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What Are the Best Types of Dishwashers?

by Bill Welles

With various brands, features, and finishes, shopping for a new dishwasher can feel like a major chore in the beginning. However, Don’s Appliances wants to make your appliance shopping experience an enjoyable one — whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or looking to upgrade to a new and improved dishwasher model.

At A Glance:

Best Built In Dishwasher: KitchenAid PrintShield Dishwasher ( (KDFE104HPS)

Best Portable Dishwasher: GE 24 Inch Stainless Steel Portable Dishwasher (GPT225SSLSS)

Best Drawer Dishwasher: Fisher & Paykel Series 5 Double DishDrawer Dishwasher (DD24DAX9 N)

With the largest selection of high-quality dishwashers in the Pittsburgh area, you’re bound to find the right product to suit your cleaning needs. Follow our latest guide as we highlight the best types of dishwashers, along with styles, sizes, features, and more.

KitchenAid dishwasher in fancy kitchen

Different Types of Dishwashers

There are three main types of dishwashers found in household kitchens: built in, portable, and drawer. Let’s further examine each dishwasher type and see what makes these models effective cleaning appliances. 

Built In Dishwashers: These are the most popular and recognizable of the three dishwasher models. They have independent connections to your plumbing, whereas some dishwasher types will route water exclusively from your kitchen sink’s plumbing.

Built in models slide gently into place and secure a spot underneath your cabinets to help drown out noise during each wash cycle. Standard built in dishwashers are 24 inches wide and offer a flurry of time-saving and energy-efficient features. You can also find slightly more compact 18-inch dishwashers that are a helpful choice for smaller living quarters.

Some of the most popular built in dishwasher brands include Bosch, KitchenAid, Miele, Whirlpool, and Samsung.

Portable Dishwashers: If your kitchen space won’t allow you to install a dishwasher under your cabinets, portable dishwashers are a quality alternative. They are compact units that connect to your sink rather than having their own plumbing. All you need is an adapter for your sink faucet and the appliance can be quickly installed to your sink to tend to after-meal cleanup. If you live in a congested apartment or you move often and don’t want to replace full-size appliances every time, a portable dishwasher is an effective product you can take with you and tuck away when not in use.

Some of the most popular portable dishwasher brands include Danby, GE, and Whirlpool.

Drawer Dishwashers: Drawer dishwashers are a popular design in custom kitchens. This model has two levels that pull out and open like drawers rather than a pull-down door. Loading and unloading are made simple with less strain involved. If hunching over to unload a traditional dishwasher is hard on your body, then a highly accessible dishwasher drawer might be your solution.

One of the most popular drawer dishwasher brands is Fisher & Paykel.

Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawer

Dishwasher Styles

Equally important as size and capacity, your dishwasher design should always match your kitchen. When shopping for a new dishwasher, keep these stylistic choices in mind.

Dishwasher Finish: Most dishwashers are available in one of the five standard colors: white, black, slate, stainless steel, and black stainless steel. Select dishwasher models also offer a fully integrated panel-ready design. The most popular finish currently is stainless steel, but choose the shade that’s the best match for your kitchen.

Dishwasher Handles: The dishwasher handles are often overlooked in terms of the impact your dishwasher will have on the overall look of your appliance. The common handle types are recessed, pocket, and bar. When choosing your preferred handle type, examine the other appliances in your kitchen and see what handles are already present. And even more important, consider the cleaning requirements of each handle type. If you want easy maintenance, recessed and pocket handles allow you to wipe down the dishwasher’s surface with little intervention.

Dishwasher Control Panel: Going hand-in-hand with the dishwasher handles, the control panels are another key design option. Dishwashers come with front control panels located on the exterior of the appliance, or top control panels that are hidden on the inside of the dishwasher door. You can easily determine how far along the wash cycle is with a front control panel, whereas top control panels hide the buttons to provide a sleek look. It isn’t as easy to tell what cycle the appliance is in, which is why the best dishwasher brands like Bosch have implemented a red InfoLight to let you know your machine is still in progress.

Don’s Appliances Recommendations

Don’t go anywhere, it’s just getting good! We’ve selected one product from the three most common dishwasher options. Each model is stylish, affordable, and dependable — see for yourself.

Best Built In Dishwasher: KitchenAid 24-Inch Dishwasher with PrintShield Finish (KDFE104HPS)

KitchenAid dishwasher

KitchenAid is a brand name you’ve been able to count on for over 100 years, and it’s time to put your trust in KitchenAid built in dishwashers. Open the pocket handle of this beautiful dishwasher and discover features that take clean to new heights.

A Third Level Rack that makes it easy to clean hard-to-place items, and the ProWash Cycle delivers exceptional results by making real-time cycle adjustments based on the soil level. The ultra-sleek PrintShield Finish resists fingerprints while the stainless-steel interior and Heat Dry function help improve drying performance.

The third rack adds 35 percent more loading space for long and flat cooking tools like spatulas and serving utensils, and the glossy finish is easy to clean with just water and a soft cloth, so you can spend more time cooking and less time cleaning the kitchen.

Recommended for:

  • Families with young children
  • Interior designers/contractors  
  • Entertainers/party hosts

Check for best price: KitchenAid® 23.88" Stainless Steel with PrintShield™ Finish Built In Dishwasher

Best Portable Dishwasher: GE 24 Inch Stainless Steel Portable Dishwasher (GPT225SSLSS)

GE dishwasher

For an affordable product with quality cleaning results, GE portable dishwashers are your best bet. Whether you’re on the move or trying to save space, you can ensure consistently clean items with the Piranha Hard Food Dispose that rotates at 3,600 RPM to pulverize food particles and prevent large food remnants from clogging the wash arms.

A beam of light measures soil levels and water temperature to adjust to the ideal cycle time, and a Sanitize option conducts a high-temperature rinse to disinfect your dishes and reduce 99.999 percent of bacteria found on utensils and cookware. Finally, the 3-Level Wash system uses powerful wash arms to provide table-ready dishes with every wash.

Recommended for:

  • Those with smaller living spaces or kitchens
  • Anyone in need of a budget-friendly dishwasher
  • Feature-forward shoppers

Check for best price: GE® 24" Stainless Steel Portable Dishwasher

Best Drawer Dishwasher: Fisher & Paykel Series 5 Double DishDrawer Dishwasher (DD24DAX9 N)

Fisher & Paykel dishwasher

For your custom kitchen or modern culinary design, consider investing in a drawer dishwasher from Fisher & Paykel. This Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer Dishwasher allows you to wash one drawer and stack the other, or wash both drawers simultaneously using different programs to accommodate almost any dish type.

DishDrawer Dishwashers are easy to open and can be conveniently positioned at bench height for easy loading and minimal bending, and internal racking can be folded down to comfortably fit bigger dishes.

This dishwasher model can wash everything from fine glass and crystal to heavily soiled pots and pans, and each drawer holds a True Half Load for guilt-free washes and fast turnaround of your dishes. And at an impressively low 45 decibels, you can count on this dishwasher to do its job without making a fuss.

Recommended for:

  • Those searching for a flexible appliance with energy-efficient cycle options
  • Smaller kitchens needing to save space
  • Those with minimal dishwashing needs

Check for best price: Fisher & Paykel Series 5 23.56" Stainless Steel Double DishDrawer™ Dishwasher

Dishwasher Recap: Features

Now that you’ve explored a few of our best dishwasher models, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for these select dishwasher features to help save you time, money, and effort in your cleaning routine.

  • Adjustable Racks: Racks designed to accommodate larger items, or a third rack that offers additional loading space for cooking tools.
  • Low-decibel operation: Modern dishwashers have quiet motors, soundproof tubs, and improved insulation that results in low decibel ranges. Look for the dBA rating to determine how your appliance will operate. The lower the decibel, the quieter your dishwasher will run.
  • Specialty wash cycles: Many dishwashers offer specialty cycles that are equipped to handle specific varieties of cookware (e.g., delicate cycle, heavy-duty, quick wash, steam clean, etc.)
  • Energy Star certification: Newer dishwasher models use far less energy and water than older versions, which lowers your energy bill and helps to conserve energy. Energy Star certified dishwashers exceed federal standards for energy use by 25 percent or more, and select dishwashers even have a delay-start feature that allows you to program your wash cycle during non-peak energy hours.
  • Dishwashing extras: We can all appreciate the go-to features commonly found on most dishwashers, but if possible, there are select modes that will simplify your cleaning routine and enhance your dishwashing prowess (e.g., hard food dispenser, auto-clean, heated dry, etc.)

Shop the Best Dishwashers in Pittsburgh

When shopping for a new dishwasher, it’s important to first consider what you need the most. Are you an avid cook? Do you run your dishwasher often? Do you entertain or cook for a large family? Do you want a quiet, energy-efficient, or large-capacity dishwasher? Asking yourself these questions is the best way to narrow down your choices.

The next best thing you can do is pay your friends at Don’s Appliances a visit. If you’re ready to upgrade your dishwasher and improve your cleaning efficiency, Don’s is your home for the best dishwashers in the area. With the largest selection of dishwashing appliances in the greater Pittsburgh region, you’re bound to find high-end appliances with the features you need to conquer even the highest stack of dishes.

Shop with us online, give us a call at your preferred store location, or visit one of the 10 Don’s Appliances destinations near you to find the dishwasher you’ve been searching for.