Dishwashers are by no means a new concept and the majority of us will have had one in our home at some point. They are of course fantastically helpful pieces of equipment and remove the need to carry out on of the most detested of household chores. However, beyond considering the fact that a new dishwasher means they get out of cleaning the pots, many consumers don’t put too much thought into the buying process. As a result, they may not be fully aware of just how much they could benefit from taking a little time to find the right model to suit their needs. Below we take a look at the key factors to address when looking for a suitable dishwasher.
The first and perhaps most obvious issue to address is how big the dishwasher is and how many pots you can fit into it. If you live alone or as a couple then you may be happy to go for a slimline or compact model (also known as table top dishwashers). Those with a larger family will usually find that they need a standard size model.
Just in case you are wondering which size will fit into your kitchen, below are the dimensions for the 3 common dishwasher sizes:
- · Standard – Width: 600 x Height:850 x Depth:600 mm
- · Slimine – Width: 450 x Height:850 x Depth:600 mm
- · Compact – Width: 550 x Height:440 x Depth:500 mm
In terms of the number of pots you can actually fit into the dishwasher, standard models work on a 12 place capacity. This means that it can hold all of the following items:
- · 12 x 240mm dinner plate
- · 12 x 230mm soup bowl
- · 12 x 185mm desert plate
- · 12 x Average sized cups and saucers
- · 12 x glasses or similar sized tumblers
- · 12 x each cutlery item (knife, fork, teaspoon, dessertspoon & soup spoon)
Working on this basis, a slimline model allows for a 9 place capacity, with a compact model allowing for closer to 4 place settings.
When it comes to checking out the available programmes, you will find that some of the machines vary slightly from each other. However, you will normally find 3 key programmes in addition to a rinse only cycle. The main cycle tends to wash at 65ºC, which is great for removing food that is boiled onto saucepans and casserole dishes. For dishes that aren’t quite so dirty there will be an economy wash, with a light programme for any delicate items.
Most homeowners find that these programmes suffice. However, it may be that your personal circumstances mean that you could do with extra programmes, such as for glasses or a half load, where only one of the levels in utilised. Be aware that these additional options are only available in top end models and will require additional financial investment.
In order to ensure that consumers can make informed decisions over the impact that their purchases have on the environment, every dishwasher is awarded an energy efficiency rating by the manufacturer. Each model is graded from A to G, with A being the best. The system is monitored by the Trading Standards to ensure that manufacturers are grading their machines fairly. The rating takes into account the amount of water consumed and the machines washing and drying performance in terms of energy required.
Most dishwashers now receive a decent energy rating as manufacturers see the green issue as a great way to promote their products. However, as you would expect, the most efficient models do tend to cost more than the rest. That said; the extra outlay when purchasing your machine will actually work out cheaper in the long-run thanks to lower energy bills. In addition, you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you have done your little bit to help the environment.
Our final factor to consider is just how long your machine is covered for by its guarantee. When buying a dishwasher, you will of course receive a 12 month warranty from the reseller. However, many manufacturers offer extended parts guarantees beyond the 12 month period. Some even guarantee their dishwasher parts for up to 5 years. You will of course still have to pay the labour costs to have the part replaced, unless you have the knowledge to fit it yourself!