Last updated: August 21, 2020

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You may be thinking about purchasing a dishwasher because you want to update your old model, or maybe you realized how much this appliance can help you in your daily life. These modern machines use less water than you would waste when washing dishes by hand, while giving you more free time to go about your everyday activities.

Having a dishwasher at home was a luxury in our parents’ days, but that’s no longer the case. Technology is advancing by leaps and bounds and dishwashers have naturally benefited from this. Nowadays, they offer major improvements at truly affordable prices. In the following guide, you will discover everything there is to know about them.

Key Facts

  • Despite what you might think, dishwashers help you save both energy and water. In fact, studies have shown that you can save up to 8 gallons per day compared to washing dishes by hand.
  • The perks of this type of household appliances are numerous. They save water and energy and care for your hands. It is also more hygienic than if you wash manually, and it gives you more time for other activities.
  • You should consider various aspects before purchasing a dishwasher. These include the size, capacity or energy-efficiency label of the model. Your budget and the manufacturer of the appliance are also key.

Our Selection: The Best Dishwashers on the U.S. Market

Washing dishes can quickly seem like an endless task when many people live in the same household, and a dishwasher can reduce the workload and allow you to dedicate your free time to something else. In the following section, we have selected the best products currently available on the market. That way, you can pick the model that best fits your needs!

Best Built-In Dishwasher

EdgeStar’s BIDW1802SS dishwasher is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in the category, and its past buyers have praised its silent operation and ease of installation. With a maximum capacity of 8 place settings, this model is great for smaller families or shared flats. Featuring a silverware basket and a cup tray, it offers six washing cycles and a leakage sensor to keep your home protected at all times. Check the measurements before purchasing.

Best Full-Size Dishwasher

This 24-inch dishwasher by Frigidaire is definitely what you’ll need if you have a large family or frequently host many guests. Available in three colors, it has a capacity of 14 place settings and a heated system that will leave your dishes dry and ready to be stored in your cupboards. The FFCD2418US model offers five different washing cycles so you can always adapt the program to the type of cutlery and glassware you need to clean.

Best Countertop Dishwasher

This type of dishwasher is so convenient for kitchens that are all fitted in already, and you can easily set up and use this model by hOmeLabs. Delivered with everything you need to get it working – from drain hose to rinse aid, it features six washing cycles and a place setting capacity of 6. Designed for small living spaces, this countertop dishwasher only uses 3.1 gallons of water per cycle, as opposed to 25 when you wash by hand.

Best Portable Dishwasher

SPT’s portable dishwasher is ideal if you have limited space and need a flexible appliance to do the job. The SD-9241SS model comes with wheels that will allow you to move it to the most convenient spot in your home. Delivered with a faucet adapter for quick and easy connection, it has a capacity of 8 place settings and six different washing programs to choose from. The time-delay feature is a very useful addition to the appliance.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Dishwashers

The lack of space is a common problem in today’s homes. Small kitchens will better accommodate compact and narrow dishwashers, but a standalone model may be more suitable if you have more space. In the section below, we will be answering the most frequently asked questions from potential customers to help you make your decision.

Dishwashers, against beliefs and myths, help you save water and energy.

Certain dishwashers have half-load washing programs.
(Source: goodluz: 52822261/

What are the advantages of dishwashers?

Invented in 1883 by Josephine Cochrane, these household appliances are designed to clean dishes and cutlery automatically. They work by spraying hot water and detergent on the dishes, generally at 113 to 149 °F, before rinsing them at the end of the washing cycle. You may not have thought so, but using a dishwasher offers many perks that we’ve listed below:

  • Water saving. According to a study published in 2010, you can save up to 8 gallons more per day than if you wash by hand.
  • Energy saving. A study by the University of Bonn, Germany, has demonstrated that they spend up to 10 percent less energy than washing dishes by hand.
  • Time saving. You can dedicate your time to other activities, or even program it to work at night if you have a silent model.
  • Greater care for dishes. Legend has it that a dishwasher can damage your glassware, but it’s actually the complete opposite. However, you should use products such as rinse aid and choose a model whose additional functions better care for your dishes.
  • Better hygiene. Your dishes will always be more hygienic if an appliance washes than if you do it by hand. Cleaning cloths accumulate an incredible quantity of germs, while dishwashers integrate powerful detergents that will eliminate harmful bacteria and microorganisms.
  • Protection of your hands. You won’t have to deal with the usual detergents and high water temperatures that can damage the skin on your hands.
  • Greater comfort. You won’t need to start washing dishes right after a meal, and your kitchen won’t be littered with dirty pots and pans. Your dishes will go directly from the dishwasher to the cupboard.
It can save you a total of 30 liters per day compared to scrubbing the dishes manually.

If the water in your region has a lot of lime, you should use salt to avoid damaging your dishwasher.
(Source: Mark Bowden: 31003901/

How do dishwashers work?

From our point of view, it’s easy as 1-2-3: simply put the dirty dishes in, close the appliance, press a button, and wait for the washing cycle to end. Behind the scenes, dishwashers follow a series of guidelines that can help you better understand how they actually work:

  • Water collection. The first thing the dishwasher does is to fill a small tank of water located at the bottom.
  • Heating. The dishwasher uses hot water – except during the pre-washing. This operation is carried out in the electric heater placed in the tank below the swivel arms.
  • Detergent. Once the water is heated, the dishwasher adds the appropriate amount of detergent depending on the program selected.
  • Washing. The water is expelled through the swivel arms or pressure washers. The pump’s pressure makes the arms rotate and expel the water with force to leave plates and glasses shiny.
  • Drainage. Once the dishes are washed, the appliance empties the dirty water through a dedicated drain.
  • Rinsing. The dishwasher now repeats the entire process, but without using any detergent. The water is generally cold, although some models now use hot water.
  • Evacuation. The appliance expels the excess water.
  • Rinse aid. Add rinse aid if you want your glassware to come out dry and unmarked.

The following video will help you know more about the way a dishwasher works:

What types of dishwashers are there?

Before making your purchase, make sure that you know exactly what type of dishwasher you want and the space you have available. We generally identify two types of dishwashers with very distinctive features, as you can see in the table below:

  • Freestanding: Also known as standard dishwashers, you can place them anywhere in your home as long as a water connection is close by. They tend to have a smaller capacity than the models mentioned below.
  • Built-in: Also called integrated dishwashers, they fit in with the rest of the kitchen furniture and can sometimes be placed in empty spaces – under a piece of furniture, for instance – to be less visible. They are generally more expensive than freestanding models.

Is there a difference in dishwasher capacity?

As you can imagine, you will have different needs if you live with a friend or with a large family. The capacity of a dishwasher is expressed in place settings, with each unit representing the cutlery used by a person during a meal including coffee. Here are the different sizes you can find:

Place settings What dishwasher do I need?
From 12 to 16 This is designed for large families, and many standard dishwashers now offer this capacity.
From 7 to 11 It is best for three or four people, or for kitchens with little available space.
6 or less This compact dishwasher is suitable for couples, single people or households where the dishwasher isn’t used frequently.

What is a compact dishwasher exactly?

These small freestanding dishwashers generally offer a maximum capacity of 6 place settings, making them very useful in smaller homes. Many people place them in the laundry room or on their kitchen countertops. Their lower energy and water consumption mean that they contribute to caring for the environment while also helping you save on your bills.


Studies have shown that the dishwasher is the fourth most energy-consuming appliance in a home. The refrigerator, the washing machine, and the television top the list.

What maintenance does a dishwasher require?

In order for your small electrical appliance to last as long as possible, you need to use it correctly and follow certain maintenance guidelines. Here is a list of very useful tips to help keep your dishwasher in optimal condition:

  • Check salt, rinse aid and detergent levels. Before launching a wash cycle on your dishwasher, you are advised to check the levels of these products. Don’t forget any of them, in particular if you live in an area with hard water.
  • Place the dirtiest dishes in the lower section. This will allow the water jet to reach them directly and at full force. That being said, always follow the manufacturer’s indications regarding the placement of your dishes.
  • Keep the swivel arms free from obstacles. Nothing should hinder the rotation of the blades or swivel arms inside the dishwasher.
  • Place plastic utensils and cutlery in the upper section. That way, they will be away from any resistance that could damage or break them.
  • Dose the right quantity of detergent. It is very important that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. A very high dosage doesn’t mean more cleanliness but it will waste detergent, while a very low dosage won’t be enough to properly wash your dishes.
  • All knives should be pointing down. You should also keep stainless steel and silver cutlery in separate baskets. In addition, silver must be removed from the dishwasher before the drying phase.
  • Do not exceed the dishwasher’s capacity. This may damage the swivel arms.
  • Clean food scraps. Do this before starting the washing cycle to prevent the clogging of internal gears and pipes.
  • Check the filter. Do this two to three times a month if you use your dishwasher frequently. Remove the filter counterclockwise and take out any debris before washing it with water.
  • Perform regular cleaning. Use a dedicated product for deep cleaning when necessary.
They save water, energy, take care of your hands, it is more hygienic than if you wash manually and also leave you free time to perform other activities.

The capacity of a dishwasher is usually measured in place settings.
(Source: Andriy Popov: 43694068/

Shopping Criteria

Buying a dishwasher is an investment, and there is a series of key aspects that you should consider to make the most successful purchase possible. The capacity and size, for instance, are important elements that must be taken into account when choosing the appliance best suited to your needs. In the following section, we’ll discuss in greater detail some of these main criteria:


As we explained earlier, the capacity of a dishwasher is generally expressed in place settings. This means that you should anticipate how many guests you may host in the future. If many people live in your household, you should opt for a model with 12 to 14 place settings. Remember each unit consists of all the cutlery, plates and glasses used by one person during a meal.


The size of your dishwasher is naturally an important aspect to consider, as placing it in your laundry room or in your kitchen are two very different things. Various models will suit your needs depending on the space you want to dedicate to the appliance. Here are some of the options you can purchase based on size:

Dishwasher size Which option is right for me?
Standard (24 inches) These large-capacity models (12 to 16 place settings) are most suitable for families.
The actual manufacturing size is 23.5 inches.
These appliances are the most commonly sold and therefore offer enhanced technological features.
Narrow (18 inches) They are the most suitable for smaller kitchens. Their capacity generally ranges from 7 to 11 place settings.
Like the standard models mentioned above, the manufacturing size is slightly smaller (17.5 inches).
Compact Designed for small spaces, sporadic use or single people, their capacity rarely exceeds 6 place settings.

Noise Level

The sound power level is indeed a key factor to take into account when buying your own dishwasher. If you plan on using it often, you will regret picking a model that is too loud. Most appliances emit between 45 and 60 decibels (dB) of noise, a value that you can find on the energy label. The lower it is, the less you’ll notice the noise when the appliance is fully operational.

If you want to run washing cycles at night, choose a model that doesn’t exceed 45 decibels. If you intend on placing your dishwasher in the basement, for instance, make sure the sound power level is at most 55 dB. This won’t bother you and the appliance will perform its function in a somewhat silent way. In short, the less noise it makes, the more expensive it will be.


If you want to truly be satisfied with the dishwasher you purchase, there are various key criteria that you should be familiar with. As we’ve just seen, the sound power level is one such aspect. If you don’t have much time and want to have your dishwasher running during the night, you should opt for a silent model that won’t exceed 45 decibels.

Other important factors will also play a role in your decision to pick a specific model. These include the type of dishwasher you want, the space you have available, or the variety of washing programs offered by the appliance. Your budget and comfort of use will also be influenced by these criteria, while the reputation of the manufacturer shouldn’t be left aside, either. It will give you greater confidence in the product and allow you to find spare parts more easily.

If you liked our guide on dishwashers, feel free to share this article on your social media so that others can also learn more about this appliance. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, and we’ll be happy to get back to you as soon as possible!

(Source of featured image: Glasner: 87811936/

Why you can trust me?

Phoebe Mary Office Manager & Furniture Specialist
Phoebe loves her job as an office manager. She loves to see all the employees of her office work comfortably. This is why she has been concerned with finding the right office equipment. Need a piece of furniture? Just ask Phoebe!