Dishwasher Buying Guide

  • Getting Started

  • When you are looking for a dishwasher there are many things to consider. These are things most people do not think would be important, but in actuality they could be key factors. Details are crucial to buying the perfect dishwasher to fit your needs and one that you will use for many years to come.

    Buying a new dishwasher shouldn’t be stressful. It should be carefully thought out though. Planning ahead with future consideration along with getting the best unit for the money will save you time in the long run. You want to get the right dishwasher the first time for your specific needs.

  • Space Matters

  • Space configuration for your new dishwasher is vital. You must measure where your dishwasher is going and see what size would best fit.

    The standard size dishwasher is 24 inches. If you have space for a 24 inch dishwasher, go for it.

    But say you live in a much smaller space. This would mean that you would have to downgrade the size of your dishwasher. Now, you do have a few options. The first being to get a smaller unit. This size would be 18 inches.

    The second option could be to get a portable dishwasher. Portable dishwashers have finished sides for a sleek look, may have chopping blocks, and they can hook up to the sink for water. When you are done, simply tuck it in the closet until the next time you need it.

  • Price Point

  • When buying a new dishwasher, most people must consider the pricing. 

    Standard American-made dishwashers are the cheapest on the market at between $200 and $300. Now, if you want something “sleeker” or more modern, you are looking at between $600 and $800 for a dishwasher. These higher end models would be in stainless steel and have more features. For instance they may offer water pressure detection for controlling pressure depending on the amount of food left on the dishes. Adding pressure gives a much better cleaning to your dishes than what a standard dishwasher could.

    For more features than you can shake a dirty spoon at, you’re looking at $1,000 - $1,600.

    Like any appliance, you could certainly spend extreme amounts beyond the $1,600 range.

  • Lifestyle

  • Your dishwasher (just like the rest of your kitchen) should reflect your lifestyle.

    Getting a more expensive dishwasher will lead you to having a nicer looking kitchen area. Modern kitchens need a modern designed dishwasher that will reside there.

    But if you live a simpler life, say in a condo, you should go for the less expensive model. Also, a big lifestyle factor in deciding on your dishwasher is how many people do you normally have over?

    Do you host parties regularly? Or is it just you and one other person?

    More people equals stacks of dirty pots, pans and plates. So you should consider buying a dishwasher with much more capacity. The biggest capacity most dishwashers have is 12-16 standard piece settings.

    For those that live alone or with just one roommate, it would be in your best interest to invest in a smaller dishwasher at six standard place setting capacity.

  • Save Energy and Water

  • When shopping for your dishwasher, you should look for one particular sticker, the energy star label.

    These stickers will indicate that the dishwasher is better than the minimum government standards. The “energy guide label” is also very helpful way to measure energy use in your new dishwasher. This guide will tell you the model's operation cost at various utility rates and it gives you a quick estimate of yearly energy costs versus the competition.

  • Consider the Future

  • So right now you are happy with your kitchen and everything is perfect. But say in 5 years you want to remodel. What do you do with your older model? Well, the best advice is to see if your city will do a curbside pickup.

    Or you can take it to the dump or try to sell it yourself.

  • Features to Consider

  • Add a dish - This is a setting that will alert you when you can add a last minute dish to the wash cycle.

    China/ crystal setting - This indicates a lighter wash cycle for china, crystal, and other slightly used and dirty dishes.

    App control - Some wi-fi connected dishwashers allow you various controls of your appliance from your smartphone.

    Delay start - This option allows you to start your wash cycle up to 9 hours later than when you loaded it. This is helpful for when you load the dishwasher right before dinner and then you can hit the button to finish loading later that night.

    Steamware holders - Small clips on the side of the rack to hold crystal so it can be washed.

    Plate warmer - This warms up your dishes just before you eat. This is handy for never letting dinner get cold while on the table.

    Pots and pans cycle - This will provide a longer heated cycle for those super dirty cookware items.

    Child lock - This will prevent your children from opening the dishwasher and eliminate the possibility of them crawling inside of it.

    Bottle wash - This is especially helpful if you have a baby who uses lots of bottles during the day. Or twins! This wash cycle is set to clean their bottles better.

    Hard food disposer - No need to remove food from the dinnerware by hand. This feature makes short work of even large remnants of food.

    Tub material - These materials come in different styles and finishes. Stainless steel is best for resisting stains and odors and also transferring heat for a better dry to your dishes. Gray or slate colors are good for resisting rust and minimizing the appearance of stains. Plastic is now also very durable and found commonly on less expensive dishwashers.

    Filters - Finding a dishwasher with removable filters will make this an easy thing to clean for after your new dishwasher has ran a few loads.

  • Consider Your Cleaning Habits

  • Pre-rinsing may actually cause your dishes come out even dirtier.  Most expensive dishwashers ($500 or more) now come with a sensor that can detect how thorough a wash is needed.

    This is via a cleanliness sensor. When the rinse cycle is initially started, the sensor will detect how dirty the water is. This will determine how much time and water will be needed during the wash to get all dishes sparkling clean. 

  • Noise Level

  • If noise level is a concern for you, then you may want to check into something with 45 decibels or under. These are nearly silent.

    If you do not mind a little bit of noise, you could check out a dishwasher of about 45-50 decibels. They are no louder than water running off a roof.

    If you do not mind noise at all, or you are just going to run the dishwasher cycle when you are not home, a model with 50 or more decibels will do. This level equals a normal conversation in a regular sized room.

  • Warranties

  • Some manufacturers still only offer a minimum of a one year warranty for parts and labor. But nowadays, most manufactures will offer a two year plus warranty on some components of your new dishwasher.

    If you don’t set aside money for emergency home repair then a warranty is a great idea.

  • Delivery and Installation

  • What should shoppers know about delivery and how to install their dishwasher? We talked about what to do with your old washer earlier in the guide.

    Now consider whether you’ll need your water or electricity connected to your new dishwasher for you? If you are a confident do-it-yourselfer then you can handle the task.

    If not, just call a plumber to come and connect your water lines. The same goes for hooking up the electricity. Call an electrician if you doubt your ability to do the job safely. If you’re remodeling and have to move your appliances around, you will definitely need to call on an electrician.

    Also, you have to plan accordingly for delivery. Make sure someone is home for the delivery people to bring it inside.

  • Summary

  • Buying a new dishwasher shouldn’t be stressful. It should be carefully thought out though. Planning ahead with feature consideration along with getting the best unit for the money will save you time in the long run. You want to get the right dishwasher the first time for your specific needs.