Dishwashers buying guide
If you’ve made the decision to invest in a dishwasher - or if you’re looking to upgrade on an old machine - you want to make sure that you’re buying the right kind for you and your home. What size should you get? Do you need to worry about energy efficiency? Well, step away from the scouring pads and stacks of dirty dishes, and use our buying guide to help find your perfect dishwasher.
Size and capacity
When choosing the right dishwasher, you should first decide what size and capacity are the right fit for you. There are two different kinds of dishwasher: freestanding washers, which can fit in various places around the house, and integrated washers, which are fitted inside your kitchen furniture, helping to maintain seamlessly stylish kitchen decor. Since integrated washers depend a lot on an overall kitchen aesthetic, let’s stick with freestanding washers for now.
Freestanding washers come in three main models: full-size, slimline, and compact. Full-size and slimline are built in the classic box-shape, and both tend to stand at around 85cm tall. Full-size will often have a width around 65cm, and slimline around 45cm. Compact washers are a different beast - they’re small enough to sit atop a kitchen counter.
Dishwasher capacity is measured in place settings - a typical place setting includes one dinner plate, one dessert plate, one soup plate, a knife and fork, two spoons, a glass, and a teacup.
Full-size dishwashers are perfect for family households with mid-to-large kitchens, or even for smaller households who love to cook elaborate meals. A full-size machine can pack-in 12-14 place settings.
If you’re living in a small 2-3 person household, or have a particularly cosy kitchen, then a slimline machine might work best for you. Typically, they can hold 8 - 10 place settings.
Compact dishwashers, meanwhile, make a handy addition to very small kitchens. They’re also great if you wash by hand but want a back-up dishwasher for particularly large stacks of dirty dishes. Since compacts hook-up directly to the kitchen sink, they’re also perfect for rental accommodation where you aren’t permitted to install a full-size or slimline dishwasher.
What about integrated dishwashers?
Integrated dishwashers snuggle in behind kitchen cupboard doors or cabinets, creating a perfectly streamlined kitchen aesthetic. They tend to be a little smaller than freestanding full-size models, but some can still fit 12 place settings. Because the type of integrated dishwasher you buy will depend on the decor and layout of your kitchen, they’re best bought when you’re renovating your kitchen.
What about energy efficiency?
It’s no surprise that dishwashers use up a lot of energy. And if you’re using your dishwasher to clean all the plates and cutlery for a 4-person family every day, it’s important to make sure your chosen dishwasher has an energy-save mode.
Most modern dishwashers come with eco or energy-saving modes. These modes wash your dishes at lower temperatures, thus saving energy. The quality of the wash is usually the same as higher temperatures, except on particularly tough stains.
When you buy your dishwasher, it’s wise to check its energy efficiency rating. This rating - which ranges from G to A+++ in theory, and from D to A+++ in practice - gives you a guide as to just how cost and energy efficient the machine is. If you somehow find yourself with a D model (pretty difficult these days) you’ll be throwing money down the drain. Bosch boasts a wide range of A+ and A++ models, while Hotpoint offer a few high-end A+++ designs.
How much should I spend?
Buying a dishwasher is an investment - you want a long-lasting, hardworking, and cost-efficient machine. As such, you shouldn’t be afraid of spending a bit extra on the right dishwasher.
For a fantastic full-size dishwasher, you should look for something in the £300 - £450 bracket. Due to their slightly smaller capacity, superb slimline washers enter in at the £250 - £400 range.
You can find sleek and slim compact dishwashers from £150 and up - Indesit are a good basic brand to consider. But be aware when purchasing compacts. Some models don’t offer a drying function, so make sure to do your research before you buy!
If you’re after an integrated dishwasher, you should look at the same rough price bracket as a full-size machine. Keep in mind that there may be extra installation costs involved if you go integrated.
Generally speaking, Bosch and Hotpoint have classic mid-range models that offer a reliably high-quality wash with fantastic energy efficiency. If you’re after something a bit more budget, look at Bush and Beko’s wide range of affordable dishwashers, while Miele has a tempting array of grander and costlier models.