Kitchen Appliance Advice

Dishwasher Buying Advice

A dishwasher can help people to save up to four hours a week over hand-washing dishes. Dishwashers were a luxury device to have before now has evolved into must-have and time-saving kitchen tools. Because most dishwashers do the same thing, convenience is an important consideration in buying one. Be sure you like how the control unit works, the way the racks are located, and the way the food disposal system operates. The first thing you need to think is the capacity: An 18" dishwasher generally is adequate for 2 - 3 people and can hold up to 6 or 8 standard place settings. A regular 24" model has a capacity for 12 to 14 standard place settings and is sufficient for a whole family. The number of place settings can be deceiving and for this reason, I would recommend a standard 24" dishwasher for family use. A compact 18" unit is great for a couple or small kitchen and occasional use.

Your choice of whether to buy a built-in, portable or countertop model will depend greatly on whether you are renting or own your home. Energy saving feature is also important. A dishwasher that proudly displays the Energy Star symbol will save you energy dollars compared to non-qualified models. Some dishwashers even have low water features or 'quick wash' options which will benefit you if you are paying for measured water use. Another energy saver is a 'delay start' which is great if your electricity usage is calculated for off peak and on peak pricing.

The most important dishwashing cycles are Light, Regular, Pots & Pans and economic settings. The economic cycle will air dry dishes saving on heating element energy costs. Additional enhanced cycles are Glass or Stemware, Rinse, Quick Wash and Semi Wash, which all add to convenience benefits. A stainless steel washing arm will not rust and will be more durable.

Performance will be influenced by the number of washing levels on the dishwasher - how and where the jets of water are distributed during the washing cycle. A three tier system will provide a good washing and more levels will ensure even better coverage, but price will be higher too. A 'quiet' package is also a good feature. Detergent and rinse agent dispensers are usually standard features. Standard dishwashers usually have two racks for dishes but some models now have three expanding on loading options and capacity. Special features can also include adjustable shelves, racks built to accommodate tall glasses or stemware, odd shaped and tall items, or convertible racks for multi uses.

Buying Tips:
Measure the space where the dishwasher will be installed before you buy your dishwasher. Most dishwashers are either 18 or 24 inches wide. Learn about the details of the number of spray levels. The more directions of spray that a dishwasher has, the cleaner your dishes will be and also the more your budget will be. Look for a dishwasher that heats water to at least 140 degrees. Often, the water heating unit is built in. Choose a dishwasher with a food grinder or heavy-duty disposal if you don't want to pre-rinse. Check the yellow Energy Guide label for the energy-efficiency rating. The lower the number, the less energy the dishwasher will use in a year. Choose a delay start function if you will want to program the dishwasher to run when you are not home or at night. Buy a sound-dampening package if you think the dishwasher will be too noisy. Find out what the warranty covers and whether or not it is included in the price of the dishwasher. Decide on an extended warranty if desired. Be sure the dishwasher can be serviced locally so you do not need to send it away when it is broken.

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