Dishwashers are a great time-saver and are also more hygienic than washing dishes by hand, due to the higher temperatures involved during the wash cycle.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a dishwasher, for example, unit type, how many place settings you can fit inside, control type and the number and type of wash cycles.

Unit Type

First decide on the type of unit. Dishwashers are available as freestanding (portable) or built-in (under the counter) models.

They come in two sizes, 24″ and 18″

Portable dishwashers

As the name suggests, these are portable, freestanding units. Smaller than the built-in but with just as many features. Used where space is at a premium.

Built-in dishwashers

Built-in models can retain the original door, or be integrated with the rest of your kitchen by having a cabinet door installed so that from the outside they look like just another cabinet.

Control Type

There are three types of dishwasher controls. The most basic type of control is the rotary dial, which allows you to select a cycle by turning the dial to the correct setting.

The second type of control is a push-button control. These work by having preset cycles that are manually controlled with buttons.

The most expensive type of controls are electronic (or clean touch) controls. Cycles on these machines are electronically controlled and require the least amount of effort from the user.

They will automatically choose the correct wash cycle based on variables such as how dirty the dishes are, the time since the last wash, or how many times the door has been opened.

They can incorporate special cycles for pots and pans, china and crystal, and presoaking.

Wash Cycle

The wash cycle number denotes the number of times the dishwasher runs a cycle of washing. Generally speaking, more expensive and more effective dishwashers tend to have a higher number of wash cycles.

Other Features to look out for

  • Adjustable and removable racks for easier loading
  • Multiple spray levels (the more the better)
  • Internal water heater to reduce load on your home water heater
  • Two-stage filters and self-cleaning filters
  • Built-in food grinders for larger food particles
  • Stainless-steel tub lining
  • Delayed-start feature for overnight use when energy rates are lower
  • Extra door insulation for noise and to keep water hot during wash
  • Changeable front panel to enable you to match your kitchen decor
  • Adequate sound insulation
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