Dishwashers Buying Guide

Today's dishwashers offer a variety of wash cycles and loading options, so you can easily find a model that suits your family size and entertaining needs. Plus, new models are quieter and more energy-efficient than ever. Take a look at this buying guide to find out about the various types of dishwashers available and the features to consider when comparing models.

Types of Dishwashers

Types of Dishwashers

The 24-inch undercounter dishwasher is the most popular type -- and with good reason. You can find models at a range of price points and with a host of features and special wash cycles. Dishwasher drawers have also become popular in recent years and provide the flexibility of choosing between small or large loads. If you're short on space or don't own your home, a variety of other options can allow you to enjoy the convenience of a dishwasher without remodeling or expanding your kitchen.

Built-In Dishwashers

These conventional dishwashers are usually 24 inches wide and fit under the countertop. They need to be attached to a hot-water pipe, drain, and electrical line. They offer the most choices in terms of features and finishes. Cabinet panels can be added to the front of these dishwashers to integrate them with surrounding cabinetry.

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AGA
$2411.00

The Legacy Dishwasher is a marriage of beauty and quiet cleaning performance Quiet sound insulation technology and a variety of se...ttings deliver superior cleaning performance while conserving energy Choose from five color options Black Vintage White ... read more

AGA
$2411.00

The Legacy Dishwasher is a marriage of beauty and quiet cleaning performance Quiet sound insulation technology and a variety of se...ttings deliver superior cleaning performance while conserving energy Choose from five color options Black Vintage White ... read more

AGA
$2411.00

The Legacy Dishwasher is a marriage of beauty and quiet cleaning performance Quiet sound insulation technology and a variety of se...ttings deliver superior cleaning performance while conserving energy Choose from five color options Black Vintage White ... read more

AGA
$2411.00

The Legacy Dishwasher is a marriage of beauty and quiet cleaning performance Quiet sound insulation technology and a variety of se...ttings deliver superior cleaning performance while conserving energy Choose from five color options Black Vintage White ... read more

Drawer Dishwashers

Typically these units consist of two drawers stacked vertically. You can use just one drawer or run both drawers simultaneously. They are a good choice if you often have small loads of dishes, or if you entertain often and are looking for a second dishwasher. The drawer-style unit reduces the need for bending over when loading and unloading the dishwasher.

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DCS
$1724.49

Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer Series Semi-Integrated double drawer dishwasher can fit up to 14 place settings, 7 in each drawer with ...cutlery baskets to give you even more room. The convenient two drawer design allows you to be washing dishes in one drawer... read more

Fisher Paykel
$1099.00

This 24 double dishdrawer dishwasher by FisherPaykel offers 14place setting and designed to fit your existing kitchen cabinetry Th...is dishwasher also features true half load 45 dBA noise level on gentle cycle SmartDrive TM technology flow through dete... read more

Fisher Paykel
$1099.00

This 24 double dishdrawer dishwasher by FisherPaykel offers 14place setting and designed to fit your existing kitchen cabinetry Th...is dishwasher also features true half load 45 dBA noise level on gentle cycle SmartDrive TM technology flow through dete... read more

Fisher Paykel
$749.00

This 24 single DishDrawer dishwasher by Fisher and Paykel offers 7 place settings in a small size design that can still accommodat...e 13 plates This dishwasher also features ergonomic design that allows for easy opening and closing true half load that ... read more

Countertop Dishwashers

These dishwashers sit on the countertop and need to be hooked up to the sink faucet before use. These units are a good choice if you live in an apartment and can't remodel your kitchen. They work well for single homeowners or a couple but aren't big enough for a family.

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Equator-Midea
$489.99

If space is not a luxury in your living setting then this compact dishwasher gives you a great option. With an eight place-setting... capacity, this portable electronic dishwasher fits under most kitchen cabinets easily. This dishwasher is also... read more

Equator-Midea
$489.99

If space is not a luxury in your living setting then this compact dishwasher gives you a great option. With an eight place-setting... capacity, this portable electronic dishwasher fits under most kitchen cabinets easily. This dishwasher is also... read more

SPT
$316.99

Perfect for apartments, offices or any small kitchens, this countertop dishwasher offers full-size power in a compact design. With... a height of only 17.24 inches, this unit will fit between most countertops and cabinetry. Durable stainless steel... read more

SPT
$255.49

Perfect for apartments, office kitchens or any small-sized kitchens, this SPT Silver Countertop Dishwasher offers full-size power ...in a compact design. With a height of only 17.24 inches, this unit will fit between most countertop and cabinetry spaces.... read more

Portable Dishwashers

These dishwashers are equipped with wheels and can be rolled out of the way when not in use. Most are 18 or 24 inches wide. The smaller units are easier to move around and to store, but their capacity is less. This type of dishwasher is a good choice if you can't install a built-in model, but it has fewer features.

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Sunpentown
$239.63

Don't have room for a full-size dishwasher? The Sunpentown SD-2201W portable dishwasher is a great resource. It fits neatly on the... countertop! read more

Sunpentown
$235.95

Enjoy the effective cleaning power of the Sunpentown SD-2201S countertop dishwasher, which holds up to 6 place settings.

GE
$886.99

The GE Full Console Portable Dishwasher with 12-place settings, 5 wash cycles, 5-level powerscrub wash system, hard food disposer,... and woodgrain laminate top. Meets or exceeds 2011 federal guidelines for energy efficiency for year-round energy and... read more

GE
$539.00

A woodgrain laminate top creates a durable, attractive surface while a five-level wash system powers away tough food stains in thi...s convertible/portable dishwasher. ENERGY STAR qualified 64 dBA motor runs quietly to keep kitchen peaceful precision... read more

Slim-Line or Compact Dishwashers

These models work just like standard built-in dishwashers, but they are only 18 inches wide. They're a good option if you have a very small kitchen and lack room for a traditional 24-inch-wide unit.

Product Features

Product Features

As you're comparing dishwashers, look for features that maximize flexibility and allow you to easily fit in everyday dinner plates, as well as serving platters and pots and pans. Special wash features offer an array of cycles; look for cycle options that suit your daily cleaning needs. For greater convenience and energy savings, look for models with sensors that automatically adjust cleaning times based on the soil level in the water. As you're shopping, also take a look at the various designs of control panels; higher-price models hide or minimize controls for a streamlined look.

Adjustable Racks

For maximum flexibility, look for racks that can be raised and lowered, as well as adjustable tines and silverware and stemware holders that can be reconfigured as needed.

Soil Sensor

This sensor checks the water at every phase of rinsing and washing, and it adjusts the cycle time and water use accordingly, saving time and energy.

Filters

Filters keep the water free of food that might otherwise be redeposited on dishes. Most filters are self-cleaning and feature a grinder that pulverizes food debris and flushes it down the drain. Filters without a grinder are less noisy, but they need to be manually cleaned periodically.

Special Wash Cycles

Even budget-friendly dishwashers usually come with at least three cycles -- light, normal, and heavy -- but many models offer a variety of other cycles to enhance convenience. For example, you'll find special settings for heavily soiled pots and pans, delicate china and crystal, and sanitizing.

Rinse/Hold Cycle

If you don't have enough dirty dishes to run the dishwasher every day, this feature can be helpful. It allows you to rinse the dishes before you have a full load, which reduces odors and prevents soil from setting.

Delayed Start

This feature allows you to delay the start of the cycle so the dishwasher runs at night or when electricity rates are lower. You can generally choose between preset times, from one hour up to 12 hours.

Time-Remaining Indicator

This feature tells you how much time is remaining in the cycle, a useful tool if you need to determine whether you have time to run a load before leaving the house or going to bed.

Hidden Controls

Some dishwashers place the control panel on the top of the door; when these models are fitted with a cabinet front, they almost completely blend in with surrounding cabinetry. Keep in mind, however, that when controls are hidden, you won't be able to see at a glance if the machine is running or how long is left in the cycle. (Front-facing but discreet controls might be a good compromise for this reason.)

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Whirlpool
$399.00 $298.00

This ENERGY STAR-qualified Whirlpool Front Control Dishwasher holds 14 place settings and cleans quietly at 55 dBA. It also provid...es more room for dishes in the lower rack with the AnyWare Plus silverware basket that sits in the door or on the front of... read more

Whirlpool
$399.00 $298.00

This ENERGY STAR-qualified Whirlpool Front Control Dishwasher holds 14 place settings and cleans quietly at 55 dBA. It also provid...es more room for dishes in the lower rack with the AnyWare Plus silverware basket that sits in the door or on the front of... read more

Amana
$499.00 $449.10

This tall tub Amana dishwasher delivers on style at a price you'll love with a fully integrated console with LED display that's sl...eek and easy to clean. It's ENERGY STAR qualified and saves you money and energy while delivering clean dishes. You can... read more

Whirlpool
$599.00 $539.10

Leave the cleaning decisions to this Whirlpool Top Control Dishwasher with the Sensor cycle that automatically adjusts wash and dr...y settings to deliver precise results. This ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher holds 15 place settings, cleans quietly at 51... read more

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Once you know which type of dishwasher you need, you can carefully look at the differences between specific models. Two of the biggest factors to consider when shopping for a new dishwasher are noise level and energy efficiency. Be sure to also look at size and capacity to ensure the dishwasher is a good fit for your household and entertaining needs. Think about whether you want the dishwasher to match other appliances or blend in with surrounding cabinetry.

Size/Capacity

If you have the space for a 24-inch built-in dishwasher, that's likely your best option. This type offers the widest selection of convenient features and special cycles. But you'll also need to consider capacity to determine whether the dishwasher will fit all of the dishes and pots and pans that you wash regularly. Manufacturers will tell you how many place settings can fit into a specific model, so before you go shopping, take time to figure out what your average load contains. When shopping, don't be afraid to bring a couple of (clean) plates, pans, or baking sheets with you to make sure they fit. If you have a large family, look for dishwashers with tall tubs; these models increase capacity without making the dishwasher bigger.

Finish

Dishwashers are commonly found in white, black, and stainless-steel finishes. Many models also allow you to install a cabinet panel on the front to integrate the appliance with surrounding cabinetry.

Noise Level

With more kitchens now serving as the entertaining center of the house, quiet dishwashers are more important than ever. As you're shopping, compare decibel levels of various models; the smaller the number, the quieter the dishwasher will be. Plan to pay more for a really quiet model, though even mid-price models are much quieter than older dishwashers. The quietest dishwashers feature extra insulation, vibration absorbers, sound-absorbing washtubs, and low-noise pumps. If the dishwashers are installed in the store, ask to do a test run so you can get a good sense of the noise level.

Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient models reduce both water and electricity usage. This can add up to big savings over the 9-12 year life of a typical dishwasher and will likely be worth the extra cost up front. Look for Energy Star-qualified models, which must meet strict federal energy standards. Keep in mind, though, that more efficient models tend to have longer cycles, as they stretch less heated water over longer periods to get dishes clean.

Durability

Many dishwashers have plastic interiors, or tubs. These are strong and durable and usually last longer than the life of the dishwasher. For even greater durability, look for models with stainless-steel tubs, which resist stains better than plastic tubs. As an added benefit, models with stainless-steel tubs also tend to be more energy-efficient during drying cycles and quieter overall. They are usually pricey, however. Some dishwashers feature a gray-speckled plastic tub, which offers some additional stain-resistance but is more affordable than stainless steel.

Home Improvement on sale

Frigidaire Gallery
$599.00 $539.10

The sleek Frigidaire 24 in. built-in dishwasher with integrated controls uses the exclusive OrbitClean Spray Arm technology, provi...ding 4 times better water coverage. The Sahara-Dry system ensures that there's no need to towel dry before putting the... read more

GE
$849.00 $764.10

GE appliances provide up-to-date technology and exceptional quality to simplify the way you live. With a timeless appearance, this... family of appliances is ideal for your family. And, coming from one of the most trusted names in America, you know that... read more

GE
$799.00 $719.10

GE appliances provide up-to-date technology and exceptional quality to simplify the way you live. With a timeless appearance, this... family of appliances is ideal for your family. And, coming from one of the most trusted names in America, you know that... read more

GE
$699.00 $629.10

Your 24 in. GE Hidden control Dishwasher in Black comes with a stainless steel interior that retains its attractive shine year aft...er year. 4-pass wash and dry element evenly heats water for washing and air for drying, and at only 48 dBA, it comes with... read more

Frigidaire
$499.00 $348.00

The sleek Frigidaire 24 in. built-in stainless dishwasher with integrated controls uses our stainless steel spray arm and dual fil...tration system to give you a thorough clean every time. The Effortless Dry system ensures that there's no need to towel... read more

LG Electronics
$899.00 $717.30

Now you can handle anything your dishes serve up. LG's EasyRack Plus with Height Adjustable 3rd Rack features convenient innovatio...ns like adjustable tines, flip-up stemware racks and a unique utensil basket. Plus, it's equipped with 44 dBA LoDecibel... read more

Whirlpool
$649.00 $584.10

Free yourself from space constraints with this compact stainless steel Tall Tub dishwasher that offers big features and convenienc...e all in one. Its compact size allows it to fit where other dishwasher can't, while a resource-efficient wash system and... read more

KitchenAid
$1,299.00 $1169.10

This 6-cycle KitchenAid dishwasher operates at just 40 dBA and gives you flexible cycles and loading options that ensure you get c...lean and dry dishes at the end of the cycle. In addition to the ProWash cycle that optimizes water and energy use, the... read more

GE
$849.00 $764.10

GE appliances provide up-to-date technology and exceptional quality to simplify the way you live. With a timeless appearance, this... family of appliances is ideal for your family. And, coming from one of the most trusted names in America, you know that... read more

Whirlpool
$599.00 $539.10

Leave the cleaning decisions to this Whirlpool Top Control Dishwasher with the Sensor cycle that automatically adjusts wash and dr...y settings to deliver precise results. This ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher holds 15 place settings, cleans quietly at 51... read more

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