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Dishwasher Buying Guide

Dishwasher Image.

Save water and energy with the hardest working appliance in your kitchen, the dishwasher. On average, homeowners keep their dishwasher between 14-15 years. So, our dishwasher buying guide helps eliminate the guesswork for easy shopping, almost guaranteeing happiness for the life of your appliance.

Dishwasher Features


Today’s dishwashers are equipped with sensors to ensure quality cleaning and energy savings.

  • Soil level sensors adjust wash cycle times.
  • Temperature sensors ensure proper water temperature.
  • Water sensors maintain the proper amount of water in the machine for cleaning.
  • Detergent sensors release the proper amount of dishwashing liquid into the wash cycle.


Dishwasher cycles allow for a customized wash on all types of dishes, from pots and pans to fine china.

    • Delayed Wash: Set the start time to begin when you want it to. You can set it anywhere from one hour up to 24 hours ahead, depending on your model.
    • Rinse and Hold: Rinses away food to eliminate bacteria and smell without using detergent while accumulating a full load.
    • Wash Programs: Varied wash cycles provide custom settings for everything from fragile dishes and stemware to pots and oven racks.
    • Quick-Wash: The quick-wash cycle can finish a load of lightly-soiled dishes in less time.
    • Sanitize: A sanitizing rinse option kills 99.9% of bacteria. This is great for cutting boards and baby bottles.


    Removable racks and adjustable shelves make it easy to customize tub space to accommodate oversized dishes, pots and pans. Also look for fold-down tines, cup shelves, stemware holders and extra capacity silverware baskets.

    No Pre-rinsing

    Pre-rinsing is a thing of the past! Today’s dishwasher is equipped with filtration wash systems and hard food disposers. These features act like miniature, built-in food processors, meaning your dishwasher grinds up food particles and flushes them out with the wastewater so dirty particles aren’t re-deposited onto dishes.

    Noise Level

    If noise level is a concern for you, check the decibel level (the higher the decibel level, the more disruptive the noise). A rating of 45 or under will be virtually silent. Decibel levels between 45 and 50 sound similar to a rainfall. Ratings of 50 or above will be equivalent to the level of a normal conversation. The amount of insulation around the dishwasher tub impacts the noise level, so check the thickness of the insulation for quiet operation.

    Tub Material

    Interior tubs come in different finishes. Stainless steel resists stains and odors; it also transfers heat better for faster drying. Gray or slate-colored tubs resist rust and minimize the appearance of stains. Plastic tubs, which are often found on more affordable dishwashers, are also very durable.

    Energy Savings

    Regulated by the federal government, with ratings established by the Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR® qualified dishwashers use 41% less energy than other models. You may be eligible for local rebates when buying qualified ENERGY STAR appliances.

    For additional water savings, scrape dishes instead of rinsing, which can use up 20 additional gallons of water.

    Understanding Dishwasher Types

    A built-in dishwasher is a traditional 24-inch model that installs below the kitchen counter. A typical built-in can accommodate up to 12 five-piece place settings.

    Compact dishwashers measure roughly 18 inches and can accommodate up to eight five-piece place settings. Compact models are great for small spaces or bonus areas, like a wet bar, media room or secondary kitchen.

    Drawer dishwashers are available in single- and double-drawer configurations and install in the same space as a 24-inch traditional built-in. Double-drawer models offer the flexibility of single- or double-drawer washing for efficient accommodation of small and large loads. Drawer dishwashers are also easier to load since the drawers slide out at work level for minimal bending.

    Portable dishwashers are ideal for those who have no room for a built-in or renters whose homes do not have a built-in. Special installation is not required and the dishwasher can be stored easily when not in use. Portable dishwashers can also be taken with you when your lease is up.

    Tall Tub dishwashers also fit into the traditional 24-inch space of a built-in, but have extra room on the inside. Tall tub dishwashers can accommodate up to 14 five-piece place settings, making them the perfect choice for large families and those who love to entertain.

    Homeowners with natural stone countertops should take care to explore side/cabinet mount models when buying a built-in. This eliminates the risk of cracking the countertop.