You need a built-in dishwasher if you want the appliance to blend in with your kitchen. This is because you can use a front panel to cover the front, giving the dishwasher the same look as the rest of your kitchen cabinets. There are three different types of built-in dishwashers:
Fully Integrated Dishwasher
The fully integrated dishwasher is the least noticeable, as the front is completely covered by the front panel. The control panel is on the inside of the machine, so you can’t see anything when the door is closed. This means you have no idea what the machine is doing, you can only stop it by pulling open the door. A front panel is always required for this type of dishwasher.
Semi Integrated Dishwasher
With a semi integrated dishwasher the control panel is on the outside. The front panel extends as far as the control panel, so the machine is always partially visible. This may not always look neat in your kitchen, but semi-integrated dishwashers can be operated from the outside. This is useful if you want to see how long the washing programme will last or if you want to stop the dishwasher during the programme.
Dishwasher under counter
A dishwasher under counter can be fitted under your kitchen worktop, but unlike the (semi) integrated dishwasher it does not have a front or side panel. The dishwasher has a finished top surface so there is no need for a front panel. You can build the dishwasher in under the countertop.
A detached dishwasher stands apart from the rest of your kitchen. This is a good option if you have plenty of space, as you won’t have to sacrifice a kitchen cabinet. In addition, freestanding dishwashers are also useful if you do not have the connections under your kitchen unit. Freestanding dishwashers can look great in your kitchen, but you will always have to sacrifice a kitchen cabinet. That means you have less room to put your things away in the kitchen. Even small dishwashers take up a lot of space, which isn’t always practical if your kitchen is already small. For a built-in dishwasher, the connections also need to be in the right place. If that is not the case, you have to reroute them, which is not always easy. The upside is that the dishwasher doesn’t stand out in your kitchen.
The downside of a free-standing model is that it takes up a lot of space in your kitchen, making it very noticeable. In a large kitchen, this is not a problem, as you can place additional items on top of the dishwasher. Always be careful of the sides of a free-standing model, though. These are not protected by the outside of a kitchen cabinet, making them more susceptible to damage from knocks.
At the end of the day, a built-in dishwasher is also always slightly more expensive than a freestanding model. Fully integrated dishwashers, in particular, are expensive because everything must be hidden in the door.
Dishwashing by hand vs. a dishwasher
Many people also want to know whether it’s more economical to wash by hand or to have a dishwasher clean your dirty dishes. It depends on a number of things. First, you need to look at where the heated water is coming from. A close-in boiler for your kitchen faucet uses a lot of energy.
It also matters whether you get your dishes clean by holding them under the running tap or washing them in a tub of hot water. For your comparison, it’s also important to know how a dishwasher works. In the first stage, the water is heated and used to pre-rinse your laundry. This removes the worst of the food residue. The hot water is pumped through the machine with great force, causing the spray arms to rotate.
Next, the water is squirted through the holes and spread over your dishes. Then the dishwasher automatically releases the dishwasher tablet, causing the detergent to mix with the water. When all the rinse water has drained away, your dishes are dried, this is to prevent a layer of water that can form on your glasses. Using rinse aid can further reduce this effect.
An average wash cycle takes about 1.5 hours, but if you choose the eco-range, it can take up to 4 hours to get your dishes completely clean.
So it depends on a number of factors which method is more economical. It’s better to choose an energy-efficient dishwasher if you use a lot of water while washing by hand, or have the water heated by an electric boiler. An energy-efficient model can save up to 1.5 litres of water per wash.