This is the best time in history to buy a dishwasher. There are more options, higher efficiency, they are far quieter than previous versions and come in a wide variety of shapes, colors and finishes. Product development departments certainly have been burning the midnight oil.
Most of the time when purchasing a large appliance, the decision is influenced by price, color/finish and when and if it can be delivered. Now, you need to consider features, functionality, efficiency and form.
The number of features included in any given dishwasher comes on a list as long as what you find on a new car. This emphasizes the importance of doing your homework to compare these long lists against each other. Along with the lists that compare features, it is worth reading real human reviews that can tell you about their day to day experience. This certainly makes it easier to steer clear of the duds. Of course, make sure you base your decision on more than one review.
When it comes to areas of functionality, for anyone with sound sensitivities, most dishwashers are between 40-50 dBA. Since this has improved so much over the years, it probably will not be a huge factor when making a decision, but if this is important to you, it is nice to have a specific number which is usually provided.
If you want specific types of cycles or just like to have options, each model has its own appeal. There is no reason to buy a dishwasher with two cycles if you want 9. Likewise, if you prefer 3 racks to 2, knock yourself out.
Once you know how a unit will sound and what basic functions it performs, you can drill down to the finer details of the machine. Does it have a cancel setting? Fortunately most do. Does it do small loads? Most, but not all, so pay attention if this is important. Do you want adjustability so that you can fold everything down to clean certain large items? Or is this unimportant in the face of price or color? Some of the newer offerings include child locks, hard food processors, and variable spray pressure. Nice options.
Appliance efficiency has improved drastically over the last ten years largely because of Green Building which places an emphasis on minimizing energy use and lowering water consumption. Builders want appliances that reflect the same values as the rest of the house and don’t want appliances that hurt the building efficiency. With this in mind, low water usage and energy efficient dishwashers are everywhere. When browsing any dishwasher aisle, you will notice stickers with the estimated annual operating cost, energy usage, whether it is energy star qualified and how much water is used per cycle. The efficiency of a dishwasher is likely to play a part in your decision.
Lastly, is the appearance of the dishwasher. Not to say the other aspects are any less valuable, but at some point it becomes important to think about how the appearance of the dishwasher is going to work with all the other elements in the kitchen. Do you want it to have the same finish as the refrigerator and or oven? Or is matching not important? Do you want to try to make it as innocuous as possible or do you want it to be a focal point?
Enjoy picking out a new dishwasher.