Dishwashers offer a convenient way to clean dishes, pots, and utensils. Though they may be especially useful for large households, dishwashers can as easily help clean up after parties and family meals.
Dishwashers are classified as compact or standard. Although compact models use less energy, they also hold fewer dishes.
If you must run the dishwasher frequently because of the number of dishes you use, look for a dishwasher with different cycle selections. For dishes that aren't too heavily soiled, select energy-saving or light-wash cycles. These save energy by using less water and operating for a shorter time.
Here are more basic features to consider:
- Consider drying and air-drying options. The first method draws electricity; the latter method relies on evaporation.
- Size and type: If you replace a dishwasher, you may choose the same size and type; measure your space before you shop. For a new installation, measure the space available in your kitchen and take the dimensions with you to the dealer. Choose between built-in and portable, full-size, or compact models.
- Drawers: Dishwasher drawers are a high-end option offering increased flexibility. Use one drawer for small loads or set each drawer to accommodate different cycles for dinnerware vs. pots and pans.
- Noise level: If family activities and conversations take place in or near the kitchen, a noisy dishwasher is irritating. You may be able to reduce sound by adding or improving insulation around the washing tub, door, toe panel, and access panels. Or simply choose a model with an extra-quiet motor and vibration-absorbing materials.
- Energy: If you always choose the highest wash cycle, you'll use more hot water and energy. Consider cycles that use less energy and water when dishes are less soiled. A delayed-start control lets you wash during less costly off-peak hours. Read the Energy Guide label for operating costs.