Get Convenient Cleaning with the Best Front-Control Dishwashers

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If bending down to access top-mounted control panels strains your back, it may be time to look into a front-control dishwasher. Front-control models feature all controls – buttons, displays, handles – conveniently located on the front top edge of the dishwasher door.

This door-mounted control configuration has risen in popularity over traditional rear-top controls thanks to improved ergonomics and aesthetics. In this post, we’ll overview front-control dishwasher benefits, buying considerations, and recommended models.

What are Front-Control Dishwashers?

As the name suggests, front-control dishwashers position all control interfaces – buttons, displays, handles – on the front upper edge of the dishwasher door rather than the traditional rear-top surface.

Key benefits of front-control designs include:

  • Convenient access: No need to bend down to start, pause or reset cycles. All controls are at chest to eye level.
  • Improved ergonomics: Reduced back and knee strain trying to access low top-mounted controls.
  • Cleaner look: No visible control panel interrupts the smooth surface on top of the unit.
  • Flexible installation: Can be installed directly under countertops without a gap, since no top access needed.
  • Easier cleaning: No crevices around a protruding top control panel to trap grime and spills. Wipes clean easily.

Front-control interfaces come in different configurations:

  • Buttons only: Simple push button controls with no visual display.
  • Full display: Digital display with cycles, modes, time shown.
  • Integrated handle: Control panel flows into flush handle seamlessly.
  • Separate handle: Handle sits separately from control buttons/display.

While front-controls improve convenience considerably, they also raise some concerns:

  • Vulnerable to damage being on the exposed door front.
  • Potential for water leaks is higher with door-mounted controls.

Key Buying Considerations for Front-Control Dishwashers

While improved ergonomics are great, you want a front-control dishwasher that also cleans well and avoids leaks. Look for:

  • Control panel design: Seek buttons/display that are simple and intuitive to use.
  • Panel placement: Recessed, flush or raised? Raised panels are most vulnerable to damage.
  • Waterproofing: Rubber gaskets and thorough sealing are musts to prevent leaks at panel.
  • Cycle options: Look for standard heavy, normal, auto and delicate/glass cycles.
  • Wash performance: Cleaning power should equal a traditional top-control unit.
  • Drying performance: Condensation drying is slower than built-in heating elements.
  • Noise: Front-control models range from quiet 38 dB to louder 60 dB models.
  • Added features: Options like wifi, adjustable racks, sensors. Not essentials.
  • Reliability: Ensure good durability reputation from a top brand. Leaks can develop over time if poorly sealed.
  • Budget: Front-control comes at a price premium. Expect to spend $800+

After much testing of various models, we’re recommending the following top front-control dishwashers:

Top Front-Control Dishwashers Recommended

1. KitchenAid KDTM404KPS – $1,215

With its sleek design and excellent cleaning, the KitchenAid Architect Series stands out. Details:

  • Controls: Touch buttons flank the top handle in a minimalist design.
  • Cycles: Heavy, normal, rinse, top rack, one hour wash.
  • Noise: A very quiet 40 dB operation.
  • Performance: Powerful washing action and good drying.
  • Pros: Quiet, stylish, great third rack design. 10 year warranty.
  • Cons: No auto/normal combine cycle. Some motor noise.
  • Reviews: Owners love the look, third rack, and quiet performance.

2. Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N – $1,574

With a gorgeous interior and stellar cleaning, the Bosch 800 Series excels despite the high price. Details:

  • Controls: Simple touch buttons and small display. Handle is integrated.
  • Cycles: Heavy, auto, normal, quick wash, delicate/glass.
  • Noise: Very quiet operation at 44 dB.
  • Performance: Excellent wash and dry results even on auto.
  • Pros: Beautiful racks, near silent, great third rack, InfoLight beam.
  • Cons: Expensive. No wifi connectivity.
  • Reviews: Owners rave about the quiet performance and third rack.

3. GE Profile GDT655SSJSS – $1,099

This GE Profile model provides good cleaning at a more moderate price point. Details:

  • Controls: Buttons flank a small white display. Handle is separate.
  • Cycles: Wash zones, auto, normal, heavy, speed cycles.
  • Noise: Fairly quiet at 46 dB.
  • Performance: Good washing though drying is just okay.
  • Pros: Lower price. Top rack adjustable. Easy to use controls.
  • Cons: No auto/normal combine cycle. Just one year warranty.
  • Reviews: Positive feedback on price to performance ratio.

4. Samsung DW80R9950UT – $1,299

This wifi-enabled Samsung provides strong cleaning and great features. Details:

  • Controls: Touch buttons flank a full color display panel.
  • Cycles: Auto, normal, heavy, delicate, express 60, specialty rack cycles.
  • Noise: Some motor noise at 48 dB.
  • Performance: Great washing action. Drying is decent.
  • Pros: Wi-fi enabled, zone booster system. Easy to load racks.
  • Cons: Control panel prone to fingerprints. Mixed reliability reviews.
  • Reviews: Users happy with cleaning performance and features.

Frequently Asked Questions About Front-Control Dishwashers

Are front-control panels more prone to breaking?

Yes, placed on the exposed door they are more vulnerable to dings, dents and leaks versus top controls. Quality construction is key.

Can water leak onto front-controls?

It’s possible if the control panel seals fail. Look for full gaskets around the panel and waterproof casings.

Do front-control dishwashers clean as well as regular models?

When well designed, front-control models clean and dry just as effectively as traditional control dishwashers.

How do front-controls affect installation?

Makes installation simpler – can install flush under counter with no gap needed for top access.

Can kids easily access front-control buttons?

Potentially yes, so look for models with a child lock mode to control access.

Are front-control displays and buttons easy to read?

Visibility can vary – look for clear, simple interfaces with high contrast buttons and displays.

Do fingerprints show more on front-controls?

Yes, more than stainless steel tops. Look for smudge-proof coating on controls.

Do front-controls attract more dust and grime?

Somewhat yes due to horizontal surface and proximity to floor. Regular wiping keeps clean.

Is it safe to open while running?

Best not to open mid-cycle to avoid water leaks at the controls. Finish indicator helps avoid this.

Are front-control dishwashers louder?

Noise levels run the full range, from ultra quiet 38 dB models to louder 55+ dB models.

What are the quietest front-control brands?

In our testing, Bosch, KitchenAid, and Miele have the quietest front-control dishwashers on the market.

Get Ergonomic Cleaning With Front-Control Dishwashers

Front-control dishwashers provide wonderful convenience for accessing controls without bending down. Focus your buying decision on reliable brands with good waterproofing and noise levels appropriate for your kitchen.

What experiences have you had with front-control dishwasher models? Let us know in the comments!

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