The standard dishwasher size is not quite so standard. While many units come in standard sizes, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before buying. But don’t worry — we’ll cover these and more below.
Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.
Dishwashers all work more or less the same way, but all dishwashers are not created equal when it comes to size. Dishwashers come in standard, compact, oversized, and other sizes. Each has typical dimensions that homeowners must consider when selecting a new or replacement dishwasher.
Standard Dishwasher Sizes
The most common type of dishwasher is the familiar built-in variety that fits under the counter. There are three typical built-in sizes: standard, compact and oversized.
- Standard. This frequently seen model measures approximately 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 35 inches tall. It is sized to fit the most commonly found openings in kitchen cabinets in most houses. These are typically about 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 34 inches to 36 inches tall.
- Compact. In kitchens without a lot of extra space, homeowners sometimes prefer compact dishwashers. These units, measuring a mere 18 inches wide, will fit into much smaller openings. Although narrower, they generally have the standard height and depth dimensions — about 24 inches deep and 35 inches wide.
- Oversized. Extra-large dishwashers likely measure 30 inches to 42 inches wide. Again, height and depth measurements usually will not change from the standard dimensions.
Dishwasher Size Details
To emphasize, the width is usually the only dimension that differs when comparing compact and oversized dishwashers to the standard models. Most of the time, the height and depth on a compact or oversized unit will measure the same as a standard dishwasher.
The height measurements are the least critical. Under-cabinet dishwashers commonly have screw-in feet that installers can adjust in or out to change the height of the dishwasher.
If the dishwasher’s top is a little lower than you would like, leaving a gap between the countertop and the dishwasher, screwing the feet out a few turns should cover the difference.
When reading the specifications for a dishwasher, bear in mind that the cited measurements may not exactly match the actual measurements. Manufacturers often round up the stated widths and heights to the nearest inch.
This is generally not an issue. The dishwasher needs to be slightly smaller than the opening where it will be installed. Notice also that some dishwasher descriptions specify a depth with the door shut and without the handle. The handle will often add a couple of inches to the actual physical space required.
This may not affect the ability to fit the dishwasher into the under-cabinet cavity. It could make a difference if the handle will stick out and block, say, a refrigerator door from closing.
Finally, the dimensions of a dishwasher change dramatically when the door is opened. Manufacturers suggest affording 27 inches of clearance in front of the dishwasher to allow the door to open without hitting any obstructions.
Other Dishwasher Types
The majority of dishwashers will be under-cabinet models that fall into one of these three size categories. However, other types of dishwashers are manufactured and sold.
Less-common varieties include integrated panel dishwashers, portable dishwashers, and countertop dishwashers. Each of these specialty dishwashers has its own characteristic dimensions. Because the units don’t have to fit into a cavity in a cabinet installation, size may be less critical.
However, it’s a good idea to keep these options and their dimensions in mind. You may find one of these models solves a thorny dishwasher installation problem. Wherever they go, they have to fit. Here are details on other dishwasher sizes:
These dishwashers typically come without a finishing panel on the door. That allows a homeowner to install a panel that matches the cabinetry. Some consider this a more appealing look than a dishwasher’s typical plastic, steel, or aluminum door.
An integrated panel dishwasher generally runs about an inch shallower than a standard-sized under-cabinet model. That is, 23 inches or so.
One of these dishwashers-on-wheels generally spends most of its time tucked in an under-cabinet opening similar to one for a conventional dishwasher.
When not working to clean the kitchenware, portable dishwashers can be disconnected and rolled to a game room, garage, or wet bar — anywhere a water connection is handy.
Portables come in mid-sized and compact models; both sized similarly to the same category of permanently installed under-cabinet dishwashers. That is, 24 inches or so across for standard models and 18 inches in width for compacts. Height and depth are likely unchanged.
These dishwashers don’t go under the countertop at all. Instead, they sit on the counter, connecting to water through an attachment on the kitchen faucet. Typical models are a petite 21 inches wide.
Depth may be 20 inches or so and height just 18 inches. Countertop dishwashers clearly run much smaller than other types.
And since they don’t in or under cabinets, dimensions aren’t as critical. Still, they take up a lot of counter space, so it’s a good idea to measure carefully to make sure the countertop dishwasher will fit into its intended spot.
How to Measure Your Dishwasher
Dishwasher manufacturers commonly provide more or less exact dimensions for their products. Many also specify the required minimum width, depth, and height of the rough opening under the countertop where the dishwasher will be installed.
But how do you know if the size of that opening is adequate? Here are the steps to take to accurately measure a rough opening for a dishwasher:
- Use a measuring tape or ruler. Eyeballing it may not be accurate enough to avoid a disappointing and frustrating experience when you try to actually insert the unit in the opening.
- Measure exactly but make sure the dimensions are a little larger than the dishwasher. A little loose is okay. But if it won’t fit, that will require enlarging the opening or swapping out another dishwasher.
- To measure the width, measure from the edge of one side to the edge of the other. Keep the tape measure or ruler parallel to the floor. If you have it at an angle, the measurement will be more than the actual size of the opening.
- To measure height, measure from the floor to the lowest spot on the edge of the counter. If you measure up to a higher spot on the counter, you may wind up with a dishwasher too tall to fit.
- Measure dept from the front of the cabinet edge to the back of the opening. Don’t forget about the door. Add 27 inches and see that there aren’t any obstructions that would keep you from fully opening the door.
If you’re installing the dishwasher in a corner, add two inches between the wall or cabinet and the edge of the door. You will need this to easily open and close the door.
If you’re measuring an opening in a kitchen where new flooring will be installed before the refrigerator, account for the thickness of the flooring.
Do this by subtracting the flooring thickness from your measurement and ensuring the opening is still big enough. This is especially important if you plan to install ceramic tile in the kitchen.
Dishwasher Size Summary
Dishwashers come in various sizes, so it’s important to know the size of the opening or other location it will be installed in when shopping for a unit. As well as the size of the specific unit.
If you’re not sure which dishwasher you want to buy, when designing and installing cabinets, provide for a cavity 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 35 inches or so high to give your dishwasher a standard-sized space in which to do its important work.