Having a dishwasher is not just a lazy way of doing the dishes. Using your dishwasher not only saves you the time and bother of having to wash dishes by hand, a dishwasher can also use far less water. Dishwashers are available for just about any kitchen. If you don’t have a dedicated space in your kitchen for a dishwasher already, you can consider a freestanding one with a durable work surface. If an integrated appearance is important to you, there are plenty of integrated dishwashers on the market, to which you can add a door of the colour and style of your choice, perhaps to match your cabinetry.
Before you purchase a new dishwasher, check out the capacities of the various different models. Unlike most appliances, where capacity is measured in cubic metres or litres of space, dishwasher capacity is based on how many place settings it can hold.
As with other home appliances, dishwashers vary in terms of quality and price. As with other home appliances, the more features, the greater the capacity, the better the efficiency and the better the build quality and materials used, the more expensive they are. Some features are more important to some people than others. Look out for the number of programmes, the numbers of cycles, timers (you can set it to only come on at night for instance), energy and water saving features.
Dishwashers vary in how many types of cycles they have. Prewashing ensures that some of the food particles are removed before the cleaning cycle starts. In this way, your dishes are washed in cleaner water than would otherwise be the case. If you are inclined to store up your load until the dishwasher is full, food might become dried on making it more difficult to clean. In this case you'll need to make sure you buy a dishwasher that has a heavy cleaning cycle and many small holes in the jets to accomplish a scrubbing action. If you live alone or have a small family, you may want a rinse and hold feature that gives your dishes a quick rinse only. That way, you can rinse them so food will be easier to wash off later, but still wait until you have a full load to run the cleaning cycle.
If you are concerned about energy efficiency, look for dishwashers with the higher number of energy stars. If you are concerned about water usage, look for a dishwasher with water saving features. If you live in New Zealand, ensure your dishwasher meets the new WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme), or in Australia, the similar Water Labelling and Standards Scheme for Australia.
A few top-of-the-range appliances also have a dirt sensor, which monitors how dirty the water is and adjusts the amount of water used accordingly.