How to Buy a Kitchen Dishwasher

September 21, 2009 7 Comments

How to Buy a Dishwasher

Choosing and Buying a Kitchen Dishwasher

We are in the process of renovating our kitchen and I have been writing articles about some of my experiences and a few of the new appliances we will be putting into it. You can find related articles at the end of this post.

One of the new kitchen appliances we will be adding is a LG Steam Dishwasher with a powerful TrueSteam generator, integrated controls, ultra-quiet Low Decibel Operation, and enough room for 16 place settings. Now that’s a mouthful.

You may have thought a dishwasher is just a dishwasher like I did, but I’m excited to see how how well this machine works with all its features including the steam function. I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I would like to offer you some things to consider when buying a dishwasher for the first time or if you are replacing an older model. And of course, I am always interested in hearing your own personal experiences in the comments section below.

Things to consider

When buying a new kitchen dishwasher, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of choices available. From small, wheeled models that hook directly up to your faucet to state-of-the-art dishwashers that make almost no noise, there is a type and price range for every consumer.

Before you make your dishwasher purchase, however, it’s important to determine what types of features are essential for your lifestyle, and which ones might be expensive extras you will never actually use.

What are your size considerations?

If you’re working with an existing kitchen layout, you’ll need to determine how much (if any) space you have for a dishwasher. If you are simply replacing an older model, you should be able to fit any of the newest dishwashers into the space; the standard 24 inches of below-counter space has been in place for decades, and most kitchens are able to accommodate this.

However, if you’ve never had a dishwasher before or if you’re remodeling a kitchen, you may have to think about where the dishwasher will go – especially since it needs access to:

arrow Hot water pipe

arrow Drain

arrow Electrical line

It’s also best to have a dishwasher be flush with with the edge of the cabinets and to ensure the kitchen counter completely covers the top. This will not only make the dishwasher look like a natural part of your décor, but it is also the only way to ensure safety (from sharp edges or exposed electronics).

If there is simply no way to fit a dishwasher into your existing space, and you don’t want to remodel the cabinets in order to make one fit, you may want to consider a portable dishwasher. These models, which run slightly higher in price than installed dishwashers, wheel over to  your sink and attach to the faucet in order to access the hot water and drain they need to function properly.

Why do you want a new dishwasher?

The best way to choose the right dishwasher for your family is to determine why you want a new one in the first place. There are many reasons to get a new dishwasher, including:

arrowReplacing an older, outdated model

arrow Getting a dishwasher for the first time

arrow Saving energy

arrow Saving water

arrow Getting a quieter/faster/better dishwasher

arrow Matching the other appliances

All of these are valid reasons, and will lead you to make different choices. For example, if saving water is your goal, you may want to consider a dishwasher with the Energy Star label.

However, it’s important to note that although these dishwashers tend to use less water, they may also take longer to get the dishes clean. This may mean you end up using more electricity, and you’ll be faced with a higher annual energy bill (although you should notice a smaller water bill).

In the same way, the quieter dishwashers and the ones with hidden control panels usually come with a higher price tag. Your dishes may not get any cleaner, but if these perks are important to you, it might be worth paying a few hundred dollars to get the machine that will last you and your family through all your dish washing needs.

If aesthetics are your goal, you’ll also find that there are many new models that look and function more like a streamlined part of your kitchen than every before. Stainless steel or matched-cabinet fronts are popular and can go a long way in fitting your décor.

What dishwasher features are the most important to you?

Today’s dishwasher feature a number of amenities that dishwashers even five years ago didn’t have. Although most of the features do raise the price of the appliance, many consumers find them well worth the investment.

arrow Dual-drawers: These models look great and offer you the chance to use only one drawer at a time, thereby reducing water and electricity costs.

arrow Adjustable racks: Being able to move your racks and silverware or stemware holders means you can usually fit more dishes into a single load. This is great for those who do a lot of cooking or who use large or unwieldy items that may not fit into a standard dishwasher.

arrow Sensors: Sensors that detect dirt can automatically adjust the length of the dishwashing cycle to make sure your dishes get all the way clean. While beneficial for those who don’t want to program the dishwasher themselves, this can increase energy costs.

arrowSpecialty cycles: Like a washing machine, you should be able to adjust your dishwasher for the type of materials you have loaded in there. Most dishwashers offer basic options (light, normal, heavy), but some of the higher-end models also offer cycles for specific types of dishes (pots, china, crystal) or even just for sanitizing (great for baby bottles and dishes).

How Much Are You Willing To Pay

Most consumers will be able to buy a standard dishwasher for as little as $300, which may or may not include installation, depending on where it is purchased. From there, the prices vary and go up to as much as $2,000 for some of the deluxe models.

As with any type of kitchen appliance, it’s important to weigh the up-front cost with the savings you will get on annual energy bills. Because your dishwasher will last you for several years, an annual energy savings of $100 can quickly make that higher-end model worth every penny.




Last modified on Tue 12 November 2019 3:41 pm

Filed in: Large Appliances

Comments (7)

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  1. carlos says:

    My problem is that the dishwasher plastic racks are the first to disintegrate. The plastic posts and racks start to peel off, exposing the metal metal which rusts and eventually disintegrate

  2. Kelly says:

    I purchased a fisher paykel double drawer when we built our house in 2006 and I HATE IT! The problem is there is only one spray arm on the bottom of the drawer. If a spoon or some other small item falls through the rack and impedes the arm from spinning, the whole wash is wasted. The machine should have some type of alarm to let you know that the arm is stuck, but it doesn’t. Also, there is no delay setting. I loved having it all ready to get but delaying for a few hours so it would run in the overnight hours.

  3. Conni says:

    We remodeled last year & I chose (stupidly) a GE Adora dishwasher. I really, really HATE it. It was a case of too fast choosing, not enough thinking. It does not have adjustable racks, which I thought came standard on all DWs, not enough room for my dishes, & no place to put small items, like coffee cup lids, etc. My own fault for not researching enough, but I need to warn other people to look at these features before buying!!

  4. ContractorBids says:

    hmmmm I like this post but I would love to see some on how to save on construction costs in this tough market

  5. RG says:

    Great idea Mikey, I will have to speak with my contractor for some ideas.

  6. wayne Branch says:

    Anyone have a dishwasher that WAS a good purchase??? I’m looking to buy one for the 1st time. A suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated. As usual, cost is a factor and I’d like it installed.
    Thank you

  7. Rebecca says:

    I purchased a Fisher & Paykel small drawer dishwasher and an Asko 24 inch standard dishwasher when we built our house. The Fisher & Paykel has been wonderful. No matter what I’m washing everything comes out beautifully every time. No surprises! The Asko on the other hand has been a nightmare. The racks didn’t hold up (the plastic is splitting), and I’ve had problems with glassware and flatware almost all the time I’ve used it. I never know what to expect when I open the door. Now I find out that dish washing detergents have changed and Asko dishwashers are not capable of handling the chemical change. I have been told by Asko to add half white vinegar to the rinse agent to prevent the white residue. That doesn’t work well and I’m forced to buy a new dishwasher!! NO MORE ASKO FOR ME.

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