Choosing The Right Dishwasher Size For Your Home + Family

A Dishwasher in the kitchen

Are you having a hard time trying to decide what dishwasher size you should get?

Unfortunately, this is a common issue. In fact, thousands of people are struggling with it.

But the good news is that you’ve come to the right place for answers.

When choosing the right dishwasher size for your home, you need to focus on different factors, such as the size of your family, noise level, energy and water consumption, offered cycles, and style.

Read on to buy the right dishwasher!

Why trust us? This article was written in collaboration with James Blackford, our appliance repair expert. James has over 16 years of experience as an appliance technician, works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair company.

Is There a Standard Dishwasher Size?

Most dishwashers have a standard size of 24 inches (0.61 m) deep, 35 inches (0.89 m) high and 24 inches (0.61 m) wide, and a capacity of 12 to 14 standard place settings.

Dishwasher dimensions
Most openings are 24” wide, 34–36” high, and 24” deep, which fits standard dishwasher dimensions of approximately the same size.

It is the perfect size for a typical family of 6 to 8. Most cabinet openings are designed to fit the standard dishwasher size.

However, it’s critical to keep in mind that some handles may affect the depth of the dishwasher, and that’s why measuring the space and checking the measurements is an important step.

How to Measure a Dishwasher: 3 Simple Steps

Sometimes it’s crucial to know the measurements of your dishwasher, especially if you want to create space in your kitchen for the unit. For this project, you’ll only need a measuring tape and, of course, this guide. So let’s begin!

#1 Measure the Width

 With your measuring tape, measure from left to right. Make sure it’s inside edge to inside edge of the cabinet opening.

Make sure to measure the top and bottom of the cabinet. Then, write down your measurements.

If you are installing your dishwasher near a wall, allow a 2-inch breathing gap between the wall and the dishwasher door. This way, you’ll prevent heat build-up and ensure your dishwasher’s effectiveness.

#2 Measure Depth

Measure from the back to the front. Make sure to leave enough room in front of the dishwasher to account for loading and moving around the open dishwasher door and the counters or island.

Write down the measurements, so you can remember them later.

#3 Measure the Height

Measure the floor of the opening and the lowest point of the countertop. Most dishwashers require a 36-inch-tall opening to fit perfectly in the space.

However, additional layers in the kitchen flooring may affect the installation process.

The Ideal Dishwasher Sizes and Features for Different Groups of Families

In order to choose the right dishwasher for your home, you’ll need to take into consideration the size of your family.

Read on to learn what’s the best dishwasher for your needs:

#1 Singles

If you’re single or live alone, you don’t need to dent your wallet to get the right dishwasher.

Generally, the main difference between the large washers and the smaller ones is the price and place settings. If you live alone, noise may be a non-issue unless you live in a small house or your kitchen is next to the bedroom.

You will also benefit from durability as you will only use your washer once a day. However, to avoid water and energy wastage, I’d highly recommend fully loading your unit and maximizing its functionality.

If you’re only washing one cup, why not just handwash it instead of running a whole cycle? You’ll save a lot of money and take care of the environment.

#2 Small Families with Children

Families of two or three members have the exact needs as singles. However, if you have guests visiting often, it’s wiser to get the average dishwasher to avoid overwhelming your unit.

Bear in mind that if you have children, you need to be more particular when choosing a dishwasher as your needs may be slightly different from adult families. 

Apart from constant washing, you have to find a childproof or child lock unit for safety purposes. Dishwashers with inconspicuous, complex handles may be the perfect choice for this group.

Make sure your dishwasher has a child lock
If you have kids, you’ll need to make sure your dishwasher has a child lock to keep them from accidentally changing the settings

Noise is also a factor to consider, especially if you have a baby. You also want a dishwasher with a durable finish that is easy to clean.

#3 Dishwashers for Adult Families

By adult families, I mean parents living with adult children who are in college or have just completed university.

For this group, premium dishwashers with a unique finish can be a perfect fit. I will also assume that this is a more organized family, which means stacking and racking features are a priority.  

A dishwasher with clean dishes
Even if your family is small, it is wise to get the average dishwasher to avoid overwhelming your unit.

#4 Dishwashers for Large Families

Larger families have all the reasons to get a quality dishwasher that can clean any amount of soil.

Ideally, you want to buy a big dishwasher if you have a large family with enough settings, different cycles, and different water levels to save time, energy, and money.

Larger units are built for performance and usually come with premium features like WI-FI for efficient cleaning. A quiet model could be a great option as you will most likely be running the machine more than two times a day.

Other excellent features to consider include stacking and racking. Three extended loading options are also perfect for this group for easier loading and organizing. They also include removable shelves, racks, and tines to accommodate different types of utensils. It’s even better if you get one with a flatware or cutlery tray for easier loading and cleaning.

What Features Should the Ideal Dishwasher Have?

While it’s essential to have a budget in mind, price doesn’t really matter when it comes to dishwashers. Most options have the same interchangeable features.

So, I’d highly suggest focusing on the features that will satisfy you and your family before checking the prices.

With that in mind, let’s look at those critical features.

#1 Size and Capacity

The size and capacity should be your main focus if you want to save money, energy, and effort. Size is linked to your daily needs and the space in your kitchen.

Smaller units measuring 18 inches (ca. 46 cm) wide can find space even in smaller kitchens and function just like bigger dishwashers. The only difference is that they take up less space and quantity.

So, don’t go for a bigger unit because you think it cleans better. You will be wasting energy and water.

#2 Noise Level

We all know how important the noise level can be, especially if you’re like me and you like a quiet home!

Like laundry machines, dishwashers have their own share of noise to add to your home. Now, the last thing you want is a migraine-inducing machine in your home.

Check the dishwasher sound rating and choose a whisper-quiet model. 

Think about the location of your dishwasher and determine whether you will be able to watch Netflix undisturbed or have a conversation in the room or the next room when the machine is running.

#3 Cleaning Power

Unfortunately, you cannot really predict cleaning performance based on brand, price, or smart features. But the good news is that you can find a dishwasher with quality cleaning power without breaking the bank.

For me, a good dishwasher should clean my baking utensils really well; it doesn’t matter how stuck, messy, or thick the soil is.

However, if you prefer helping your machine by scraping or rinsing your dishes a little before loading them into the dishwasher, then any machine should be able to clean them spotlessly with little effort.

#4 Energy and Water Consumption

A good dishwasher should help you save energy, water, and time.

Dishwashers must have a star rating label certified by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The more stars, the better the energy consumption.

Generally, modern dishwashers use less power and water than older plain white, noisy models.

#5 Speed and Cycles

Most dishwashers offer an “Auto-Sense”, “Auto-Wash”, or “Smart Wash” feature that monitors the soil level and adjusts the wash time accordingly. This feature can reduce wash time by half, saving you time and energy.

However, please note that this feature might not be useful in areas with hard water, as the sensor lens can quickly accumulate mineral deposits, affecting its accuracy.

Tip: You can purchase a water quality tester to determine the hardness of your water.

When choosing a dishwasher, it’s important to keep in mind that hotter temperatures are preferable for optimal cleaning and drying. So, dishwashers with features like “Sanitize” or “High Temp Wash” are recommended, particularly for heavily soiled items.

Please note that these features may extend the cycle time and increase your energy bills.

Some dishwashers also offer the convenience of cleaning a single rack, which is ideal for small loads of dishes, as it minimizes water and electricity waste.

#6 Style, Color, and Finish

If you value style like me, you will be surprised at how stylish modern dishwashers are.

Manufacturers today are keen on a unique and fine finish to match your kitchen style and decor. They come with square or rounded handles and outstanding touch control.

Modern dishwasher
Try choosing a dishwasher that matches your home aesthetic.

They also feature special finishes like black stainless slate, silver, and smudge-proof stainless. So, when choosing a dishwasher, you should also take into consideration its style.


What dishwasher size do I need for a family of 4?

If you have enough space, your primary concern should be the internal capacity of the dishwasher. For a family of 4, you’d be looking for a 12 place setting or more.

What is the average cost for a standard dishwasher?

The average cost of a dishwasher ranges between $500 to $600. Cheaper models can go as low as $300 but won’t give you the luxury and comfort you need. Larger units are more expensive and go between $900 to $3500.

Is it worth buying a dishwasher if I live alone?

The answer is ‘it depends on multiple factors’, including lifestyle preferences. Generally, buying a dishwasher to wash two cups, one pan, one pot, and one plate is not the best financial idea.  However, if doing dishes is not something you always want to deal with, you can buy a small dishwasher and allow the dishes to buildup before cleaning them at once.


That about covers it! I hope that this article has helped you choose the right dishwasher size for your home and family.

Remember, you should always take into consideration its capacity, cleaning power, energy and water consumption, style, and noise level.

If you have found this post helpful, why not read a few related posts below?  We are all about solving problems related to your appliances and providing helpful tips to help you stay comfortable and healthy. So, feel free to explore some of our amazing posts and learn a few things.

Thanks for reading.

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more