Shopping for a new dishwasher can seem overwhelming. There is a vast range of manufacturers, models and price points. Manufacturers often don't make just one model, but instead offer several different models each with its own nuances and special features. When it's time to purchase a new dishwasher, keep several factors in mind.

Style

Maintaining your dishwasher

Choose a dishwasher that fits your space. A standard built-in design often is the most common. The traditional built-in has a cube shape and fits under the countertop, usually next to the sink. This full-size dishwasher is ideal for families.

A drawer-style dishwasher also is built-in but usually is smaller than the traditional style dishwasher. A single-drawer dishwasher is ideal for smaller kitchens and anyone who only has a few dishes to wash every few days. Double-drawer dishwashers also are an option and typically offer the same capacity as a standard dishwasher.

The portable dishwasher works great when there is limited kitchen space ”” storing out of sight in a closet or pantry and then wheeled out and connected to the faucet with a hose for use.

Capacity

Capacity is the interior space the dishwasher offers. If there are several people in the home and many dishes used daily, consider a dishwasher with larger capacity. On average, a smaller capacity dishwasher easily can accommodate 8 place settings, while one with greater capacity can fit double that amount. A dishwasher listed as fitting 12 place settings generally is a good size for a family of 2 to 4 who plan to use it regularly.

When considering capacity, also keep in mind the type of dishes most used. If you plan on washing many pots, pans and taller items, opt for a dishwasher with a taller tub and adjustable racks. It's also important to plan for changes in family size ”” choose a dishwasher's capacity to meet the growing needs of the family.

Cycles and Special Features

Not all dishwashers offer the same wash cycles and special features. Higher-end models are going to offer more such as a stainless steel tub, hidden controls (for aesthetics) and a built-in hard food disposal to eliminate the need for pre-rinsing the dishes.

Why a hard-food disposal in the dishwasher when you've already one in your sink? A hard-food disposal feature saves time; no scraping or rinsing dishes. Avoid a smelly garbage disposal in-sink by allowing the dishwasher to do the dirty work. The disposal feature removes food bits from dishes keeping odors out of the kitchen. Dishwashers with a built-in food disposal feature typically require little maintenance. However, if there is a need for disposal odor removal, consult the dishwasher's owner manual for proper garbage disposal maintenance.

Other must-have features and cycles include:

  • Gentle cycles for washing crystal and china
  • A low-decibel (noise) rating
  • Fold-down/adjustable tines
  • Customizable silverware baskets, allowing you to maximize capacity
  • Delay start feature
  • Water-saving options

Personal budget will most determine the type of dishwasher purchased. However, with the wide range of choices available, selecting a new dishwasher should not be difficult. After your purchase, be sure to maintain your dishwasher with monthly cleaning. Using a dishwasher cleaner like Glisten Dishwasher Magic will keep your unit functioning in peak condition for years to come.