Dishwashers are standard equipment in nearly all new construction and remodeled homes. Current dishwashers have a significant breadth of price point. The least expensive dishwashers can regularly be purchased for slightly more than $300 and the most expensive are in excess of $2,000. Not unlike many products, price is influenced by the amount of features and options incorporated.
The interior of the most competitive dishwashers are plastic and do not have drying cycles or multiple wash options. The goal of using these types of units is to offer the opportunity to clean a broad expanse of dishes, cookware, and utensils without regard to quantity or type of items you are cleaning. Much like selecting the “basic” cycle at the car wash, these machines will effectively wash off surface dirt.
As you consider more advanced machines, you’ll notice additional functionality that may more closely align with your desired outcomes. You will have multiple modes of operation. Some have pot scrubbing modes that enable a more vigorous washing cycle meant to clean cookware with stubborn residue. Some have a delicate cycle meant to keep your fine china and crystal from being etched by harsh sprays. The most advanced dishwashers tend to incorporate their own “soft water” feature. This feature treats only the water being used by the dishwasher, further protecting delicate wash items from being exposed to damage by the mineral content of the cleaning water.
Additionally, you can indicate the amount of items within the dishwasher by selecting light load or upper rack only cleaning. These selections will save on the amount of water and energy used during the wash cycle. Many models allow for multiple mode selections related the amount and type of items to be cleaned. Another option can be rinse and hold. You may not want to wash a full cycle just then, but you don’t want the dirty dishes to sit within the dishwasher with decaying food, so this cycle simply rinse off the surface debris. Specialty modes like steam cleaning and timer settings are also available in advanced dishwashers.
The best dishwashers have stainless steel interiors. European manufacturers were the first manufacturers to embrace stainless steel, and they did so to create a passive drying cycle. This is accomplished by introducing cooler ambient air around the exterior of the stainless steel liner. The warmer moisture-laden air within the interior of the liner then condenses water droplets to the stainless steel case and the collected moisture runs down to the dishwasher drain, thus drying the interior of the dishwasher. Since the cleaned items are never exposed to the ambient external air, those particulates are not deposited on the recently cleaned pieces. Other machines have a more aggressive drying cycle and actually introduce filtered drying air directly into the dishwasher.
When selecting a dishwasher consider the amount of sound created and the external aesthetic presentation. Simply, the more advanced units will be better insulated and their sound is barely perceptible. Aesthetically, units are available as stainless steel, black, and white, with other more bold colorations from specific manufacturers. Some models can also be covered with integrating cabinet trim completely disguising the dishwasher as it blends into the surrounding cabinets. The controls can also be visually apparent on the front of the unit or disguised by being placed on the edge of the dishwasher door.
There are also some units that configure differently than the above options discussed. There are built in dishwasher drawers available as either single or double drawer units. These incorporate many of the features mentioned above but function as pullout drawer units. There are also portable dishwashers that do not build in that are meant to remain mobile. These units are designed for restricted space areas and usually are going to have basic functionality only.
- General Electric