Difference between Top Control and Front Control Dishwashers
By Laura Lee - May 1, 2023

When purchasing a new dishwasher, various considerations may help you decide which model is best for your home. One of the options you’ll make when buying is whether you want a Top control or Front control dishwasher.


A top control dishwasher conceals the control panel on the top of the dishwasher door. This gives it a more streamlined appearance. Top control dishwashers provide your kitchen with a modern design without losing functionality because the control panel is not visible outside the machine.

A Front-control dishwasher includes a control panel on the outside of the dishwasher that allows for easy cycle selection. These dishwashers often have tucked-in knobs that flush the appliance with the kitchen cabinetry.

Top Control vs. Front Control Dishwashers

Front control dishwashers have a control panel on the outside of the dishwasher door. In contrast, top control dishwashers (also known as wholly integrated dishwashers) have the control panel on the top of the dishwasher door, out of sight. While the position of the control panels varies, both dishwasher types’ functions are identical. The majority of the difference, therefore, lies in aesthetics.

Top control dishwashers feature a contemporary and minimalist style because of the hidden control panel, while front control dishwashers have a more traditional look. Some front-control dishwashers contain an external display that shows how much time is left in a wash cycle, but most top-control dishwashers do not.

On the other hand, the start and cycle buttons are situated on the top of the door of the top control dishwasher. You must push them before shutting it, and then the machine will begin, for which you must wait. There is no center or front display that indicates how much time is remaining or whatever phase the dishwasher is presently in. So it would be best if you opened the door to discover what disrupts the cycle and causes it to halt.

Comparison Chart
  1. Sleek and seamless appearance
Easy access to controls
  1. Typically doesn’t come with an external cycle status display
Buttons are likely to be pressed accidentally
  1. More smart dishwasher options
Multiple size/capacity options
  1. Typically expensive
Rarely available as smart dishwasher options