All About: Drawer Dishwashers

updated May 3, 2023
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3 Smart Tips That’ll Make Unloading the Dishwasher Way Easier (Image credit: Diana Liang)

If you’ve already renovated a kitchen or are just beginning the process, you know how overwhelming the details can be. Our Fittings and Material Spotlights are quick guides to basic kitchen fixtures to familiarize you with terminology, pros and cons, and relevant reader reviews. Today we look at dishwasher drawers:

Dishwasher Style: Drawer

Overview: Dishwasher drawers came onto the market a few years ago. Fisher-Paykel launched the style, and it was followed up in recent years by other major kitchen brands. Standard dishwasher doors drop down to load, but drawer dishwashers (available in either single- or double-drawer models) pull out horizontally.

Manufacturers: Fisher-Paykel, Kenmore, KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Maytag. Note: the first generation KitchenAid dish drawers from a few years ago were licensed from Fisher-Paykel, but they no longer are. Kenmore and Maytag dish drawers are manufactured by Fulgor for Whirlpool, and not Fisher-Paykel.

Pros: Drawer dishwashers are compact and great for small kitchens. You can run smaller loads more frequently, and the machines are very quiet.

Cons: Fisher-Paykel in particular has a bad customer service track record. We’ve read numerous complaints that the machines break down often and are problematic when overfilled. Other complaints say it’s difficult to fit dishes into the drawers, and the machines won’t clean properly if the dishes aren’t rinsed thoroughly first.

Price range: $500+

Kitchn Reader Reviews: Read more reviews here and here.

I’ve had my Fisher & Paykel Dish Drawers since a 2002 kitchen re-do and I have to say I still love them. In our 2 person household I can clean an evenings batch of dishes and glassware in one drawer (always on the eco setting). I use the bottom drawer frequently (sometimes I’m too lazy to empty the top), and it’s really handy during a dinner party: you can load one drawer with dishes from the first course and have then washing while your serving and eating the main course. I wish I had had the space to install one drawer on either side of the sink as I have seen elsewhere. The only drawback I’ve experienced is the need for service annually as soon as the warranty expired. – storeboy
My parents have [a Fisher-Paykel version] and while it’s convenient and yes, quite silent, it seems to break an awful lot. Like three, four times in a year. My regular old (I don’t even remember the brand) dishwasher that came with my condo hasn’t broken once in the same period. The other thing is, it’s hard to find someone to repair a Fisher-Paykel. My dad’s lucky, because he can do it himself, but someone who wasn’t so handy might have a real hard time with it. – Rose Campion
I had two in my kitchen until I sold my house. Both were from Fisher Paykel and they absolutely did not clean like an original sized one…i had the repair man tell me i needed to use a special liquid detergent and that the plates had to be virtually cleaned and rinsed prior to placing them in the drawer. Plus the drawers held a lot less dishes…truly one of the good things about selling my house was losing those dishwasher draweres…not to mention that mine were among the first from Fisher and they learned from their mistakes as the markings quickly eroded away. – Natalie Luffer Stzern

Readers, do you have a drawer dishwasher? If so, tell us what brand and share your experience.

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