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Are Dishwashers Hardwired or Plug In? (Quick Answers)

The kitchen is the only room in a home that has a high electricity demand, unlike the other rooms. Most power-demanding appliances are present in the kitchen.

The devices that do not require a lot of power are mostly plugged in, while the devices that require dedicated circuits have either hardwiring or a plug.

Are dishwashers hardwired or plug-in?

A dishwasher can either be hardwired or plugged into a receptacle. Hardwiring the dishwasher avoids the need for an outlet, and using a plug-in dishwasher allows switching it off in case of malfunction. Choosing the best method depends on what is available.

Nowadays, there are different types of dishwashers available for purchase. Some dishwashers are portable, while the others are built-in and drawer dishwashers. Depending on the type, they either come with hardwiring or a plug-in.

Built-in dishwashers:

Built-in dishwashers are built with the kitchen cabinets, which gives a cohesive, all-in-one look. For better aesthetic and kitchen design, various shades of dishwasher doors are available.

Having a large option means that it is possible to choose the perfect one that goes with the rest of the kitchen. Some higher-end dishwashers come with the stainless-steel door option and look great in kitchens.

Integrated dishwashers have excellent insulation, making them quiet while operational, and having them integrated provides easy access. These dishwashers are usually hardwired since they are not moved about and need an electrician to be installed.

When cleaning is required, they are pulled out from their position but not unplugged.

Portable dishwashers:

Portable dishwashers, unlike integrated dishwashers, provide portability as it features wheels allowing them to be moved easily from one place to another.

Some apartments do not come with a large kitchen, and hence, the limited space does not allow the room for a dishwasher. In such a situation, a portable dishwasher comes handy. Portable dishwashers prevent the need for additional space in the kitchen.

They are not used as the main dishwasher as they have limited holding capacity due to their small sizes and so cannot wash many plates or cutleries at once. Portable dishwashers come with a plug that can be used in an outlet to power them.

Drawer dishwashers:

Drawer dishwashers are similar portable and built-dishwashers, except they do not come with wheels. Drawer dishwashers usually have two drawers that operate independently.

These are ideal for small households or homes with small kitchens. Single drawer dishwashers do not occupy as much space making them an excellent choice for small apartments.

Both energy and water consumption are relatively lower, and each drawer runs on different cycles. So delicate glassware can be washed separately in a drawer and plates and cutlery in another.

Since drawer dishwashers do not need to be moved about except for cleaning purposes, they are also hardwired like integrated ones. Few drawer dishwashers may come with a plug.

Are all dishwashers hardwired?

No, all dishwashers are not hardwired. The answer depends on what type of dishwasher it is. If it is a portable dishwasher, then it should not be hardwired. If it is a built-in dishwasher or a drawer dishwasher, then it may be hardwired.

Most dishwashers that are integrated are usually hardwired with the electric circuit and connected to the plumbing. Hardwiring the dishwasher connects it to the dedicated circuit, and the plumb line supplies the dishwasher with water.

Checking the dishwasher manual will answer if the dishwasher needs to be plugged into an outlet or hardwired, but that is usually left for the installer to decide.

Nowadays, new dishwashers come with a cord that should be plugged into a receptacle. These dishwashers are plugged into outlets connected to dedicated circuits. Dishwashers need the 125V and 20A circuits.

Why are dishwashers hardwired?

There are numerous reasons why a dishwasher is hardwired. Some of them follow:

No need for an outlet:

A hardwired connection does not need an electrical outlet to be plugged into a circuit, the wires need to be connected to the corresponding ones, and it will be ready to operate.


It is convenient to hardwire a dishwasher since it will be repaired in the future, if required, rather than replaced. For repairing and cleaning purposes, the dishwasher can be pulled out without having to be unplugged.

Electric code:

Depending on where you live, it may be required by the national code to connect the dishwasher by hardwiring instead through an outlet.

Looks neat:

Hardwiring the dishwasher appliance makes the cables stay out of sight. Invisible wires make it visibly appealing as messy wires are not seen around and give a neat and clean look.


When a dishwasher is hardwired, it does not need an outlet to be connected to. Not needing to install an outlet saves the cost of installing an outlet and creating an additional circuit, if absent.

Dishwasher Brands Available in Hardwired or Plugged in
BoschBoth hardwired and plugged in
KitchenAidPlugged in
WhirlpoolBoth hardwired and plugged in

How do I know if my dishwasher is hardwired or plug in?

According to the NEC (National Electric Code), all outlets must be accessible. For this, if accessing the outlet of the dishwasher requires the removal or pulling of the dishwasher out, it does not comply with the code.

Therefore, if the outlet is not visible when the dishwasher is in place, it is likely that the dishwasher is hardwired. However, if the outlet is accessible and the dishwasher is connected, then it is plugged in using a plug.

Can I put a plug on a hardwired dishwasher? How to convert a dishwasher hardwire to plug in?

Yes, you can put a plug on a hardwired dishwasher. It may be difficult if you do not know which wire should be connected to which terminal. In such a case, it is suggested to call for an electrician.

Converting a dishwasher hardwire into a plug-in is simple. Follow the given steps to easily convert a hardwire into a plug-in. Before starting, an outlet should be present but if absent, install an electrical outlet first.

Locate the wires or electric wires container:

It depends on the manufacturing brand of the dishwasher where the wires are. Most of the time, the wires are located behind the dishwasher at either the left or right corner. Once found, separate the wires and understand which one is neutral, live, and ground.

Remove the cover of the plug:

The cover of the plug is often screwed but may also be snapped on. Open it using a screwdriver if screws are present, or pry it open if it is snapped on. Since it will be powering a dishwasher, it is most likely it will have screws.

Connecting the cords or wires:

Connecting the wires to their appropriate terminals is the challenging part. But most of the time, it is simple enough as all you will have to do is connect the wires of the same colors. Once done, put the cover back on.

Plugging it in:

After screwing or snapping the cover on the plug, plug in the dishwasher to the electrical outlet. If all the instructions have been followed correctly, the dishwasher will work as intended.

It should be mentioned to leave a slack of cord behind the dishwasher. This should be done because, when it requires cleaning or repairing, the dishwasher can be pulled out without having to disconnect it. Also, pulling that out will not disconnect it from the outlet.

Where is a dishwasher usually plugged in?

A dishwasher is usually plugged in under the sink, behind the dishwasher. Most homes have a box that holds the wires required to hardwire a dishwasher to its circuit so, the hardwired connection is usually behind the dishwasher.

Newer homes have an outlet that is behind the dishwasher but accessible at all times. This outlet is used to connect the dishwasher to its dedicated circuit.

Can I plug a dishwasher into a regular outlet?

Yes, you can plug a dishwasher into a regular outlet, but it is not advised. Dishwashers require about 125V and 20A to run. For their high power demand, they have their dedicated circuits.

If the circuit connected to a regular outlet can provide 20A, then the dishwasher can be connected to that outlet. Otherwise, it is not an ideal choice.

Final Thoughts

Older dishwashers are hardwired, while modern dishwashers come with a cord and plug. Depending on the type, a dishwasher may be hardwired or plugged in. But most of the time, codes require them to be hardwired to their dedicated circuit. Converting a hardwire to a plug-in is simple and easy to do.