Selecting the right model for your kitchen
Recent advances in dishwasher technology have resulted in more powerful, efficient and convenient models that are a valuable addition to any household. New features such as soil and temperature sensors, multifaceted wash systems, bulk dispensers, steam cleaning and intuitive controls ensure that you spend less time stuck in the kitchen doing dishes and more time enjoying your life. Before you learn about all the available options, take a few minutes to consider what you need in a new dishwasher. These simple questions will help you get started:
• What type of dishwasher best meets your needs?
• How often and for how many people do you wash dishes?
• What cycles and options do you use most often?
• Are there any new special features that will benefit your cleaning routine?
• How important is energy efficient operation?
• Is there a certain style, finish or color that will match your kitchen décor?
Type, Capacity, Capabilities and Efficiency
When it comes to selecting a dishwasher, you have a wide variety of features and options to choose from. With units ranging in price from just under $200 to more than $1,000, understanding the current landscape of available models can be quite helpful. Take into careful consideration the long-term benefits of each washer as well as the initial cost. Some units that come with a higher price tag have increased efficiency that can cut utility bills providing extra savings over the life of your dishwasher. Other units have bonus features like quiet operation or advanced cleaning capabilities that can save you time.
Type: Start by selecting the type of dishwasher. The most common installation is the built-in model, which fits directly under your kitchen counter. Standard units measure 24" across and come in all price ranges, with a variety of features and options. Built-in models are also available in 18" compact units, perfect for small households, apartment kitchens or as a convenient addition to an in-home wet bar. If a built-in model is not possible consider a portable unit that can be stored out of the way when not in use and rolled over to connect with your kitchen faucet for quick operation when needed. The latest innovation in dishwashers is a two drawer model that operates like two separate dishwashers in the same space normally occupied by one unit.
• Under-the-sink installations are ideal for kitchens where cupboard space is at a premium
• Compact units offer increased efficiency for households with low-capacity washing needs
• Convertible dishwashers transform from portable units to under-counter installation
• Two drawer dishwashers offer increased flexibility, efficiency and versatile operation
• Consider adjustable height models for easier installations
Capacity: Dishwasher capacity is typically measured in terms of the number of place settings that will comfortably fit. Smaller units can handle around 8 place settings while larger units can hold as many as 16 settings. When assessing your capacity requirements you will also want to take into consideration oversized or unusually shaped items that require frequent washing. Tub size is a helpful capacity indicator, with most standard tubs holding up to 12 place settings and tall tub configurations holding up to 16 complete sets. If you are a small household with only one or two people or you have limited kitchen space, consider a compact unit.
• Choose a dishwasher that can grow with your needs
• Plan for anticipated changes in your family size
• Tall tub units provide a larger interior capacity to hold more items
• Adjustable rack configurations give you greater loading flexibility
Cleaning Capabilities: Dishwashers are often equipped with advanced cleaning functions designed to take the work out of washing dishes. Wash systems with multiple tiers and washer arms provide thorough coverage that blasts away baked-on cheese, grease, egg and other food debris. Certain dishwasher models offer steam cycles and options that increase cleaning capability while still being gentle on delicate items, and others have unique model specific features such as silverware jets for added cleaning performance. New sensor technologies automatically monitor soil levels in the dishwater and ensure that your cycle doesn't stop until your dishes are clean and clear. Special cycles and options also add extra cleaning power with settings such as a heavy soil or sanitizing rinse. Make sure your new dishwasher has a good filtration system as dishwashers don't normally refill with fresh water during wash cycles, and use advanced cleaning chemicals to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh and clean.
• Wash systems with multiple tiers and various washer arms provide full coverage
• Cycles and options let you choose the right settings for every load
• Sensor technologies automatically adjust the wash cycle to ensure reliable results
• Filters and hard food disposals eliminate pre-rinsing
Energy Efficiency: Over the past decade dishwashers have made incredible strides toward more effective and efficient operation. Contemporary models use less energy and water, lowering your utility bills and conserving valuable resources. The energy conscious consumer will want to look for the added savings that come with units featuring the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR dishwashers exceed federal standards for energy use by 25% or more. Not only does this save you money by reducing utility bills, it is also gentler on the environment so you can feel good about keeping your kitchen clean.
• Dishwashers manufactured in recent years meet aggressive federal guidelines for energy efficiency
• Delay start feature allows you to program your dishwasher to run during off peak hours
• Units with features such as sensor technologies and rapid wash cycles offer added efficiency
|24" Built-In||Most common installation; fits under your kitchen counter||
• Capacity of 10-16 place settings
• Standard or tall tub configurations
|Compact 18" Built-In||Ideal for small kitchens and 1 or 2 member households||• Smaller capacity for more efficient loads
• Space-saving design for small environments
|Portable||Stores out of the way when not in use; connects to kitchen faucet when needed||
• Available in 18" and 24" configurations
under- counter installation
with extra flexibility
|Two Drawer||Maximum flexibility and efficiency; each drawer operates like a separate dishwasher
• Can operate simultaneously or
Sensor Technologies: Many modern dishwashers are now employing sensor technologies that 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. These sensors help take the guess work out of operating your dishwasher and allow you to set the cleaning process in motion with just one simple press of a button.
Quiet Operation: There are a variety of noise reduction packages available that include features such as quieter motors and improved insulation that result in low decibel ranges. The higher end units tend to have the most advanced sound dampening systems, but even washers in lower price categories incorporate some level of noise reduction.
Specialty Cycles: In addition to standard everyday cycles, many dishwashers offer specialty cycles designed to tackle specific tasks. Delicates and china allow you to carefully run hand-wash items through the dishwasher. Tough soil and pot scrubbing cycles get rid of stuck-on cheese, grease and more. A rinse and hold option keeps your dishwasher fresh and clean in between cycles, perfect for households where it takes a couple days for a full load to build up. Quick wash cycles speed up the process to give you clean dishes faster. A sanitizing rinse uses extremely high temperatures to kill bacteria and reduce the risk of spreading germs and illness between family members.
Adjustable Racks: Customize your dishwasher with racks designed to accommodate all your washable items. Adjustable racks allow you to raise or lower the height to fit oversized dinner plates, long-stemmed glasses, bulky serving dishes and more. Units with a removable top rack make it easy to wash oversized pots or pans. Racks with removable or fold-down tines let you configure your dishwasher to hold all your dishes for a perfect fit every time.
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, leaving nothing but a smooth surface for a sleek, clutter-free kitchen.
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 1 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 disposal that work together to remove and eliminate leftover food particles from the water. Self-cleaning filters ensure hands-off maintenance.
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.
Finish and Style: Choose from a wide array of materials, finishes and colors to match your kitchen décor. Whether you are looking for the clean, familiar lines of a standard white dishwasher or the sophisticated style of a stainless-steel exterior, you'll find exactly what you are looking for. Some units can even be fitted with wood paneling that blends right in with your cupboards. Specialty colors and painted panels are an option with some manufacturers for a completely customized look.
Rinse Aid Dispenser: Rinse aid dispensers hold a special solution that helps prevent spotting on dishes and is especially useful in areas with hard water. Indicator windows let you keep an eye on how much is available for easy filling at any time.