What To Look For in a Dishwasher

If you’ve never owned a dishwasher before or have never paid much attention to any you have owned, you might not know what actually makes a dishwasher good.

Whether you’re looking for a heavy duty dishwasher, a top loading dishwasher, or you just want to know what makes a high quality dishwasher, we’re going to give you all the info you need so you can pick the right dishwasher for you.

Dishwasher Capacity

The first thing to decide before buying a dishwasher is how much capacity you’ll need. To do this, evaluate how much crockery, cutlery and cookware is used on a regular basis in your home.

One thing to note is that the capacity of a dishwasher isn’t measured in litres like it is with washing machines and ovens. Dishwasher capacity is measured in place settings.

Dishwashers come in anything from 6 to 15+ place settings. They may also measure how many ‘pieces’ you can fit in there, which is roughly determined by the width of the dishwasher.

For example, a 60 cm dishwasher is said to hold anywhere between 120 and 150 items, whereas a 45 cm slimline dishwasher would hold between 40 and 60.

Dishwasher Dimensions

Standard dishwashers are expected to be 60 cm wide, but can go up to 70 cm. A compact dishwasher is likely to be 45 cm or less.

Standard dishwasher dimensions are:

  • Width = 60-70 cm
  • Height = 80-90 cm
  • Depth = 50-60 cm

A slimline or semi-integrated dishwasher will generally be the same height and depth as a standard dishwasher - only the width will differ. That’s because the height of the dishwasher isn’t all that important as long as it doesn’t exceed your current counter top height.

Bear in mind that appliances like dishwashers take up a fair amount of space. If your kitchen’s on the small size but you can’t live without a dishwasher, consider how you might free up space with other appliances. Could a compact, built-in oven, and swapping a separate washing machine and dryer for a washer dryer make enough room for a dishwasher?

It’s also not worth buying a bigger dishwasher than you need. If you live alone or in a couple, a slimline dishwasher should suffice.

Dishwasher Noise Levels

If you’re going to use your dishwasher every day (as most people do), odds are that you want it to be as quiet as possible. All dishwashers will have a noise level rating, to tell you how loud that particular appliance will be.

Dishwasher sound levels are measured in decibels (dB). The lower the amount, the quieter the dishwasher. However, decibels are what is known as ‘logarithmic units’, meaning that they don’t have a set value.

For example, silence is 0 dB. A sound that is 20 dB is twenty times more powerful than the sound of silence.

This means that the difference between decibel levels is big. One dishwasher might be 45 dB and the other 50 dB. You may think that this means a minute difference in sound, however a 50 dB dishwasher will actually be more than twice as loud as the 45 dB one.

To put things into perspective, a normal conversation is around 60 dB. This is around as loud as you’d want your dishwasher to be.

Better yet, choose a dishwasher between 40 and 45 dB, which isn’t very loud at all. 45 dB to 50 dB is somewhat louder, but still quieter than the average conversation.

Dishwasher Features

Many modern dishwashers don’t just wash and dry. Here are some of the extra, useful features to look out for:

Adjustable Racks and Baskets

Most modern dishwashers will have these. Being able to adjust racks and baskets makes it easy to clean larger items. Just note that different manufacturers and models have different ways of adjusting the racks and baskets, so check your manual for more details.


Anti-flood is a really important dishwasher feature, for obvious reasons. Dishwashers can eventually flood, especially as they age. Anti-flood features will detect a change in water pressure and cut the supply if it detects a flood forming.

Child Lock

Essential for families, a child lock prevents children from changing your chosen wash cycle.

Drying Programmes

Dishwashers typically have one of two drying systems. Older dishwashers use an electric-powered heating element, which sits at the bottom of the dishwasher. Newer models use condensation drying.

Unfortunately condensation drying isn’t as effective as a heating element, but there’s two good reasons why new models have adopted it.

Heating elements use a lot of electricity, which is incompatible with moves to make home appliances as energy efficient as possible.

In addition, heating elements can melt some materials (this is why you’re not supposed to put plastics in the bottom of a dishwasher). This isn’t a problem with condensation dryers.

If it’s important to you to move dishes and cutlery straight from the dishwasher to your cupboards, you may want to look for a dishwasher that dries using a heating element.

Cleaning Sensors

Why use more water than you need to? Cleaning sensors will determine when your wash is clean and stop the cycle. This saves you water, electricity, and time.

Adjustable Water Hardness Level

Hard water can leave stains on glassware and other items. Ideally, you want to find a dishwasher that allows you to adjust the water hardness levels.

Wi-Fi Connectivity/Smart Features

It’s not just phones and TVs that are smart now - your dishwasher can be smart too. If you’re a technophile or are just attracted to the idea of complete connectivity in your home, then keep an eye out for smart dishwashers. You can control them from your phone and even get live status updates.

Shop for dishwashers right here at Ship It Appliances. We have ranges of freestanding and integrated dishwashers from top, market-leading brands, and we offer fast, free shipping to 99.9% of UK addresses.

Need more information on dishwashers, try our handy guide:

What to look for in a dishwasher
How to stop glasses going cloudy
Should you buy a dishwasher? 

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