Who enjoys spending countless hours at the sink washing dirty dishes a couple of times a day?

No one.

Absolutely no one.

If you’re reading this post now, you probably agree with me that we all need these massive, intelligent, reliable, and efficient appliances in our homes to eliminate the argument of ‘who is doing dishes’

Whether you’re getting your first dishwasher or simply want to upgrade, how do you choose? Walk into any appliance store, and you’ll see multiple models with the exact length, width, height, and similar stainless finishes and seemingly interchangeable features. Modern dishwashers are more feature-rich, more innovative, and versatile to fit every home’s needs.

So, it’s up to you to know what will be suitable for your home and family. A common factor to consider when buying a dishwasher is the size. For instance, if you have a larger family, you probably spend most of your time cooking and cleaning dishes, which is often tiring and boring. That means they need a big, durable, and efficient dishwasher to accommodate a more significant load. If you live alone, you probably clean your dishes once a day, which means you will do better with smaller models that won’t waste water and power.

If you’re wondering what would be the perfect size for you and your family, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I will help you determine what features to look for based on your needs, how to measure a dishwasher, and the ideal dishwasher size for you and your family. I will also answer a few questions many of you ask to help you make an informed buying decision.

Ready to do this? Let’s start!

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.

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 wide can find space even in smaller kitchens and function just like their bigger brothers. The only difference is that they take 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. Larger families can go for more giant dishwashers that measure 42 inches wide that serve 12 to 16 people.

Noise level: Noise is a significant factor if you are an older adult or live with an elderly or sick person. 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.

Cleaning power: I have some bad news; you cannot really predict cleaning performance based on brand, price, or smart features. Sorry, I should have started with the good news; 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.

Energy and water consumption: There is no debating it; 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 washers use less power and water than older plain white noisy models.

Speed and cycles: Your dishwasher will wash dishes in different cycles depending on the level of soil. You can choose between light wash, regular wash, and heavy wash for pots and pans. Note that different brands use different terms when referring to these cycles. For instance, some companies may refer to “light wash” as “eWash” or “energy saver.” Your washer should have all these cycles that determine the speed used based on how fragile your utensils are.

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. They also feature special finishes like black stainless slate, silver, and smudge-proof stainless

Is There a Standard Dishwasher Size?

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

Most dishwashers have a standard size of 24 inches deep, 35 inches high and 24 inches wide, and a capacity of 12 to 14 standard place settings. 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: Step by Step

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!

Step 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. Measure the top and bottom of the cabinet. 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.

Step 2: Measure depth

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

Step 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

Dishwashers for the 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 hand wash it instead of running a whole cycle?

Dishwashers for Small Families:  Smaller families, like 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.

Dishwashers for families with young children: If you’re a family with 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. Noise is also a factor to consider if you have very young children. You also want a washer with a durable finish that is easy to clean. If you have young minions running all over, go for a washer with physical buttons rather than touch controls and make sure the control panel is at the top, not the front, where the children might want to touch and play with it.

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.  

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 place setting, 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.

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


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.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to pick the right dishwasher size, you don’t have to compromise on the features and quality. If you are still creating space, make sure you have the correct measurements to avoid costly mistakes.

Dishwashers are an essential part of our daily lives, so choose wisely. Don’t be myopic; think about the future. Don’t buy a small unit because you’re single. If you intend to have a family in the future, invest in a larger unit instead.

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.