A dishwasher is one of the major appliances in any household. When it stops working, the daily kitchen routine can turn into a nightmare. If you want to avoid piles of dirty dishes and annoyed family members, you have to buy a new one. Fast.
Dishwashers come in all shapes and sizes. Price tags can vary from $400 to $1000 and beyond. Let’s dig a little deeper into the various parameters of this important appliance to help you make the right choice.
Different types of dishwashers exist to suit your kitchen layout and preferences:
- Built-in – integrated into kitchen cabinets. This is the most popular dishwasher type since it fits the kitchen space perfectly.
- Portable – these dishwashers have caster wheels. They are excellent for smaller households.
- Countertop – serves as both a dishwasher and a countertop. It’s a good low-budget solution for small kitchens.
Countertop and portable dishwashers are usually less expensive than their built-in counterparts are.
The standard dishwasher is 24” wide, 24” deep, and 35” high. The appliance usually comes with adjustable legs to fit under different cabinets and countertops. Even though the majority of kitchen spaces are created to accommodate the standard size, it’s always important to measure cabinets before buying the dishwasher.
If you have a family of four or bigger, you need a standard dishwasher. Smaller households may settle for compact 18” dishwashers (18” wide, 24” deep and 35” high). These appliances are excellent for occasional use. They can also be a great solution for apartments with small kitchens.
Tabletop dishwashers aren’t much bigger than a standard microwave. They can be a wonderful low-budget solution if you are renting an apartment without one. These small appliances don’t require complex installation and can be moved around according to your needs.
The majority of dishwashers offers a standard collection of cycles:
- Normal wash – standard cycle for moderately dirty dishes
- Light wash – saves energy by cutting out a pre-rinse cycle
- Heavy wash – removes extra-tough grease and grime by high-pressure spraying
At the selection stage, many homeowners are awed by the variety of cycles. They tend to go by the “the more the better” rule. However, the majority ends up using two or three cycles.
Think back to how many cycles you used with your old dishwasher to get an idea of how many options you really need. If you are buying a dishwasher for the first time, evaluate your dishes and habits. Besides the standard cycles, you may need the following options:
- Auto Wash – a sensor detects how dirty dishes are and adjusts the cycle automatically.
- China Cycle – low spray power ensures a delicate wash for your glassware (great if you have plenty of china).
- Delayed Wash – allows you to set a timer to start the wash cycle an hour or more after you turn the appliance on.
- Quick Wash – extra hot water and high-power spray get your dishes done faster (downside: higher energy consumption)
- Anti-Bacterial Wash – heats water to 95°F to kill the majority of bacteria (great when one of the family members is sick)
- Top-Rack Wash – washes the dishes on the top rack only.
The number of cycles usually affects the price of the dishwasher.
Dishwashers can be extremely noisy. Many consumers whose old dishwasher is quiet forget to check the noise levels when buying a new one. Meanwhile, it could be a major deciding factor. Since you are likely to run the dishwasher during the night, the loud rumbling is out of the question.
Noise levels of a dishwasher often depend on its price. Low-budget models are usually louder than their high-end counterparts are. When choosing the appliance, check the noise parameter. It should be available in the manual.
To get an idea of what the noise levels are like, refer to this chart:
- 30 – 40 dB – quiet room
- 40 – 50 dB – light traffic
- 50 – 60 dB – normal conversation
- 60 – 70 dB – vacuum cleaner
Ideally, the noise levels of your dishwasher shouldn’t exceed 50 dB. If you are a light sleeper, look for 40 dB or lower.
These days, dishwashers come with a huge selection of interesting features. Some of them may seem useless while others appear highly important. Consider the following options before making the final choice.
1. Wi-Fi Operation
Smart appliances are popular nowadays. If a dishwasher is Wi-Fi compatible, you can operate it remotely by using an app on your smartphone. These appliances usually have such features as timers, filter replacement and cycle end notifications, leak alerts, and much more.
2. Flexible Racks
Placing dishes of different sizes into the dishwashers can be tricky. Consider opting for an appliance that allows you to adjust the space between racks to accommodate anything from large pots to small glasses.
3. Auto Door Release
To avoid mold and mildew formation, it’s important to open the dishwasher door after the cycle is over. Many homeowners forget about it, especially if the appliance runs at night. Some dishwashers come with the auto door release option that opens the door as soon as the cycle is over.
4. Peeking Window
If you’d like to monitor the progress your dishwasher is making, you may want to choose an appliance with a small window.
5. Stainless Steel Interior
Many mid and higher-end dishwashers have a stainless steel interior while low-end models are plastic. Stainless steel resists staining much better than plastic does.
The price of your new dishwasher depends on all of the above factors. It’s possible to purchase a low-end model with a basic set of features for less than $500. Meanwhile, a higher-end one can be as expensive as $2,000. The price can also depend on the manufacturer.
Determine your needs using the above guide and start shopping. Remember, the dishwasher’s lifecycle is about 12 years. If your appliance is about to become a teenager, start monitoring the market. When you aren’t in a rush, it’s possible to find amazing deals.
Don’t let the tremendous variety of dishwashers scare you. Do your research according to the above parameters before walking into a store or browsing online shops. Give yourself time, and you’ll find the perfect appliance to suit your budget.
For more information about appliance selection and kitchen remodeling, please contact us today.