A staple of the modern kitchen, a dishwasher is one of those essential appliances that save us a great deal of time and energy in our lives. Even better yet, modern dishwashers on water saving wash cycles can use less than a sink full of water to clean your dishes.
When armed with the right information, buying a dishwasher is a straightforward process.
Here are the top 11 aspects you need to consider when buying a dishwasher.
1. Fitting Into Your Space
The most important factor in selecting a dishwasher is whether it will fit into the space in your kitchen or not. Most full-size freestanding models commonly come in at 85cm tall, 60cm wide and 60cm deep, with a couple of extra centimetres at the back for ventilation.
If you have a compact kitchen or no room to house a full-size dishwasher, there are other types better suited to you, which will be covered in a later section.
When it comes time to measure the area it will be going in, the best way to do it is to:
Grab a tape measure and write down the exact height, depth and width of the space
Double check these dimensions as buying the wrong size dishwasher can be a very expensive lesson to learn
Take note of where the connecting pipes on the wall are
If you are able to, create a diagram of the space on a piece of paper or take a photo of the area to remind yourself when you are browsing.
Consider whether your water supply comes in both hot and cold, or just cold, as different dishwashers are designed to work with both temperatures or only the one
Next, try to visit your dishwasher in-person so you can physically measure it and see how the model looks up-close. However, this might not be possible if you’re buying your dishwasher online. If that’s the case, be sure to take special notice of the manufacturer’s claimed size. Also, check all the pictures, including of the rear, to see where the pipes are located in relation to your water supply at home.
Typically, the more dishes you use each day, the bigger the dishwasher you’ll need…
The size and layout of the internal racks of a dishwasher typically decide how many dishes it can hold at once. Most manufacturers rate their dishwasher’s capacity by ‘place settings’, which is equivalent to a soup bowl, dinner plate, side plate, cup and saucer, drinking glass and full cutlery set per person.
As a general guideline:
Singles or couples will need a six to nine place setting dishwasher
Small families up to four people will need a nine to twelve place setting dishwasher
Large families over five people and those who like to entertain guests will need a 13 or more place setting dishwasher
However, there is no ‘universal dinnerware size’ manufacturers use to decide place settings, so you may find that this rating is not consistent between similarly-sized dishwashers. It’s also unlikely that you’ll be eating a full three-course meal every day, so it’s more important to pick the size that suits your lifestyle better.
Although you may feel silly at the time, when viewing a dishwasher in-person, take a selection of your plates, bowls and other tableware you plan on regularly cleaning in the dishwasher. By doing this, you are able to stack it like you would at home to make sure all your dining ware is able to fit inside it.
Ideally, the dishwasher you need is one that reflects your lifestyle. If you’re a busy parent that needs a lot of dishes washed each night, then you’ll need a high-capacity model. On the other hand, if you are a couple living in a compact inner-city apartment, you won’t need such a large dishwasher as you may only need to turn it on every few days.
Fully-integrated dishwashers can be completely hidden into the kitchen cabinetry.
3. Types of Dishwashers
Dishwashers come in a range of styles and sizes depending on how integrated you want your appliance within your kitchen.
Freestanding: The most common type of dishwasher, freestanding dishwashers slide into the designated dishwasher space in your kitchen. Most feature adjustable feet which help raise or lower the machine to fit closely to the benchtop.
Benchtop: If you’re living in an apartment, rental property or older home that doesn’t have space for a full-size dishwasher, a benchtop dishwasher is designed to be placed on your kitchen bench. They don’t have a huge capacity but being able to be easily transported makes it ideal for small households.
Semi-integrated: Similar to a freestanding model, a semi-integrated dishwasher is designed to be built into your kitchen cupboards.
Fully-integrated: A step up from a semi-integrated model, if you want a fully streamlined kitchen experience, a fully-integrated dishwasher is designed to be built into the kitchen cupboards, while also having a front panel the same as the rest of the cupboard doors to hide the appliance.
Compact, drawer and slimline: If you’re living in an apartment, there’s a good chance that the provided dishwasher space has been designed for a thinner or smaller dishwasher. Slimline dishwashers are the same height and depth as a full-size version but are typically less wide, while a compact and drawer versions are even shorter than a slimline model.
You’ll want ‘standard’, ‘eco’ and ‘heavy-duty’ wash cycles preset on your next dishwasher as a minimum.
4. Programs and Wash Cycles
Modern dishwashers come with a dazzling amount of pre-loaded programs which offer a variety of different wash cycles to their users. Here are the three most common ones you’ll want in your dishwasher:
Standard: Typically used as a general-purpose wash, this will likely be your go-to setting for your dishwasher. It is moderately energy-efficient as it uses fairly warm water to wash the dishes.
Eco-friendly: When you are wanting to do a quick-wash and save money while caring for the environment, an eco-friendly program uses less water than the standard setting and typically at a lower temperature. The tradeoff is that some stubborn stains won’t come off in this program.
Heavy-duty: Reserved for dishes that take serious elbow grease to clean (such as dirty pots and pans), a heavy-duty program will scrub your dishes spotless. However, this wash cycle uses far more water and energy than the others, while also taking longer to run.
Other wash cycles: Depending on how technologically advanced you want your dishwasher to be, some high-end models feature other wash cycles such as high-temperature (for cleaning glassware) and half-load. If you don’t plan on using those programs, it’s not important to look for them in your next dishwasher then.
The better the energy and water efficiency, the more money you could save on power bills!
5. Energy and Water Efficiency
Every dishwasher sold in-store in Australia needs to come with a clear ‘energy rating label’ and ‘water rating label’ at the point of sale to inform customers of the device’s energy efficiency. These are government ratings which are not to be confused with endorsements by third parties such as Energy Star.
Each rating is out of six stars and a further four if they achieve the maximum six-star rating. The higher the amount of stars the more energy or water efficient the dishwasher is. Ideally, you’ll want to select the highest rated appliance for two main reasons:
A dishwasher that uses less electricity and water to run saves you money from your utility bill
Better for the environment since you are using fewer resources
Be wary of buying a dishwasher from overseas, as the claimed energy efficiency ratings may not match up with how energy ratings are tested and determined in Australia.
If you plan on washing more than plates and bowls in your dishwasher, you’ll want adjustable racks…
6. Adjustable Racks
Between casserole dishes, wine glasses, pots, pans, large platter plates and small reusable plastic containers, you’ll likely be putting a huge range of dirty dishes into your appliance. Therefore, this makes it worth considering whether you need adjustable shelves in your next dishwasher or not.
Collapsible prongs: By allowing the ‘dish prongs’ to be lowered flat, you are able to fit larger dishes and odd-size cooking utensils into the machine.
Movable cutlery basket: Some cutlery baskets are able to be repositioned or completely removed to make room for more dishes.
Adjustable height: You may want to be able to adjust the height of the racks so taller dishes are able to fit in easier.
7. Anti-Flood Device
Most modern dishwashers come with a safety device that automatically cuts off the water supply when it detects the device is flooding. However, resetting the anti-flood feature differs between manufacturers – some require a time-consuming call-out by a technician, while others may just need the reservoir to be emptied.
It’s worth asking the retailer what the process is, how quickly the feature can be reset and how much a typical call-out fee is when the product goes out of its warranty period.
Modern dishwashers with sound-proofing or ‘low noise’ programs make little to no noise when active.
While at the peak of the washing cycle, dishwashers can get surprisingly loud, with noise levels between 40 to 50 decibels while running – about the same as a quiet to a loud conversation at home.
Some manufacturers try to further decrease the operating noise levels by offering ‘low noise’ programs, better motor insulation and sound dampening around the body of the appliance.
Reduced noise dishwashers are ideal if you have young children, plan on running the dishwasher overnight or prefer to have a quiet kitchen.
9. Installation and Delivery
Once you’ve bought your new appliance, it’s worth considering how you will it receive for your home. Delivery and installation can often be extremely expensive for large white goods such as dishwashers and should be factored into the cost when you are buying one.
However, installing a dishwasher is typically a straightforward procedure as long as you have some basic tools (such as a spanner set, screwdriver set and pliers) which can save you money on having to pay a professional.
If you don’t have time, the tools or confidence to do it yourself, there are many options for paying someone else to do it:
Many brick-and-mortar retailers offer delivery and installation at your home for extra
You can use a service marketplace like Upwork to get some help
A local plumber will be able to install it for you quickly
If you are buying your dishwasher from an online retailer, see if you can ‘click and collect’ it to save money on delivery costs. Just don’t forget to bring a friend as dishwashers can be very heavy.
Many people overlook the warranty manufacturers provide when searching for their next dishwasher.
An often overlooked aspect of finding the perfect dishwasher is the warranty you get with your purchase. Many dishwashers feature long warranties as it’s expected that you’ll be using it for many years to come. However, it’s important to read the fine print in what is and isn’t included.
For example, some manufacturers claim a 10 year against rust on the inside of the dishwasher and the motor, while only offering a two-year warranty on the workmanship of the appliance. Increasing your warranty costs more but gives you extra peace-of-mind that your dishwasher is covered.
You should also research how much parts and servicing costs after the warranty period is over, as if something goes wrong, you don’t want to be severely out of pocket for any repairs.
User reviews will help narrow down which dishwasher is right for you and your kitchen!
Once you’ve narrowed down your selection to a few different models and brands, it’s time to see what other people who own the dishwasher think of their purchase. A lot can be learned even after a quick search. If lots of people are unhappy with their dishwasher for justifiable reasons, it’s a good sign to stay away from that model. Inversely, if there is high praise for a few particular dishwashers, it should be considered.
When looking for reviews, look for long-term reviews instead of people discussing it only after a few uses.
As much as hand washing may seem like a more environmentally conscious alternative to using a dishwasher, in some cases, it is not. Often, a modern dishwasher on an eco-friendly wash cycle uses as little as 11 litres of water, while filling a basin with soapy water can use up to 20 litres of water.
Furthermore, using a dishwasher saves time and effort that you could be spending on something that you actually want to be doing!
Discover the full range of dishwashers on the Myer Market today!