I put my dishes in the drawer.
August 5, 2012 10:48 PM   Subscribe

What's your opinion of drawer dishwashers?

I have a tiny kitchen and I hate washing dishes. In my condo complex dishwashers are a valuable commodity, but I just don't have the space - or the need - for a regular-sized dishwasher. My place is a studio and will eventually be sold or rented out. It seems that drawer dishwashers are a bit more expensive but honestly, it would be worth it to me.

Any downsides to these miraculous appliances?
posted by bendy to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have one--I think they're fantastic. No real downside excet for their capacity. You can't really do pots and pans for instance.
posted by dydecker at 12:26 AM on August 6, 2012

We had a fisher pykel two drawer in the house when we moved in. We replaced it with a Bosche within a year. We hated it.... I'm fully willing to admit that we may just not have been able to load it correctly or it didn't work correctly but even on small loads, it wouldn't clean well, it wouldn't drain most of the time. We had it looked at twice, nothing was ever wrong....so we gave up. I would agree that a drawer would be better than nothing and hopefully you'll have better luck than we did.
posted by pearlybob at 3:49 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: My parents have one; it was already in the house they bought a few years ago. Their main issue is that there are no repairmen in their area for these specialty brands, so repairs (of which they have several) are a hassle to schedule (repairman is making a 1 1/2 hour drive), parts aren't necessarily easily available, etc. So I'd definitely look into that, based on where you live.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:26 AM on August 6, 2012

I have a two drawer fisher and pykel dishwasher. With two drawers, it is the same size as an ordinary dishwasher. I understand that you can get a single drawer version, so that may be what you are looking for.

My experience - the unit is about 9 years old. It has needed repair three times. Once was where I had accidentally jammed a tray when closing it, so it didn't seal properly and water got into the electrics, and the other two times was for a burnt out / broken coil (at least that's what I saw the repairman replace). You have to use the repairers licenced by f& p which can sometimes mean delays.

It has also failed to drain/ failed to clean a number of times. I have fixed that each time by giving the machine a thorough clean - by cleaning out the dirty water to see if the was something blocking the intake, cleaning the intake area, taking out the trays and then the stainless steel mesh and cleaning that in the sink with a bristle brush, running water the the arm dispenser, then getting under the sink and disconnecting the hose connection point and putting the hose in a bucket, reassembling everything then running a rinse cycle. Somehow it is always a pine nut that causes the problem! At the end of all that though, it works just fine.

The top unit gets the most use. It's just more convenient not having to bend down.

The biggest problem for me is the stupid beeping the thing makes. I know I have opened the drawer- why have it trill a series of beeps - I'm right there! ( believe me I've tried to make it stop to no avail- so. If anyone else knows the secret please share). Also, sometimes there is a humming from some part that seems to keep working once a cycle is finished. Opening then closing the drawer gets rid of the noise.

The unit isn't that great on fast wash economy cycle, but works to my satisfaction on normal (111 mins from memory ) and heavy duty washes ( I use a dishwash powder product called tri nature due to septic tanks so YMMV).

The internal plate dividers can remove, so when I have large trays, I whip out the dividers and do 1 or 2 trays/ pots at a time.

The thing i have found is that the the dishdrawers only have water jetting from the bottom up so stacking to ensure dirty side is more downward facing tend to give better cleaning.

Would I buy again? Probably - but with two separate waist high drawers - after geeking out on all the specs for other models.
posted by insomniax at 4:33 AM on August 6, 2012

There was a drawer dishwasher in the wet bar of the last apartment I had, and that seemed to be the perfect assignment for it - sanitizing bar glasses and utensils. Only. I tried a couple of hors d'ouvres trays and plates (not particularly dirty) and they still had food particles on them after the regular wash, so meh.

The concept is terrific; the execution, not so much. YMMV.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:47 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: We had one in one of the apartments we rented and we loved it. It was Fisher Paykel, very quiet in operation. You could barely hear it, even in an open-plan space. We could load 1-1.5 days of dishes into it, and I loved not having to feel guilty about running the dishwasher daily. With a full sized unit, we only run it every 3 days or so, and it seems yucky having dirty dishes sitting around for so long. We wash pots and pans by hand, so we didn't miss the capacity. Also, having the drawer at waist height made loading and unloading really easy and painless. I practically looked forward to it.

Eventually, once we buy our own place, I would like own one. I think it is much more practical if there is just one or two of you at home.
posted by amusebuche at 5:45 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: I am a total fan. I hate the stupidity of the pull down doors of 'normal' machines. In a small kitchen they are so intelligent ergonomic and sensible. I have a two drawers system and it is perfect for dinner parties, drinks parties and even pots/pans. I've maybe had to rewash two or three times in five years - no more than my friends with Miele or Bosch. They're stylish and intelligent. I like the cutlery thingo as well - again, intelligent design.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:57 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: How small is small in terms of your kitchen? We have a small kitchen and opted for a slimline dishwasher. It's a proper dishwasher, just narrower - I think they come in 40cm and 45cm widths. Ours replaced a narrow cabinet. We've been running it for almost 4 years with pots, pans, broiler racks, plates, cutlery, glassware and it does a brilliant job on all of it.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:07 AM on August 6, 2012

I love our Fisher Paykel, which we bought off Craigslist. It has had a couple of parts issues, but my husband could order and fix it himself. Quiet, easy to use, and while we couldn't do huge stockpots, the drawers were very handy.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:42 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: We have the same two-drawer Fisher Paykel that apparently everyone else here has. I rather like it, but my wife very much does not -- if it ever requires repairs or causes annoyance on a bad day we'll likely replace it.

It's not the sort of washer you can put dishes into without first scraping off the food. The "eco" and "light" settings are useless, but the regular wash cycle works well. It works best if you run it frequently; we had to unlearn our old habit of waiting a couple days until the washer was stuffed top to bottom before running it. We've never had problems with it not draining or getting clogged up. It's very quiet, except for the 'trills' and beeps insomniax mentions, which I too would like to but cannot disable.

We've barely ever used the bottom drawer. (Family of three whose pots and pans are for the most part not dishwasher safe.) The top drawer is easy to reach; the racks and shelves hold a surprising amount of dishes once you learn how to best tetris your stuff in there -- though it's worth noting that if our large-ish dinner plates were just a tiny bit larger they would not fit in the washer at all; substantially oversized plates would be a dealkiller. (I've seen this same problem with regular dishwashers too, though.)

The biggest annoyance for me -- and this seems so trivial when I type it, but it is annoying nonetheless -- is that the drawer won't stay all the way open; it wants to rest just a little bit closed, making it just that much more difficult to load the very back of the drawer. I find myself holding it open with my hip while I load the washer. I have no idea why it does this, it seems so unnecessary that for the first few months I was convinced that I was doing something wrong, that there was some magic combination of buttons that would tell it to let the drawer stay all the way open.

In the first couple of weeks we each managed somehow to get the thing stuck in its sealed-shut state while not washing; it took some panicky oh-shit-I-broke-it fiddling at the control panel to figure out how to get it released and open again. I'm not sure how that happened in the first place, and it's never recurred now that we're used to the controls, so I file that under User Error rather than Design Flaw.
posted by ook at 7:36 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: I also have a skinny dishwasher - GE brand. We had one spot it would fit without having to redo cabinetry. It's not as cute as the Bosche but seems to work very well.
posted by amanda at 8:00 AM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: I've had one for 6 years now. It's the vertical two drawer f&p one but with a Kitchenaid label. It has all of the cons mentioned above. But, I love it to bits even with all of its faults. I rarely use the bottom one and, if I had it to do again, I probably would only get the one drawer.

I have only had it serviced once - and that was recently - it took a week for someone to come (Seattle) and it cost $250 to fix.

But, I'd have paid twice that to get it back and I was delighted to have the bottom one for backup.
posted by susandennis at 10:08 AM on August 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers so far. Out of curiosity, if you have a single drawer mounted to the bottom of the counter, next to the sink, is there any usable space underneath it?
posted by bendy at 2:01 PM on August 6, 2012

Best answer: We had the single drawer, next to the sink. Yes, there was a storage cabinet below. I think that's what makes the drawer design so useful. It's so compact.
posted by amusebuche at 3:17 PM on August 6, 2012

Response by poster: After doing more research, I'm leaning towards an 18" skinny dishwasher. The price is right for the unit and installation and any extra storage space from a drawer system would probably be negligible. Sears has a six-month-interest-free deal until this weekend, so I'm going to explore my options. Thanks again everyone for all your input.
posted by bendy at 10:05 PM on August 7, 2012

Response by poster: The skinny dishwasher installers arrive on Saturday! Happy birthday to me.
posted by bendy at 12:44 AM on August 17, 2012

Best answer: I big puffy hearts, unicorns and rainbows love our dishwasher and hope yours makes you as neverendingly delighted!
posted by DarlingBri at 4:00 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

SO, are you in lurve?
posted by DarlingBri at 8:12 PM on August 24, 2012

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