What to Look for in a Dishwasher

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for Direct from the Designers™

The dishwasher may not be the first appliance that comes to mind when you build the perfect suite, but this workhorse will help keep you in love with your kitchen going forward! When you can minimize energy spent on cleanup, there’s more time to enjoy cooking, sharing meals, and hosting. So, do you know what features to prioritize when you shop for a dishwasher? Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you get the most from your new purchase!

KitchenAid FreeFlex Third Rack Dishwashers

KitchenAid® FreeFlex™ Third Rack Dishwashers not only have the largest third rack available—made to accommodate utensils, cups, and bowls—but the adjustable middle rack moves up and down and allows you create space where you need it. Rotating wash jets ensure everything is effectively cleaned!

Cleaning Capacity

As a cleaning appliance, a good dishwasher should be designed to maximize capacity without sacrificing efficacy—you want to be able to physically fit more in and be sure that it will all come out clean. The third rack has been a hot feature for a few years; originally designed for flatware, it made use of unused volume with a simple tray, but now third racks are designed to hold a variety of dishes to even more effectively fill the volume of the dishwasher. Adjustable racks are a newer innovation that build on this, giving you the power to move the middle rack to make room for tricky items like blender jars and serving trays as needed. Of course, fitting more means the dishwasher needs more jets to spray down every item, so be sure to look at the whole picture.

KitchenAid 44 dBA Dishwasher with FreeFlex Third Rack and LED Interior Lighting

This KitchenAid® 44 dBA Dishwasher with FreeFlex™ Third Rack and LED Interior Lighting boasts a sleek Black Stainless Steel with PrintShield™ Finish, ENERGY STAR® certification, and an Advanced Clean Water Wash System that filters particles to circulate clean water throughout each cycle.

Energy & Water Efficiency

Reducing human impact on the environment is a good thing for everybody, and as a homeowner, you can expect some monetary savings when you install efficient products. The dishwasher is a unique one because it uses electricity and water. There are plenty of ENERGY STAR® certified dishwashers out there, so be sure to look at specifications and choose one that consumes less electricity. Also consider the amount of water a cycle uses, and look for features that reduce the amount needed. Today’s dishwashers use a lot less than older ones—and much less than handwashing in the sink—but also take capacity into account. When you can wash more at once, you can run fewer loads and save resources. If you look, you’ll find models that check all the efficiency boxes!

JennAir Lustre Stainless 24" Trifecta Pocket-Handle Dishwasher

The JennAir® Lustre Stainless 24” TriFecta™ Pocket-Handle Dishwasher comes in at an exceptionally quiet 38 dBA when running—about the same amount of background noise as a library! With a sleek exterior and tons of interior features, this luxury appliance delivers on all fronts.

Noise Level

With the popularity of open floor plans, traveling noise is more of an issue than it used to be. Whether you like to spend time in the great room or right in the kitchen, you don’t want the sound of a running dishwasher in the background. Manufacturers have taken this into consideration to deliver remarkably quiet dishwashers now. You’ll find the decibel level listed in the specifications, and as you’d expect, practically all current models are quieter than their predecessors. Anything under 50 dBA—about the same as a running refrigerator—is considered quiet, but they definitely go lower!

Whirlpool Smart Dishwasher with Stainless Steel Tub

The Whirlpool® Smart Dishwasher with Stainless Steel Tub allows for smart device and voice control when you download the app (Android and iOS) and connect with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. It also lets you select a 1 to 24 hour delay directly.

Helpful Features

Do any particular dishwasher shortfalls come to mind? Perhaps you’ve wished for a solution that hadn’t yet made it to market? Well, it’s time to take another look! The dishwasher has long been the most basic appliance in the suite—no real extras to be found like in ranges and fridges—but things are different now. There are tons of tailored wash cycles, delay start options, and Wi-Fi connected models that offer remote operation and smart functionality. You’ll also find lighted interiors that make it easy to see what you’re loading/unloading. If you’re concerned about accessibility, go for an ADA compliant dishwasher; these are designed with controls that are easy to use with one hand, higher racks that are easier to fill from a seated position, etc. With all this diversity, you’re sure to find the perfect dishwasher for your needs.

Whirlpool Panel-Ready Compact Dishwasher with Stainless Steel Tub

This Whirlpool® Panel-Ready Compact Dishwasher with Stainless Steel Tub provides cleaning power for tight places. With the integrated controls on top and flush installation, it can blend in seamlessly with cabinetry.

Exterior Design

Finally, a dishwasher has to look good, of course! Most people focus on the finish and matching the other appliances in the kitchen for a cohesive look. Stainless steel will never go out of fashion, but don’t be afraid to look at other finishes or consider paneling to match your cabinetry—one may offer a better vibe for the rest of your design decisions. Also be sure to look at the exterior overall. You have a choice between front or integrated controls and different types of handles, but these features have to work together. So, think about it—do you like having buttons on the door or do you want a seamless look that hides them on the top edge of the door? Is that preference more or less important to you than having a towel bar handle, a pocket handle, a recessed handle, a scoop handle, or a matching cabinet pull? Yes, there are that many options to consider!

If you’re in the market for a great dishwasher, or any other kitchen appliance for that matter, be sure to explore Whirlpool®, KitchenAid®, and JennAir® to find the perfect solution. With a vast collection of models to suit all spaces and price points, you’re sure to find something that works for your cleaning, style, and everyday needs!

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