Dishwashers are great time savers in the kitchen, plus they can also help you save on energy and water costs.
Before you choose your dishwasher, determine what model will best suit your lifestyle. Some of the factors will be decided for you, such as the width of the opening for the model if you are opting for a built-in version. If you can’t sacrifice losing any cupboard space, you may want to consider a portable model.
You should also calculate how often you will be running your machine. If you have a smaller family or don’t eat at home very much, a smaller model will be sufficient. Larger families or people who love to entertain will want a bigger version to accommodate plates, glassware, and even pots and pans.
Finally, consider the design element. If you live in an apartment or condominium you may not want to invest heavily in your dishwasher if you plan on only living there for a few years. In contrast, if you are building your dream kitchen, your dishwasher will be an essential part of the final design, so you may not want to limit yourself to a specific price range.
Your kitchen will likely determine the size of dishwasher you will buy. Be sure to measure the height, width and depth of the opening and have the measurements for when you go shopping.
If your kitchen is small, dishwashers come in some narrower models starting at 18” across. You can get either a built-in or portable model, which is ideal for many smaller apartments and condos. The most common size of dishwasher is 24” across. These models are ideal for families as you can load it and run it either daily or whenever it is required. They can also fit larger items such as serving platters and pots and pans.
Portable models are useful when space is at a premium. You can wheel the dishwasher to your sink, connect a hose to the faucet, and plug the machine into a standard electrical outlet. After the washing is done, you can either wheel it out of the way, or store it in a dedicated spot in your kitchen. Some models have conversion kits so that you can eventually build the machine into your cupboards if you choose. They usually have butcher block tops which can be used as prep space in a smaller kitchen.
Built-in models are more common in most kitchens. They are made to fit under your kitchen counter and are connected to your home’s water and power outlets. The immediate benefit of these models is that they do not take up valuable floor space, although they will cost you in the cabinet-space department. They can have larger capacities, and you do not have to wheel them to the sink and hook them up so they can save time and effort.
More modern dishwashers consist of pull-out drawers. You can install them as either single or double drawers under your counter. The drawers work independently, so you can use them for different loads. They have some restrictions when it comes to capacity as they have lower height, so tall items can’t be stacked.
Don’t think that you need a higher counter to accommodate a tall tub dishwasher; the main difference with a tall-tub model is that they have a wash arm attached to the upper rack, which means the entire lower rack is available since there is no cut-out for the bottom wash arm. This extra space means that you can wash things you may not have previously thought about it your dishwasher. Garbage bins, oven racks and refrigerator shelves can all be washed as long as you make certain they are dishwasher-safe beforehand.
ENERGY STAR® Rated
ENERGY STAR dishwashers are, on average, 10% more energy efficient than non-qualified models. ENERGY STAR models include innovations that help you reduce energy and water consumption and improve your dishwasher performance. These include features such as more efficient water jets and dish racks that are designed to maximize cleaning performance.
Some energy saving tips:
- Don’t use the high heat dry option or pre-rinse.
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full so you don’t waste water.
- Don’t pre-rinse your dishes before you load them. Today’s dishwashers are designed to get all food particles off the dishes and pre-rinsing wastes water.