Dishwashers: The Betta Buying Guide


Dishwasher are a kitchen staple for more than just convenience. Obviously they save you from having to do the dishes manually, but there’s more to it! Using a controlled amount of water for each load, dishwashers actually require a smaller amount of water than washing by hand. So it’s not just a time saver; it’s also a water saver!

In this guide, we’ll explore the various styles of dishwashers available, and take a look at some of the key features that should guide your eventual purchase.


Types of Dishwashers

Freestanding Dishwashers

Freestanding dishwashers are the most common type, and so have the widest price range of dishwashers. The general standard size for one of these units is about 600mm across, and most kitchens are designed to accommodate this size.













Freestanding dishwashers are also available as slimline models, for kitchens where space is at a premium. Slimline models are generally about three quarters of the size of a standard unit.

Built In Dishwashers

A built-in dishwasher is a great choice for home owners. The extra effort required to integrate the unit into the kitchen is a small trade-off for the great aesthetic value of having an appliance that matches the wider kitchen décor. This means that rather than having a stainless steel exterior, the dishwasher could be customised with a panel to match the other cupboards and drawers around it.

The two main styles of built in dishwashers are:

Standard Dishwasher
Similar to the above description of a standard unit, this unit is integrated into the kitchen cabinetry. 

Dish drawer
The dish drawer was designed for compact living. Like the name suggests, this is a dishwasher that rolls out of the bench just like a drawer, making it incredibly easy to load, especially for those who have trouble bending over. The compact nature of the drawer means that storage can be kept below the dishwasher too. 











For a busy kitchen, dish drawers can be stacked on top of each other, creating two dishwashers that can be run independently of each other. 


Place Settings

One of the more confusing parts about buying a dishwasher is choosing the right capacity. Where it gets confusing is that capacity is measured by the amount of ‘place settings’ the machine can take. In a standard size dishwasher, in a family household, it’s best to go for a unit that has between 12-15 place settings.

In smaller households, particularly where a full-size dishwasher is too large, slimline and compact dishwashers will do the trick, with about 7-10 place settings. 

Of course, there’s sizing of plates and glasses can vary wildly, so it’s worth checking out how your existing dinnerware will fit into the dishwasher. The last thing you want is to bring it home to find that the plates are too wide, or the glasses are too tall!

Stacking the Dishwasher

Dish drawers are single-tier, with space for both glasses and plates sectioned out. A standard or slimline dishwasher, either built in or free-standing, will usually have two tiers for stacking plates and glasses, and a basket for cutlery. 

The larger models among these will have a third tier, however, specifically for cutlery. This replaces the aforementioned basket, and leaves more room for plates on the bottom rack.


Like all whitegoods, the cost of an appliance is not just the sticker price. It also includes the cost of running over the lifetime of the machine, so it’s essential to pay attention the energy and water efficiency of a dishwasher before committing to a purchase. Choose a unit with at least 4 stars for water efficiency, and 3 stars for energy efficiency.


Features to Look For

Sensor Wash

More feature-packed units will usually have a mode for sensing load size and can adjust water use accordingly.


Tablet Setting

If you’re partial to dishwasher tablets, many units have a special setting for them, to ensure no residue is left behind.


Steam Setting

For object that need to be sterilised before use, like baby bottles or recycled jars, a dedicated steam setting on a dishwasher is a real time saver. It runs the system at high heat to create steam, sterilising its contents.


Time Remaining Display

This one’s easy – for when you’re in a pinch and waiting on the cycle to end, you’ll be able to see exactly how long you’ve got to wait.


Low Noise

Noise is an important factor in purchasing a dishwasher, considering some models have a tendency to make quite a racket in the kitchen. Check the decibel rating on any model you’re interested in to ensure it won’t sound like a construction site every time you run the wash cycle.

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