Dishwashers have become must-have appliances for any modern kitchen, whether it is integrated or freestanding. With more and more people looking to add a dishwasher into their kitchens, people have been wanting to know what an integrated dishwasher is now more than ever. If you are one of those people, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to break down exactly what an integrated dishwasher is, how it works, and what it does. Read on to learn the answer to the question of what is an integrated dishwasher and everything you need to know about this useful appliance.
Table of Contents
An Introduction to Integrated Dishwashers
In essence, integrated dishwashers are regular dishwashing machines that have a kitchen cabinet door installed onto the front of the appliance. This makes it appear as though it is built into the rest of your kitchen’s furniture and makes the appliance much more discreet than if it was freestanding.
Integrated dishwashers, as well as other integrated appliances, provide a more minimalist and slim appearance to the kitchen. They are generally used in modern and great-looking minimalist kitchens to help get that uninterrupted and seamless look that many modern homes strive for, and they are generally more affordable than freestanding appliances.
Integrated dishwashers come in two different styles – semi-integrated and fully. Semi-integrated dishwashers have slightly smaller kitchen cupboard doors installed in the front, which leaves a small strip exposed at the machine’s top. This is the place that the control panel for the appliance is found, as well as the handle for opening and closing it. You don’t need to have the machine door open in order to use your semi-integrated dishwasher.
On the other hand, fully integrated dishwashers feature full kitchen cabinet doors on the front, which makes them totally invisible when the door is closed. They are definitely the more discreet of the options and are great if you want your kitchen to be totally seamless. The control panel is situated at the top of the dishwasher once the door is opened and forms the top edge of the door.
What to Look for in an Integrated Dishwasher
Now that you know exactly what an integrated dishwasher is, you’re going to want to know what to look for when you go shopping for one. Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects.
The loading capacity of a dishwasher is measured using what is known as ‘place settings’. A single place setting consists of 10 items, and these items are generally considered a side plate, a dinner plate, a mug, a bowl, a saucer, a knife, a drinking glass, and 2 teaspoons. The majority of full-sized dishwashers can house anywhere between 12 to 15 settings, while slimline dishwashers hold about 9 to 11.
Depending on how large your home is, you might want to consider purchasing dishwashers that have larger capacities. The same applies to small households – if you do not think that you are going to fill the machine up before you use it, you would do better by purchasing a slimline model.
Be sure to take a look at the ‘A’ rating or check the estimated annual costs of operation to help compare the energy rating of the different models that you are looking at. The greater the A rating, the less energy the dishwasher is going to use when it is in use. More modern machines with water-saving features and newer technology will help you keep your utility bills as low as possible.
Being able to alter the configuration of the inside of a dishwasher can be super beneficial. Be sure to check whether the uppermost rack can be moved down or up to provide you with more space for taller wine glasses at the top or larger pans at the bottom. Prongs that can be stood up or laid down flat to allow different item sizes to be held in place can be super helpful.
What’s more, it can be very useful to have flexible items in your dishwasher, like a removable cutlery tray, which means that you can fit in bigger dishes or pans.
Settings and Functions
All dishwashers should come with some of the more standard settings, such as heavy soil, a standard wash, and a light or quick wash. Machines with higher specifications might offer more advanced features and come with sensors to determine and adjust the temperature, power, and amount of water that your machine uses for each of the wash cycles.
Many of the more modern models include ‘eco modes’ that can help you save electricity and water, which can be very useful if you are on a budget. However, you should definitely keep in mind that ‘more efficient’ sadly does not translate to ‘clean best’, so while you might be saving money on your utility bills, the results you get from that might not always be as favourable.
Be sure to take a look at all of the settings that are on a dishwasher to ensure that it comes with any of the special functions you might want.
The noise level of any dishwasher will be measured in decibels and is generally going to tell you how loud the dishwasher is when it is working on its highest setting. The make, type, and model of the machine will influence how loud it is. Be sure to check and ensure that it is not too noisy if this is important to you.
Generally, freestanding dishwashers are much louder than integrated dishwashers, especially slimline versions. This might be a consideration that you think about if your kitchen and living space is open-planned.
Do Integrated Dishwashers Need a Cabinet?
Integrated dishwashers do not need cabinets since they fit between end panels and cabinets. They actually don’t sit within a cabinet, like an integrated fridge or single oven does. They are placed on the floor but have to be in between end panels or cabinets. Integrated dishwashers need to be supported. Integrated dishwashers also have to have a door that will be installed onto the machine’s front.
Style and Design
Integrated dishwashers fit beneath your countertops, flush to the cabinets in your kitchen. This offers a look that is streamlined and neat, which is generally the preference that many homeowners have. Freestanding dishwashers are finished at the top and on all sides. So you can place them anywhere in your house, even in rooms that don’t have cabinets.
Certain dishwasher manufacturers create freestanding dishwashers that come with custom cabinet facings. This means you can place them next to your cabinets and have them blend in.
Convenience and Versatility
Integrated dishwashers, as you already know, are installed permanently into your kitchen. This means that when you move house, you will generally leave it behind. However, you can take your freestanding dishwasher with you when you move.
Integrated dishwashers allow you to have additional dishwasher space since you won’t have to store them beneath your cabinets. What’s more, the top of these appliances is often made from countertop materials or cutting boards. This provides you with a little more prep and cutting space.
If you have a smaller kitchen, freestanding dishwashers might get in the way. They can make the space feel more cluttered than it is. Because of the built-in nature of integrated dishwashers. And because they are stored permanently underneath your counters, they are more out of the way. However, they do take up some space that you could have used for drawers or cabinets.
Integrated machines are installed straight into your home’s water supply. This means they can run while you use your sink and faucet. Freestanding dishwashers generally render your sink unusable while they are cleaning the dishes. But there are models that have bypass valves that let you run water.
Capacity and Size
Integrated dishwashers are usually about 24 inches wide and can hold about 15 standard place settings. If your family consists of more than 2 people, integrated dishwashers are ideal. They can wash many dishes at once. Freestanding machines are generally not as big. They hold about 8 place settings – perfect for apartments and small homes for three or fewer occupants.
Installation and Cost
Freestanding dishwashers will usually cost less than their integrated counterparts. Both machine types have cycles that save energy to keep your utility bills low. But freestanding units do not require any special installation processes. They generally hook up to your kitchen faucet to drain straight into your sink as well.
On the other hand, integrated dishwashers have to be installed. This can incur more costs if you are hiring a plumber to connect or install water lines. Additionally, if the cabinets in your kitchen do not have any openings, the modifications needed result in more costs.
Are integrated dishwashers standard sizes?
Integrated dishwashers do come in standard heights and depths. We suggest leaving 5cm at the back of your cabinet so that you have space to run your pipes. There are also two primary sizes that they are available in. The standard width is 60cm and the slimline width is 45cm. It goes without saying that you should choose the size of machine that suits your home.
Do integrated dishwashers need a cabinet?
Integrated dishwashers do not need a cabinet, but they do need a door. They are specially made to be 60cm or 45cm wide depending on the type of machine they are.
How do I choose an integrated dishwasher?
Standard integrated dishwashers are 60cm wide. They are generally suited to kitchens with a bit more space in them and that have larger cabinets. Slimline models are 45cm and are better suited for smaller spaces.
What does it mean when a dishwasher is integrated?
When a dishwasher is labelled as ‘integrated’, it means that the machine slots into a cabinet space in your kitchen. You can add it to any other room that has cabinets and a sink in it. Freestanding models are those that can be placed anywhere and that do not need cabinets to slot into.
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Founder of homeappliancegeek.com, avid cook, and lover of Asian food.
Signature dishes include Thai Red Curry, Chicken Saag, Bibimbap and Sushi.
Massive clean freak; a habit baked-in after spending 9 years in the catering industry.
The one appliance he couldn’t live without? Easily the dishwasher (total relationship saver!).