Do I Need a Dishwasher?
No you don’t, but it will sure save you a lot of time, I don’t know anyone that enjoys washing up and wasting time standing at the sink, even if you might have a lovely view from your kitchen window.
A common myth about dishwashers is that they use more water than washing by hand, whilst this might have been true many years ago, the modern day dishwasher is very efficient and can easily use less water than it normally takes to wash by hand.
Using a dishwasher is also more hygienic as you can wash at higher temperatures than is humanly possible to do with your bare hands, even taking rubber gloves into account.
If you have the space to fit one into your kitchen and have a water supply and waste pipe ready to go, then it is a good investment to make. Instead of arguing who’s turn it is to do the washing up, you can instead argue over who’s turn it is to empty the dishwasher.
Remember that not all types of cutlery, glasses or crockery can be put into a dishwasher, be careful not to ruin your favourite crystal glasses.
A dishwasher’s capacity is measured in place settings. One place setting is equal to:
- One dinner plate
- One bowl
- One dessert plate
- One tea cup and saucer
- One glass tumbler
- Set of cutlery – Knife, fork, soup spoon, dessert spoon and tea spoon
So the higher the capacity the more items you can fit in the dishwasher, but sometimes the higher the capacity the more difficult it becomes to load, because the plate racks can be a lot closer to each other in order to achieve a higher place setting.
If you are washing large pans or serving bowls, this will lower the amount of place settings that you are able to utilise.
Type of Dishwasher
There are three types of dishwasher you can purchase:
- Full Size – These are 60cm wide and normally hold 12 – 16 place settings.
- Slimline – These are 45cm wide and normally hold 9 – 10 place settings.
- Compact – These can fit on top of a work surface, an alternative solution if you have no space under your work surface.
It is important that you work with the space that you have available, and you can see that even a slimline dishwasher can hold 10 place settings, which is still quite a lot of items.
Compact dishwashers although a lot smaller in size are on a lot of occasions more expensive to buy than slimline and fullsize dishwashers. It is more of a niche market which only a few manufacturers produce for.
Gradings range between A and A+++, with A+++ being the best.
The energy rating though is only measured using one programme, which is the eco programme, so if you don’t regularly use this programme, the energy rating isn’t that useful as a purchasing decision.
If this will be your programme of choice, then always check the annual energy consumption to see which models will save you money.
There are many types of displays available from LED to LCD to touchscreen, where you can set your desired programme. The most useful thing these provide is that they let you know how much time it will take until your dishes are clean.
If you live in an open plan living area, then you might want to take into consideration the noise level of the dishwasher, you don’t really want your dishwasher interrupting your favourite TV programme or whilst you’re having a romantic meal. Also, if you are putting the dishwasher on at night, you don’t want to be kept awake by the dulcet tones of water spraying in your dishwasher.
Most dishwashers will have a noise level that ranges between 40 – 50db, but some can fall either side of these numbers. Take a look at the chart above to view some examples of db noise levels.
Depending on the place setting capacity of your dishwasher, this can range anywhere from 5.5L up to 15L.
If you are on a water metre it might make sense to go for a lower water consumption model, but again this consumption figure is based only on the eco programme, use any other programme and it will change.
Some features to consider that might make your life that little bit easier:
- Height adjustable upper basket – The upper basket can be set to a lower or higher setting dependent on whether you have large plates or glasses that you need to accommodate.
- Flexible racking – Plate and/or glass supports can be folded down which will enable you to more easily accommodate large saucepans and grill trays.
- Auto sense wash programme – Don’t worry about choosing the correct programme, sensors within the dishwasher will work this out for you and wash until everything is clean.
- Cutlery drawer – A slimline tray at the top of the dishwasher, you can place your cutlery here, which will free up space in the bottom basket.
- End of cycle buzzer – Audible alert to warn you when the wash cycle has finished.
- Half load – When you don’t have a full load to wash, this option can save on both time and energy.
- Salt and rinse aid indicators – Visible warning to let you know when you have run out of rinse aid and salt.