A dishwasher is a useful and convenient appliance to have in your kitchen. It cuts down on the time and effort spent on washing dishes or various utensils used in the kitchen. If you are buying a dishwasher for the first time, described below are some important features and parts you should be aware of and the ways in which you can buy a dishwasher to suit your needs.
Types of dishwashers. There are usually two types of dishwashers available in the market today - built-in or portable. Built-in dishwashers are permanent appliances which are fixed below the countertop, close to a sink. Portable machines come with wheels and can be moved around to create space for your convenience. These come with finished tops and sides and are more expensive than the built-in models.
Dimensions. Typically, dishwashers are around 24 inches wide, while there are a few 18-inch models also available. Features which you need to check and decide if they are required for your dishwashing needs are as follows.
Heating and water saving. To clean dishes really well, water needs to be heated to at least 140 degrees. Most dishwashers have a 110 degree water heater, so you need to look for a model which has the former heating capacity. Water saving cycles is an important feature because no matter where you live, water conservation is a good idea.
Number of washing cycles. All dishes and utensils cannot be cleaned using the same washing technique. Hence, your dishwasher should have different cycles for delicate items, small and big dishes and utensils, rinsing facilities or should be able to clear food particles and other cooking debris before starting the wash cycle. A soaking feature is also a good idea for stubborn grease and stains.
Interiors. The inside of a dishwasher needs to be well-spaced and laid out for convenient access and placements for dishes of various shapes and sizes.
Timer and insulation. These are good features to have if you do not want a noisy dishwasher. A timer will help in operating the dishwasher at your convenience, by setting a delay-control if you wish.
Controls and appearance. The various knobs and controls should be simple to use, clean easily and be durable. Color and appearance is more a matter of choice and aesthetics. You can choose a color which fits in with the rest of your kitchen décor or one which stands out from the rest of the appliances.
Energy rating and warranties. These are the two most important features to look for in a dishwasher. The lower the energy rating for the appliance, the more efficiently it will work and reduce power consumption. Manufacturer warranties are important, spare parts must be easily available and a servicing and maintenance plan is also important.
There are online and offline resources available which will guide you through the dishwasher buying process. Some of the more popular online resources are e-buying guides, consumer reports, home appliance and maintenance websites, manufacturers' sites, etc. Offline resources include periodicals such as Consumer Digest, consumer reports, etc.