In my kitchen, there is a spare cupboard under the counter, where I would like to install a dishwasher. I have spoken to a tradesman who has said this will be possible and will do the fitting for me. He has said that I just need to go ahead and buy the dishwasher, and he will do the rest.

However, after browsing dishwashers on various websites, it seems that there are two main categories: integrated dishwashers, and freestanding dishwashers. Which of these should I buy?

My first instinct was that it should be a freestanding dishwasher because this may may make installation easier, since this is something of an unusual case. However, technically, the dishwasher will be integrated into my existing kitchen units, so now I am thinking that an integrated dishwasher makes more sense. But what does an integrated dishwasher actually mean? Does it just mean that you couldn't have it standing on its own, and it must be fixed inside some other frame (e.g. my cupboard)? But would something like this easily fix within my cupboard?

Below are two photos of the spare cupboard where the dishwasher will go. There is some shelving inside, which the tradesman said he will remove before installing the dishwasher. He also said that the current door on the cupboard will be retained as the door on the new dishwasher (after removing the hinges). Other issues, such as power and water supply, are fine.

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Any help? Thanks!

  • 2
    You want integrated. Free standing has sidewalls and a top that you don't need and will get in the way of installing under cabinet
    – Tyson
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 2:57
  • Thanks. Do you think integrated will still be fine even if it is only attached on one side (the right side in the photo above is just empty space)? Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 3:04
  • 2
    Typical dishwashers slide in and are only attached center top to the underside of the countertop. You only need a finished front panel, which is what integrated is. the free standing has finished panels on all sides and top and will not fit the space.
    – Tyson
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 3:11
  • 1
    The problem is you will have to entirely remove the old cabinet if you want the integrated DW to fit properly. It may be possible to leave the back of the cabinet if the DW is shallow enough. Usually the DW is sized to fit in an empty opening between cupboards. This means that all of the old cabinet will need to be removed before installation.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 9:28
  • 1
    In the top picture, is that a sink immediately to the right of the future dishwasher spot? If so, you're not going to be able to use that sink when the dishwasher door is open.
    – JS.
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 0:28

1 Answer 1


A integrated appliance is one intended to be installed in, and mostly concealed by, your normal cabinetry. It will therefore lack the finished decorative sides, front and top of a free-standing appliance.

They are usually floor standing - so the carpenter would have to remove the bottom of your cupboard. She would also have to remove and replace the kick panel at the bottom - usually these are converted from fixed (screws) to removable (spring clip) to facilitate maintenance.

Often, the appliance controls protrude at the top of the door, so the existing cupboard door would have to be cut down to fit the remaining space and attached to the appliance door. The appliance door of an integrated appliance is designed to have a wooden "door" attached that matches the decor of your adjacent kitchen cupboards

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