  7. I love this article! I cannot live without a dishwater, so this is perfect information for anyone looking to understand the benefits of a good dishwasher. I even like how you went ahead and researched the best washing detergent. I mean, this is gold! Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂 PS I did not know it uses less water than traditional washing 🙂 You are the best!

    1. Hey there,

      Glad you found this article useful. And yes, I think that cleaning and descaling is as important to know about so that one’s built-in dishwasher remains in good conditions for a long time!

      Yes, they are actually more water efficient IF you wash on full loads each time.

      Always a pleasure to share. Thanks for your comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *