How is the washing performance?
The first thing you want to know about any dishwasher is how well it cleans the dishes. Are there any stains or films left on the dishes at the end of the washing cycles? How long does it take to run a full cycle? Answer these questions as best you can and you will have made a good start.
Is there a soil sensor?
This is an important feature that directly affects the efficiency of the dishwasher and the cleanliness of the dishes. The sensor detects the amount of soil on the dishes and adjusts the cycle time accordingly. So, if the dishes are too dirty, the cycle takes longer and the dishes end up clean. If, on the other hand, the dishes are not that dirty, the cycle takes less time, the machine consumes less energy and the dishes end up clean anyway. This is a very convenient and efficient feature to have.
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Is there a timer function?
The timer function is almost a “must have” nowadays, and very few consumers will buy a dishwasher without a programmable delay.
How many cycles? Any special cycles?
Most standard dishwasher models come with three cycles: light, normal and heavy wash. However, certain models offer many more cycles including special cycles like steam clean, china/crystal and sanitizing cycles. Having these extra cycles is absolutely a good thing, and some consumers may decide on which model to buy based on the number of available cycles.
Is there a dry cycle? Is it efficient?
Some models have a drying cycle which allows the user to take the dishes out of the machine and use them right away without additional drying. If the unit has an efficient dry cycle (because some models have dry cycles, yet leave the dishes wet at the end), make sure you realize the importance and convenience of having this feature.
Is there a rinse/hold cycle?
The rinse/hold cycle is another useful feature that greatly improves the effectiveness and energy-efficiency of the dishwasher. This feature allows the user to insert dishes that are dirtier than the rest first; the machine then rinses them, removing most of the excess dirt and pauses. Then the user places the other (less dirty) dishes and the normal cycle begins.
This is a very energy-efficient way of washing the dishes and is considered a big plus by many consumers. In addition, it ensures that the dirtiest dishes are washed properly.
How many place settings, are there adjustable racks?
Dishwasher capacity is generally expressed in terms of place settings. Most models on the market today will have around 14 place settings (which means the complete set of dishes and cutlery for 14 people).
Bigger capacities are generally considered a good thing, however, what’s more important is the presence/lack of adjustable racks and tines. These allow bigger/oddly shaped dishes and pots/pans to fit the dishwasher and are more significant than the capacity.
Is the tub plastic or stainless steel?
Most dishwasher models on the market have two types of tubs: stainless steel and gray-speckled plastic. The stainless steel is always better to have and prolongs the life of the dishwasher as it resists stains and rust.
Are filters self-cleaning (with grinder) or not?
There are two types of filters used in dishwashers: the self-cleaning (grinder type) filters and manual cleaning filters. While most models use self-cleaning filters (which are obviously better for the user), some have manual filters. The downside with self-cleaning filters is that the grinder makes a significant amount of noise (in fact, that is what renders a dishwasher loud).
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Is the machine quiet or noisy?
Some people will want to use their dishwashers at night using the built-in timer option, so that the dishes are clean and ready to be used in the morning. If the dishwasher is too noisy, this will not be possible.