Buyers Guide: Which Type Of Dishwasher Should You Buy?

Having the hard chore of washing up at the end of a long day is a feeling we all don’t want. That’s why dishwashers are so popular among many people. They save you time, effort and provide you with quality clean dishes. Better than what we could by manual cleaning.

So you want to get one, right?

There are some points you need to know before choosing a model to ensure you get the best dishwasher for your home. In this guide, we cover 5 key buying factors to understand first, before outlining the different types of dishwashers available to you.

Dishwasher Buyers Guide: A few things to check first!

1) Space

You will need to measure the space you have for a potential dishwasher.

Because of the different dimensions, not all models will be ideal for your available area. Take measurements of the space and make sure the model you want can fit neatly in without any problems.

Dishwasher size comparison from
A handy dishwasher size comparison diagram from

We’ve put together a UK Dishwasher Dimensions and Sizing Guide to help you understand all of the different dishwasher types, and the typical dimensions of each type.

If you are limited by space, we also recommend checking out our Small Dishwashers For Small Homes And Spaces guide.

2) Your washing up demands

The size of your family will generally determine the amount of washing up you need to do.

For a large family (4+ people) you will likely require a machine with 8- 15 place settings. Many large dishwashers have about 13 place settings whereas most slimline dishwashers have about 8.

If your demands are high you need to decide what would be best for you, in terms of dishwasher capacity.

3) Energy Ratings

In all our dishwasher reviews we state the energy rating of each model. Each dishwasher is vigorously tested for Eco-efficiency. Use of water and energy is intensely measured and then given a rating.

Most dishwashers will have an A+ rating which is good. Some will have an A which is still okay, but not the best.

Owning a dishwasher with a good energy rating may be slightly pricier than another unit with a worse rating, but it will save you money long term from reduced bills.

Choose wisely when looking at energy ratings!

4) Performance

In addition to value, the other main reason we choose a certain dishwasher as our #1 pick is down to performance.

In our reviews, we make sure we give the reader a good overview of the quality of each unit. We will not recommend any dishwasher that does not live up to our standard on this site.

Performance is rated on the quality of clean and operation on all modes, most notably Eco/Efficiency.

5) Integrated Or Freestanding

You will need to decide between integrated or freestanding.

If you are to choose integrated, it’s going to be more work to install, but the ability to make it blend into the kitchen theme makes it a more  desirable choice for many. Having a freestanding model is easier to set up, install, repair, and also move if needs be.

If you are going to place your dishwasher in a utility room, then a freestanding model is the best choice.

The Programs

Different types of dishwashers have more or less wash programs. The average machine has 6 programs such as:

  1. Rapid wash – A quick and easy mode which takes between 25-35 minutes depending on the individual appliance. This mode is not ideal for tough stains and heavily soiled plates. A load that only consists of easy clean dishes and cups will benefit from a rapid wash program.
  2. Pre-wash –  A pre-wash gives the load a quick rinse before the main wash cycle starts. For hard stains on pots, pans and bake trays, a pre-wash is ideal.
  3. Main wash – Every machine will offer this program. At 65ºc (give or take), this mode will give you a standard clean for all types of dishes. Quality varies from model to model, however, in our picks, the main wash is often almost as effective as an intensive wash.
  4. Intensive wash – It’s really for the hardest spoiled items you will come across. Baking trays and pots will benefit most. Ideally, you will not want delicate items inside during an intensive cycle, because the water pressure can cause damage.
  5. Eco-wash – A mode which is a permanent fixture on all dishwashers we review here. Using Eco will take longer (2+ hours whole cycle) but will incorporate energy-saving methods, using less water and energy to perform.
  6. Drying Cycle – Whilst not all dishwashers have this program, many available will do. However, on certain units, it’s not always effective, to the point where it becomes useless. Every dishwasher review we have of models that boast a drying cycle, we have highlighted and explained more in detail.

Still not sure which programs do what? We recommend reading What Do The Different Dishwasher Symbols Mean? to understand these programs further.

What Type Of Dishwasher Do You need?

I guess you have reached this part because you know you want a dishwasher, but you’re still not sure how to choose?

In this section, we outline the 3 key different types of dishwasher available on the market, to help you choose which is best for your individual needs.

Full-Size Dishwashers

These are the most common and desired dishwasher type around, and have the biggest internal capacity, with many features, and functions.

Full-sized units are ideal for large families (4+ people) as they boast the ability to keep on top of the washing up.

A typical reason consumers cannot own these is due to the size. They are not huge, but in some kitchens, space is a premium. Generally speaking, full-size models are 60 x 60 x 85cm in dimension.

Slimline Dishwashers

The amount of consumers buying a slimline is growing year on year. The reason being, they are the best alternative if you lack space for a full-size model.

Because of their slimline frame, they do lose some internal capacity. A good model will have around 10 place settings with adjustable racking, to make up for its loss. 10 place settings is a fair bit of space nevertheless, you will be able to fit inside large dinner plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, but saucepans and other larger items will have to be put in separate.

The average dimensions for slimline are: 46 x 50 x 85 cm. Unfortunately you can not get slimline much smaller than them dimensions.

Table Top Dishwashers

Table tops offer the ultimate alternative for people with absolutely no space to fit in a full-size or slimline. Counter top models are a lot smaller, and hand-washing large items is required for certain models.

If you have the available space, then we recommend you go with one of the previous dishwasher designs, but if you don’t, these models will certainly benefit your life.

The greatest benefit of a table top is that some do not require plumbing. You can connect the fresh water feed straight to your kitchen tap, which is hugely convenient for us who lack DIY skills.

We highly recommend you take a look at our best table top dishwashers if you’re looking to buy for a holiday home you own and so on.

Other Considerations

Whilst we have covered the basic considerations you will need to make when choosing a dishwasher, there are a few more we’d like to cover.

  1. Noise levels: A quality buy is a quiet one in our eyes. As much as we love our appliances, we do not want to hear them on a cycle. Luckily enough many models are very quiet and all the designs operate at around 50dB, which is quiet enough that you won’t hear it from one room away.
  2. Controls and ease-of-use: An appliance needs to be easy to understand and use. Make sure you take the time to find out if a model is user-friendly.
  3. Appearance: It’s not the worlds end if your dishwasher is ugly and does the job right? But it’s always good to take appearance into consideration because it shows the manufacturer has taken considerable detail to make sure their product is the best. If you’re looking for an integrated model, then you should not worry as much!

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