Dishwasher Buying Guide: Our Experts Weigh In
Nobody actually enjoys tackling a heap of dirty dishes. That’s why we’re thankful for the convenience and cleaning power of dishwashers. Whether you’re looking for a new appliance to finish off a kitchen remodel or your old standby needs an upgrade, we’ve got the scoop on shopping for a new one.
Here’s our dishwasher buying guide; read up and feel confident in your purchase–whether in-store or online.
As you browse online for the perfect dishwasher, you’ll notice a wide variety of styles and options. Here’s the rundown of features to explore before clicking the buy button.
The main functions of the dishwasher can be accessible on a front-facing panel or hidden inside. If you have little ones in the home who like to press buttons or want a sleek, modern look, the hidden control panel is the way to go.
Much like an oven, you can choose a dishwasher with a front panel that allows you to peek inside to watch the cleaning magic. This aesthetic can help balance the look of the appliances in your kitchen.
Some dishwashers offer high-heat or steam sanitization options. This rinse cycle super cleans and disinfects dishes. Also look for a glassware cycle that offers a cool water rinse for delicate crystal and china. Does it take a few days to fill the washer? Look for a quick 5-10 minute rinse cycle to use each time you add a few dishes to keep odors away until you’re ready to run the full washing cycle.
Stainless Steel Interior
This feature is easiest to maintain and is more efficient than plastic during the drying cycle since the metal retains heat. Plus, food stains won’t show up like they do on white plastic interiors.
Internal Food Disposer
This feature works much like an in-sink garbage disposal for the larger chunks of food that get rinsed away. If you put your dishes in the machine without a quick manual rinse in the sink, this feature is a must-have.
Standard built-in dishwashers offer two racks. Some are adjustable. Consider adding an optional third rack to house small, odd shaped items such as food processor blades, mixer attachments or baby teething rings.
Fold-down tines and movable silverware caddies are available. These movable features are handy when you need to make room for one large item, such as a stock pot or roasting pan.
Like most appliances, dishwashers come in white, black and stainless steel so you can coordinate with your refrigerator and stove. Some manufacturers are also offering trendy slate and bisque hues too.
Tip: Stainless steel often comes with a fingerprint resistant coating, which is perfect for homes with young children.
There are many dishwashers on the market that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR label by adhering to strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. Choose one of these models to save on your water and electric bills. Use the ENERGY STAR online search to determine the efficiency of the dishwasher model you’re considering.
Preparing to Buy
Now that you’ve decided on the features and possible style of dishwasher that would make your kitchen complete, run through this checklist:
- If you’re getting a dishwasher for the first time, or customizing a new kitchen, does the location where you want the dishwasher have both electrical and plumbing hook-ups nearby? If not, call a plumber and electrician to see if lines can be added.
- If you’re replacing an old model, will the existing dishwasher space accommodate the new appliance? Measure, measure, measure! Standard built-in dishwashers are 35″ tall by 18″ to 24″ wide.
- What’s the decibel rating of the new dishwasher? Some can be very noisy, which is a major concern for families with napping babies or bedrooms near the kitchen. Ask about optional sound-reduction packages for machines with greater than 40-50 decibel levels.
- Don’t forget to purchase mounting brackets, water supply lines and the option for professional home installation. Some appliances come with these accessories, some do not. Read the fine print carefully.
- Do you have an old dishwasher? Decide how you will dispose of the unwanted appliance. If it still works well, consider donating it to a second-hand store. If the appliance no longer functions, most retailers offer a haul away service for a small additional fee. You can schedule this option at the same time you purchase your new appliance.
Finally, if you simply can’t figure out a way to make a built-in dishwasher fit into your existing kitchen cabinetry or wall space, consider a portable or table-top dishwasher. These come in a variety of sizes, from full to compact, and hook up to your kitchen sink faucet each time you wash a load. When not in use, store the dishwasher in a closet or out-of-the-way corner.
Ready to start shopping? The post-holiday sales are in full swing as retailers reach out to consumers with upcoming tax refunds to spend.
Check into offers from these retailers:
As a bonus, all three retailers also offer cash back rewards when you purchase with Shop at Home. What are you waiting for? Hand off the dirty dish chores to a new dishwasher ASAP!
Also, check out our other kitchen appliance buying guides: