Ultimate Guide to
Choosing a Dishwasher

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steps to choosing a dishwasher

Best Dishwashers of 2020 - Our Top 5 Picks

With hundreds of different models to choose from, selecting a dishwasher that fits both your needs and budget can be intimidating. To make it easy, we…

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Figuring out the differences between all of the different dishwasher models and brands can be a nightmare. Our team of experts reviews top brands and helps you figure out the differences between models.

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Frequently asked

Dishwashers questions

What's the most reliable dishwasher brand?

Answered by John Carey

Co-Founder of Designer Appliances

Bosch and Miele are by far the best dishwasher manufacturers in the world. Both companies take pride in their motor and pump technologies which determine the life-span of a dishwasher. Convenient features and quietness are other factors that distinguish quality. Miele is the only manufacturer that makes dishwashers with a 20-year life span in mind. Whirlpool is one of the top brands when it comes to reliability. All three brands have a robust nationwide service network.

How long do dishwashers last?

Answered by Metin Ozkuzey

President of Designer Appliances

According to our experience, a new dishwasher typically lasts anywhere from 7 to 10 years. However, this lifespan estimate depends on a few crucial factors - Water hardness, build quality, and proper installation. Some brands, such as Miele, design their products so they last 20 years. This, of course, is under normal use conditions.

As for the most important factor that determines the longevity of a dishwasher, we list water hardness at the top of our list. Calcium deposits eventually clog internal pipes and vessels. Also, hard water will degrade the performance of the pump system.

The quality of components is an important factor in longevity as well. It is impossible for a customer to know the quality of the components. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the cost of the dishwasher is a relevant indicator of this.

From our experience, proper installation determines reliable performance. Often, we see an installations where the return drain was not plumbed correctly. As a result, soiled discharge water will drain back into the tub and cause unwanted smells and the need for extra filtration. A dishwasher that isn't installed to drain according to the manufacturer's specifications will meet its demise sooner.

If you live in an area that experiences cold winters, a dishwasher installed right behind an uninsulated outside wall may end up with frozen internal pipes and componentry. Exposure to frigid temperatures will cause premature malfunction of any appliance.

How can I make my dishwasher last longer?

Answered by John Carey

Co-Founder of Designer Appliances

Dishwashers are reliable appliances that are meant to serve your family for many years. However, improper use may have an impact on longevity. Here are a few quick tips and examples on how to detect a problem with your dishwasher and perform some easy preventative maintenance in order to protect your investment.

You can identify installation problems. Big-box stores tend to use underskilled 3rd party installers who end up missing basic steps when installing a new dishwasher.

1) Here is how you can identify basic installation-related problems:

  • Water should not pol at the bottom of the tub after the wash cycle is over. In fact, soiled discharge water should drain away. If you are experiencing this issue or a constant musty smell, contact your installer for an inspection.
  • Your dishwasher should be level and secured to the countertop or the cabinets. Unlevel dishwashers may trigger the overflow sensors.

2) Combat hard water.

  • If you purchased a good quality dishwasher like a Miele with a water softener, please use its "special powers." Make sure to add dishwasher salt in the chamber once every six months or so.
  • For dishwashers without the built-in water softeners it is a good idea to decalcify your dishwasher using the solutions or tablets recommended by the manufacturer.

3) Clean the filter periodically

Most modern dishwashers come with a filter located at the bottom of the tub. It is a good idea to clean the filter under running water to make sure it is clear of food particles. High-end dishwashers will have an indicator to prompt you with the task, but it is a good idea to perform this simple task every three months or so.

4) Scrape off food prior to placing your dishes in your dishwasher.

You do not need to rinse the dishes in the sink. Modern dishwashers come with a turbidity sensor that will figure out how to prep the wash mode. However, scrape off hard objects such as bones and chunks of food, so you are not taking a chance with clogging the filters and spray nozzles.

5) General housekeeping items

Inspect the spray arm nozzles from time to time and open up any blockages with a toothpick. In addition, you can keep the tub clean with a baking soda and vinegar solution. Just put the vinegar solution in the detergent dispenser and run a hot cycle. Most high-end dishwashers even come with a self-clean program that you can run. Just follow the manufacturers' instructions. Lastly, it's a good idea to wipe down the door seal to maintain proper insulation.

If you follow easy tips, you are guaranteed to get maximum performance from your dishwasher and clean, sanitized dishware cycle after cyle for many years to come.

Do I need a dishwasher installation kit?

Answered by Metin Ozkuzey

President of Designer Appliances

Time has come to replace your old dishwasher. You have selected the new one, but wait, do you have everything you need to install the new dishwasher? It is hard to decipher the installation guide or the product manual. Here are a few tips and examples to help you navigate.

Dishwashers need to take water in, pump water out, and need standard 110/120V electricity to operate. Therefore, you will need an intake hose, a drain hose, and a power cord along with simple clamps/fittings to secure them. We do not recommend that you use the hoses and cord from the old dishwasher. In fact, our installers are only allowed to use new parts when it comes to dishwasher installations.

The good news is most reputable brands such as Miele and 2020, and later models of Bosch come with all three parts. In fact, the hoses are part of the leak detection system for these manufacturers. Other brands, especially any dishwasher with a budget price point (less than $699) are sure to come without the installation parts. As an example, Frigidaire's lower-end models do not even come with brackets to help secure the dishwasher to the adjacent cabinets. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase a dishwasher installation kit from your retailer.

Word of caution with regard to the power cord. Older dishwashers sold in the US came with hardwired electrical set up. Today, most communities do not allow for hardwired connections. Therefore, please make sure that you have a standard electrical outlet within 4 ft. of your dishwasher. If you do not have an outlet, either call an electrician to install it for you or mention to your retailer, so they come with the proper installation crew that is able to handle this task for you. You may expect to pay an extra nominal fee for the service.

Is it cheaper to repair a dishwasher or buy a new one?

Answered by Metin Ozkuzey

President of Designer Appliances

If you've had your dishwasher for less than 5 years, getting it repaired makes the most sense. However, in the past few years, we've noticed a vast improvement in cleaning quality, quiet operation and energy efficiency across dishwashers on the market today. If you intend to repair your dishwasher, keep in mind that servicers may charge $100 to $150 for a trip to your home. After that, depending on the diagnosis, you will pay for the time on the job as well as parts. An average repair on a dishwasher can start at $375 and quickly add up. Considering the price of a new dishwasher, under $600 for budget models and $800 for next tier models, it might not make sense to repair an old dishwasher.

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