Help & advice: Buying guide to dishwashers
Buying guide to dishwashers
Why waste your life scrubbing pots? Let the dishwasher tackle those plates and pans while you take time to relax.
Don't slave over the sink - choose from Homebase's range of dishwashers.
You want to relax after a brilliant dinner party, not slave over greasy pots. That's what dishwashers are for! Saving you time, effort and hassle, whether you're clearing up after a light lunch or a full-blown feast.
And these days you've got lots of choice. As well as the full-size models, there are compact dishwashers, slimline dishwashers and integrated dishwashers. To help you buy the right type for you, our guide covers:
- The grading system for dishwashers that assesses performance and energy efficiency, plus tips about water and energy consumption.
- How to choose the right model, with helpful advice on appliance size and design, wash load capacity and noise levels.
- Programme selection.
- Dishwasher special features.
Manufacturers are legally obliged to give you information on dishwasher performance. Which is great, because you know exactly what you're buying. Each model is graded from A to G for wash performance, drying performance and energy efficiency.
A is the highest grade, with G being the lowest. For superior performing machines, look for the AAA rating.
A high grade in this area means you'll get superior cleaning results.
This gives you an idea how dry dishes will be at the end of the wash cycle.
Machines scoring high for energy efficiency use the least water and electricity, saving you money.
Water and energy consumption
When deciding on your dishwasher, think about how much water and energy a model uses. An efficient machine will save you cash and of course is good for the environment if it consumes less water.
It's easy to check how economical a dishwasher is. Just look at the amount of water used per wash. Around seven litres means a cost-saving machine. Also check out energy consumption. You'll be after a dishwasher with a low 'energy consumption per cycle' rating. Figures are in kilowatts used per hour (kWh). The lower the number, the less electricity will be used - helping you keep your power bills down.
Style and size
Most dishwashers slot into your kitchen pretty easily. They go under worktops and can be concealed by panelling (with only the controls visible). And if you have a smaller kitchen, slimline and counter top models are perfect. Dishwasher heights range from 407cm to 887cm. Widths are between 445cm and 600cm, with depths ranging from 460cm to 630cm.
Obviously you'll want to put your dishwasher near the sink so you can use the available plumbing. But make life even easier by ensuring your storage cupboards are close by so putting away dishes isn't too much of a strain!
How much work do you want your dishwasher to do? Different models will say how many place settings they can cope with. This ranges between four and 14 settings, with most standard machines doing 12. A setting typically means a side plate, dinner plate, bowl, cup, saucer and cutlery.
White goods aren't always white these days! Now you can buy a dishwasher that matches your kitchen with so-now finishes in stainless steel, graphite or sandstone.
Modern dishwashers operate fairly quietly, but it's worth checking each model's decibel rating when you're choosing. The range is 41 to 62 decibels, and a 41-decibel machine is obviously much quieter than one rated closer to 60! Bear this in mind if you spend a lot of time in the room where the dishwasher will be, or if your living room is close by.
Dishwashers are getting brighter, that's for sure. These days they offer different programmes depending on your wash. How many people have you just cooked for? What kind of dishes did you use? Just how encrusted with food are they? Your machine will have the right cycle for you. And sensor dishwashers are intelligent models that automatically adjust the programme to suit your needs. Here are the four main wash programmes.
Suitable for everyday items - water is heated to 65oC.
Choose this setting for heavy-duty cleaning. Water temperature reaches 70oC for a high-performance wash.
The energy-efficient option using the minimum amount of water. This programme washes dishes at a lower temperature (between 50oC and 55oC) for a slightly longer time than a standard wash.
Ideal for cleaning slightly dirty items or when you need your dishes fast. The wash cycle generally runs for 30 minutes. Temperatures vary from model to model.
Look out for features that boost dishwasher efficiency - and save you time and money:
Programmes the machine to start washing at a later time - overnight when electricity is cheaper, for example. Check timer options carefully as they can vary from two to 24 hours! Timer delay Programmes the machine to start washing at a later time - overnight when electricity is cheaper, for example. Check timer options carefully as they can vary from two to 24 hours!
Height-adjustable baskets and collapsible shelving give you room to put in larger items.
Counter balanced door
This door won't drop down or shut without being deliberately moved, making loading and unloading easy and safe.
More dishwashers now have concealed heating elements. They free up space and are safer - no hot areas to burn fingers or melt plastic items that slip through the baskets.
The filter, which catches food scraps that might block drains, must be easy to lift out and replace, as really you should clean it after every wash.
Prevents flooding by stopping the water supply if leaks are detected, or there's a danger of the dishwasher over-filling.
The easiest way to monitor your wash cycle. LED displays allow you to track progress.
For the best drying results, look for dishwashers with turbo drying or condenser drying programmes.