Dishwasher Buying Guide

Before You Buy: Dishwasher

The dishwasher is one of the hardest working appliances in the kitchen.  It is designed to do what you don’t want to do: clean even the toughest baked-on food. 

Dishwashers differ quite a bit and have changed drastically in the last 10 years. Considering these dishwasher basics can help you get started.


For many years, consumers have sought the quietest dishwasher available.  Manufacturers responded to the demand, and dishwashers have gotten much quieter.  Today, every manufacturer’s line contains models that range from quiet to near silent.    


This is one of the most important features to consider but often overlooked by consumers.    Many dishwashers are whisper quiet these days, but the build quality from brand to brand has changed greatly.   Today, dishwasher life expectancy normally ranges from 5 to 9 years, with just two brands offering 20+ years.   

It’s important to think about how long you plan to own your dishwasher and how often it will be run.  Are you buying it for a condo you'll sell three months from now? In that case, you may not want to spend as much on your dishwasher.  Or will this be the unit you're installing in your remodeled dream kitchen? If so, you may want to invest in a higher-end model so that you get both a quiet dishwasher and one that will last for years to come.  

One hallmark of a better built dishwasher is a stainless steel interior.   Stainless steel interiors provide a hygienic and stain-resistant wash tub over a plastic interior.  They aid in drying results and are also more energy efficient, holding heat more effectively than their plastic counterparts.


Dishwashers with a filter system instead of just a hard food disposer will provide better wash performance and a longer life expectancy.  Installed right in the unit, the filter works to eliminate the food residue and grime so it doesn't return to your clean dishes during the rinse cycle.   

Filter systems also eliminate bones, broken glass and food particles from interfering with or causing wear and tear on the pump, circulation system and spray arms.  Some models have self-cleaning filters, while others have filters that must be removed and clean manually - you should confirm the type of filtration system so you will know what to expect in way of maintenance.  

Another key attribute for better wash performance are dishwashers equipped with three full spray arms.  Having three full spray arms allows enhanced distribution of water throughout the cavity to reach each soiled item.   This is especially important when washing mixed loads of plates, glasses, mixing bowls, cutlery and pans. 


The amount and types of wash cycles you need depends on your lifestyle.  The majority of dishwashers – even the basic ones –  will include light, normal, sani and a pots and pans cycle.  Enhanced cycles, like china crystal, are available on more premium models. These may be important to you depending on the types of items you would like to wash.  Instead of requiring you to wash your delicate dinnerware by hand, a china crystal program provides a more gentle wash and dry cycle that can be quite convenient if you frequently entertain and find your stemware and other fine crockery in heavy use. 


Our showroom displays both cost-friendly and premium brand models, and our team of non-commissioned sales staff would be happy to guide you through the process of choosing the ideal dishwasher for your application, lifestyle and budget.