A Guide To Buying The Best Dishwasher
Unlike flashier appliances out there, dishwashers can look very similar to one another. However, these physical and technical likenesses are where the similarities end. Dishwashers vary in their performance, function and capacities. Picking the right dishwasher for your lifestyle can be the difference between coming home to glistening glass tumblers or finding a glassful of grimy standing water.
Thankfully, we’re here to help you find the right dishwasher for the job. At Repair Aid, we’ve spent countless hours getting to know the inner workings and functionality of dishwashers from top brands such as: AEG, Beko, Bosch, Electrolux, Hotpoint, Indesit, LG, Miele, Siemens, Zanussi… and many, many more manufacturers from Amica to Zerowatt.
Due to our vast experiences with dishwashers, we know what models lead the pack and stand up to scrutiny, and what models fails the cut and are mere pretenders to the throne.
But more than sourcing the top dishwasher out there, it’s important to find the model that suits your budgetary, spacing, cleaning and capacity needs.
But before all of that, let’s follow the money and talk about the costs associated with dishwashers.
As with any appliance, the cost of dishwashers can wildly vary from cheap to expensive. This can swing anywhere from less than £200 to over £1,000. But the cost of a dishwasher is not always indicative of quality.
And, as aforementioned, a cheaper, well-made model can do everything you need it to do anyway.
With that being said, you are going to make compromises when it comes to cheaper models. For example, an affordable dishwasher may perform all the basics well, but will likely lack in the feature and function departments.
Despite the rather large investment, many expensive dishwashers come with a slew of cutting-edge features – everything from anti-flood sensor technology to Wi-Fi compatibility.
But the initial price isn’t equal to the cost of a dishwasher. For example, a cheap dishwasher may end up being more expensive due to requiring a repair company, such as Repair Aid, to come in and fix its problems. Additionally, an expensive unit may end up more cost-effective than a cheaper model due to energy efficiency.
Even two dishwashers that are rated ‘A’ on the energy efficiency scale can end up adding different amounts to your annual energy bill. In fact, research from consumer watchdog ‘Which?’ has revealed that the difference between the most efficient and least efficient dishwashers, over the course of seven years, is over £250. Given that dishwashers tend to last anywhere between 9 and 13 years, that could translate to anywhere between £300 to over £450 saved in energy bills over the lifetime of your dishwasher.
Striking the right balance between energy efficiency and initial price is important if you want to find the most cost-effective dishwasher for your lifestyle.
Types of Dishwashers
There are two primary types of dishwasher: free-standing and integrated (or built-in) models.
These types of dishwashers have been created for the purpose of slotting into a fitted kitchen cabinet. There are two categories of integrated dishwashers available: fully-integrated and semi-integrated.
Fully-integrated models fully hide the dishwashers behind a kitchen cabinet door; whereas semi-integrated models cover most of the unit, but not the control panel at the top.
While being less flexible than a free-standing dishwasher, and fully-integrated units needing to be open to allow the control panel to be used, built-in units do fit (literally) more easily into the style of most kitchens.
By contrast to built-in dishwashers, these models are made to remain fully visible. Because of this, they can be found in a variety of colours – most commonly white, grey, silver and black.
As they are the most popular type of dishwasher, it is much easier to find a free-standing dishwasher that meets your needs. Additionally, due to their nature, they are portable and can be moved around more easily than their integrated counterparts – especially good if you are planning to move house soon.
However, they don’t fit into their surroundings as well as integrated dishwashers.
Sizes of Dishwashers
Dishwashers tend to come in three variety of sizes: compact, slimline and full-sized.
With a capacity of around 40-60 items, compact dishwashers can either be integrated into a drawer space, or they can sit on a tabletop. This is a great choice for those who are struggling to make space for a full-sized dishwasher, or those who don’t want to bend down to unload a dishwasher.
However, despite these positives, they aren’t as cost-effective as large models, and they can struggle with washing larger items.
While not often as wide as even compact dishwashers, slimline units are perfect for those who lack space, but want a higher capacity capability than compact models. This is due to them having more vertical space. Able to manage roughly 90-100 items, slimline models are about 15cms thinner, on average, than their full-sized siblings.
However, like compact models, they struggle with both water and energy efficiency in comparison to full-sized models.
For outright capacity, energy efficiency and water efficiency, full-sized dishwashers are the winners. Able to wash anywhere from 100-150 items at one time, full-sized units are terrific for those who have a lot of dirty dishes to contend with – such as big families and households with big appetites.
Despite their positives, the drawback is obvious – it’s the biggest type of dishwasher. That means you’re going to need space.
Dishwashers are unusual appliances they can sometimes be very noisy while others can run almost without any sound at all. There is a lot of variation when it comes to the noise levels of dishwashers but the good news is with our guide we can help you get one that is quiet.
The noise levels of dishwashers are measured in decibels (dB) for short so if you want a quieter appliance make sure you look out for the dB measurement. If you’re looking for a comparison the noise of taking an exhaling a breath is normally around 10 dB while the average landline phone ringing is around 80 dB at max.
Some dishwashers can be surprisingly noisy so if you do a lot of dishwashing at night or simply want a quieter home the noise level is a very important factor to take into consideration. The model and brand of the dishwasher will play a part in how quiet it is, some models might also be designed to have quieter running.
But another important thing to take into consideration is the age of the dishwasher especially if you are buying second hand. Older dishwashers will have aged components which means they won’t run as quietly and the insulation might be rundown which can easily cause them to be noisier while running your standard wash cycle.
One thing to look out for is built-in disposal units, these grind down leftover food waste but add a lot of noise to the dishwasher. Only older models will still have disposal units so if you buy a more modern appliance you’ll be OK.
More modern dishwashers feature improved advanced new technology including brushless motors and stainless steel tubing which will help reduce noise. So, if you really want a quiet dishwasher look for a more modern one, the average modern dishwasher’s volume is around 40 to 50 dB. While older models can go to 60 dB or higher.
Nowadays energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important more and more people are trying to be energy efficient! And yes a dishwasher can be eco-friendly and green even if it is a more luxury appliance.
Energy efficiency covers two main areas when it comes to dishwashers one is the design or the machine itself and the second is based around how you use it.
Even if your dishwasher is incredibly energy efficient if you don’t use it correctly you could end up being very wasteful and building up big energy bills, you also won’t be able to properly benefit from its eco-friendly attributes.
First of all, let’s look at the energy ratings to be aware of when it comes to your dishwasher. Energy ratings for dishwashers range from A+++ to a D, nowadays new dishwashers will only be measured from an A to A+++. But if you’re buying a second-hand dishwasher then look out for the energy rating because some older models can use up a lot of energy.
The higher the energy efficiency the more expensive your dishwasher will cost, but these high costs will be offset by the savings you’ll make thanks to the lower costs of running. When it comes to using your dishwasher correctly you’ll need to ensure it’s completely full every time you use it.
If you just put a few plates and bits of cutlery in then you are not using your dishwasher correctly. Because you’ll be using a lot of energy for very little results. If you find yourself struggling to fill up your dishwasher then you should look for a slimline machine instead.
These smaller dishwashers will be much more energy efficient options for you because you’ll be able to fill them up more quickly and they’ll be smaller appliances so will take less energy to run.
Dishwashers don’t have the best reputation when it comes energy efficiency but there are some very efficient and eco-friendly models available out there. Just make sure you are getting the best model for your needs.
Installation And Recycling
Once you’ve picked out the right dishwasher you have a couple more decisions to make before you can use it. The first thing you need to do is decide whether you want a professional to install it or do it yourself, if you’re handy with tools and follow the instructions carefully you likely can manage the installation yourself.
However, if you’re not confident then you can always get professionals to install it for you instead. Don’t worry if you don’t want to do it yourself because many people won’t want to handle installing a new appliance especially something complex like a dishwasher if they haven’t been trained to do it.
And remember the Repair Aid team is always ready to help with installations so if you have a dishwasher coming that you would rather have professionals install we can help. The average installation can take around 2 hours if you’re doing it yourself but a professional will be able to do it much quicker.
Whatever you decide to do make sure the space for the dishwasher is free of any obstructions and that the ground is level. You should also ensure there is room for all the essential connections and that you can access the water valve easily.
But once you’ve got your dishwasher installed you’ll need to get rid of your old one won’t you? Recycling your old dishwasher is the best way to do this and you can usually offer to get your old dishwasher recycled by the same people who bring your new one.
There will usually be an extra charge for this but electrical appliances like dishwashers do need to be recycled by professionals because of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) government legislation.
Which means any appliances with reusable parts must have them separated and recycled. So, getting this done by the people who bring you your new dishwasher is going to give you an easy and convenient way to get this job done. Just make sure the old dishwasher is ready for removal when your new appliance arrives.
Finally, we close on a category that can be the deciding factor which elevates one dishwasher above all on your shortlist: features.
Here we list, and briefly detail, some of the top features that many look out for when it comes to dishwashers:
- Delay timer: allows you to set the hours before the dishwasher starts, making it perfect for those on energy tariffs that benefit from cheap electricity during the night
- Child-safety lock: self-explanatory feature for those with nosey kids!
- Sensor wash: is able to determine how dirty dishes are and adjust the wash accordingly
- Wi-Fi capability: can allow for users to remotely control their dishwashers
- Anti-flood measures: detects build-up of water and switches off automatically to prevent flooding
- Fold-down prongs: allows for easier loading of larger dishes
- Large spray head: good for very dirty dishes
- Adjustable upper racks: Allows you to adjust the height of the top racks to manoeuvre large dishes
Now that you’re better educated on dishwashers, you’re better placed to find the right model for your property and your lifestyle.