Your dinner party has come to an end. As you look around the table where a 3 course meal has been appreciatively devoured and all the wine bottles emptied you notice that dreaded feeling begins to creep across your skin. Your now bloated belly is too content to allow you to get up and stand at the kitchen sink for more than a few minutes cleaning the mess you and your party guests have created. Unless you have a butler (or your mother) to clean up after you, your dishwasher is that shining beacon of hope that will save you from wrinkly dishwater fingers.
If you have never owned a dishwasher and are looking to buy or you are thinking about upgrading your current one, you need to know what you're looking for based on your needs and space. Dishwashers are not as complicated as other appliances but there is a variety in styles and size. You can find displays of dishwashers that are free-standing, semi integrated, fully integrated, slimline, compact drawers and bench top designs. Dishwashers slightly differ with the program options and water and energy usage but before deciding on anything you have to know where you will be placing it in your kitchen and measure that space.
Dishwashers have a few interesting features that can come in handy such as sensors, anti-flood, fault display, drying fans, salt dispensers, filters, hot and cold water options, child safety locks and auto opening doors. Some models are quiet as a mouse and the higher end models have smart technology, sleek designs and marvellous controls but expect to pay more than the standard issue dishwasher. Before you jump in your car and head to a store to see the exciting dishwasher range, measure your space and read through this guide so you can make an informed decision and pick the right dishwasher for your home.
Free standing dishwashers
As the name suggests these dishwashers are stand-alone units that can slide into your available space in your kitchen. They can also be used as additional bench top space. Free standing dishwashers are your standard issue but can be built in to your kitchen. Generally these suit the average 4 person household and have the traditional 2 tray layout. Your cheaper models have the standard buttons or dials that activate the wash cycle but you can find higher end models with touch screen activation.
Semi integrated dishwashers are models that are built in to you kitchen that can blend into your existing kitchen décor. Keep in mind that semi integrated models wont completely disappear into your kitchen but some models will allow you to change the front panel making it less visible but you will still see the panel with your wash controls.
Fully integrated washers are the designer range. These models are designed to completely disappear into your kitchen space so that you won’t even know it’s there. The control panel is on the inside of the door and the front panel can be designed to match the under bench of your kitchen.
Drawer dishwashers are compact models that are built into drawers. They are smaller in size and capacity and usually take up as much room as the microwave cavity. Drawer dishwashers are great for households that have limited space or don't use much crockery. You can find models that are a double drawer which is convenient if you need to run more than one load at a time or want to separate your glassware.
Slimline dishwashers are the same height as standard dishwashers but have the advantage of being narrower so that you can fit it into tighter spaces. Due to this, the capacity it can hold will be less than that of a standard dishwasher. With its sleek design it looks quite attractive in the right kitchen.
Bench top dishwashers
Bench top models are perfect for renters and studio apartment living. As the name suggests these dishwashers can be placed on top of your kitchen bench and can be easily relocated if you move. Bench top models will need to be connected to the facet in your kitchen and drained through the sink. Bench top dishwashers have around the same capacity as a compact dishwasher.
Water and Energy consumption
Before purchasing your dishwasher, check the energy label which will tell you how much energy will be consumed in kilowatt hours. The more stars an appliance has on the label, the more energy efficient it will be. Note that you can only compare energy ratings with other dishwashers of the same capacity.
Dishwashers use less water than washing dishes in the sink. In fact, some dishwashers will use half the amount of water that it takes to fill a kitchen sink. Water efficiency labels are just like energy labels except they tell you how many litres of water the appliance will use and the more stars the label has, the less water you will consume.
Size and Capacity
Dishwashers come in all shapes and sizes and it is of the utmost importance that you measure the space you plan on installing the unit and include some room for ventilation. Dishwasher capacity is measured in place settings which means plates, cutlery and glassware that would be used over the course of a 3 course meal. Dishwashers that can hold a large number of place setting are more economically efficient as they use less water to clean per item saving you on detergent, energy and water costs.
Program options - standard models come with the quick, regular and heavy wash cycles but you can find models that have special wash programs such as hygienic wash (great for baby bottles) and half load which can be convenient.
Fan or Auto open - helps to dry your dishes after the wash cycle has been completed.
Hard water dispenser - If you live in an area where hard water is used some models provide a salt dispenser.
Safety lock - great option if you have children. They won’t be able to play with the buttons, access the dishwasher and dispensers.
Food disposal - some models don't even require scraping. The dishes are rinsed by the unit and the food scraps disposed of. Just don't forget to clean out the filter.
Displays - standard dishwashers come with buttons or dials, higher end models have touch screens and displays that can advise you if there is a fault.
Delayed start - the option to delay starting the wash cycle so you can utilise those of peak times or to start the wash once you're out of the house.
Flexible racks - Customize the way you stack depending on what you need washed. Come models offer removable holders or allow you to adjust the racks.
These useful tips will help you save some money and get the most out of your product.
Today dishwashers are designed to clean your dishes without pre rinsing to save on water consumption. Just scrape the plates and switch it on.
Don't cram all your cutlery the same way up. Washing will be more effective if you place some facing up and some facing down.
Don't buy too much detergent just to keep it under your sink. Detergent works best when it’s fresh, not when it’s moist and clumped up.
Always check that the spray arm hasn't been blocked by an item you've placed in the cavity. This needs to move freely to get the best results.
Only run your dishwasher when it’s full as this will save you on water and energy consumption.
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