How to Choose the Right Dishwasher For Your Home
When you get used to the convenience of a dishwasher, you never want to go without one. But they don't last forever. Dishwashers usually last about 10 years. When it's time to choose a new dishwasher, you have several options to consider.
Dishwashers vary in type, size and features, which makes the decision a little more difficult. Here are some common dishwasher features and details that can help you narrow down the options.
How much a dishwasher can hold depends on the size and rack configuration. Standard, built-in dishwashers generally have space for 12 to 14 place settings. They usually measure 24 inches wide. You can get larger dishwashers that are 30 to 36 inches wide for a larger capacity. If space is limited, you might choose a countertop model, which is usually about 18 to 22 inches wide and holds up to six place settings. This option is better for individuals or small families, but it might not have the capacity for larger families.
Dishwashers can range from 1,200 to 2,400 watts, with an average of 1,800 watts. Larger models usually use more power to handle the larger capacity and more features. The amount of power the appliance uses can also depend on the settings you choose. High-temperature cycles typically use more power to create heat. Some dishwashers have eco modes that use less power if you're trying to reduce your energy consumption. You can also look for Energy Star models, which use an average of 12% less power and 30% less water.
Countertop Vs. Portable Vs. Built-In
Built-in or under-counter dishwashers sit within your cabinetry. They essentially take up a spot in the line of lower cabinets. This option can save space because it doesn't stick out into the room to take up extra floor space, and it leaves your countertops open. These models are usually the largest, and they're connected directly to your plumbing system, so they're easy to use.
Countertop dishwashers are an option if you're renting or don't have space to install a built-in dishwasher. You place the dishwasher on your countertop near your kitchen sink. This style uses your kitchen faucet as the water source and empties down the sink drain. They're efficient and have many of the same features as built-in dishwashers, but they take up counter space and don't hold nearly as many dishes.
Portable dishwashers stand on the kitchen floor, but they're often wheeled, so you can move them out of the way when you're not using them. Like countertop models, they connect to the kitchen faucet and drain into the sink. They can offer more space than a countertop model, but they take up extra floor space and are usually smaller than built-in models.
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Some dishwasher models have upgraded features that can make your life easier. Here are some options to explore:
- Panel-ready designs: These dishwashers accept panels on the front that match your cabinetry to make them look like they're seamlessly integrated.
- Third rack: Some models incorporate a third rack to give you more room. Sometimes they also have adjustable racks or holders for specific types of dishes, such as wine glasses, to keep them safe.
- Delayed start: You can find dishwashers with delayed start features, so you can prep and load the dishwasher, but have it start running at a more convenient time.
- Smart dishwashers: These models let you use a smartphone app, so you can start the appliance, monitor the cycle, adjust settings and control other aspects from anywhere.
- Upgraded cleaning features: Many dishwashers offer extra features to improve cleaning. This might include extra spray arms and special wash zones for different types of dishes.
- More wash cycles: Higher-end dishwashers often include more wash cycle options, such as quick, pot scrubbing and sanitizing cycles. These options give you more control over how you wash your dishes.
- Hidden controls: While many dishwashers display the controls on the front of the panel, others have hidden controls along the top edge. This option gives your dishwasher a sleek look. However, with the display hidden, you can't usually see how much time is left in the cycle.
- Stainless steel tubs: Plastic tubs are common, but you can get dishwashers with stainless steel tubs. The stainless-steel resists stains and can help the appliance operate quietly.
Extra features typically increase the dishwasher cost. Make sure you truly need the extra features, especially if you're on a limited budget.
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