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Buying a Dishwasher? How To Choose the Right One…

If there’s one thing that’s bound to cause a row at home, it’s who does the dishes. Cleaning up the plates, pots and pans is one of the least-liked chores.

Only a third of UK households have a dishwasher, but it could not only save the arguments, but also save water, time and the environment. You might even find you’re healthier, with less germs left on your crockery and glasses from that dirty, unhygienic dishcloth and tea towel.

But where do you start when shopping for a dishwasher. Read on for our guide to the main questions to ask yourself, including the most important elements to look for. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or replacing your old one, follow our tips and you’ll clean up.

What’s the Right Size Dishwasher for Me?

If you’re a single person living alone, then a full-size dishwasher probably isn’t for you. So it could be worth checking out a table-top version that sits on the worktop in the kitchen and can wash just a few plates and pans at a time.

Larger families would obviously benefit from the biggest 60cm wide machines, but internal size isn’t necessarily key.

A slimline 45cm machine, designed to fit tighter gaps, could still get the job done if it has flexible shelving inside to suit different combinations of place settings. These range from four in compact machines to 15 in full-size ones. The standard is 12.

What Savings Can I Make?

On average, a dishwasher will save you nine days a year, which would previously have been wasted scrubbing dishes at the sink. You will also save water. Many machines, including those from the likes of Bosch and Miele, have eco-wash programs to use less water during the cleaning process. For example, one Bosch model uses just six litres for a full load.

And you will also cut down on germs. Dishwashers wash at a temperature far higher than the human hand can bare, even in rubber gloves. This is makes it more hygienic – A tea towel used for drying up could contain as much as 30 trillion colonies of bacteria.

How Much Will I Be Able to Fit Inside My Dishwasher?

Storage and flexibility are two of the key factors to look at when choosing a dishwasher. Look for top racks that are height adjustable to push down or fold up allowing items such as long-stemmed glasses to fit in.

This also means you can push them up too, in order to create more space below for larger pans in the bottom rack.

Many machines will have a separate cutlery rack in the top tray, saving space underneath, and some will come with ones purely for large sharp knives that keeps them safe.

Are Dishwashers Complicated to Use?

Much like washing machines, basic dishwashers come with simple manual control dials to select programs and options. But others with electronic LED displays allow a few more features.

With an LCD screen, you get even more options and customisable programs. For example, time delay lets you load it up and set the dishwasher to come on up to 24 hours ahead. The screen also provides a countdown timer showing how long is left.

A quick wash function can turn around clean plates and dishes in just 30 minutes while a half load option means it can be used without having to be full.

Will I Have to Soak My Dishes and Pans First?

By choosing a dishwasher with different spray levels you can achieve the deepest cleaning. Inside, different size spray heads ensure the largest, most soiled, cooking equipment is cleaned thoroughly.

Some models also have special cleaning zones, such as in the bottom basket, turning it into an intensive cleaning area with increased pressure and higher temperatures for heavier dirt.

Higher-end machines even have a sensor system, which checks the level of soil in pre-rinse water to decide if the same water can be used for main wash too. It even determines the temperature and pressure depending how dirty the water is.

Are Dishwashers Noisy?

If you have an open plan kitchen then you may worry about the noise associated with a dishwasher. Check the Energy Rating label, it shows the decibels created by the machine, ranging from 40 to 62. Bosch and Miele have extra quiet programs on theirs that can keep it down to between 40 and 43.

By comparison, 30 is the conversation level in a library while 70 is the sound a vacuum cleaner makes. Hotpoint Ultima models have a quiet program for use in the evening.

Can I Use It for My Baby Products?

Special hygiene programs are now available from Hotpoint, Bosch, Siemens and Miele just for baby bottles. This ensures they do not have any harmful bacteria on them. It can also be used with plates and cups for younger children or cooking utensils that need a much higher temperature to clean them.

If you have children, make sure to buy a dishwasher with child-proof locks to stop them pulling down the door while it is working.

Do I Have any Colour Choice Beyond Black or White?

These days, you don’t have to put up with basic colours on your kitchen appliances. Of course, dishwashers do come in black, white or silver but the likes of SMEG even produce a lime green or purple one!

What About the New Steam Clean Dishwashers?

Whirlpool and LG use steam in some of their models for cleaning. This is good for softening food and delivers a hygienic result.

Is There Anything Else to Consider?

Flood Protection is important. Bosch and Miele machines contain sensors so if they detect a leak the water cuts off. Dosage Assist from Bosch also helps the tablet to dissolve evenly.

Jargon Buster:

Learn what some of the more confusing dishwasher terms actually mean…


A new dish washing system from Bosch that gets the maximum use out of each and every drop of water, resulting in using less water and less energy but with increased performance.


Wash delicate glasses with confidence as the dishwasher will automatically adjust the level of water hardness.

Dossage Assist

In order to maximise the effectiveness of detergent tablets, during the rinse cycle the tablet drops into a special tray in the top basket where its dissolving is controlled to ensure outstanding results.

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