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Choosing a Dishwasher

Dishwashers are one of the most popular convenience appliances for the kitchen. An automatic dishwasher takes much of the labor out of kitchen cleanup and is useful in sanitizing dishes, utensils, pots and pans. While most dishwashers have essentially the same functionality, the available features differentiate the various models. Learn more about what to look for when selecting a dishwasher for your home.

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Consider Size and Style When Choosing a Dishwasher

Measure the exterior dimensions of the dishwasher to ensure it will fit in the space you have allocated for it. Most dishwashers have a width of 18 or 24 inches. It is also important to investigate how much the dishwasher will hold, especially if you have a large family or entertain often. Most dishwashers sold are either white or almond in color. Stainless steel, black, and smoke gray models are also available. The most common dishwasher models are built in to cabinetry, but it is also possible to get stand-alone dishwashers

Choice of Dishwasher: Look For a Flexible Interior Configuration

Look for flexibility in the configuration of the dishwasher's racks. Adjustments to the racks allow you to wash oversized items as needed and to return the racks to standard positions for everyday use. Other features to look for are closed compartments for small items and foldable shelving.

Water Temperature and Spray Patterns of Dishwashers

Some dishwasher units use the hot water from your plumbing system without additional heating elements. Other dishwashers contain water heaters to ensure the temperature reaches the appropriate levels for optimum cleaning. A dishwasher cleans by spraying water on the dishes. Look for the number and size of spray holes; small holes generally spray with more force for powerful cleaning and the more directions the spray is aimed, the cleaner the dishes will be.

Dishwasher Cycles

The dishwasher cycles control the type of washing that the dishwasher does. Delicate cycles allow lower pressure washing for items like crystal and china. Heavy-duty washing is used for pots, pans and dried-on foods. In addition, many dishwashers allow you to select different drying cycles, or to skip drying altogether and air dry the dishes to save energy. Some newer, high-end models have sensors to automatically choose the cycle for each load based on how dirty the dishes are. A timer or delay cycle is useful for setting the dishwasher to run at a set time. This is useful for balancing appliance energy use and avoiding dishwasher noise.

Dishwashers: Noise Reduction

Look for a dishwasher with noise reduction. Some of the newest models are so quiet you may not even know they are running. This is especially important if you have a kitchen that is open to other living space, so the dishwasher does not interfere with family activities.

Research Different Models of Dishwasher

As with all major appliances, it is important to research the reliability of any models you are considering before you make a purchase. Refer to an impartial consumer publication for recommendations on the best models in your price range that offer your desired collection of features.