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The Pros and Cons of Single Door vs. Double Drawer Dishwashers

Updated on January 11, 2017

Which Choice is Best for You?

OK, I admit this isn't the most critical or complicated decision to be made in your life, but if you're the household member responsible for loading and/or unloading the dishwasher, it can be pretty darned important. Especially if you're in the market for a new one. The actual cleaning features don't seem to be that drastically diffferent between the two types - or even from brand to brand - but the usability of a traditional single door dishwasher with 2 or 3 pullout drawers inside and the functionality of the double drawer units have distinguishing differences.

If any of these characteristics describe your home situation and preferences, I would opt for the single door model:

  • Cook most meals at home AND routinely feed 4+ people
  • Frequent use of large pans (skillets, baking sheets, big mixing bowls, etc) or serving trays

If the characteristics below describe you, I would opt for the double drawer model:

  • Routinely feed 3 people or less on a daily basis
  • Don't mind occasionally cleaning the large pans by hand OR allowing them to take up a majority of the space in one of the drawers
  • Prefer to clean pots and pans separately from dishware

The single door model has a bit more space inside and seems to hold a few more items when full, particularly larger items. So when a skillet and baking sheet are inside, there is still plenty of room for plates and bowls and glasses. Depending on the size of the family and frequency of cooking, it can take longer to fill up, and thus require less frequent washes and unloads.

The drawer model allows each drawer to be washed separately. So when one drawer is full and washing or ready to be unloaded, the other can still be used to load new items. The unloading is less cumbersome and quicker since there are fewer items per drawer. Plus we're not left with the option of either running a less than full load or leaving dirty dishes for several days until full. It is also easy to wash pots and pans separately on a stronger cycle and keep plates and glasses in a different location to be washed on a delicate cycle. The bottom drawer is smaller than the top drawer but since there is a hard stop above, a couple of pans can easily use up the whole space.

There are just two of us in our household, and my personal preference is the two drawer model because we can fill up one drawer in a day or two, run it with no rush to unload immediately since there is still another drawer to use in the meantime. For day to day use, it saves a ton of time and requires less need for dirty dishes to sit in the sink waiting for the next unload or to sit in the dishwasher for days, making the cleaning job a whole lot harder. The downside is that when serving big meals to large groups, it takes more loads to clean up and/or requires handwashing the large items to save room for more smaller items.


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