Sears Knowledge Center

Dishwasher Buying Guide

Say hello to the kitchen appliance that keeps on giving

Whether you're building your home and buying a dishwasher for the first time, or renovating your kitchen, new dishwasher models can offer a variety of benefits from shortened cleaning cycles to a heavy-duty pots and pans mode. If you wash a lot of dishes and want something that's powerful enough to handle the job or you're looking for new technology that's quiet and energy efficient, there are many modern features that set different dishwashers apart.

Why buy a new dishwasher?

  • Enjoy the benefit of clean dishes without wasting extra time hand-washing after mealtime.
  • Modern dishwashers use less electricity and will save you money over time.
  • Newer models can reduce the time you spend waiting for your dishes to wash because they feature short cycle times and eliminate the need to pre-rinse.
  • Adjustable racks with fold-down tines make loading and unloading the dishwasher much easier, especially with bigger, bulky dishware that makes finding suitable space difficult.

Other considerations and features of dishwashers

Specialty dishwashers

  • ADA compliant models accommodate persons with disabilities
  • Countertop dishwashers provide additional counter space to maximize surface area

Technological features

  • SmartWash® cycle automatically computes soil level and load size and adjusts the water and energy each time you run the dishwasher
  • Delayed start allows you to run your dishwasher any time of the day without needing to be present
  • Noise insulation or decibel range lets you know how much noise you can expect to hear during the wash cycle
  • Soil sensors detect how dirty your dishes are and then adjust settings accordingly to ensure you're not using more energy than you need

Energy efficiency

  • ENERGY STAR® rating is awarded to appliances that are eco-friendly and energy efficient
  • CEE rating is another indicator of energy-efficient appliances
smartwash cycle

Types of dishwashers

built-in dishwasher

Built-in dishwashers

These dishwashers have a traditional two-rack layout. They're the most common model and are built in to your kitchen to blend seamlessly with the rest of your appliances and décor. You can find models that have top controls or front controls to suit your preferences and needs as well.

  • Price range: $280-$1800
  • Height range: 33-35 inches
  • Width range: 18-24 inches
  • Depth range: 30-46 inches

Built-in dishwashers are best for…

People with ample kitchen space: If you have the room, a built-in model is definitely the way to go. Built-in dishwashers slide right under the cabinet near your sink with access to a water supply, and you can match these models better with other large kitchen appliances.

People who love to multi-task: Built-in dishwashers are connected to your home plumbing on an independent water line, so you can still use your kitchen sink while the dishwasher is running.

portable dishwashers

Portable dishwashers

These machines usually have wheels on the bottom so they can be moved easily out of the room when not in use or close to the sink if your space doesn't account for short hoses. You can even find smaller models, like countertop dishwashers, ideal for small kitchens or college dorm rooms.

  • Price range: $240-$700
  • Height range: 17-35 inches
  • Width range: 18-24 inches
  • Depth range: 30-46 inches

Portable dishwashers are best for…

People with limited kitchen space: A portable dishwasher is a great option for smaller spaces when a built-in model simply won't fit. Some also have optional countertop and butcher block surfaces if your space is limited.

People who frequently move: Built-in dishwashers typically stay with the home. However, portable dishwashers are easy to move, so you can take them with you from one home to the next to really maximize the value of your purchase.

Bottom line

Built-in and portable dishwashers work in the same way, so your available space will be one of the biggest factors when deciding between the two types. Be mindful of technological features that can help you cut back on tedious tasks like pre-rinsing and hand drying. When making an educated decision, you'll also want to monitor your carbon footprint by choosing a model that's eco-friendly and energy efficient. Before committing to a certain model, consider the amount and types of dishes you use, how often you’ll run the dishwasher and how much space you have in your kitchen.


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