When it is time to choose a dishwasher, whether for a new installation or a replacement, there are many things to consider besides price and appearance. Features, reliability, and usability are really more important. Because when it comes down to using the dishwasher, no matter how cheap or pretty it is, if your dishes don't fit or if they don't get clean, it wasn't a good buy.
There are many high-end dishwasher models out there. They might seem the best choice, but they don't always do any better than lower priced models. Do your research on quality and results. Read forums, and reviews to get other peoples opinions on the products you are considering.
When shopping for a dishwasher, look at features and consider which really matter to you. Here are some recommendations we believe will help you to choose your next dishwasher.
Rack configuration - Some racks are better with some dishes than others. Adjustable tines will allow more versatile loading. If you have a problem dish, bring it along when shopping to make sure it fits.
Drawer models - Newer to the market are dishwasher drawers. Typically you get two drawers that stack one over the other and occupy the same space as a conventional dishwasher. You can operate one drawer independently from the other. They are more expensive and generally are less versatile for loading but may be more economical for small loads. We think they are trendy but not a good bang for your buck.
Noise level - Most newer models are much quieter than those made just a few years ago. Some models are so quiet you may not be able to tell if they are running just by listening. A quiet dishwasher is a nice plus when trying to work, or talk in the kitchen.
Hidden or exposed controls - If you want to reduce the appliance clutter in your kitchen you might opt to install a cabinet panel on your dishwasher to make it blend in with the cabinetry. Even without a cabinet panel, you may find hidden controls more attractive. Also, hidden controls reduce the risk of small children playing with the dishwasher controls.
Heating element - European models typically have no bottom heating element and so must air dry. They may circulate heated air, but you will still have to add rinse aid to prevent spotting.
Stainless steel interior - A stainless interior should not rust, may be more attractive and may resist staining. However, you must not use any bleach based detergents or cleaning products to avoid damaging the surface.
Energy Star rating - Many dishwashers are Energy Star rated, meaning they use less energy. Some communities may even offer a rebate for choosing an Energy Star appliance.
Programs or cycle settings - Choose a model that has the settings you really need. A model with many settings may be irrelevant if you never use them. A delayed start feature is useful to start the dishwasher when you are away or asleep.
Will you pre-rinse? - Some models offer heavy-duty food grinders that reduce the risk of clogging from food particles. Some models require a pre-rinse while others do not.
Appliance size - Whether replacing or adding a new dishwasher, make sure the new dishwasher will fit in the opening. Most models are 24 inches while some 18 inch models are available.