Is A Dishwasher 15 or 20 Amp?

Is A Dishwasher 15 or 20 Amp

Dishwashers have moved on from those luxury items that were only built for hotels and larger restaurants to common household items that everybody needs in their kitchen.

And with such commonality comes the need to clarify certain issues, such as is a dishwasher 15 or 20 amp circuit. And what size of the circuit do you genuinely need to avoid issues?

In general, dishwashers require a 15-amp circuit to function optimally. However, this requirement can differ according to brand, with some dishwashers even needing the 20-amp circuit. To be sure, you must check your owner’s manual or the info plate below the machine.

Should You Use a Dishwasher 15 or 20 Amp?

Generally speaking, you should use a 15-amp circuit if you are connecting your dishwasher to a dedicated circuit and use a 20-amp circuit if you are connecting your dishwasher to the same electrical circuit as heavy appliances such as garbage disposal.

This will help ensure that you do not cross 80% of the circuitry’s maximum rating, which in turn helps you stay on the safer side of local electrical regulations while keeping all your kitchen appliances safe.

But whether or not you use a 15 or 20-amp circuit will also depend mainly on the brand of dishwasher you own. For instance, while some dishwashers use 15 amps but can average between 12 to 15 amps, others need up to 20 amps to function efficiently. You must consult the owner’s manual to determine this particular requirement.

Smaller dishwashers with lower electrical requirements tend to draw less current and can comfortably function using the 15-amp circuit without common issues such as short circuits and frequent tripping. More powerful dishwasher brands and models may need a 20-amp circuit to operate smoothly.

These larger dishwashers often come equipped with extra useful features, such as heaters that demand higher wattage. And failure to provide it with a corresponding amperage could risk overloading the circuit, leading to different issues, such as electrical failure or even a fire outbreak.

Does A Dishwasher Require A 20 Amp Breaker?

If you use a 15-amp circuit, then a corresponding 15-amp breaker should serve you enough. However, if your dishwasher uses a 20-amp circuit, then you need a 20-amp breaker to balance the load.

The following are instances where you will need a 20-amp breaker.

To Comply with Electrical Regulations

There are several electrical regulations that you must adhere to in other to protect your household and all your appliances. In most cases, these regulations are set by the National Electrical Code with standard requirements for all kitchen items, including dishwashers.

In other instances, these regulations may be those set by local electrical authorities, and these may differ between cities or regions. And this can cover everything from what type of wring is allowed in households to the sizes of circuit breakers to use.

Hence, sometimes you may need to use the 20-amp circuit breaker if that is what the National or local regulations allow in your jurisdiction.

In The Absence of a Dedicated Circuit

It is often proper to connect a dishwasher to a dedicated circuit. And in the case where this is so, a 15-amp circuit is sufficient to enable the machine to run smoothly. Furthermore, when you use a 15-amp circuit, a corresponding 15-amp breaker is enough to balance the load.

However, if you are not running a dedicated circuit, you will need to use a 20-amp circuit, in which case a corresponding 20-amp breaker becomes necessary.

When the Power Consumption Requires It

It would be best if you also used a 20-amp breaker when the power consumption of your dishwashing machine requires it. As you are well aware by now, different dishwasher brands and models have different ratings for wattage and amperage.

Suppose you use a larger dishwasher with higher power capacity and amperage. In that case, you will most likely need a 20-amp circuit and, consequently, a 20-amp circuit breaker to regulate the flow of current and prevent electrical malfunctions properly. But to be sure about your washing machine’s power consumption and the circuit size it requires, please consult the owner’s manual.

What Happens If You Put A 20 Amp Breaker in Place of A 15 Amp Breaker?

Just as we hear questions such as, is a dishwasher 15 or 20 amp? We have also seen several homeowners ask what would happen if they replaced their current 15-amp breaker with a 20-amp breaker.

When you put a 20-amp breaker instead of a 15-amp breaker, the result would most like be frequent wire overheating and a possible fire outbreak.

This is because a 15-amp breaker works well with a 15-amp circuit, allowing only the appropriate amount of amps to flow through. So that once a higher amount of amp passes through, the breaker would quickly detect this abnormality and trip off automatically, thereby protecting the wiring and electrical appliances from overheating and possible combustion.

But this is different when you use a 20-amp breaker for a 15-amp circuit, and because the breaker has a higher tolerance than the load that the wiring can take, it doesn’t detect when a higher amount of amps exceeding 15-amps passes through the system. It can continue to higher current up to 20 amps to pass through, and the 20-amp breaker would only trip off when the electricity exceeds 20-amp.

However, because the system is designed to handle 15-amps, the wires will likely overheat, melt, and even burst into flames before the amperage exceed 20-amp and the breaker trip off.

But we often see many homeowners opt for the move of replacing a 15-amp with a 20-amp breaker for one or all of the following reasons:

Frequent Short Circuits

The main job of the circuit breaker is to detect irregularities in the flow of current and then trip off automatically to protect both the wiring and home appliances. When this happens, you must manually turn on the circuit to get things moving again.

However, in the event that this happens too often, it might mean that one or more appliances are drawing more power than the circuit size can handle hence the regular tripping. And when this happens, the best option might be to install a bigger breaker to allow for more current to pass through without tripping off. But take note to consult an expert behind making this move as the wirings or local regulations in your region might not allow this.

Circuit Overload

Another reason many households might want to replace a 15-amp circuit breaker with a 20-amp is circuit overload. Like the frequent tripping off, most times when too many appliances are hooked to a single circuit, they can draw too much current from the circuit, thereby overloading it and causing the 15-amp circuit to trip off.

When this happens, you might need a bigger breaker, so most people replace it with a 20-amp circuit breaker.

Damaged Breaker

Lastly, people install bigger breakers in instances where the smaller breaker gets damaged either from a long period of use or any of the above issues. Once you notice that the 15-amp breaker trips off too often or refuses to stay on for long after manually turning it on, the best bet might be to replace the small breaker.


There are several brands and models of dishwashers in the market but is a dishwasher 15 or 20 amp? This is a question that many homeowners have searched for answers to, and we hope we did good justice to it in the above text.

We also explained what happens when you replace a 15-amp with a 20-amp breaker and why some owners might even want to do this in the first place. But whatever you do, remember that the owner’s manual remains your best guide, and it is always to consult an expert maintenance specialist before making any changes.

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