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Harvey Norman
Harvey Norman

Dishwashers Buying Guide

Purchasing dishwashers requires more than just selecting the appropriate size for the space you have. Though you may be excited never to have to scrub dishes clean, selecting the right system is a critical step. After all, the wrong model may mean you are back to rinsing and washing all over again.

What to Expect

Newer models of dishwashers are not only highly energy efficient but they also do a better quality job of scrubbing dishes clean. The government has cut into the rules, though, and has made restrictions for Energy Star seals far more difficult for manufacturers in both the amount of energy and water used. The newest models, built in 2012, are about nine percent more efficient with electrical use and 2 percent more efficient in water use compared to old standards.

You will find outstanding features and some added elements that may or may not make a difference in your buying decision. It is a good idea to consider performance, price and size as the main components to selecting the right dishwasher for your home or space.

Select the Right Type

Available in various types, dishwashers come in various sizes to fit numerous needs. Consider the following classifications.

Low-Priced Conventional

These have the lowest price, usually under $500. Some clean as well as higher priced models. They may run a little louder and they may not have as much interior room flexibility. However, some models do have adjustable racks and filters for self-cleaning.

Premium-Priced Conventional

The bigger sticker price, often over $800 gets you more sound reduction and more interior flexibility. Additionally, these models are more stylish and they have hidden controls to keep the kitchen's design clean. However, there may not be any added cleaning ability in these higher priced models.


Some of the latest models are drawers. Dish drawers allow for one or two drawers stacked on top of each other. Pull the door open and put in the dishes. They are significantly higher priced than conventional models. Most have a smaller capacity as well.

Features to Look For

Before buying dishwashers, consider the various features offered. Some are more important than others are. However, individual buying decisions are important here. Some of the most useful and beneficial features to look for include the following.

Adjustable Racks

Adjustable racks are one of the most important features according to most consumers. Being able to adjust them up, down, or even side-to-side matters. Look for options for stemware, silverware, larger dishes and even pots and pans in some models.


Filters ensure only clean water is re-deposited onto the clean dishes. Models without a grinder (which is becoming more popular) are less noisy but require filter cleaning. Other models, including self-cleaning models, will grind up material and then flush it.

Self Heating

Some reduce energy by having self-heating systems for water. This reduces the pull of hot water from the home's water tank, thus reducing overall costs related to washing dishes. It also saves hot water for showers instead.

Cycle Options

Hold cycle features are often beneficial as they allow the user to determine when to run the system. Hold off until the middle of the night, for example. A rinse feature is another option. It works simply to rinse off the dishes prior to washing them. This may save you a step in loading the dishwasher if you still hand rinse. Other wash cycles include the following:

  • Light
  • Normal wash
  • Pots and Pans wash
  • Pot scrubber washes
  • Steam cleaning
  • China or delicate dishes
  • Sanitizing


Another feature being found more commonly on newer models of dishwashers is the soil sensor. It tells the system how much soil is on it so that it can adjust the length of run time and the amount of water to use. This does, ultimately improve efficiency.

Stainless Steel

Not only can the exterior of some models be stainless steel, but some manufacturers are also creating interior washers like this. These are often in the higher-end model range. The benefit is that they are unlikely to rust or stain. To cut the cost, use a grey-speckled plastic tub instead. However, even basic tubs often last significantly longer than most people anticipate.

Best Selling Brands

Numerous brands of dishwashers are on the market today. The following are the best selling options and a small bit of information about them.

Bosch - highly rated from Europe, often most efficient and quietest models. Most contain manual filters.

Fisher & Paykel - Big-box Kiwi store brand, priced moderately. These fit within this manufacturer's kitchen appliance lines for matching benefits. It is known for its lower price and basic features.

Haier - A more innovative brand, the second- largest brand, it includes Café, Monogram and the Profile lines currently. There is a large range of pricing from very low to $1400 or more. Features include Smart Dispensing, efficiency, and most features.

Westinghouse - The largest US manufacturer is known for its reliability. TurboZone power-scrubbing is a key feature to look for, but it also offers steam cleaning, hidden control panels, and top rack only washes.

Electrolux - Durable models in some cases, but they have been repair-prone in recent years. Priced moderate to high with basic features, this company is newer to the dishwasher market.


Dishwasher buying requires careful attention to size requirements, features, energy efficiency, and overall durability. Compare individual models, not just manufacturers to determine which one is right for you.Often, new models enter the market annually without many changes to from the previous version, except for a price tag increase. Buyers should expect a limited warranty on most models but this often requires professional installation.

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