Washing dishes by hand is nasty. Your hands get slimy. Water and food remnants splash all over your clothes. You have to dry the dishes by hand, too, or wait for them to air dry while dripping water on your countertops. Dishwashers do all the work for you and even serve as a storage space. If you don’t have space or cash for a full-sized model you can also grab a countertop version.
The best dishwasher is the Whirlpool Top Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher. It has plenty of space and excellent features.
There are three main types of dishwasher: built-in, countertop and portable.
Dishwashers have both total sizes and capacities.
Dishwashers require two resources to operate: water and energy. Some dishwashers are Energy Star compliant, meaning they are certified to use less of these resources. Energy Star compliant models still vary on precisely how much they use, so check to see. You may save some money in the long run.
Outside of a standard cycle or normal wash, dishwashers can feature a number of special cycles. Common additions include quick and heavy cycles for fewer dishes or caked-on messes, respectively. Bacteria-eliminating cycles are also good.
Dishwashers generate noise as they function, but some models are specially designed to reduce the total amount of decibels they generate. Most generate between 40-60 decibels, or between a quiet library and a standard conversation. Sub-45 decibel models are considered quiet.
Small and countertop models can be found for $500 or less. Midrange models typically run between $500-$900, while large or top-of-the-line models can cost over $1,000.
A. Yes. All the little particles of food that get cleansed during a cycle don’t neatly drain away. They build up on the dishwasher’s interior walls over time. Most brands recommend cleaning your dishwasher every one to two months. You don’t need to do it by hand, just use a dishwasher cleaning tablet and put your — empty — dishwasher on its standard cycle. If your dishwasher is starting to smell or isn’t cleaning your dishes as well as it used to, you’re long overdue and may need to have expensive maintenance performed.
A. No. Liquid dish soap is designed to generate lots of soap suds to make cleaning your dishes by hand easier. The way a dishwasher operates uses a large amount of water and air that will generate a huge amount of suds if you use liquid dish soap — enough to cause suds to leak out of it, potentially damaging both your home and your dishwasher. Always use products clearly listed as being for a dishwasher to avoid situations like this.
What you need to know: It has a huge capacity and plenty of excellent features.
What you’ll love: A third rack up top allows for washing more dishes in each load. It’s Energy Star certified and runs quietly. The stainless steel exterior is fingerprint- and smudge-resistant. A sani-rinse feature kills nearly 100% of bacteria. A sensor adjusts specifics of the normal cycle as needed.
What you should consider: The standard cycle takes longer than normal to complete. The top rack only fits utensils and other small, flat options.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
What you need to know: This is an excellent purchase for those living alone in small apartments.
What you’ll love: It fits comfortably on small countertops with dimensions of 21.6 by 19.6 by 17.2 inches. It’s easy to install and is Energy Star certified. It has six wash options including speed and glass. It’s quiet.
What you should consider: Common issues have cropped up over time, such as dishes failing to be completely cleaned and soap pods not dissolving fully.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This is great for those who need more space than a countertop model provides but not as much as a full-sized dishwasher.
What you’ll love: It’s available in black, white and stainless steel. It uses less than 5 gallons of water per cycle and UltraQuiet technology limits its noise. Drying time is fast thanks to a high temperature setting that also eliminates bacteria.
What you should consider: It’s Energy Star certified but still consumes roughly 280 kilowatt hours each year. The stainless steel model is not smudge-resistant.
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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.