Whether you’re shopping for your first dishwasher or you’ve purchased your fair share of kitchen appliances, you know that in the beginning of your search it seems like finding the perfect dishwasher isn’t easy. With so many models to consider, how do you know which one is best for your home and your family? Follow this dishwasher buying guide to learn more about your options and make the purchasing process easier.
1. Consider the Cost
Dishwashers can get expensive, but that doesn’t mean your new model has to break the bank. Knowing the average costs for different types of dishwashers can help you determine what works with your budget:
- Basic Standard Dishwashers: These models get the job done but only offer essential features. They tend to be at the low end of the price range and fit under your kitchen counter.
- High-End Standard Dishwashers: These under-the-counter models offer a wide range of upscale features to get your dishes as clean as possible. They may be on the high end of the price range, but many of them are worth the extra cost.
- Compact Dishwashers: These under-sink dishwashers are small and designed for kitchens with limited space. Most offer basic features, but you’ll pay premium prices due to the compact size.
- Drawer Dishwashers: These are some of the newest dishwashers on the market and come in single- or double-drawer styles. They offer several high-tech features but tend to be less efficient than larger dishwashers that can fit numerous place settings at once.
2 . Study the Size
a. Know the Dimensions
Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen from scratch or you’re simply replacing an old dishwasher with a new one, you need to know the dimensions you’re working with. Most standard dishwashers measure 24 by 24 inches, which will fit under most kitchen counters. However, you should always measure the space in your kitchen and confirm the total dimensions of the dishwasher before purchasing.
Some kitchen remodeling projects limit your under-the-counter space, which may make fitting a standard dishwasher impossible. Instead, you may need to consider a compact dishwasher, which typically measures 18 by 24 inches.
b. Understand the Capacity
When you invest in a dishwasher, the last thing you want to learn is that your new appliance doesn’t effectively clean the types of dishes you use the most. As you’re comparing models, be sure to note the number of place settings that each can handle. You’ll also want to find out how much flexibility each dishwasher offers.
For instance, if you frequently wash more bowls than plates and you often dirty several pots and pans each day, you’ll want to confirm that the dishwasher can accommodate your typical load of dishes. Check whether you can fold tines down to make room for larger items, and confirm whether the silverware and utensils you typically use can fit comfortably.
3. Look for Energy Efficiency
Whether you want to decrease your household water usage or lower your energy consumption, purchasing a new dishwasher is a great way to improve energy efficiency. After all, new dishwashers can save 10 gallons of water per cycle and $35 per year on electricity compared to pre-1994 models.
To buy the most energy-efficient dishwasher, look for one with an Energy Star label, which confirms that it meets or exceeds national standards for efficiency. For optimal energy efficiency, look for a dishwasher that uses fewer than five gallons of water per cycle and under 307 kWh per year.
4. Keep It Quiet
Older dishwashers aren’t exactly known for their quietness, but many newer models offer reasonable noise levels. All models have sound ratings so you’ll know what type of noise level to expect before you buy.
- 50 Decibels: These dishwashers will prompt you to talk more loudly, as they produce noise at the same level as the average conversation. They won’t wake up sleeping kids, though.
- 40 Decibels: These models won’t drown out your conversations in the kitchen, though you’ll be able to hear them at certain parts of the cycle.
- 30 Decibels: Considered whisper-quiet, these dishwashers are so quiet you’ll barely know they’re working hard, even when you’re in the kitchen.
5. Check for Essential Features
Depending on the brand and the price point, dishwashers offer a range of basic and extra features. The best features boost user-friendliness, convenience, and energy efficiency.
- Cycle Selection: Even if most of your dishwasher loads are pretty standard, you’ll want to be able to choose various cycles to improve cleaning power or boost efficiency. Look for a range of cycle options, such as express, rinse and hold, and sanitize.
- Soil Sensor: Many of the most advanced dishwashers have soil sensors, which automatically determine and apply the right amount of cleaning power to each load. This feature increases the chance that you’ll get immaculate dishes every time without wasting energy or water.
- Water Filtration: If you frequently find food particles stuck to ostensibly clean dishes, water filtration could clear things up. This feature captures particles and helps keep water and dishes clean.
- Extra Rack: If your average load of dishes falls outside of the industry norm, you’ll want an extra rack to ensure that you can customize your dishwasher as necessary.
- Special Zones: If some of your dishes often need an extra boost of cleaning power, look for a dishwasher with special wash zones. Dishes placed in these areas get targeted cleaning so they emerge sparkling.
6. Shop for Style
Gone are the days of identical dishwashers, all sporting the same white finish. Now, shopping for a dishwasher means having a say in its appearance, too.
Want to make your kitchen look as cutting-edge as possible? Look for stainless steel dishwashers, many of which also offer extra durability. Shopping for a sleek style that will blend right in? Browse models with basic black finishes. Want to ensure that your dishwasher makes a statement? Shop for bright red, blue, or green models that really stand out.
Ready to upgrade your dishwasher to a high-powered, ultra-efficient, cost-effective model? Keep this guide handy to help you narrow down your options and find the ideal dishwasher for your home.