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Does a Dishwasher Need a Cabinet? (Quick Answers)

A modern home kitchen feels incomplete without a dishwasher. Dishwashers have become a modern-day necessity for their functionality. It saves your time and helps to clean the dishes more efficiently. 

Whether it’s a new home or an old one, it’s hard to imagine a life without dishwashers now. 

If you’ve just moved into a house without a dishwasher and are planning to get one, you may be wondering if the dishwasher needs a cabinet or if you need to build a cabinet to accommodate it.

Does a dishwasher need a cabinet?

A dishwasher doesn’t necessarily need a cabinet. The main requirement while installing a dishwasher is an opening spacious enough to accommodate the dishwasher with proper access to the plumbing and wiring of the kitchen. However, it will need structural support on each side of it. 

Bear with us and figure out if the following types of dishwashers need a cabinet or not –

Integrated or built-in dishwasher:

An integrated or built-in dishwasher doesn’t need a cabinet. There are two types of integrated dishwashers – fully integrated and semi-integrated. 

A fully integrated dishwasher accepts a custom panel to match your kitchen’s aesthetics and the controls are not visible. Whereas for a semi-integrated dishwasher, the controls are still visible but this too, accepts custom panels.

The cabinet is not mandatory for any of the two types. All they need is an opening that will fit the appliance properly with sufficient room for the draining hose. The opening needs to be in a location perfect for accessing the plumbing of the kitchen. It also needs access to a dedicated circuit in the kitchen. 

Integrated or built-in dishwashers are installed in a full or semi-permanent manner. They are usually integrated into the kitchen’s cabinets to go with the overall vibe. It requires less space and it is less noisy as the sound gets muffled by the cabinetry.

Freestanding dishwasher:

A freestanding dishwasher doesn’t necessarily need a cabinet to be installed properly. The freestanding dishwasher includes a finished front door. So it won’t need a cabinet door attached to it. 

Instead, you can purchase one with your preferred choice of front finishing as it comes with different finishing options. 

A freestanding dishwasher only needs a perfect opening that can hold it in properly with all its controls. The opening area needs to be in a place that has access to both a dedicated circuit and water connections. 

It is wise to run a dishwasher on a dedicated circuit with a 15 amp breaker.

Freestanding dishwashers can be installed in an opening near the sink or they can be installed somewhere that is close to the plumbing and water connections. 

These are not installed permanently so you can disconnect them while moving house and reconnect at your new place easily. 

Can you install a dishwasher without a cabinet?

Dishwashers have become a must in modern days, but do they need cabinets? Can you install a dishwasher without a cabinet? Let’s find out. 

Integrated or built-in dishwasher:

You can install an integrated or built-in dishwasher without a cabinet. Integrated dishwashers don’t need cabinets but they accept front panels. You can create a front panel to match the outlook of your kitchen. 

Integrated dishwashers are best to use if you have your own house and you get to design the kitchen according to your taste.

The integrated dishwasher needs an opening that can accommodate the appliance. The controls are not visible for a fully integrated dishwasher but the semi-integrated one shows the controls. 

The best part about using an integrated dishwasher is that it blends amazingly well with your kitchen’s outlook and it doesn’t make much noise while performing. The only disadvantage is that you can’t take it with you when or if you move.

Freestanding dishwasher:

You can also install a freestanding dishwasher without a cabinet. Freestanding dishwashers are accompanied by fixed front panels so you wouldn’t need to fix a cabinet for them. 

Also, freestanding dishwashers are available in multiple finishes like stainless steel, black, and white so you can choose one that suits the ambiance of your kitchen best. 

A freestanding dishwasher needs nothing but an opening. The opening needs to be wide and deep enough to fit the dishwasher from all sides. You can measure the opening that you’re planning to install the dishwasher in beforehand. 

This will make it easier for the dishwasher to fit in with all its measurements. 

The best part about installing a freestanding dishwasher is that it is very easy to install and can be moved so it is a good option for renters. But, a freestanding dishwasher may not look good with every type of kitchen design, and also it is a bit noisier compared to built-in ones.

Can you put a dishwasher in any cabinet?

Although dishwashers don’t necessarily need a cabinet, you can put a dishwasher in a cabinet if you want to and if it fits the measurements of your appliance. You can choose a cabinet space depending on your kitchen’s design and size. 

If there’s no opening, you can cut the cabinetry in the right place to make space for the dishwasher.

If an existing cabinet opening matches the requirements of your purchased dishwasher, you can put it there as it will be a more convenient option for you. 

Special cabinets are not necessary as long as the opening or existing cabinet has proper access to the plumbing and electrical connections.

What kind of cabinet do I need for a dishwasher?

There’s no fixed type of cabinetry needed for a dishwasher as most dishwashers can run well without a cabinet. As long as it gets a perfect opening that has all the needed access points, it can function without any disruption. 

If you want to place your dishwasher in a cabinet, you can build a cabinet space according to your preference. 

The best material to build a cabinet is wood and the thickness should be at least 3/4 inches. You need to measure the length, width, and depth of the dishwasher and add additional 1/2 inches to all the measurements while cutting the wood. 

The type of the cabinet mainly depends on your choice and the fixture requirements.

What size cabinet do I need for a dishwasher?

If you wish to prepare a cabinet for your dishwasher, you must take all the measurements of the dishwasher into consideration. 

Slimline dishwasher:

A slimline dishwasher is 34 to 35 inches in height, 18 inches in width, and around 24 inches in depth. You can design a cabinet with these measurements adding an additional 1/2 inches for easier installation. You can also look for an opening with proper plumbing access.

The capacity of a slimline dishwasher is less compared to full-size ones but you can still put a lot of dishware in. The narrower designs of slimline dishwashers make them the perfect option for small and modest kitchens.

A slimline dishwasher makes a kitchen look more organized and tidy but with similar performance. 

Full-size dishwasher:

A full-size integrated dishwasher is 34 to 35 inches in height, 24 inches in width, and around 24 inches in depth. It can be a wise decision to leave 5 centimeters of space on the back and a few centimeters on the sides of the opening. 

An oversized dishwasher can be 30 to 34 inches in width. It takes up a lot of space in the kitchen.

A dishwasher needs to be connected to both electrical and water lines. It also needs space for the draining hose. Leaving some space on the back can help to set the water connections and electrical hook-ups properly. Gaps on the sides make the installation process smoother.

Can you put a cabinet front on any dishwasher?

You can put a cabinet front on any type of dishwasher. Some dishwashers come with a fixed front panel that can’t be altered. A freestanding dishwasher always comes with a specific front door finishing. You can choose a finish according to your taste to go well with your kitchen. 

Panel-ready dishwashers can be designed with a cabinet front. 

You can change or put a cabinet front on different types of dishwashers to make them blend well with the kitchen’s cabinetry. To mount the cabinet front over the front part of the dishwasher, you will need adhesives and screws. 

It is best to let the front dry overnight before regular use. 

Final thoughts

A dishwasher doesn’t need a cabinet to function properly. In fact, all it requires is an opening where the dishwasher can fit properly and that has proper access to the wiring and plumbing of the kitchen. But a dishwasher will need structural support from cabinets on each side of it.