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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Freestanding Dishwasher?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 16, 2024
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Appliances are an integral part of home kitchens, and dishwashers are a popular option. Some kitchens may not have the space for a built-in dishwasher, so homeowners may opt for a freestanding dishwasher. Renters can also enjoy the convenience of a freestanding dishwasher, as it can be moved from place to place. While a freestanding dishwasher has its benefits, it also has some drawbacks. Increased noise, a long wash cycle, a short life cycle and difficult hook-ups are some of the issues freestanding dishwasher users report.

When kitchen cabinet space is limited, a freestanding dishwasher can be a good fit. They are offered in several sizes, from full-size models to compact models and even counter-top models. Typically, portable models have wheels on the bottom so they can be easily maneuvered around the kitchen, and many feature a butcher block or similar style top, which provides extra counter top workspace. Unfortunately, finding an out-of-the-way place to store the dishwasher when not in use can be difficult in tight quarters.

A freestanding dishwasher typically has a back compartment which houses a retractable power cord and water hose. The hose is attached to the kitchen faucet, through a special adapter that threads onto the faucet while it's in use, which can be inconvenient if the sink is needed for other chores. The dishwasher also returns the used water to the sink, where it goes down the drain.

When selecting a freestanding dishwasher, certain factors should be considered. Consumers should consider the size of the dishwasher that will best serve the family as well as the warranty and how much use the dishwasher will see. Different inside layouts can be chosen to best meet the family's needs such as extra space for glasses or pots and pans. With space being a limiting factor in the portable machine's design, space for large pans and platters are often sacrificed in order to make room for silverware and dinner plates.

Noise is perhaps the biggest downside to the freestanding dishwasher. The built-in models have the luxury of the surrounding wooden cabinets to muffle the sound of the water spraying where the portable units do not. The thin and lightweight cabinets of the freestanding dishwasher allow the sounds of the machine working to emanate through the home. This can be especially disruptive if the unit is operated while the television is on, or someone is trying to sleep or speak on the phone.

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