All you need to know about dishwashers: A buyer’s guide

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So, you need a new dishwasher. If you already have one in your home then you may well be surprised at just how much has changed since your last purchase.

If this is your first dishwasher, then we welcome you to a whole new world of convenience. Once you own a dishwasher you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one. Before you make your selection though, there are various features, specifications and brands-a-plenty to consider.


First and foremost: Choosing the right size dishwasher

When choosing a dishwasher you’ll first want to consider how large a load you need. Helpfully manufacturers base their sizing upon ‘place settings’ which defines how many, at maximum load, the dishwasher can handle in terms of the number of complete place settings. Not that even of us actually live that (one plate, one side-plate, one cup etc) way but it gives you an idea.

So the average 12 place setting washing machine would be able to accommodate:

  • 12 Dinner plates
  • 12 Soup bowls
  • 12 Dessert plates/bowls
  • 12 Tea cups and saucers
  • 12 Tumbler glasses
  • 12 knives, forks, soup spoons, teaspoons and dessert spoons


Types of dishwashers

There are several types of dishwashers, including:

  • Full Sized dishwashers: These are the standard and the most common type of dishwashers. A standard dishwasher can generally handle between 12-150 separate items.
  • Slimline dishwashers: Slimline dishwashers are ideal for fitting into a tight space. Slimline dishwashers can wash anywhere between 90 to 100 items.
  • Compact / Table Top dishwashers: Compact dishwashers tend to sit on the work surface and are ideal for people who are short of space of kitchen units. Compact dishwashers have a capacity of around 40 to 60 items.
  • Integrated dishwashers: Integrated dishwashers fit right into your work surfaces and cupboards. These are the most expensive to fit, generally costing around £80 to install.


The next step: Considering a never-ending list of dishwasher programmes

Programmes can seem like a rather Brave New World upon first glance, and many manufactures will have their own, trademarked programmes.

Generally speaking however, the majority of dishwashers will provide around three programmes which operate at around 65ºC as standard. Others may additionally include:

  • A Rinse and Hold Programme: This programme washes a load through before undertaking a full wash cycle.
  • A Glasses programme: Some higher line dishwashers provide a glass specific programme.
  • A Heated Dry programme: To dry your items off at the end of the cycle.


Other features to look out for…

Adjustable racks: Adjustable racks are handy for making the most of the space that you have. You can set the racks before each load depending on what you’re washing. So look out for racks that offer varying heights.

Fold-down racks: Fold-down racks provide for larger items, so if you frequently wash up casserole dishes, or items of a similar size, then these are a must.

Delayed start: Delayed start programmes are perfect for those who are on an energy plan that provides cheap electricity during the night. It’s worth mentioning however you should never leave a dishwasher running when no one is home, as they account for 11% of all household fires. It is always a good idea to have a smoke alarm installed near appliances, especially if you’re likely to have them running at night.

Child safety locks: Child safety locks are a pretty common (and very useful) feature that and can prevent your little ones from gaining access to utensils such as knives.

Anti-flood protection: This feature stops the dishwasher from flooding your property if a leak occurs. This ensures that the item can drain itself and detect issues when they occur (some will even alert you by SMS if there’s a problem).



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