Advances in dishwasher technology have resulted in more powerful, efficient and convenient models with a wide variety of features and price tags. This guide will help you figure out which model is best suited for your family’s needs and budget.
Tip: Carefully measure the space where you intend to install your dishwasher to ensure you buy the correct size.
Dishwasher Size & Capacity
The most common installation style of dishwashers is the built-in model, which fits under the kitchen counter. Standard units measure 24 inches.
Built-in models are also available in 18-inch compact units, perfect for small households, apartment kitchens or as a convenient addition to an in-home wet bar.
- Under-the-sink installations are ideal for kitchens where counter space is at a premium.
- Compact units offer increased efficiency for households with low-capacity washing needs.
- Portable units can be stored out of the way when not in use and connected to your faucet for quick operation when needed.
- Two-drawer dishwashers operate like two separate dishwashers in one unit, offering increased flexibility and efficiency.
- Consider adjustable-height models for easier installation.
Dishwasher capacity is typically measured in terms of the number of place settings that will comfortably fit inside the unit.
- Smaller units can handle approximately eight place settings while larger units can hold as many as 16 settings.
- Tub size helps identify capacity. Most standard tubs hold up to 12 place settings and tall tub configurations hold up to 16.
- When assessing your capacity needs, take into consideration anticipated changes in your family size and look at dishwashers that can grow with you.
- If you are a small household with only one or two people, or you have limited kitchen space, consider a compact unit.
Contemporary dishwashers use less energy and water than older models, lowering your utility bills and conserving energy. To improve energy efficiency, look for the ENERGY STAR label.
- ENERGY STAR dishwashers exceed federal standards for energy use by 25 percent or more.
- Dishwashers with a delay-start feature allow you to program your dishwasher to run in non-peak hours.
- Units with features such as sensor technologies and rapid wash cycles offer added efficiency.
Dishwashers are equipped with advanced functions that take the work out of washing dishes and are programmable to meet your exact cleaning needs.
- Sensor Technologies: Monitor the soil level and/or temperature of your dishwater to provide just the right amount of cleaning power for efficient operation and thorough results.
- Quiet Operation: There are a variety of noise reduction packages available that include quieter motors and improved insulation that result in low decibel ranges.
- Specialty Cycles: In addition to standard everyday cycles, many dishwashers offer specialty cycles designed to tackle specific tasks. Look for delicate wash cycles for china and other hand-wash items, tough scrubbing cycles for hard to clean pots, and quick wash cycles to give you clean dishes faster.
- Adjustable Racks: Customize your dishwasher with racks designed to accommodate all your washable items. Racks with removable or fold-down tines let you configure your dishwasher to your needs.
- Hidden Controls: As controls become more simple and intuitive, they are also becoming less obvious. New electronic control panels placed along the top strip of your dishwasher door are visible when the door is open, and hidden from sight when it is closed.
- Delay Start: Using the delay start feature, set your dishwasher to run when it is most convenient for you. Models vary in their time ranges, giving you anywhere from one to 24 hours of delay time depending on the dishwasher.
- Stainless-Steel Tubs: Stainless-steel interiors offer lasting, durable performance and better sound dampening than their plastic counterparts. Because of their metal interiors, they reflect heat for more energy-efficient drying and can withstand the high temperatures of sanitizing rinses.
- Filters and Food Disposals: Skip the sink, and put your dirty dishes straight in the dishwasher when you choose a model that has a filtration system and a disposal that work together to remove and eliminate leftover food particles from the water.
- Heat Booster: Dishwashers equipped with an internal heat booster raise water temperatures to the appropriate level, allowing you to keep your hot water heater at a lower temperature for even greater savings that won't sacrifice performance.