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Dishwashers Buying Guide – Key Features

Dishwashers are great time savers in the kitchen, plus they can also help you save on energy and water costs.


Key Features

These are the more popular dishwasher features you’ll find on the marketplace. Determine which features are essential for your household and make an informed choice before you buy.

Adjustable Racks

Make sure the dishwasher has adjustable racks to accommodate larger serving dishes, oversized plates and long-stemmed wine glasses. Some dishwashers have removable or fold-down shelving to give you better flexibility when you load your dishes. The more racks, the more configurations you have, and you can fit more into the machine and run it less often.

Delay Start

This feature allows you to run the dishwasher when it is best for you. You can have it run overnight so you wake up to clean dishes, or have it set so it doesn’t run during peak hours to help save on your energy costs.

Filters & Food Disposal Units

Some dishwashers have inner filtration and disposal units that work together to remove and eliminate leftover food particles from the water. They grind up food particles and flush them out with the waste water so they won't end up on your dishes.

Finish and Style

A dishwasher is useful but it can also be stylish. As with other kitchen appliances, they come in an array of colours, from basic white to sleek stainless steel. Many models have interchangeable front panels that you can change to match your colour scheme.

Hidden Controls

Some models have the controls mounted at the top of the dishwasher so they are hidden from sight when closed. This gives the machine a sleeker look. However you won’t be able to see the cycle progress at a glance.

Quiet Operation

Today’s dishwashers are incredibly quiet compared to older models. Check the thickness of the insulation – the thicker it is, the quieter the machine will be. The manufacturer should list the decibel level as well. Anything under 60dB will be fairly quiet, while ones that measure above 60dB may create unwanted background noise.

Rinse Aid Dispenser

A standard feature for most machines, this allows you to use a rinse aid so that you can minimize spots on your dishes. This is a must if you live in an area with hard water.

Soil Sensors

Modern technology now allows many dishwashers to sense the soil level of the dishes and in turn, provide the correct amount of heat and cleaning power to ensure your loads come out clean. This removes much of the guesswork of choosing temperature and soil level settings.

Specialty Cycles

Dishwashers usually offer more than just one cycle. Many offer specific ones so that you can wash almost any dish in your machine. A delicate cycle can handle your better dishes and glassware. A pot scrubbing cycle can tackle baked on food and grease. Some machines have a sanitizing option that raises the water temperature to help to eliminate germs. Other cycles include a quick wash so you can put several loads through back to back, and a rinse and hold option so that you keep your machine fresh as it may take a few days to accumulate a full load.

Tub Materials

There are a few different materials used to make the dishwasher tubs. Stainless steel tubs offer better sound insulation, and the reflective interior can speed up drying and handle high heats. However, plastic is also a good option, since it resists rust and will likely last the lifetime of your dishwasher.

Wash Arms

Dishwashers can have wash arms that are bottom-mounted, but higher end models will also have ones at the top. This creates a two-way wash action that may get your dishes cleaner, and helps remove debris from the bottoms of cups and bowls.

Water Temperature

Being able to adjust your dishwashers incoming water temperature lets you choose the ideal temperature for your dish washing. Some models even have a sanitizing rinse to destroy some levels of bacteria, which is ideal for younger families.