Are Dishwashers Really Worth It? What to Expect

The answer is yes, dishwashers are worth it in most cases. They are easy to use, save time and hassle, and are somewhat affordable. They also conserve water and energy, and can improve the hygiene and appearance of your kitchen. However, if your dishes aren’t too many, or you have limited space or budget, you may not need a dishwasher at all. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of dishwashers, and help you decide whether you should invest in one.

The Pros of Dishwashers

Dishwashers have many advantages over hand-washing, such as:

  • Efficiency: Dishwashers can wash more dishes in less time, and use less water and energy than hand-washing. According to Energy Star, a certified dishwasher can save up to 5,000 gallons of water and $40 in utility costs per year, compared to hand-washing. Dishwashers also have soil sensors that adjust the water and time needed to get the dishes clean, which further reduces waste and saves money.
  • Convenience: Dishwashers make your life easier by eliminating the chore of washing dishes by hand. You can simply load the dirty dishes, choose a cycle, and let the machine do the work. You can also schedule the dishwasher to run at a later time, or control it remotely with smart technology. Dishwashers also free up your sink and counter space, and keep your kitchen tidy and organized.
  • Hygiene: Dishwashers can sanitize your dishes and kill more germs than hand-washing, especially if they have a high-temperature or steam option. Dishwashers also prevent cross-contamination and reduce the risk of food poisoning. Dishwashers also prevent the growth of mold and bacteria on your sponge or dishcloth, which can harbor millions of microbes and spread diseases.
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The Cons of Dishwashers

Dishwashers are not perfect, and they have some drawbacks, such as:

  • Cost: Dishwashers are not cheap, and they can range from $300 to over $2,000, depending on the size, style, features, and brand. You also have to factor in the installation and maintenance costs, as well as the detergent and rinse aid expenses. Dishwashers can also increase your electricity bill, especially if you use them frequently or choose long or heated cycles.
  • Space: Dishwashers take up a lot of space in your kitchen, and they may not fit in smaller or older homes. You also have to make sure you have enough room to open the door and load and unload the dishes. If you have a small kitchen, you may have to sacrifice some cabinet or counter space to accommodate a dishwasher. Alternatively, you can opt for a portable or countertop dishwasher, but they have less capacity and performance than built-in models.
  • Limitations: Dishwashers are not suitable for all types of dishes, and some items may not fit or get damaged in the machine. For example, you should avoid putting wood, cast iron, copper, crystal, china, or delicate glassware in the dishwasher, as they can warp, crack, rust, or lose their shine. You should also check the manufacturer’s instructions before putting any plastic, aluminum, or nonstick items in the dishwasher, as they may not be dishwasher-safe. Additionally, some dishes may not get fully clean or dry in the dishwasher, and you may have to pre-rinse, re-wash, or hand-dry them.

How to Choose the Best Dishwasher for Your Needs

If you decide to buy a dishwasher, you should consider the following factors to find the best one for your needs:

  • Size: Dishwashers come in different sizes, and you should measure your available space and choose a model that fits. The standard size is 24 inches wide, and it can hold 12 to 16 place settings. The compact size is 18 inches wide, and it can hold 8 to 10 place settings. The portable or countertop size is 20 to 25 inches wide, and it can hold 6 to 8 place settings.
  • Style: Dishwashers also come in different styles, and you should choose one that matches your kitchen design and personal preference. The most common styles are front-control, top-control, and panel-ready. Front-control dishwashers have the controls on the front of the door, and they are easy to access and use. Top-control dishwashers have the controls on the top edge of the door, and they are hidden when the door is closed, giving a sleek and seamless look. Panel-ready dishwashers have no visible controls or handle, and they can be customized with a cabinet panel that matches your kitchen cabinets.
  • Features: Dishwashers have various features that can enhance their performance, convenience, and efficiency. Some of the most desirable features are: a stainless steel interior tub, which is more durable and stain-resistant than plastic; an adjustable upper rack, which can accommodate taller or odd-shaped items; a third rack, which can hold cutlery or other flat items; a soil sensor, which can adjust the water and time needed to get the dishes clean; a hard food disposer, which can grind and remove food particles without the need to pre-rinse; a heated dry or fan dry option, which can improve the drying performance; a sanitize or steam option, which can kill more germs and remove tough stains; a delay start or smart option, which can allow you to schedule or control the dishwasher remotely; and an indicator light or sound, which can let you know when the cycle is done or the rinse aid is low.
  • Noise: Dishwashers can be noisy, and you should check the decibel (dB) rating of the model you are interested in. The lower the dB rating, the quieter the dishwasher. The average dishwasher has a noise level of 50 dB, which is comparable to a normal conversation. A quiet dishwasher has a noise level of 40 dB or less, which is comparable to a library. A loud dishwasher has a noise level of 60 dB or more, which is comparable to a vacuum cleaner.
  • Energy efficiency: Dishwashers can be energy-efficient, and you should look for the Energy Star label on the model you are interested in. The Energy Star label indicates that the dishwasher meets or exceeds the federal minimum standards for energy and water efficiency. An energy-efficient dishwasher can save you up to $40 per year on your utility bills, and reduce your environmental impact.
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Dishwashers are worth it in most cases, as they can offer many benefits over hand-washing, such as efficiency, convenience, and hygiene. However, dishwashers also have some drawbacks, such as cost, space, and limitations. Therefore, you should weigh the pros and cons of dishwashers, and consider your needs and preferences, before buying one. You should also compare different models and features, and choose the best dishwasher for your kitchen and budget. A good dishwasher can make your life easier and your dishes cleaner, and it can be a worthwhile investment for your home.