Wondering what to know before you buy a dishwasher?

Here are important questions and answers.

We know: 6 Tips on Buying a Dishwasher

1. Do expensive machines clean better?

If you're just looking for clean dishes, then you can stick with the less expensive models. Getting dishes clean does not particularly correlate with price. Even cheaper models now come with dirt sensors that help to ensure clean dishes.

2. Do quieter dishwashers cost more?

In general, yes. If you want less noise, you'll have to pay a little more for the privilege.

3. Do I have to pay more for a better looking dishwasher?

If you want something other than rotary controls and a conventional looking dishwasher, you'll have to pay more. Many models now come in stainless steel, or with a selection of facings for the front and less obtrusive controls, but these machines will cost more.

4. What kinds of features are available on dishwashers?

There are many features you should be aware of when shopping for a dishwasher. These include:

  • Flexible racks make loading different kinds of dishes easier.
  • Cycle time can differ from machine to machine. Cycles generally run from 90 minutes to an hour and a half. But washing longer does not necessarily mean your dishes are cleaner.
  • Cycle options can vary from model to model. Standard dishwashers come with short (light) cycle, a regular cycle and a heavy (pots and pan) cycle. More expensive dishwashers can come with additional cycles, such as dry, rinse-and-hold, or sanitize.
  • Operating cost can make a big difference for conservation-conscious consumers. Water usage and energy used to heat the water are two important factors that can make one machine more costly to run than another. Check the machine's Energy Star rating, a sticker with consumer information provided by the federal government, to help you decide.

5. What sizes do dishwashers come in?

Most dishwashers are 24 inches wide and fit under a standard kitchen counter. They need to be attached to a water pipe, drain pipe and electric source. Narrower dishwashers are available in compact models, and there are models that are bigger than the standard.

6. What's the price range of dishwashers and who are some of the major manufacturers?

Dishwashers range in price from about $300 to more than a $1000. Brands include Frigidaire, GE, Maytag, Whirlpool, Kenmore, KitchenAid, Roper, Jenn-Air, Amana, Admiral, Hotpoint, Miele, Asko, Hobart, Bosch, Fisher, Paykel and Haier.

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