The dishwasher is one of the hardest appliances to choose wisely.
Visit your local appliance store. You will be almost perplexed with the range of different models of the same dimensions and finish (often stainless steel) with seemingly interchangeable features and technologies.
If you have been relying on one old dishwasher for many years, any of the products on display would be a perfect upgrade.
But, how do you even choose?
Fortunately, similar surfaces cover drastic differences from one brand to another and even between contrasting models.
Dishwashers are smarter and feature-rich than ever, so if the buyer knows what areas to evaluate and things to look for, they can sort through all the ranks and bump into a product that suits their needs.
Manufactured Home Under Sink Dishwashers: The Top Ten Shopping Factors
Firstly, you need to have a reasonable price range in your mind – this can help you begin to narrow down your options.
If you are on a tight budget, don’t worry.
it’s easy to find a capable product with a price tag in the region of $500 or less, more so if you are willing to negotiate, although this may depend on where you are shopping.
For $600 to $950, you will be in a position to find a decent midrange model with some features (barely) you want.
Once you get at $1,000 or higher, shoot higher and choose a product with all the features you want.
- Cleaning power
- Speed and cycles
- Noise level
- Type of dishwasher
- Style & finish
- Capacity & Use of Your Space
- Tub type
- Filter type
- Unique Features
1. Cleaning power
Of all major factors you could consider, the cleaning power of the product stands out because it will determine if the model can handle your dish load.
That’s why budget shoppers always want to know if they’ve found a product with a price tag that correlates with its performance.
As such, try to evaluate the performance of the model of your liking relative to its price before you commit to acquire it.
However, we have some bad news for you: cleaning performance is one of the toughest parameters to predict based solely on price or brand, so you will need to dig deeper than that.
The good news is, if your only concern is cleaning power, you can still find a product with fairly impressive performance without even breaking a bank.
Also, no review site or tester will test a model that isn’t competent at cleaning your dishes.
Perhaps the most ignored trick in dishwashing is to remember to rinse your dishes and scrape the leftovers completely before loading the dishes in the unit.
They will probably emerge out of the dishwasher sparkling clean regardless of the model you bought.
The better dishwashers simply require much less work from your end and can handle tough, stuck-on dirt.
2. Speed and cycles
Just how fast do you want the machine to be? Kenmore offers some of the most diverse cycle choices you could find in dishwashers anywhere.
Most dishwashers come with a combination of some of these cycle options:
This is the default cycle in most dishwashers, whether you are going for the most basic machine or a high-end product. It is meant for full loads of dishes with the typical amount of food dirt (“soil”).
The sound and energy ratings (and even performance scores you will find on the internet) are gauged based on this cycle.
This cycle will clean your lightly dirty loads or smaller dishes when you require a quick scrubbing.
It makes full use of your dishwasher’s sensors. It will adapt the cycle period to a mixed amount of dishes based on the dirt they have.
You will often find the variants below as well:
Lowers the water’s pressure to work on more fragile dishes such as fine china and wine glasses.
For larger dishes like pans and pots, or usual dishes with dry-stuck dirt
This offers a quicker way to clean your dishes for a fast meal.
As it suggests, this cycle aims to push the dishwasher to use less energy and water. It takes a bit longer than normal with some dishwasher models, while others will only use it on lightly soiled dishes.
Note that these cycles aren’t referred to precisely the same way across different brands. For example, “Heavy” may be referred to as “Pots & Pans” while “Efficient” may be called “eWash” or “Energy Saver,” but the purpose of each of them remains the same across different brands. Remember to go through the instructions on the manual of the dishwasher of your liking for a list of the cycles, their respective time ranges, and other details.
Make sure the product you are considering has all the cycles you need.
For example, if you like to host many wine drinkers, you will want a dishwasher with a “china” or “gentle” cycle.
With that said, choose options that do the same thing effectively – lowering the pressure of water in this case – before ruling out a dishwasher for the specific cycle you want.
3. Noise level
Silence is necessary for the tranquility of your home. Unlike cleaning power, the noise rating for dishwasher correlates directly with its price.
This means that if you are looking for a whisper-quiet product, expect to pay more (premium price tag, to say least) for one.
With that said, you also need to understand that low-end models tend to be considerably quieter than your grandparent’s old, migraine-inducing dishwasher.
You can easily check the sound ratings of any dishwasher. The best place to start is online reviews, especially those made on consumer electronic review sites.
You can also look up the model number on the web, find the brand’s page for the specific model of your interest, and scroll down the site to take a glance at the specifications.
Consider the dishwasher’s location (where you plan to install it) and what the sound ratings you saw mean to the working conditions in that location and your entire home at large.
Also, ask yourself whether those ratings will make the upgrade to be worth it. Most old-fashioned dishwashers are rated in the region of 80 dBs, which means they can be as loud as your garbage disposal unit.
You definitely won’t have an understandable conversation in any room where a product with such noise rating is running – still, you could probably hear it wheezing all over your entire home.
There are 3 categories of noise generation in dishwashers:
Low-end, about 50ish DBS
Many years ago, there’s no way you could find a $500 dishwasher with sound ratings in the mid-50s.
Today, you are more likely to find a decent product at this price point and with sound ratings in the mid-50s.
Dishwashers that fall in this category are significantly noisy – if you were to speak while running in the same room, you would have to raise your voice to be heard, albeit slightly.
The 50 dB noise level is almost the same as that produced in a quiet conversation.
The 50 Db noise level won’t wake up your sleeping child upstairs. The noise abates when you leave the room.
Mid-level, about 40 dB
If you don’t converse with your family in the kitchen, go for a dishwasher rated in the region of 40 dBs.
With a budget of $600 – $900, you can get a decent dishwasher with a rating in the region of mid-40s.
This level of sound can be easily heard when the device is running at its loudest cycles.
You should be in one room with it to feel the disruption, but you should be able to converse over it without coming out as inaudible.
High-end, often low 40 dBs & lower
If you are particularly sensitive to any noise, you can easily find a model that you will barely hear wheezing even when you are both in the same space.
Cross over into four-digit price tags, and you will find many models rated at 42 dB. In this category, you can be sure to even find a product rated over 35 dBs.
You will barely hear the dishwasher sounds at that level, even if you are standing very close to it.
Any model slightly below 45 dBs will be audible at its loudest cycles, but only if you are actively listening for the noise while occupying the same room.
4. Type of dishwasher
The vast majority of dishwashers are 24″ wide and are designed to be installed/fixed permanently somewhere under the kitchen counter.
So, if you are in search of a standard dishwasher, that is what you need.
But, but if your kitchen is crowded and you don’t have plenty of space for the standard dishwasher, you can opt for the compact 18” wide dishwasher from most manufacturers.
Even better, you can choose portable dishwashers that operate on wheels or a specialty dishwasher that can be built into your drawer or made to fit on the countertop.
Search for those if your kitchen has space limitations or you just want a unique product for your unique kitchen.
Otherwise, the 24” built-in variety provides various features, prices and is offered by almost every known brand.
5. Style & finish
Typically, dishwashers come with a white, stainless-steel, or black exterior – the standard trio in all large appliances. That said, expect to pay $100 or more on top of the price if you choose stainless, but it is starting to be available on many models across different price tiers.
General Electric’s Slate finish has been a plausible departure from traditional and overused stainless-steel. This specific model also comes with physical buttons, front control, and a scoop handle.
Some manufacturers offer varieties of unique finishes.
Look for these finishes if you are tired of the traditional stainless-steel but don’t want anything bland like black or white.
Other than the exterior, the general shape of the device’s handle, alongside its control panel’s location and type, are normally the only other points of differences on the surface of dishwashers. For instance, handles can be squared, rounded, or subtle scoop.
Control panels usually use digital touch controls or physical buttons.
Digital controls are very much the same as physical buttons (in terms of functionality), except that they are less bulky.
Choose a product with a control panel that has a time display so that you can tell when it is time to remove your dishes.
Remember to establish if the time display does estimate the total time to completion while you select options and cycles.
Does the time display stay active as the dishwasher runs? This may sound like a petty thing to check but varies between different models, so check carefully.
It is almost standard for the control panel to be on the front surface, but some dishwashers have theirs hidden on the upper or topmost lip.
The latter kind of control panel is referred to as a “fully integrated” panel, and these dishwashers tend to be a bit more expensive than those without them.
As you would expect, touch controls cost more than physical buttons.
If you are not bothered by these aesthetics to take them seriously, look for a product with a traditional front control panel complete with buttons.
This can be an ingenious trick to help you keep the costs low on dishwashers rich with features.
6. Capacity & Use of Your Space
Although almost all standard dishwashers you will find in the store are 24” wide, the capacity varies widely across different models.
High-end dishwashers are known to come with less space between their tines – this is by design to permit you to fit more dishes.
Also, they are normally equipped with more jets to supply water into these tiny spaces.
If your household has larger dishes, high-end dishwashers tend to offset their small spaces with thoughtful foldable tines that allow you to fit your pans and pots.
7. Tub type
If you have previous experience with dishwashers, you must have noticed that cheap models almost always come with plastic tubs.
High-end models, on the other hand, comes with stainless steel tubs.
Please note that the appearance of the tub should not be judged the same as the finish exterior finish on the main body of the dishwasher.
You can buy a product with a stainless steel exterior and still find a plastic tub inside.
Stainless tubs are known for their durability and energy-efficiency, but the material used to make the tub seldom affects cleaning performance.
8. Filter type
This may be a bit perplexing, but most modern dishwashers do make you perform some maintenance work so that the unit can keep working quietly.
The reason why some old-fashioned dishwashers used to be loud like garbage disposal units is that these products actually had inbuilt food disposers.
You still can find some models with automatic food grinders, although they are starting to be a rarity.
High-end dishwashers tend to come with mesh filters.
Even dishwashers equipped with automatic filters are no longer as noisy as when they first hit the market, but if you are looking for a super-quiet device, you will need to rinse the mesh filter once in a while.
Take a glance at the instruction manual to see the manufacturer’s recommendations, including how often you will need to wash the filter.
Don’t worry – removing the filter unit, rinsing it, and placing it back is often a 5-minute job.
This is the easiest part – choose a dishwasher with the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) EnergyStar label.
The label means the product has been tested and found to be an energy saver without sacrificing functionality and features.
Some machines will even show the ratings and estimation of energy use or operational cost per year (check the yellow tag if you can find it on the machine).
10. Unique Features
If you want extra space or are particular about silverware, search for a product with an additional rack (often a third rack).
They are starting to be commonplace and aren’t exclusive high-end models anymore.
Some GE models are equipped with bottle wash jets that let you clip your tall items in position.
Most Bosch dishwashers will use their info light to shine on the floor during operation – that’s because they are quiet enough that the user might easily forget they are running nearby.
Additionally, we see the rise of linked dishwashers. Most of the industry’s major brands have app-enabled dishwashers that let the user check any cycle’s progress from afar.