I don’t know about you, but a dishwasher is something I couldn’t live without. The main reason is that I just don’t like handling dirty, greasy dishes. I also like the convenience of being able to pop the dirty dishes straight into my dishwasher, out of sight, so the kitchen looks tidy immediately upon finishing a meal.
I’ve renovated a few times over the years, but had never given any real thought to the various styles of dishwasher. I just bought what looked good and fitted in with my budget. It was only recently when I moved into an old house that needed renovating that I became aware that there are two main kinds of dishwasher, semi integrated and fully integrated. Both basically function the same way, with the main difference between them being in the design detail. Aesthetics aside, there are a few other things to take into account when deciding between the two.
Fully Integrated Dishwashers
Just as the name suggests, a fully integrated dishwasher blends in seamlessly with the kitchen cabinets surrounding it. The front of the dishwasher can be left exposed or it can be concealed behind a door to match the rest of the kitchen cabinetry. The control panel, along with the opening, is usually on the top of the door, out of sight. For ease of use and to facilitate opening and closing of the door, a handle can be placed on the front of the dishwasher or cabinet it is housed in. Regardless of whether you opt to leave the front of the dishwasher on display or cover it, with its clean, sleek lines a fully integrated model will enhance the appearance of any kitchen. To my eye it looks especially at home in a modern kitchen when a stainless steel or coloured fascia is used.
Semi Integrated Dishwashers
The control panel on a semi integrated dishwasher is positioned at the upper front of the dishwasher. Because of this, this type of dishwasher can be partially, but not fully concealed behind a cabinet door. To fully conceal it would mean access to the control panel and open/close mechanism would not be possible. Some semi integrated washers come with decorative panels that can be changed around to give the kitchen a different look or customized to match the existing cabinets. Pricing and ease of access to the control panel are things that need to be taken into account when deciding upon which type of dishwasher will be right for you.
Which Dishwasher Is Right for You?
Families with young children might prefer a fully integrated dishwasher as the controls will be out of the kids’ reach.
Those who like to know which part of the wash cycle the machine has reached may prefer a semi integrated dishwasher as this information can easily be seen without needing to open the dishwasher’s door.
As for cost, I found that generally fully integrated models cost more than their semi integrated counterparts. This does, however, vary depending upon the make and model meaning a more standard fully integrated washer can come in cheaper than a semi integrated washer that has all the bells and whistles.