How to Buy a Dishwasher

Whether you’re finally upgrading your kitchen or replacing a broken unit, purchasing home appliances online can be as difficult as buying yourself a new pair of shoes. If you’re being gutsy and buying a unit from an online catalog, you need to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Don’t worry; we’re here to help!  Here is a guide to use so you can better understand the terms and features you need to ensure you’re getting the best appliance for the best price.

What Am I Looking For?

The first step is figuring out what your needs are. Thankfully, there are still just a few basic dishwasher categories out there, and most dishwashers are still your basic under-the-counter drop-door refrigerators, and differences center on their control panel. Full console dishwashers feature standard front-facing panels. These are generally less expensive, but they’re also considered a little gauche. The new hotness in terms of style would be high-end stainless steel fully-integrated control panels, which are invisible when the unit is closed and give your kitchen that beautiful flush look. In between are semi-integrated units, which hides most of the controls but maintain some display and control features on the front. These are a good compromise that combines form and function elegantly and gracefully.

Other model types include countertop dishwashers, portable dishwashers, and drawer dishwashers, which consume less space and can offer easier installation and the price of reduced capacity. Portable and countertop dishwashers are small, single-load dishwashers limited to around fix place settings — definitely not enough for large households, but probably perfect for a couple without children in a small apartment.

What Sort of Features Might I Encounter?

Dishwashers can come with a wide variety of features and abilities.

  • HardfFood disposal: A hard food disposer in your dishwasher spares you having to rinse off your dishes before you load them up, letting the hard food particles wash off during the cycle, after which they’re ground up and washed away. These can be great time-saving devices, making your cleanup quicker, more efficient, and easier for everyone.
  • Stainless steel tub: Stainless steel tubs can increase noise dampening and reduce drying times. They are stain- and rust-resistant, and are longer-lasting and more durable than plastic
  • Adjustable racks: These let you change the rack height to accommodate different dishes in the event, for example, you want to have a deep top for highball glasses and a narrow bottom for bowls, or a deep bottom for lobster pots and a narrow top for lobster forks. The sky’s the limit with adjustable racks!
  • Third racks: Third racks let you ramp up the versatility of your dishwasher pretty dramatically, letting you find even more configurations to accommodate whatever dinner it is you’re cleaning up from. These are great for large dinner parties with lots of utensils, because the third rack can take them all, letting you remove the utensil basket to allow for more space for plates and whatnot. Manufacturers offering third rack designs included Bosch, Maytag¸ and Asko.
  • Flood and leak prevention: These can operate under different brand names, but they boil down to systems that detect pooling water and shut down the cycle before it gets out of control.

What about energy efficiency?

All home appliances, including washers, dryers, refrigerators, and yes, dishwashers, have the potential to be energy hogs, and can get even worse because we use these items so frequently. And as we get more and more concerned about energy efficiency, reducing our carbon footprint, and practicing sustainable home living, getting that under control only gets more important.

In order to make sure you’re getting a dishwasher that’s good for your home, your wallet, and your planet, be sure to check for Energy Star certification when you’re doing your shopping, and consider all the available information about water consumption. Most dishwashers use around six gallons per load, while Energy Star units use four.

For what it’s worth, any dishwasher beats handwashing for energy efficiency, water usage, and soap usage.


Well, that wraps up this brief buying guide. For more information, you can check out our  more detailed version at the main Appliances Connection website. We do everything we can to make your purchase a breeze!


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