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Dishwasher Buying Guide

Did you know you can use a dishwasher to cook and wash your dishes at the same time? Anyway that isn't the purpose of this write-up. This buying guide gives you key information for selecting a dishwasher for your home. If you are looking to buy a dishwasher and have no idea where to start, then you are at the right place.

Types of Dishwashers

Built-In Dishwasher

Built-in dishwashers are designed to be integrated into your kitchen cabinet. They usually measure about 18 inches to 24 inches wide, 25 inches deep and 34 inches tall. Dishwasher control panels are either located in front, at the top of the door or inside the appliance. Built-in dishwashers are less portable. There are two types of built-in dishwashers based on the type of opening. Traditional built-in dishwashers have one door hinged at the bottom. Newer types of built-ins are drawer dishwasher, which might have two separate drawers instead of one big drawer. Two separate drawers enable you to wash smaller batches of dishes in one drawer.

Portable Dishwasher

Portable dishwashers are freestanding units which can be placed anywhere in your kitchen so far it can access a water source. Some have tires underneath for easy movement. They usually measure about 18 inches to 24 inches wide, 28 inches deep and 35 inches tall.

Countertop Dishwasher

Countertop dishwashers are compact unit which can sit on a kitchen counter. They economize on space especially in small kitchens. They are usually about 22 inches wide.

Features to look out for in a Dishwasher


Full height dishwashers which measure about 24 inches wide can wash about a minimum of 120 items. An 18-inch wide dishwasher can take about a minimum of 90 items. About a minimum of 40 items will fit in a countertop-sized dishwasher.

Adjustable Upper Racks

Some dishwashers feature height adjustable racks to accommodate differently sized items. Others also have three racks to allow more flexibility for arranging dishes for washing. For some height adjustable models, you don't need to remove the rack before changing the height.

Food Disposal

Many traditional dishwashers need that you prewash your plates to avoid food clogging in the unit. But some modern units like LG's LDS5540ST can automatically dispose food. You need not cleanup the plate before feeding into the dishwasher.

Soil Sensor

This measures how dirty your dishes are, in order to automatically adjust the temperature and washing time. This is frequently found on more advanced models.

Steam Dishwashers

Steam dishwashers use hot pressured air to separate food particles from your dishes. In the process, this also kills a lot of bacteria. Steam units are touted as more energy, time, and money efficient. They also gently clean chinaware.

Other Features

- Delayed start: Programed to start at a later time - Child lock features - Quick wash setting - Anti-flooding feature - "Silent" Dishwashers: They run almost quietly - Smart dishwashers: Communicate with this unit using your smartphone - Rinse cycle feature: Washes the plate with water

Energy Efficiency

In addition to checking the energy ratings on your unit, check out the following energy-saving guides: - Stainless steel dishwashers are quieter and more energy efficient than plastic ones - Heat dries dishes faster but are less energy efficient than using a fan. - Even if your unit can automatically dispose food, first scrape food off the plate. Don't rinse with water. - Units with a soil sensor waste less energy.

Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

- Regularly clean the filter - Completely clean-out the inside of the unit - Wash down the unit on an empty run after complete cleaning - Avoid overloading the unit - Ensure your water is soft water.

What’s your Budget

Built-in dishwashers cover the widest price range than other types: generally, you get the cheapest or the most expensive dishwasher being a built-in. For instance, cheap drawer dishwashers are usually more expensive than cheap traditional dishwashers but a very expensive traditional dishwasher may cost more than an expensive drawer unit. A built-in dishwasher with its controls located at the top of the door usually cost more than the same type with the controls located elsewhere. Also, stainless steel dishwashers cost more to buy but they dry out dishes faster. Similarly, soil sensor models cost more.

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