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Plastic vs. Stainless Steel Dishwasher Tub Material

The interior of dishwashers are made in two different tub materials, plastic or stainless steel. If you're not familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each tub type, look at this comparison between plastic and stainless steel tub materials to help you decide which interior type will be better for your new dishwasher.


  Plastic Stainless Steel
Durability Long-lasting Long-lasting, but can rust over time
Noise Noisier Quieter
Heat Resistance Cannot withstand much heat Can handle higher water temperatures and sanitizes dishes more effectively
Energy Efficiency Less energy efficient More energy efficient
Cleaning Better at hiding hard water stains and calcium deposits Quick to show hard water stains and calcium buildup
Cost Less expensive More expensive

Advantages of plastic tub material

  • Fresh appearance – A plastic interior won't show stains or water spots, so you won't have to wipe it clean as often.
  • Lower cost – Models with plastic interiors are less expensive.

Limitations of plastic tub material

  • Uses more energy during cycles – Because the walls don't hold heat as well, your dishwasher has to use more heat and thus more energy during the drying cycle.
  • Discoloration – Plastic tubs discolor more easily than stainless steel, so the appearance may change over time.

Advantages of stainless steel tub material

  • Eco-friendly – Stainless steel walls act as a source of heat during the drying cycle. You'll use less electricity and ultimately save money over time, even though stainless steel is more expensive initially.
  • Quieter – The thick metal walls inside the machine block vibrations from the water and reduce sound when the dishwasher is running.
  • Cleaner dishes – Because stainless steel walls can handle water temperatures over 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat will help clean and sterilize dishes.

Limitations of stainless steel tub material

  • Requires frequent cleaning – Stainless steel is notorious for showing stains and water spots. Even though your machine might be clean, you'll need to wipe it down regularly.
  • Initial Cost – You'll end up paying more money up front for a stainless steel appliance.

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