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Your guide to buying dishwashers

Choosing your dishwasher

Life’s too short to spend your time slaving over the kitchen sink. Make life easier, and avoid all that unnecessary scrubbing by investing in a kitchen dishwasher.

From full-size to slim-line, Homebase stocks a huge range of quality dishwashers to suit every requirement and budget, but we understand that it can be tricky to know where to start.

Take the time and hassle out of dishwasher decision-making with this handy dishwasher buying guide designed to help you choose the ideal appliance for the heart of your home.

What is the best type of dishwasher for me?

Dishwashers are available in three distinct sizes and styles: fully integrated, semi-integrated and freestanding.

A fully integrated dishwasher is designed to be incorporated into a fitted kitchen, with the entire front panel of the appliance hidden behind a kitchen cabinet door.

Similarly, most of the front of a semi-integrated dishwasher is also concealed, with only the control panel remaining visible.

A freestanding dishwasher can be fitted into any kitchen big enough to accommodate it, and remains separate and fully visible.

Full-size dishwashers

Full-size dishwashers are 60cm wide, and most have the capacity to cope with 12 place settings, which tends to be sufficient for the average family household. If you’ve got a larger family, you can also find units designed to accommodate more crockery and cutlery, with some having space for up to 15 place settings. 

Slimline dishwashers

Slimline dishwashers are 45cm wide - 15cm thinner than full-size machines. While this size reduction may seem considerable, most slimline models are still able to comfortably accommodate between 9 and 10 place settings at once, making them an ideal space-saving solution for smaller kitchens.

Compact dishwashers

If you’ve got a particularly small kitchen that’s short on under-counter space, a compact dishwasher may offer the ideal solution.

Their small size means that they can be conveniently placed on a counter-top or under the sink, and they can handle around 4 to 5 place settings at once, making them suitable for couples. It’s worth remembering that compact dishwashers do tend to use comparatively more water and energy than slimline or full-size machines. 

Which dishwasher features should I look for?

Different makes and models often come with special design features designed to save time, increase capacity or boost cleaning performance, including everything from adjustable racks and smart timers, to varying cycle selections.

There’s a lot to think about, and it’s worth thinking about how you’re going to be using your dishwasher before making a decision.

What features improve dishwasher functionality?

The following features are designed to enhance the functionality of your dishwasher:

Adjustable racks

An adjustable rack ensures you’ll be able to easily accommodate bulkier items by raising or lowering the basket even when it’s full. Look for latches if this feature appeals to you, as a roller system requires you to remove the racks in order to adjust the height, which can be a bit of a faff.

Fold-down prongs

Dishwashers featuring fold-down prongs make loading bulky items, like pots and pans much easier. Look for dishwashers with fold-down prongs in both the upper and lower racks for extra convenience

Large spray head

A larger spray head increase cleaning efficiency, especially on tough items like burnt on roasting trays.

Delay timers

This feature allows you to set your dishwasher to wash at a time that’s convenient for you. Setting your machine to wash overnight when electricity consumption tends to be cheaper can help to reduce the running costs and save you money.

Do I need a dishwasher with a wealth of different programmes?

Most dishwashers offer a range of washing programmes designed for different loads and levels of dirtiness. In addition, some modern, intelligent machines are also fitted with sensors that automatically adjust the programme to suit the load.

Choosing a machine that offers a range of specialist cycles can help to save you time and money. For instance, a quick programme is perfect for lightly soiled dishes, and a high temperature hygiene programme is ideal for sterilising babies’ bottles.

However, most machines come with a range of standard washes that will cater for the vast majority of scenarios.

Standard dishwasher cycle 

This programme is designed to wash a mixed load of everyday dishes. Water is heated to between 45˚C and 65˚C and typically takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete

Intensive dishwasher cycle 

Able to tackle even the dirtiest dishes, this high-performance programme is ideal for removing grime from roasting pans. While this effective programme makes light work of the washing-up, it requires more water and more energy to do so.

Eco dishwasher cycle

This energy efficient programme will complete the same wash as the standard cycle. However, in order to save energy, the cycle will use a little less water at a lower temperature and as such, will take longer to run.

How do I know how energy efficient a dishwasher is?

Manufacturers are legally obliged to provide information on dishwasher performance, and a more efficient dishwasher consumes lower quantities of both water and electricity, which has a big impact on both your running costs and the environmental impact.

If efficiency is a concern for you, you should check out the amount of water used each wash -anything less than 7 litres can be considered pretty efficient. In addition, there should also be an energy consumption rating, and the lower this figure, the lower your running costs will be.

As well as energy efficiency ratings, dishwashers are also graded according to their washing and drying performance, from A to G. The best machines are rated at AAA – providing superior performance and excellent cleaning results.

What safety features should I consider when choosing a dishwasher?

Alongside performance features, many modern models also offer additional safety features, which may be a worthwhile consideration, especially if you have young children.

Child-safety lock

An ideal device to stop little fingers from messing around with the settings, this useful safety feature prevents unwanted changes from being made to the cycle while the dishwasher is in use.

Anti-flood protection

This feature prevents flooding in the event of a machine malfunction - an integrated switch detects water building up in the base of the machine and prevents it from filling any further. Similarly, some machines can prevent flooding if the hose that fills the appliance spills or leaks.

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