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This buying guide is designed to be jargon free, to help you understand what you need to consider when buying a dishwasher and ultimately help you decide what sort of dishwasher is right for you.

Dishwashers Buying Guide

There is a common misconception that using a dishwasher wastes more water than washing up by hand. The average household will do two or three hand washes a day using 21 litres of water every time while a new dishwasher only uses 15 litres per wash. Hand washing consumes around 23,000 litres of water per year compared to 3120 litres for a dishwasher. Washing up by hand accounts for about 10% of a household's daily water needs, but using a modern dishwasher could reduce this to less than 2%.

It is important to consider the capacity size you want inside the dishwasher, this is measured in place settings. Dishwashers range from 6 to 15 place settings, each place setting consists of a dinner plate, a soup bowl, a dessert plate, a tea cup and saucer, a tumblers, a knife, fork, soup spoon, teaspoon and dessertspoon.

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Look out for handy time saving features like quick wash. This will get a small load washed in no time:

  • Auto half load function - if you don't have the time to wait for a full load then this function is designed to automatically determine whether there is a full or a half load and will adapt the water and energy accordingly.
  • Quick wash - a programme which operates around 45°C and will clean all the dishes from a meal in less than 30 minutes.
  • LED indicators - these are a useful extra which monitor and display information about your cycle and programme times so you know exactly where your dishwasher is up to. It displays remaining programme time, start delay time and when your salt and rinse aid need refilling.
  • Time delay - a function which allows flexibly around your busy lifestyle, by letting you set the dishwasher anything from 1-24 hours in advance. This means you can take advantage of off-peak electricity costs.
  • Active Drying - condenses the steam on your dishes leaving them sparkling clean and extra dry.
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All models are now rated by the EU to let people know how much energy is needed to run them. The energy ratings go from A to G with A being the best. A dishwasher with a high energy rating will save you electricity and money on your energy bills. The majority of dishwashers are 'A' energy rated. Some models are available with an 'A+' energy rating which on average will save 10% more energy than an 'A' rated model.

A good way to work out just how much buying an energy saving dishwasher will save you is to calculate how much it costs to run over a year. To help you we have calculated how much it costs to run your dishwasher depending on how energy efficient it is. These figures are based on the average household doing 7 dishwashing loads per week, and based on the average energy cost being 11p per kilowatt per hour. The useful chart will allow you to see how much you will expect to pay for the running costs of a dishwasher.

Dishwashers Annual Running Cost
    Anunual running cost  
A+++ Rated £23
A++ Rated £27
A+ Rated £32
A Rated £38
B Rated £43
Running costs are based upon the sales-weighted average size of each appliance. Assumes 245 cycles are run per year across an array of temperatures. Actual running costs will vary depending on how often the appliance is used.
Assumes electricity tariff of 12.50p/kWh.
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There are two fit types available when choosing a dishwasher and this may be pre-determined by the space you have available.

  • Freestanding model - this model will fit anywhere you have a suitable space and a connection to a water supply, it is important that the front of the appliance will suit the style of your kitchen as this will be on show.
  • Built in model - this fit type will sit behind a furniture door so the appliance won't be able to be seen.
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  • Full size dishwashers are the biggest models, they are able to wash more dishes at a time and generally have more features. As you might expect they are physically bigger and so need enough space to be fitted in your kitchen. Full size dishwashers offer 12 - 14 place settings and are suitable for most families.
  • Slimline dishwashers are ideal if space is a problem. Fully comprehensive, with a wide range of features, they offer 9 - 10 place settings and are great for small households or if your kitchen doesn't have much space.
  • Compact/table-top dishwashers are very small, in comparison to a full size dishwasher. They offer up to 6 place settings and are perfect for couples, if you live alone, in flats or office kitchens.
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