With so many brands, types and styles of dishwashers
to choose from and
with greater energy efficiency and reduced noise levels than ever
before, dishwashers are capable of doing the dirty work quietly and
with less energy.
Available in sizes ranging from compact countertop
units to full-size built-in models, even if your kitchen does not have
enough space to accommodate a large model, there is probably a portable
dishwasher that will fit. Dishwashers, like
many products, are more technologically advanced than ever before, but
have options for most for almost any budget.
Before you begin
shopping, determine how much you are willing to spend and measure out the space where would
like the dishwasher to go.
Generally speaking, dishwashers fall into three categories:
built-in, portable and compact units. Built-in dishwashers
install underneath the kitchen counter and are a fixed appliance. They
are equipped with adjustable foot levelers to make them fit perfectly
in a space. Built-in dishwashers include numerous styles. Thus, this
category gives you the most options when deciding on the right unit.
Portable dishwashers are designed to move. In kitchens where
undercounter space is not available, a portable dishwasher can be a
good solution. They are built with casters for easy mobility and can be
rolled to and from the sink when not in use.
dishwashers are small enough to sit atop your countertop. Units average
17 inches or so in height, so they conveniently fit under most upper
cabinets. They require no installation and simply hook up to the sink
faucet for their water supply. Compact units, by design, can only wash
a few place settings at a time, so they are most useful for individuals
or couples who never have many dishes to wash.
Although brands use different names for their new features, most are variations on the same basic functionality. New dishwashers
feature multi-stage water filtration systems, automatic sensors that
adjust the cycle according to the level of food soil, impressive
cleaning jet configurations, quiet sound packages for less noise and
bulk detergent dispensers.
Other features commonly found include hard
food disposers, adjustable upper racks, hygienic condensation drying
and all electronic, one-touch controls. Concealed control panels are a
feature of fully integrated dishwashers.
Dishwashers can feature anywhere
from 4 to 16 wash cycles. From fine china and glassware to pots and
pans, quick washes and rinse-only cycles (depending on the model), your
dishwasher will give you plenty of options.
Many new dishwashers are Energy Star rated, and some models
use a third less water and require less than 300 kilowatt-hours per
year of electricity.
When you evaluate dishwashers, look as much into
the water and power use features as the operational ones, for you want
a unit that will be cost effective in the long run. Other than styling, try to base
your decision upon the space you have to work with, the capacity you
need for your family and the level of convenience and power you desire
in a dishwasher.
When you start to look at the different dishwasher styles,
the choices become much more numerous. Compact units are fairly few in number,
while portable units come in both 24- and 18-inch varieties, depending
on the size you need. The more common Built-in units, on the other hand, give you
plenty of styles from which to choose, including: full console, tall tub, integrated,
undersink, 18-inch and drawer dishwashers.
Full console dishwashers are the basic style available. They
are installed under the counter, but they are not integrated into the
kitchen's design. Full size and available with the features of the
particular brand, full console dishwashers are the place to begin your
search, for they provide for all-around kitchen cleanup.
Tall tub units feature increased measurements between the top
and bottom of the wash tub. Thanks to a new configuration,
manufacturers were able to widen the distance between the racks and
give you more room for oversized dishes. A tall tub design is a feature
of many dishwashers, meaning it may be combined with other types.
Integrated dishwashers are designed to blend seamlessly in
with the kitchen cabinetry. They are built-in units, but they install
as if there is no gap between the unit and the adjacent cabinetry.
Fully-integrated units feature a completely seamless front, while
semi-integrated units have a front-mounted control panel, so they are
not entirely disguised. Some integrated units are meant to accept a
custom panel so they blend in with the woodwork.
These built-in units are designed to fit directly underneath
the kitchen sink, making loading up a sink full of dishes quick and
easy. They are smaller in order to fit with the sink and trap, and are
generally narrower than full-size units.
Whereas the standard width is 24 inches, 18-inch dishwashers
are perfect for smaller kitchens where limited space comes into play.
18-inch units may be portable or built-in.
The most integrated of the integrated style, single and
double-drawer dishwashers, feature fully concealed controls and outer
pull-out drawers. With a custom panel, they'll resemble your lower
The companies that produce dishwashers are as numerous as for
any other appliance. The most selection can be found among the makers
of domestic, home-use dishwashers, while a few select brands produce
commercial units for the food and beverage industry. The more
well-known domestic dishwasher manufacturers include General Electric,
Hotpoint, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, Kenmore, Maytag, Amana and LG. Other
makers include Electrolux, Bosch, Viking, Heartland, Miele, and Danby.
Commercial dishwasher manufacturers include Jet Tech, CMA, Hobart and
Lamber. Commercial units cost many thousands of dollars and are built
for frequent, hard use. Domestic dishwashers are available for as
little as $150 or $200 for compact countertop units. Prices go up to
$2,000 and more for top-of-the-line, fully-stocked dishwashers from the