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Dishwasher Buying Guide
Types of Dishwashers
There are several different kinds of dishwashers available on the market. Each one has its advantages. We’ve listed the different types below along with some information about each of them so you can determine which one will fit your specific needs the best.
- Built-In Dishwasher – The most often seen dishwasher across the United States is the built-in dishwasher which is meant to be installed underneath a counter and is direct plumbed into the water line. These spacious dishwashers come in different dish capacities and have the standard two rack design. Depending on the model, it will have dials and buttons to set the different wash and dry cycles. Some of the more advanced designs have touch screens and digital controls.
- Compact Dishwasher – The standard and most common dishwasher is 24” wide. A compact dishwasher is designed to save on space and is usually 18” wide. The majority of dishwasher manufacturers have compact models that they offer. They are basically just like the built-in models and are designed to be installed under the counter but they take up a lot less room.
- Drawer Dishwasher – This relatively new addition to the dishwasher lineup is called a drawer dishwasher. This unit allows smaller loads of dishes to be washed with overusing water or energy. If you have a large family or a lot of dishes to do, this is not a good choice for you but if it is just you, this certainly might be an option you would consider. Drawer dishwashers are designed to be installed just like a built-in but modifications are more than likely going to need to be done on the cabinets to ensure a good fit.
- Portable Dishwasher – A portable dishwasher is usually on wheels and can be stored in the pantry or laundry room and rolled out at dishwashing time. It easily hooks to the kitchen faucet where you can load it and wash your dishes just like you would with a built-in. The dishwasher drains into the sink via a drain hose. This is a very convenient and space saving way to enjoy the benefits of a dishwasher when you don’t have a lot of space or the means to get a built-in.
- Countertop Dishwasher – An ingenious little unit is the countertop dishwasher that fits right on top of your kitchen counter, hence its name. Just like a portable unit, it connects to the kitchen faucet during use and then is disconnected when you’re not washing dishes. If you live in an apartment or just want something small that can be moved easily, a countertop dishwasher is a great choice.
The amount of dishes a dishwasher can hold will depend on the type of dishwasher you purchase. Capacity is measured by the number of place settings that will fit in one load. We’ve listed the usual capacity that the three basic sizes can handle.
- Compact – Compact and countertop units can usually hold 6-8 full, 5 piece place settings per load.
- Standard – Your standard dishwasher can usually handle up to 12 full, five piece place setting per load.
- Tall – Larger, taller dishwashers can typically handle up to 14 full, five piece place settings per load.
Dishwasher settings and features
There are several features that dishwashers of all types have. We’ve listed the most common features that are usually seen in a dishwasher. Look over the features and see which ones are the most important to you.
- Wash/rinse cycles – Depending on the unit, most dishwashers have a number of wash cycles, designed to be energy efficient. Some even have sanitizing options which is great for families with children.
- Dry Settings – Many dishwashers have a drying option. This feature is not something that many people use because, while it works wonders, it can take extra power to use on a daily basis. There are sometimes options to choose with or without heat that will lower the power consumption somewhat.
- Display – There are a couple of different places that the controls can be located; on the top and on the door. Many people find that top of the door controls are much easier to see.
- Delayed Start – A delayed start option means that you can set the time you want the dishwasher to start the cycle. This is very good if you have off peak reductions in power costs or if you want the dishwasher to run overnight so it is ready in the morning.
- Adjustable racks– Some of the newer models offer a third rack that can be added that is perfect for washing more items, especially small items. Some other models allow the boxes to be played with as long as they are safe. If the racks are flexible then you can move the dividers around to make room for oddly shaped cookware and bakeware.
Although dishwashers are not a necessity many people enjoy the convenience they provide and the extra time they give by not having to be stuck at a sink doing dishes by hand. This is especially helpful when you have a large family that generates a lot of dishes each day.
With all of the different dishwashers that are available it can be a real challenge to choose the right one unless you know what your needs are and what the differences are between the different types of dishwashers.
This buyer’s guide is designed to provide you with all of the information you need to understand what makes one dishwasher better suited to your needs than another one. With this knowledge you will able to easily sort through the different types of dishwashers that are available and make a selection based on your specific needs.
When you know what you want and need and you understand what is available, you can be confident that the decision you are making is a good one for you that will take care of your needs and prevent you from being unhappy with your purchase.