Dishwasher Features Explained

Dishwashers are among the household appliances that one would like to do without. There are different types of dishwashers, and there are also some differences between these appliances. What these are and what you should know and pay attention to when buying a dishwasher, we will explain in our dishwasher features guide.

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Dishwasher Features Explained

Today, just about every dishwasher does its main job – cleaning the dishes – well. Nevertheless, there are differences between the dishwashers that show these characteristics:

  • Cleaning performance
  • Program selection
  • Drying capacity
  • Safety equipment
  • Water consumption
  • Power consumption
  • Processing
  • Volume
  • Additional functions

Cleaning performance

Most dishwashers now clean at a high level. Ordinarily dirty dishes can be cleaned well by all dishwashers. Only in border areas, i.e. heavily burnt pots or dishes with firmly dried food remains, the plates do not get cleaned.

Program selection

Before buying, you should consider when, how often and how much dishes you need to wash. For example, if you often have guests and you need fresh dishes during the party, you should choose a dishwasher with an excellent quick program.

You can find out more about the individual programs in the “Programs” section further down in the article.

In principle, however, all currently available dishwashers have several programs on board. In the individual test reports, you will find more information on the strengths and weaknesses of the own dishwasher programs.

Drying capacity

You may remember this from old dishwashers: the dishes come wet from the dishwasher. Modern dishwashers still dry the dishes in the machine. In particular, we can recommend the devices with auto-open function, where the steam can again escape easily.

Safety features

Every dishwasher in our test had a Water Stop function to prevent the kitchen from flooding. Higher models often still have a child lock that prevents the door from being opened during the rinsing process or the setting buttons from being changed slightly. If you have children, make sure you buy an appliance with this function.

Water consumption

The values for water consumption differ. Manufacturers always specify the water consumption per year, sometimes also per rinse cycle. The annual costs effectively are based on the standard value of 280 rinsing cycles. So if you want to know how much water a dishwasher uses per cycle, you have to divide this number by 280. By the way: the values based on the standard program for average dirty dishes defined by the manufacturer. Most manufacturers take a very energy-efficient program.

Energy consumption

In our test, no dishwasher did not have at least the energy efficiency class A+, because, since December 2013, all new dishwashers must have at least the energy efficiency class A+. In practice, however, the differences between the individual energy efficiency classes are no longer significant. Only if you use the dishwasher very often can the extra investment in a dishwasher with a higher energy class be worthwhile? Read more about this in the section “Is it worth buying a new one?


The dishwashers listed here are all well processed. Especially the joints of the door should be well treated because they are exposed to higher loads. The castors on which the dish baskets are inserted can also give up their ghost but are relatively easy to replace.


The decibel numbers of the dishwashers we tested are close to each other, but 1 decibel makes a difference inaudibility. While 42 decibels are almost noiseless, 44 decibels are audible, especially in homes with high hearing levels.

Additional functions

Many devices still have additional functions that should make your life easier. Manufacturers install them to differentiate themselves from other manufacturers. In most cases, however, they are not needed and are rather a nice bonus. But you don’t necessarily need to spend more money. Examples of such additional functions are the automatic detection of the degree of soiling or the detection of the load condition.

How Does A Dishwasher Work?

A dishwasher works like this:

  1. Water is pumped into the machine; The amount of water is regulated via sensors. The water is passed over the softening unit and then warmed up. The rotating arms of the dishwasher spray hot water onto the dishes to soak and remove the coarse dirt.
  2. The wastewater gets filtered and mixed by the dosing tank with the cleaner. The water is again spread over the dishes and serves to dissolve stubborn dirt. The water is filtered and placed over the plates for a while, and then it is filtered and pumped out.
  3. Freshwater is now pumped in and heated higher than before. A little rinse aid is added, and the water is then added again over the dishes. The rinse aid has the effect that the surface tension of the water is reduced and thus it runs much more accessible from the plates.
  4. The film of water left over evaporates either through the heat of the dishes or the devices own mechanisms.

The dishwasher makes itself the Sinner circle, a mechanism of action first described by chemist Herbert Sinner. The mechanism states that there are four factors for cleaning that affect the outcome:

  1. Time (duration of the wash cycle)
  2. Mechanics (crockery spitting)
  3. Temperature (heating of the water)
  4. Chemistry (dishwasher cleaner)

While in the past the mechanical factor played an important role (manual rubbing off of the dishes with the sponge), this factor is compensated for by dishwashers through time and chemistry: the rinsing process takes much longer and the cleaners used are more aggressive than hand detergents.
The correct operation of your dishwasher

Dishwashers are relatively easy to clean, but you should pay attention to a few things in use, then you will benefit much longer from your dishwasher.

1. Using programs with higher temperature

Eco programs sound good and suggest clean and economical energy consumption. The low temperatures, however, also cause fat, which is washed off the dishes. These lumps can clog the lines in the water cycle and cause the machine to deteriorate significantly or not at all. Therefore, you should occasionally run your machine with the hottest program. When it’s time for your dishwasher to stop working correctly, you can try pouring boiling water into the pump sump to release the grease drops.

2. Cleaning nozzles and sieves

Dirt residues get caught in the screens and nozzles. For most machines, you can remove the arms with the nozzles for cleaning without tools. The cleaning of the sieves should be done regularly. Leftovers that are in the strainer otherwise begin to rot. The consequence: The dishwasher starts to spread bad smells.

3. Use of Regenerating

Dishwasher salt serves to regenerate the ion exchange resin after each rinse. Ion exchange resin? The ion exchange resin helps to soften the water by binding alkaline earth metal ions – a natural softener. Unfortunately, many cleanser manufacturers praise their cleaners by replacing the regenerating salt. Although these cleaners soften the water, the absence of regenerating salt causes the resin to calcify. This calcification is difficult to undo. Therefore you should always use sufficient regenerating salt in your dishwasher!

The different programs of a dishwasher

Normal program

The standard program works with temperatures up to 65 degrees Celsius. It is used on typical dirty dishes, but can also remove dried food particles.

Intensive program

The intensive program of a dishwasher is usually the hottest program with up to 75 degrees Celsius. It is suitable for burnt or heavily soiled pots and pans.

Saving Program / Eco program

The savings program consumes the least water and electricity but requires more time. The cleaning results are worse than in the standard program since a lower water temperature of 45 to 55 degrees Celsius is used.

Short program

This program works much faster than the conventional programs. It is not suitable for dried dishes, as there is no soak phase in this program.

Gentle program

The gentle program works similar to the Eco program with low temperature; also, water pressure is reduced.

Automatic program

The automatic program automatically determines the degree of loading and contamination. Temperature sensors, aqua sensors and motor sensors calculate the optimum plan. The temperature sensor measures how quickly the temperature in the interior heats up and can thus detect how much dishes are inside the dishwasher.

Which dishwasher functions are necessary?

Before purchasing, think about which functions you will use more often and decide accordingly. Spending money on functions that you do not use makes no sense. You can then better invest the saved money in a good set of dishes or cooking utensils.


There are several construction variants for dishwashers. This usually has nothing to do with the flushing performance, but with the aesthetics in the kitchen.

Depending on which type you choose, your kitchens will more or less show that there is a dishwasher.

Built-in appliances

Built-in appliances can be integrated into the kitchen unit.

Fully integrated dishwashers

With these devices, you do not recognise from the outside that a dishwasher hides behind the cover. The controls are located at the top of the door and cannot be reached when the door is closed. This also means that there is usually no remaining time display. However, there are also fully integrated dishwashers such as the Siemens SN65M037EU, where the remaining time is projected by light on the ground in front of the device.

Semi-integrated dishwashers

In semi-integrated dishwashers, the door also has a decorative panel. However, the control panel is integrated in the front, so the machine still recognisable as such.

Understanding Dishwasher Place Settings

A place setting is a standard DIN EN 50242 set of dishes, with which the capacity of dishwashers is specified in Europe.

A standardised place setting consists of one piece each:

  • Dinner plate 26 cm
  • Soup plate 23 cm
  • Dessert plate 19 cm
  • Saucer 14 cm
  • Cup 0.2 l
  • Drinking glass 250 ml
  • Knife 203 mm
  • Fork 184 mm
  • Soup spoon 195 mm
  • Teaspoon 126 mm
  • Dessert spoon 156 mm

A dishwasher which accommodates 8 place settings, would therefore have enough space for 8x the items on list above.

In addition to the specified place settings, the following items will still be given to check the loading capacity:

  • An oval plate 32 cm. (for dishwashers with a capacity of seven or more place settings: 1x oval plate 35 cm)
  • A serving bowl ø 16 cm
  • A serving bowl ø 13 cm
  • Two serving spoons 260 mm
  • A serving fork 192 mm
  • A sauce spoon
  • For dishwashers with a capacity of seven or more place settings: 1x serving bowl 19 cm

Checklist For Buying A Dishwasher

When buying a dishwasher, pay attention to:

  • Dishwasher Type
  • Additional functions
  • Width (place settings)
  • Energy Efficiency

The different types of dishwashers

Freestanding dishwashers are easy to manoeuvre and do not require being built-in. The built-in appliances differentiate between fully integrated dishwashers and semi-integrated ones. In the first case, the device visually fits the kitchen and is externally indistinguishable from other cabinets. The controls are located at the top of the door and are visible only when opened. Here, the appropriate dimensions are particularly important so that the device fits into the existing space of the kitchen. Semi-integrated dishwashers can be used in any modern kitchenette installed and adjusted in height. The controls are located on the front. To match the look of the kitchen, it is possible to attach a matching front additionally.

Which functions does a dishwasher need?

An essential function in dishwashers is the Aqua Stop. It prevents water from escaping uncontrollably when, for example, a hose bursts. The water control system is useful to control the water inlet in the device. The inlet automatically stops, once the water reaches normal levels. The system also reacts to leaks. Further development is a waterproof system. Here there is as a supplement for a double solenoid valve, which closes the water inlet with a defective valve. In the case of a damaged hose, the water in the double hose is transferred to the floor pan. Electronic monitoring systems with alarm and solenoid valve functionary equipped with humidity sensors. Leaking water is registered and reported to a central processing unit. Then the corresponding solenoid valve can be closed.

The meaning of place settings in dishwashers

The capacity measurement for a dishwasher is often given in “place settings”. This is approximately the same as one-person crockery for a 3-course meal. 1-2 people should expect 9-12 place settings, which fit into a small dishwasher of 45 cm width. A medium-sized household needs a diameter of 60 cm to accommodate 12-14 place settings.

Energy efficiency classes of dishwashers

Buying a dishwasher is a long-term commitment. Therefore, the energy consumption is an crucial purchase argument. The device accounts for about 7% of the electricity consumption annually. The different classes are divided from A +++ to D. You should generally not be purchasing a product with an A rating or worse.

Frequently Asked Question: My Dishwasher Does Not Dry – Why Is This?

Many reasons can cause your dishwasher to stop drying correctly. Most of the time, this problem occurs suddenly, and at a time that is more than inappropriate. Even if the dishwasher, or just at his for many years service did always work correctly, this problem might occur.
Outdated technology can be a reason.

If your machine has gotten old, then it can be due to the heating oil, for example. This is located in the interior of the dishwasher under the harness. Today, the devices no longer have a heating coil but a water heater. Of course, a burnt-out heating element must be replaced. The components can be ordered, provided they are still available, or you have to contact a technician who comes by. If nothing else helps, then you have to think about a new purchase.

The reason may be a defective thermostat. Also, this device can be bought separately and either obstructed by yourself or by a technician. It gets hard when you are entirely inexperienced regarding craftsmanship.

Quite simply – the wrong wash program.

Utterly banal, the solution can also be, if you have set a short accelerated program, the dishes are still a little wet. Just let it run again in a full schedule, and then it would have to be dry afterwards. If not, the search must continue.
What to look for when buying a dishwasher?

The technology of dishwashers is becoming more and more mature. Meanwhile, the devices can limit the damage caused by a large number of defects themselves. But which of these are useful and what else should a dishwasher do.

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