Best Dishwasher Reviews & Buying Guide

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Factors to consider when choosing a dishwasher must be defined by the needs of your household. If you have many people to feed and clean up after, a large dishwasher is a great investment. For smaller households, a dual drawer, counter top or portable dishwasher may be a better choice.

Do You Need A Dishwasher?

Dishwashers beat hand-washing in several ways. They keep your counter and sink clear of both dirty dishes and clean ones, they dry with heat to reduce bacterial growth, and they generally wash more thoroughly than a sink washing can.

The ideal temperature for washing crockery is 140 degrees Fahrenheit / 60 degrees Celsius. This temperature will cause skin to blister. Don’t get burned!

Dishwashers also use less water than hand washing at the sink.

Dishwasher Sizes

There are several types of dishwashers to choose from.

  • The standard dishwasher width is twenty-four inches or sixty-one centimeters. This can take up a lot of lower cabinet space in small kitchens.
  • For smaller kitchens, an eighteen inch or forty-six centimeter unit is also available.​

For large families, a heavy duty dishwasher is a great investment. Per household management authorities at The Sweet Home most any dishwasher, properly loaded, will clean your dishes.

However, models with heavy-duty capabilities will also feature a soil or turbidity sensor. This feature monitors the water stream. If the water appears dirty, or turbid, the cleaning cycle is extended.

Dishwashers For Small Kitchens​

For smaller households or kitchens, the eighteen inch unit can be a great fit. Apartment living experts at Apartment Therapy offer several options for clean dishes in a small space.

If you already have a twenty-four inch cabinet opening but don’t use enough dishes to fill the dishwasher on a regular basis, consider a two-drawer dishwasher.

These are sized to fit a standard opening but can be run one drawer at a time for a quality wash of a small load. Drawer dishwashers are also available in an eighteen-inch width.​

Counter Top & Portable Dishwashers​

If you love your old house but hate the limitations of your old kitchen, consider a portable or counter top unit. Portables are generally twenty-four inches wide.

As the name implies, they are on wheels. To use on an as needed basis, they only need to be set close enough to your sink for the hoses to be routed from the faucet and into the drain.

Counter top dishwashers need the same access to water and drain. As a general rule, these units run twenty-two inches wide by twenty inches deep and eighteen inches high.

While portables and counter top units may require more steps than hand-washing, your dishes will be cleaned with hotter water and will thus be more sanitary.​

Dishwasher Decibels

Dishwasher decibels generally weren’t a concern when kitchens had doors. However, as open floor plans become more popular, dishwasher designers and manufacturers have had to upgrade the design of dishwashers to reduce the noise they produce.

Per appliance experts at Compact Appliance, most dishwashers produce between 46 and 60 decibels. As normal conversation happens at about 60 decibels, this is too loud.

If the television of your open home is drowned out by the sound of your dishwasher, you may soon find yourself in an appliance shouting match.​

Design and material choices heavily impact the noise level of your dishwasher. Both twenty-four and eighteen inch dishwashers can be purchased at 38 to 40 decibels, which is considered silent for an appliance.

Finding the quietest dishwasher can be a challenge.​ The best materials for quiet construction include a stainless steel interior or tub combined with a thick, sound-deadening insulation.

While it may not be possible to change out the tub of your dishwasher, you can purchase insulation to wrap around the unit to reduce the noise.

Dishwasher Reliability

The best quality dishwashers require no rinsing, though appliance expert Daniel DiClerico with Consumer Reports recommend scraping off any large chunks of food. Loading your dishwasher properly is the best way to make sure you get clean dishes at the end.​

Place smaller items such as cups and bowls in the top rack. Plastic food containers will also fit better up here, and be less likely to get tossed around by the spray. Silverware should be loaded handles down.

If you run knives through the dishwasher, consider placing them handle down at the back of the silverware rack. This will reduce the risk of injury as you won’t have to reach over the sharp points to load or unload the dishwasher.

Large items should be loaded on the bottom rack. Carefully review the dishwasher-safe icon on the bottom of your cookware; some cookware will be damaged in the dishwasher.

Finally, be aware that the best dishwasher in the world can’t do a great job with cheap detergent. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.​

SEE ALSO: Dishwasher Won’t Drain​

To Rinse Or Not To Rinse?

One of the dishwasher features you may not have used is the rinse only feature. This option is more effective than rinsing at the sink, and uses much less water.

Another factor to consider per cleaning expert Laren Piro with Good Housekeeping is the fact that dishwasher soap is formulated to attach itself to food particles on the plates.

This means that your dishes may well get splashed with soap, but it will not cling to rinsed dishes.

Best of all, a high quality dishwasher, properly loaded and equipped with the proper soap can save you two hundred and thirty hours a year. Step away from that sink!​

Final Considerations

Investing in a quiet dishwasher is a good idea. A bit of peace is worth the money. No matter your space considerations, you can find a quality dishwasher to free you from the labor of hand washing and the clutter of a dish drainer on your counter.

Additionally, your dishes will be cleaner and safer when put back in use.

The question of what to look for when buying a dishwasher depends on your household size and dining habits. Enjoy the time you get back while letting technology do the dishes!​

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.