Dishwasher Buying Guide:
Purchasing a Dishwasher
A dishwasher is the hardest working appliance in your kitchen. The average household will keep a dishwasher between 14-15 years. Today's smart machines come equipped with an abundance of special features, greater loading flexibility, quieter operation and greater energy efficency than units that were made years ago. With the plethora of options, purchasing a dishwasher can be overwhelming. This buying guide will help to make your purchase process easier.
What are your needs?
With the abundance of dishwasher options, it is a good practice to identify the needs of your household. Do you have a large family and have to run a load of dishes daily? Do you use small dishes and therefore need only a small capacity dishwasher? Do you plan to wash your pots and pans in your dishwasher?
The answers to the above question can and should affect your purchase. It is advisable to make sure you know your needs before ever setting foot in a showroom.
Types of Dishwashers
There are many varieties of dishwashers depending on your needs and wants.
A built-in dishwasher is a traditional 24-inch model that installs below the kitchen counter. Typical built-in dishwashers can accommodate 10-16 place settings. They have the widest range of features and options and encompass all price ranges.
A portable dishwasher is ideal when space is limited. They are small enough where they can be stored easily when not in use. They are available in 18" and 24" configurations and can easily let you switch to an under-counter installation. Special installation is not required. Portable dishwashers can be taken with you when you move.
Compact dishwashers measure approximately 18" and can hold up to 8 five-piece place settings. These types of dishwashers are great for smaller spaces such as a wet bar or secondary kitchen.
Tall Tub dishwashers are able to fit into the standard 24" built in dishwasher space but they have extra room on the inside. They accommodate up to 14 five-piece place settings. This dishwasher is ideal for large families or those that like to entertain.
There are lots of features on dishwashers. Some have more features and some have less. Below are a few common features found on most dishwashers.
There are many different sensors which all indicate something different. Soil level sensors adjust wash cycle times. Temperature sensors make sure your machine is at the proper water temperature. Water sensors make sure there Is the correct amount of water in the machine for cleaning. Detergent sensors make sure the proper amount of cleaning agent is released into the wash cycle.
Dishwashers have a variety of cycles; delayed wash, rinse and hold, express wash. All these cycles allow for customizable washing on all types of dishes, from pots to pans and even fine china.
The interior tubs come in different finishes; stainless steel, slated colors and plastic. Each finish has different characteristics. Stainless steel resists stains and odors and transfers heat well which is good for faster drying. Slate colored tubs minimize the appearance of stains. Plastic tubs, which are found in most affordable dishwashers, are very durable.
When purchasing a dishwasher, consider which cycle you will typically run and the time at which you will run it, and then review the manufacturer's noise reduction package. Increased sound insulation will cost a bit more, but it is worth it if reducing noise is important to you.
Energy Saving/Energy Star
Many dishwashers come with additional features that can help to conserve energy such as booster heaters, air dry options cycles and even smart controls.
Energy Saving Guide
- • Consider how many gallons of water the dishwasher will use. Dishwashers that don't use a lot of water will cost the least to operate.
- • Choose the right size and model dishwasher for your home. Compact models generally use less energy per load, but using the dishwasher more frequently can counter that benefit.
- • Choose a dishwasher with many various cycle selections. It isn't necessary to run a heavy cycle if your dishes are lightly soiled. Instead you can use a lighter cycle that uses less water and also less energy because it runs for a shorter period.
- • Run your dishwasher with a full-load to avoid using it more than necessary.
Ferguson Care Tip
Do NOT clean dishes of all food before putting them into the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent needs food to dissolve properly. If there is no food then the chemicals eat away at the dishes and glassware. Many dishwashers have spinning blades which grind up food so it goes down the drain and doesn't recalculate within the cleaning cycle.