What You Need To Know About Kitchen Dishwashers
Looking for a new kitchen dishwasher? There’s a wide variety of options and features to consider in 2023. The problem with having a lot of choices, not only when it comes to options but also manufacturers, is how do you choose among them?
We at BSC feel that customer education is paramount. The more you know about any appliance before you purchase it, the more likely you’ll be satisfied with the purchase in the long term. So, to help you avoid buyer’s remorse and make sure you get the best dishwasher in 2023 for your kitchen, here’s what you need to know:
- How a dishwasher washes dishes
- Types of dishwashers
- Average dishwasher lifespan
- Dishwasher efficiency
- Manufacturer support and warranties
- Dishwasher ROI
- How it looks
- Consult the dishwasher experts
How a Dishwasher Washes Dishes
The concept is simple. Spray hot water across the surface area of your dishes and utensils. Apply heat to dry the clean dishes and utensils.
As you might imagine, there’s a little more involved. New technologies not only improve the process, but perform it more efficiently. New technologies and features come at a cost, though, which we’ll discuss further in a bit. For now, all the basic best dishwashers share the following features:
- Stainless steel tub. Avoid plastic tubs. Stainless steel tubs can withstand higher water temperature and can better retain heat for drying. They are also more energy efficient with quieter operation. Finally, stainless steel tubs are more durable and are corrosion resistant. Maybe you pay more for stainless steel, but this is one feature where saving money with less expensive plastic actually costs you more in the long run.
- Spray arms on all levels. A dishwasher has at least two levels, a bottom level for dishes and utensils and a top level for glasses and other smaller items. And sometimes there’s even a third level. Be sure there are spray arms for each level. This ensures all dishes, glasses, and utensils receive an even spray with an even clean. Dishwashers with a single spray arm on the bottom can’t evenly distribute water; the likely result is that some items get cleaner than others.
- Movable racks with foldable tines. A crowded dishwasher is an inefficient dishwasher. A dishwasher with movable racks and foldable tines lets you adjust for different size loads. So your dishwasher can handle any cleaning task ranging from a Saturday dinner party to regular family usage. This is where a third rack provides extra convenience. Look for racks that are not only adjustable, but easy to load. Also, check manufacturer recommendations for maximum load capacity and how best to load the dishwasher. If you think a particular dishwasher doesn’t offer adequate maximum loads for regular family usage, it’s probably not the best dishwasher for you.
What makes one of these best dishwashers, with all these features, even better? Things like wi-fi enabled smart apps to control the appliance remotely, and specialized drain pumps that detect clogs and automatically unjam them. Such features, of course, come with added cost.
Types of Dishwashers
There are three types of dishwashers:
Most homeowners opt for a built-in dishwasher with a permanent connection to their home plumbing, to provide a seamless fit into their kitchen layout. Portable dishwashers, however, are ideal for small apartments, college dorms, and even recreational vehicles. There’s no plumbing hook-up; instead, you connect the portable dishwasher to the kitchen faucet.
Drawer dishwashers are, for the most part, more energy efficient and space saving. Many homeowners prefer the look as opposed to the standard built-in dishwasher. However, drawer dishwashers don’t have the same capacity as built-in dishwashers. For this reason, you may see kitchens with two or more drawer dishwashers. This can get expensive, as drawer dishwashers are typically more expensive than built-in dishwashers.
Average Dishwasher Lifespan
Generally speaking, more expensive dishwashers offer longer lifespans. While a low-end dishwasher isn’t going to last much longer than five years, the useful lifespan of higher-end models is more than double that, with some models claiming an expected lifespan of up to 20 years. The higher the cost of the dishwasher, in most cases, the more reliable the dishwasher. Low-end models not only don’t last as long or clean as well, they are also more prone to periodic breakdowns and the need for parts replacement.
Keep in mind that even the best dishwasher won’t last as long as it might without regular maintenance. This involves nothing more than cleaning the dishwasher filter regularly, as well as cleaning the interior tub. It also means loading the dishwasher properly. If you have hard water, a water softener can extend the lifetime of the dishwasher.
More energy efficient dishwashers help reduce your utility bills over the lifetime of the appliance. The newest dishwasher models likely have the highest ENERGY STAR® efficiency ratings. In some cases, you can get a rebate or other special offer with certain ENERGY STAR® dishwashers.
Manufacturer Support and Warranties
Most manufacturer warranties cover the whole dishwasher for at least a year, sometimes for two years. There are additional longer warranties on electronic components, racks, door liners, and tubs. Obviously, the longer the warranty coverage, the better.
Be wary of the term “limited warranty.” That usually means the warranty isn’t as comprehensive, with various loopholes to deny coverage. If you are deciding between two dishwashers where one offers limited warranties and the other full warranties, the dishwasher with full warranties tips the scale.
Also note that American-made and European-made dishwashers typically take different approaches in the handling of food debris. American dishwashers usually have a built-in grinder, similar to a kitchen sink garbage disposal, to eliminate large particles. European dishwashers capture large particles in a basket you must periodically empty and clean. While there is a little extra maintenance, the lack of an inboard grinder means European dishwashers are quieter than most American models. However, grinding motors are getting smaller and more efficient, and hence quieter, particularly in higher-end American dishwashers. Ultimately the choice here comes down to personal preference.
Are more expensive dishwashers really the best dishwashers? In many cases they are. Besides offering extra capabilities and functionalities, you can expect in most cases that more expensive dishwashers are going to perform better and last longer. But aren’t parts more expensive for more expensive dishwashers? Yes, but parts replacement on more expensive brand-name dishwashers is less frequently needed than on inexpensive dishwashers. Fewer repairs also mean fewer service calls and repair costs.
It’s also worth considering how long you expect to stay in your current home. Brand-name appliances increase the value of your kitchen and therefore add to your resale value. On the other hand, if you rent and expect to move at some point, a higher priced dishwasher probably isn’t worth the extra investment.
How Does the Dishwasher Look?
The last but certainly not least consideration is how the dishwasher fits in with your kitchen decor. Even the best dishwasher in terms of price and functionality is not the best dishwasher for your kitchen if it doesn’t blend into the look of your kitchen cabinetry and appliances. Fortunately, in addition to the ever-popular stainless steel look, as well as standard white dishwashers, many models are available in a range of colors, with some having the option of panels to exactly match cabinetry.
Consult the Dishwasher Experts
BSC offers a wide range of dishwashers. We’re here to help you choose the best dishwasher that fits the needs of your family and delivers the highest functionality for your budget. You can also check out our special promotions and rebate programs.
BSC installation technicians are qualified and insured. Your dishwasher is installed professionally and to your complete satisfaction. If you prefer, BSC can provide contactless delivery, a trend that started with the pandemic and that we are happy to continue to offer.
Contact us to further discuss the best dishwashers in 2023 for your kitchen.