The height and depth of built-in consumer kitchen appliances are limited by standard cabinet dimensions. An appliance such as a stove or dishwasher cannot jut out beyond the surrounding cabinets, nor can it project above the countertop. A standard base cabinet is 24 inches deep and 34 1/2 inches high, and built-in dishwashers are sized to fit these two dimensions. Residential dishwashers are available in a range of widths.
New Construction or Remodeling
Dishwasher size and placement are designed into the cabinet layout of a new or remodeled kitchen. A homeowner with limited space may design the placement around a compact dishwasher that is approximately 18 inches wide, and there are also extra-large units as much as 30 inches wide. Most dishwashers are designed to fit an opening 24 inches wide, and it is in this size that the largest variety and price range are available.
A standard dishwasher has a life expectancy of about 12 years, so homeowners are more likely to buy a replacement dishwasher than an appliance for a new installation. Before shopping for a replacement, take careful measurements of the current space and check your measurements against a new model's rough-in dimensions. Many built-in models have adjustable legs to allow for slight differences in height, but adjusting for width and depth is not as simple.
A May 2013 check of built-in models available for purchase at a major retailer found 242 models available, of which 193 were between 23 7/8 and 24 inches wide. Fourteen were compact models, approximately 18 inches wide. In case of small width mismatches, installation kits for dishwashers include color-matched shims to cover gaps between the cabinets and the body of the appliance.
In addition to the familiar dishwasher design that has changed little in decades, several manufacturers now offer new configurations. Tall models, which have larger interiors than conventional dishwashers, have the same external dimensions and can fit into the same space. Drawer dishwashers are available in single- and two-drawer models. Single-drawer models are about half the height of a conventional dishwasher and must be designed into a cabinet layout. Two-drawer models are similar in size to a conventional dishwasher and usually fit as a replacement.
Instead of being built into the cabinets, portable dishwashers are designed to roll from a "parking space" to the sink for temporary use. Portable dishwashers come in sizes similar to built-in models, except that they are made taller so that the top matches the height of standard countertops, 36 inches. Unit depth is the same as standard cabinets, while the width may vary from 18 to 24 inches or more.
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