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A dishwasher buyer's guide

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Choosing a dishwasher

Dishwashers are graded according to their:

  • Cleaning performance
  • Energy efficiency, and
  • Drying performance

The grades are from A to G, with A representing the best and G the worst. For me, cleaning performance and energy efficiency are more important than drying performance. To be honest, by the time I get around to emptying the dishwasher everything is always bone dry.

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dishwasherDishwashers usually come equipped with a range of programs, including:

  • Quick wash - for plates with a few crumbs on them (ie, you haven't left eggs to solidify for a week)
  • Economy wash - again, generally for plates with a few crumbs.
  • Power wash - this will have a go at removing egg, but probably won't succeed.
  • Glassware - for glasses with a few crumbs. Seriously, this is a delicate wash that is specially designed to protect glass and make it sparkle - for best results, use a rinsing agent.

The programs described below are more likely to be found on the top end dishwashers:

  • Self cleaning filters. These are a really good idea, because when your filter gets blocked, bits of old food are sprayed around the dishwasher and get welded on during the drying cycle. I obviously don't pay sufficient attention to my none self cleaning filter. I feel a purchase coming on...
  • Timer delay - if you are on Economy 7 or a similar tariff you can delay the start of the program until the night time. However, you can do this equally well with a timer switch that can be bought cheaply from places like B&Q and Woolworths.
  • Some dishwashers have sensors that purport to pick the best program for the load. My pots and pans always require a power wash, so for me this feature would not be important.

Styles of Dishwashers

Dishwashers can generally be bought in one of the following categories:

  • Freestanding - designed to fit underneath your worktops. They are available in either standard or slimline sizes.
  • Integrated - designed so that you can use doors that match the rest of your kitchen. Integrated appliances in general tend to have a smaller capacity though, which for me is something of a disadvantage.
  • Tabletop - these are smaller, maybe taking just four place settings, and are designed to sit on the top of your kitchen worktop.

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