Buying guide for dishwashers

The main function of your dishwasher is, of course, to wash dishes; but there are several features to consider before you buy. Most budget dishwashers now clean as well as their high-end counterparts, so your decision will more likely be based on run time, quietness, convenience features, finish and price. Practical features have come a long way in recent years. Some models include a dirt sensor that adjusts the wash cycle based on how dirty the dishes are, ensuring the cleanest dishes in the least amount of time. Many have adjustable, fold-down shelves, so you can alter the space to serve dishes, pots, pans or other oddly shaped items. Other features to look for include heat drying, cutlery slots, filter type, hidden controls, etc.


Built-in dishwashers are by far the most purchased appliances and offer the best range of features and price points. They fit under any standard countertop and measure 155 cm². These units have the traditional drop-down door with controls on the front, although some models offer hidden controls on top of the door. In addition to the usual black, white or stainless steel finishes, you can also outfit some of these units with panels that match your kitchen cabinets for a seamless look. Built-in units range in price from around €300 to €2000 with a capacity of 10 to 14 plates.


These models generally operate in a similar manner and include the same features as the built-in models. The main difference is the size. Although compact dishwashers still fit under counters, they are only 46 cm wide. This makes them ideal for small kitchens or households with two or three residents. To make your compact appliance work well for your home, consider buying one with adjustable racks. That way, you can easily accommodate larger items without a larger dishwasher. Compact dishwashers range in price from about $350 to $1,500 with an 8-dish capacity.


Portable dishwashers are ideal for small kitchens and rentals that do not have a dishwasher. These units are on wheels and connect directly to your kitchen sink when in use, so you can move them as needed to access different spaces. Usually, portables will also include a butcher block on top, which means you'll have an extra 61 cm of valuable counter space for food prep.


Drawer dishwashers add flexibility when preparing dishes. Each drawer can operate separately, so you can run smaller loads when needed. Plus, you don't have to bend over as far to open the drawers as you would with a traditional dishwasher, which can make washing dishes easier for people with physical limitations. These units fit into a standard 61 cm space, just like the built-ins. Single-drawer dishwashers are about 41 cm high and have a capacity of 7 plates. They range from €600 to €900. Double-drawer dishwashers have a standard height of 61 cm with a capacity of 14 plates and range from 1000 € to 1500 €.

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