Here are the PROS, in our opinion:
• Compact and space-saving. This is by far the biggest draw. A big door on a standard washer can take up a lot of room in a small kitchen. In our last apartment, which had a very narrow galley kitchen, it didn't open flat because it hit the oven across from it. We've also knicked our shins on the edges of a heavy dishwasher door. These drawers pull out smoothly, and you can open them just a few inches to throw in a dish or two.
• Smaller loads. We don't create a ton of dirty dishes, and it would take a while to fill a standard-sized washer. With the drawers, we fill up one every couple of days and run it. It uses less water than a bigger version, and we don't wait around to fill it up.
• Multiple settings. We'll get to the downsides of some of the settings in a second, but at least it does have an "eco" option and standard and fast settings, in case we want to do a small load in a hurry.
• Quiet as a mouse. We get a tiny bit of humming and whirring when we first start it, but really, you can barely tell it's running.
And the CONS:
• Problems when you overfill it. You really have to keep the dishes separated and not cram things in. We've had a few loads where dishes come out with food still stuck on them, and it's always when we put too much in. Caveat: We always use the eco setting, so maybe if we turned that off, the higher heat or greater water pressure would take care of business. Anyone know the answer to that?
• Fast setting has its tradeoffs. It's half the time of the normal setting (44 minutes instead of 87) but it leaves the dishes dripping wet. That's not a huge deal, but a little annoying.
• Occasionally gets smelly. We've mentioned this problem before. Even though we rinse our dishes, if we leave them for more than a day, the dishwasher can really stink when we open it. We think it's because the seal on the drawers is so tight, it stays really moist and warm in there—no air circulates at all. It's always a little damp, which of course contributes to things thriving and smelling.
• Bottom drawer gets neglected. We almost always use the top drawer; we don't alternate. The bottom only gets a workout after a big dinner party, and we wonder if that will affect the wear and tear down the road. Of course, when we have kids, we're sure we'll use it more often.
Overall, we're happy with our dish drawers, even though we didn't choose them. They look good, and they are so much more comfortable to use than a regular washer with rickety racks and heavy doors.
We're interested in other dish drawer users out there (Fisher & Paykel or other brands). What do you think? Any tips?
(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)