Dishwasher Buying Guide
There are 2 main different types of Dishwashers. Freestanding and Built In.
a) Built In
Built-in dishwashers are common in newer designer kitchens. Many of these will require a separate finished door to be fitted on so they blend in with your cabinets. There are 3 different types of built in Dishwashers.
These are completely covered behind your matching kitchen cabinetry for a seamless look within your kitchen.
These are only partially hidden. Typically, the control panel is visible while the remaining front of the unit is under matching kitchen cabinetry.
These dishwashers tend to fit under your kitchen benchtop. Therefore, they won’t have finished sides but will have a finished front.
As the name suggests these are standalone units. They are finished on all sides expect the back and can be placed anywhere there is suitable space and connection points. Typically, are cheaper also.
The most important aspect of your dishwasher is that it must fit into the available space. Therefore, dimensions are king. You will need to get out your measuring take and ensure you have correctly measured the space you have available.
Dishwashers tend to vary in width from 450mm to 600mm which is standard. But don’t forget height and depth, you don’t want your dishwasher sticking out by 30mm or even worse not fitting in because you didn’t measure the height of your benchtop.
Lesson here is dimensions are king and double or even triple check the dimensions before purchasing.
3. Size (Place Settings)
The capacity or size of a Dishwasher is measured in “Place Settings”. This refers to the maximum amount of plates and utensils the unit can wash per cycle. For a standard 14 Place Setting dishwasher can handle:
- 14 Dinner Plates
- 14 Soup Bowls
- 14 Coffee Cups
- 14 Dessert Plates
- 14 Glasses
- 14 knives, forks, table spoons, teaspoons and dessert spoons
If this confused you or you want a generic guide to what size you require you can use the below as a rule of thumb:
1-2 People – Compact – 6 Place Setting or Less
2-4 People – Slimline – 9-10 Place Setting
4+ People – Full Size – 12 – 14 Place Setting
4. Energy and Water Rating – Efficiency
Most Dishwashers now will display an Energy and Water Rating measured in stars. Basically the more stars the more energy efficient and water efficient those units are.
Higher energy rating dishwashers are typically more expensive but on the flip side cost less to run. Keep a lookout for features like delayed start so you can run on off-peak times and even eco modes where you can run the dishwasher at only half capacity.
Water rating is measured by the WELS system meaning (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards). If possible, look for higher star rating units that will use less water. In Australia due to our water drought tend to have some of the highest rating units in the world. Also please keep in mind dishwashers use less water than manually washing with hands.
The features of a dishwasher can not only make your use of it easier but can even effect the environment. Some features to look out for are:
Can be a useful feature for those wanted to understand the specific details of what their dishwasher is doing, or how much longer a wash cycle will take. If you are a set and forget type, these displays will look cool but would be a waste of money.
Often overlooked however can make or break your love or hate for a unit. Most dishwashers now will tell you in their specifications the noise rating. These can be very important for smaller homes where the units tend to be closer to the living room. No one wants to hear their dishwasher during a movie.
If you can try and choose a dishwasher with built in flood protection or child safe doors. This can be important in particular when the wash cycle is hot.
The various programs a dishwasher comes with can be very useful and therefore some attention should be put into seeing what programs a dishwasher has. For example, you may want a dishwasher that fits into your cabinetry perfectly, but that dishwasher is simply overkill for your requirements. Therefore half load cycle programs would play an important role when using.
Some programs to look out for:
All dishwashers will have the standard; normal, delicate and heavy cycles. But some will come with more specific wash cycles like extra hot for increased hygiene or half load/ high speed for smaller loads that will finish faster.
Some dishwashers will even offer intelligent sensor technology that will automatically create the right conditions to give you the best washing results.
Some dishwashers will have features that allow for automatic drying. Meaning they dry the dishes and you can place these straight into your cupboard. It tends to be a rule of thumb that the more expensive the unit the better the drying capability. These functions also use more energy, so if you like to do your part in saving the environment maybe opt for manual drying.
As the name suggests, a simple feature that allows you to delay the operation of your dishwasher. Can be useful to run on off peak times or even when you’re not home.
More expensive dishwashers can tend to have a self-cleaning feature. Meaning the unit will clean itself saving you from having to do manually.
Dishwashers are not a complicated device to set up and install. However, if you are not confident please get a more experienced professional in to install. After all you do need to ensure the connections reach and are on correctly to avoid a flooded home. Also one last time, make sure you check dimensions.