We bit the bullet and bought the dishwasher for our renovation and I am SO excitd to not have to do dishes by hand. I’m big on research though, so you know I spent hours looking at options. So are you buying a new dishwasher? Building and looking for what you want in your perfect kitchen? Start here first for what you need to know before getting a dishwasher!!
If you’re looking for a dishwasher, you’re going to notice right away there is quite the price range. You can pick up a lower brand (off brand?) name one for around $400-$600 and they go up from there. I would say in Canada, what I saw was the average price being around $1,000-$1,700. Of course, it goes higher than that if your budget allows for it!
What causes this range? A couple of things: brand and features. Just like cars, there are certain tiers of brands. You will easily see the range of them when you see the prices, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Then when we go into features, this is where you’ll see a bit more of the difference.
There are a variety of features with dishwashers – many I never considered before!
Are you wanting white? Stainless? Black stainless? Smudge-proof? Brushed nickel? The most common finish is stainless steel, but if you are wanting a specialty finish (Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze for example) to match your other appliances, this will limit the rest of your list pretty quickly! For us, we weren’t too picky as none of our other appliances match already. If my budget allowed it, I would have loved black stainless but we ended up going with regular stainless.
Many dishwashers come with a third rack now! This is a thin rack at the very top, often meant to replace your cutlery basket or for serving utensils. Some people love it, others prefer to have more space on their second rack for higher items. Another thing to consider with dishwasher racks, is if they are adjustable. Often the second rack is adjustable to accommodate higher items in the bottom or upper portion, but on lower end models you will find they are static.
Did you know not all tubs are created the same? Some insides are all stainless, some are all plastic, and some are a hybrid with the main tub portion being stainless steel and the door being plastic. Typically, the stainless tubs are quieter than the plastic ones, as well as limits stains or odors.
I would argue that how loud your dishwasher is, is one of the top 3 things many people look at. I say this with my limited research of just every sales associate mentioning the decibels within the first couple of sentences about a unit. A “very quiet” dishwasher is anything 45 decibels or less. 45-50 decibels is considered to be the same as the sound as rainfall, and 50+ is as loud as a normal conversation. Some dishwashers, because they are so quiet, will have a LED light that shines on the ground to tell you when it is running.
The fancier the dishwasher, often the more cycles. I saw some dishwashers with as little as 3 cycle options, and some with 6 or more! These will come with different sensors to sense how much water is needed, how dry your dishes are, etc. Some of the “extra” cycles you may find will include sanitize modes, half load, or quick wash but every unit is different.
Personally I have a hard time really thinking of this as a feature, but it’s listed on some units. Some of the dividers for plates can fold down in some units, allowing your pots and pans to fit a little better. Our old apartment dishwasher didn’t have any dividers that folded down, and we rarely had issues with any pots or pans fitting, but to each their own!
Panel ready dishwashers are units that do not have a front cover on them, so that you can have a cabinet door fitted so that the entire unit blends with your cabinetry. You would think that having less materials would make this cost less, but alas, it does not. I think the lowest priced panel ready dishwasher I found was $1200 with most of them being $1,800-$2,200 or up.
This sort of falls under the general appearance, but you might have strong opinions on this one: buttons. Where are the dishwasher buttons? Are they on the front of the unit? On the top and only seen when you open the door a bit? Or are they hidden in a recessed handle? Which leads into: do you want a handle? Many units are now being made sleeker on the front with recessed handles, and some still have towel bars. Pro to towel bar: you can put a towel on it, and I find them a bit easier to open. Con to towel bar: toddlers see this as a jungle gym and it costs $100-$300 to replace if broken.
Not all filters are the same! If you watch Go Clean Co on Instagram, you will see her constantly clean dishwasher filters. But not every dishwasher has a removeable filter! Some have built-in garburators which clean themselves automatically. The trade off is that a removable filter you manually clean is quieter than one with a built in self-cleaning garburator.
Now that we’ve covered what the unit itself will cost, and include, let’s go over what happens if it breaks. Not all appliance stores repair their units they sell. This might be assumed with bigger box stores – like of course Home Depot doesn’t have a repair team on call – but even for smaller companies, it’s something to double check. They might also only be authorized to work on certain brands as well. So if they can repair Maytag units for example, but you buy a Samsung, you are going to have a bit more of a time getting it repaired. Typically I found as well, the first year’s manufacturer warranty requires you to call the manufacturer directly and they will organize the repair person. This might mean a longer wait time, and certain steps before they will send someone.
There are 2 main sizes for dishwashers. The standard size is a 24″, but if you are tight on space, an 18″ might suit you better! Smaller doesn’t mean cheaper though – compacting the mechanisms costs more, and so you will find they are the same price, or more, as a full sized unit. Most units you will see in stores, in North America at least, will have one door that opens down with the two racks that slide out. However, there is another style where each has it’s own drawer called a “drawer style” dishwasher. People who don’t often fill their standard dishwasher sometimes prefer the drawer style compared to the 18″ as they have the option to use both drawers when entertaining.
Will my dishes fit???
Okay, this is a tip from my mom because sometimes moms know best. But seriously – take a plate and bowl with you when dishwasher shopping. Especially if you have stoneware because somehow that stuff always fits weird for me. Most plates will fit if you have standard Corelle plain dishes, but it’s never a bad idea to bring a sample to see how it will fit. Especially if you’re between what unit to get, this might be the deciding factor for you! With the pandemic I’m not entirely sure how every place will react to this, but worth a shot!
When will it be in stock?
I struggled with if this should be the first thing to check, or the last but here it goes! If you’re like me and have never had to really buy appliances before, you might not know you have to order them in. I don’t mean that it is only a week or two wait (for some), but we were being given a 6-8month timeline for most units right now. Many appliances are backordered due to factories being shut down for most of 2020 and then only being able to build at 50% capacity since returning. This mean that if you want a dishwasher sooner than later, you might have to reconsider some of your ideal “must haves” on the features list or change your budget a bit.
Did you miss the first part of our kitchen renovation? Click here to get caught up!
Here is a sneak peak of our dishwasher where it will live (not installed) and our new sink! We got this dishwasher but for half that price at The Brick.
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