Anyone who has ever had a bad case of "dishpan hands" will agree -- dishwashers are a fantastic invention! Dishwashers may cost more initially than a sink full of soapy water, but in the long run they use less water, get your dishes cleaner, and are generally better for the environment as far as water and electricity use.
First you need to choose the the proper dishwasher for your needs. For the most basic models that wash and get things clean, expect to pay about £150 plus the cost of instalment (and the removal of your old dishwasher). If you want a quiet, fully-loaded, speedy washer with many different programmes, expect to spend at least twice that if not more.
Most dishwashers that aren't "contractor models" get things clean without any trouble. This means that additional features are the most important factor in deciding which model to buy.
- Wash Tiers
- The places that water sprays from are known as wash tiers or wash levels.
- The better dishwashers have three; discount "builder's models" may only have one.
- More tiers are always better. Unless you plan to use your dishwasher for only very light cleaning (like in a wet bar), you definitely want at least two tiers. Three or more is the standard number in most of the top-performing dishwashers.
- Dishwashers are rated on their cleaning performance from A (best) to G (worst).
- If your kitchen opens up to the living or dining room, choosing a low-noise dishwasher should be a high priority.
- Generally, noise is inversely correlated with price.
- A more expensive dishwasher will be quieter because it has better insulation.
- Most dishwashers today are much quieter than their predecessors.
- Programmes and Speed
- Most cycles are 80 to 150 minutes total on most models. Quick-wash programmes are, of course, shorter.
- Many new dishwashers come with delay timers. (However, running the dishwasher while you are asleep or not home is not recommended.)
- Some special cycles, like a "Delicates" programme for china or wine glasses, may be a good idea if you use these items often.
- You probably do not need more than 4 or 5 different programmes. These will cost you extra and may be used only rarely if at all.
- Many of the more expensive models have stylish exteriors, but do you really need a £1200 Miele dishwasher that doesn't clean any better than many less expensive models?
- Control buttons should be designed for convenience and usability.
- Some models have hidden or partially hidden controls for a sleeker appearance.
- Front panelling is available at an extra cost, or you might be able to do it yourself.
- Stainless steel is timeless, but it picks up fingerprints easily. It also adds £75-150 to the cost of the model.
- The standard size of a dishwasher is 60 cm wide, 60 cm deep and 85 cm tall.
- Slimline models are usually the same depth and height but only 45 cm wide.
- Countertop dishwashers are usually about 45 cm tall, 45 cm deep and 55 cm wide.
- The capacity of a dishwasher is usually given in place settings; a standard will accomodate 12 place settings, a slimline about 9 and a countertop 4.
- Keep in mind, however, that if you have irregularly shaped objects such as mixing bowls and pieces of kitchen appliances, the configurability of the interior may be as important to you as the sheer amount of space.
- Rack Configuration
- Make sure there is enough space for the items you expect to wash.
- Some models come with foldable tines, rearrangeable racks and other features that will allow you to load the dishwasher any way you like.
- Some models come with a third rack, often below the two main racks, for large flat items like serving trays.
- However, a third rack may not be as convenient as it sounds -- they may just make it harder to load the dishwasher.
- Efficiency Rating
- More efficient models may cost a little extra, but the savings on your energy bill will quickly make the additional cost worthwhile.
- Efficient models are also more environmentally friendly.
- Dishwashers are rated from A to G, with A being the most efficient.
- Heavy-duty disposal options
- Food-grinder/garbage disposal.
- Some dishwashers have built-in solid food disposals; other models require you to clean the filter every few weeks.
- Dishwashers are usually pretty reliable, but a warranty is always a good thing to have.
- Countertop dishwashers can be very efficient when you only have a small amount of dishes to wash or if you have a limited amount of space, such as a small flat, dorm room, office, boat or caravan.
- Usually they are just big enough to handle a six-person setting load.
- There are even some that are placed on the floor, but that are made to be very slim, and some are on wheels.
- Prices usually range from £100 to £200.
- When shopping for a portable dishwasher, look for the same things that you would look for in a regular dishwasher -- noise, efficiency, etc.