What to look for when buying a dishwasher

Dark grey dishwasher

Let me admit something to you: I think dishwashers are completely underrated. Yes, they don’t get the praise they deserve. I mean, aside from saving many an argument about who’s doing the dishes (let’s not talk about the ‘who’s emptying the dishwasher scenario), it’s an invention that deserves it’s time in the spotlight.

With four of us in my household, including my two young boys, the washing up piles up each day and aside from the time it takes to clean, sort and put away, washing up by hand is not kind to my hands and nails!

It wasn’t always like this though. I used to have a dishwasher, but I’m currently mid renovating my home, so I’ve had to sacrifice the dishwasher space in the kitchen for the washing machine for the last few months. I know, what a problem to have.

But – plans for my new utility room are well under way and I can almost see the future of magically self-cleaning crockery and cutlery (and manicured nails). Since I’m in the market for a dishwasher for when the my space is ready to be kitted out, I’ve done some digging into what features the latest models come with. And I thought I would share…

Rangemaster dishwasher

With space for 12 place settings, this dishwasher from Rangemaster offers you a choice of 11 programmes, including auto intensive and delicate, rapid and extra intensive with upper and lower rack wash, and eco wash, plus it has an LCD digital display with silver fascia. RDW1260FI dishwasher, £464, Rangemaster

A powerful spray arm

This is a particularly useful addition if you have a pyrolytic oven where bulky, heavily soiled racks and internal fittings usually need to be removed and washed separately. Look out for models that also have extra-large lower baskets and intensive wash settings alongside this, too. I promise it’ll be worth it.

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Fully adjustable racks and prongs

These make loading large and awkward items so much easier. Did you know you can even buy models that have specific wine glass holders that gently and securely hold glasses in place, ensuring they’ll come out of the machine undamaged? I know that’s what I’ll be looking out for in my one.

Kitchen appliances

AEG’s new model creates only a minimal noise disturbance, as it runs at a low 39db. Its ComfortLift mechanism allows you to slide and lift up the lower basket for ease of loading, while the QuickSelect swipe display makes it easy to select the duration of the wash cycle, too. FSS62800P dishwasher, £929.99, AEG

High-tech features

If, like me, you’re a fan of having a smart home then you should consider a Wi-Fi-enabled dishwasher, which can be simultaneously controlled, monitored and managed via an app on your phone or tablet. Many can provide remote-controlled access to the machine, including program recommendations, energy monitoring and operational updates and alerts. Pretty clever, right?

Delayed start option

Such a handy feature to have, allowing you to program your dishwasher to begin the wash process after the machine is filled, so it can be ready to empty when you get home from work, for instance. Or you can take advantage of cheaper night-rate electricity – winner when the washing up feels never ending.

Siemens dishwasher

Siemens’ eight-programme machine has five special options, including an intensive zone for ideal results as well as HygienePlus, which eliminates up to 99.9% of all bacteria and germs through a 10-minute cycle of 70°C warm water, and Shine & Dry, an extra rinse programme that ensures no watermarks. iQ700 SN278I36TE 60cm freestanding dishwasher, £1079, Siemens.

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A status light

Available on some quieter integrated dishwashers, this can prevent you from accidentally opening the machine in mid-cycle. It’s usually a LED spotlight that shines onto the floor beneath the door when the program is running, switching off when the wash has finished – some even show how much time the cycle has left.

Samsung dishwasher

Samsung’s dishwasher boasts Wifi connectivity alongside handy features such as Waterwall technology – which creates a curtain of high-pressure water to clean even hard-to-reach dishes. A fast 55-minute wash and dry cycle is ideal for smaller loads. DW60M9970BB/EU fully integrated dishwasher, £1099, Samsung

Adjustable interiors

As you well know, no normal load consists of equal-sized plates and small pans. So if you have a big family or regularly entertain, you might well need more space for large, dirty pans and good platters so racks that adjust easily or lift up and down to make room for awkward items are ideal.

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Cutlery trays

Better than clunky cutlery holders, in my opinion, these are at the top of the dishwasher and help the interiors to work more efficiently – its often how industrial ones are built. Look out for models with a generous-sized interior that has room for an impressive 15 place settings, including a high-level rack for cutlery.


Smeg’s 10-place setting machine uses Swing Wash, a system ensuring optimum water distribution. It also offers 10 programmes including soak, rapid 27 mins, delicate quick, as well as strong and fast. DF4SS-1 45cm freestanding dishwasher, £689, Smeg

By even just picking out a few of these key features, I can assure you that dealing with dirty dishes after dinner will be a whole lot easier. The only thing you’ll be arguing about is who has to unload it all later on, and I think I can live with that – wouldn’t you agree?

Featured image: This two-drawer machine from Fisher & Paykel features 15 different cycles. Operating independently of each other, the drawers contain one half a load each, so you can run two different wash cycles simultaneously. DD60DDFHB9 d ouble DishDrawer dishwasher in black, £1399, Fisher & Paykel

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