What To Look For in a Dishwasher

Eddie Talbot

Dishwashers are often a taken-for-granted undercounter kitchen workhorse appliance. However, the one in your kitchen impacts your routine every day—how clean your dishes will be, how many dishes you’ll be washing or rewashing by hand, how noisy your kitchen will be as the dishwasher works its magic, when you can clean your dishes, how your kitchen looks, and even whether you feel guilty or good using it. To make it all work, you need a dishwasher that matches your lifestyle.

What To Look for in Your Next Dishwasher

Your day-to-day activities and your home choices are a good measure of what you need in a dishwasher. If you take a few minutes to think about how you live, how you want to live and your future plans, finding the right appliance for your kitchen becomes a simpler process.

  1. Does it fit your space?
    The majority of dishwashers sold are built-ins that are hardwired into your kitchen’s plumbing and electrical systems. Usually, they sit directly beneath the countertop within a standard-sized space in the base cabinetry allotted to hold the standard dishwasher measuring 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 35 inches tall. You always need to measure your space, however, as older homes with nonstandard cabinetry or counters, kitchens with multiple layers of flooring or kitchens with limited space may have slightly different dimensions.

    Luckily, most dishwashers conform to standard measurements. Even ones featuring a tall tub—and more interior space—have standard dimensions. Space-saving options include compact, countertop and single-drawer dishwashers.
  2. Does it have the right style and finish?
    White, black and stainless steel are all popular appliance finishes. However, stainless can be light, medium or even dark—often called black stainless—in tone. Since dishwashers handle the dirty work of the kitchen, manufacturers often enhance finishes to make them more durable, more resistant to stains and fingerprints, and easier to keep clean. For highly customized kitchens, a matching cabinetry façade designed to conceal the dishwasher can provide a seamless look.

    You’ll also want to consider handle style—inset versus bar handle, for example—and control panel location and options to ensure the dishwasher will fit with your other appliances and kitchen design features.
  3. How will it handle your dish capacity?
    How many place settings does your dishwasher need to be able to handle at a time? How many place settings do you go through in a day? Most of us wait to run the dishwasher until it’s full to save on energy costs, so how long will it take you to fill it? Will you run out of dishes, or will you pile a second load in the sink? Do you want to be able to just put everything in the dishwasher and forget about it?

    Your weekday routine may be quite different from weekends—especially if you like to entertain. Most dishwasher specifications and listed features will highlight the quantities and types of dishes, glassware and cookware that they’re designed to handle. Other features to consider are the number of racks and baskets and the number and placement of wash arms and sprayers.
  4. Does it do what you need it to do?
    Check out the control panel. What types of cycles will it run? Can you do a rinse only? How does the dishwasher handle a light or delicate load of stemware and appetizer plates, for example, versus a heavily soiled load racked and stacked—complete with a pot or two? Can you time when you want it to run or put it on a delay?

    Does the dishwasher offer any functionality bonuses that make it easier or more enjoyable to use? Some common issues are ease of loading, glass breakage and noise levels. How easily can you make adjustments to racks? How does the dishwasher secure fragile items? How loud is the dishwasher when it runs?
  5. Is the dishwasher eco-friendly?
    Appliances can help us be good environmental stewards even as they make our lives easier. Science confirms that dishwashers get our dishes cleaner than we can hand scrubbing them and that dishwashers use far less water than hand scrubbing.

    As you shop and compare dishwashers, consider their energy-efficiency ratings as well as how much water they use, how they use it, the selection of wash cycles offered, their timing options, and even the types of detergents and rinse agents they’re designed to use.

A Dishwasher for Every Lifestyle—Whirlpool’s 44 dBA Dishwasher in PrintShield Finish With FreeFlex Third Rack

The Whirlpool 44 dBA Dishwasher in PrintShield Finish With FreeFlex Third Rack is the perfect appliance to start with when dishwasher shopping simply because it’s the one you’re certain to come back to. This isn’t any old standard dishwasher. Whirlpool’s designers paid attention to all of the little extras in big ways.

  • The Racks—Imagine what you can do with a third, top rack. With deep angles, drip tabs, its own rotating wash jets and a removable utensil tray, the FreeFlex top rack is that dedicated space for all the items you’ve been tucking here and there in a regular machine, hoping they’ll get clean. Its smart design is perfect for glasses, mugs, measuring cups, cooking implements and more.

    Then, imagine what you can do with a middle rack that you can easily adjust up or down to fit whatever you need to load. If it’s stemware, the rack has feathers to hold delicate glasses in place throughout the wash. Both the middle and lower racks slide easily even when fully loaded and feature adjustable rows so that you can fit even the most awkward items.
  • The Water Filtration System—The Advanced Clean Water Wash System uses microfiltration to continually remove even the smallest of particles from the wash and rinse cycles. The result is that the dishwasher is always washing—or rinsing—all three racks with water that is clean. Best of all, the filter needs no routine maintenance.
  • The Finish and Control Options—It comes in two PrintShield finishes—stainless steel and black stainless steel—that resist smudges and fingerprints and clean up easily. Two display options let you decide if you want the control panel on the front, with an inset handle, or on the top face of the door, with a towel-bar handle.

    The ProWash cycle lets you press start knowing that the dishwasher’s sensors will assess soil levels and tailor the wash cycle accordingly. However, you also can choose from tough, normal and express washes and a rinse-only cycle as well as “high temp wash,” “sani rinse” and “heat dry” settings. You can even delay the wash for two, four or eight hours. The dishwasher also has a Kosher consumer friendly mode.

As for the 44 dBA in the dishwasher’s name, it refers to how quiet the dishwasher is while operating. With an A-weighted decibel level of 44, this dishwasher is quiet—quiet enough to make its 44 dBA part of the model title.

Spend your time living—not scrubbing. For more great appliances that match superior functionality to your lifestyle, count on Coburn’s. Stop by your nearest Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom location and we’ll help you find the appliances that can keep up with your lifestyle.