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Small Business Locally Owned & Operated

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How to Buy a New Dishwasher: Your Dishwasher Buying Guide

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Less than a few decades ago, many people considered dishwashers a luxury appliance reserved for the wealthy. Today, these kitchen workhorses occupy prime real estate in most kitchens across the country. 

As we’ve become more accustomed to quick cleanups thanks to dishwashers, few of us stop to consider how critical these appliances are—unless the dishwasher goes on the fritz. If your dishwasher has reached its last leg, you’re likely scouring buying guides and comparing options at your local home improvement store. 

While purchasing a new dishwasher seems simple enough, the combination of advanced features, finishes, lifestyle requirements, and budgetary constraints can make it more challenging than it should be. If your dishwasher has seen better days and you need help choosing a new one, you’re in the right place. This guide will break down the elements you should consider before purchasing a new dishwasher, plus the performance and lifestyle features you didn’t know you needed.

Types of Dishwashers

More than likely, if you’re looking for a new dishwasher, you’re in search of a built-in. That said, your preferences and the size of your kitchen may require a smaller or more portable design. 

Before choosing the type of dishwasher you want, consider your needs. How often do you plan to use your dishwasher? Will you be washing your pots, pans, or baking sheets in the dishwasher or by hand? Do you care more about quiet performance or heavy-duty cleaning ability? 

From there, you can choose a built-in, portable, drawer, or countertop dishwasher that suits your lifestyle. 

Built-in Dishwashers

Common in homes, apartments, and townhomes, built-in dishwashers feature unfinished sides and slide beneath your countertops for a flush fit. These hardworking appliances feature a tall interior tub perfect for large items. 

The standard built-in dishwasher stands about 35 inches tall and 24 inches wide. However, you can opt for a compact, 18-inch-wide built-in unit or a model with a shorter tub. 

Countertop or Portable Dishwashers

Countertop and portable dishwashers work well in homes without enough counter space for a dishwasher. You can store a countertop or portable dishwasher in a closet or cabinet, then pull it out and connect it to your sink faucet for easy cleaning

Drawer Dishwashers

Drawer dishwashers work well in small kitchens or for families who rarely wash large loads. These inconspicuous appliances typically measure anywhere from 24 to 26 inches wide and 19 inches tall, though you can choose a double-drawer dishwasher for greater capacity. 

Top 5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a New Dishwasher

While you may think you can simply walk into a home appliance store and leave with a new dishwasher, the array of styles, finishes, features, and load capacity can make it difficult to choose the best dishwasher for your needs. 

To help narrow down the vast number of options, consider these five factors before choosing a dishwasher. 

1. Dishwasher Size

How much space do you have in your kitchen? Some countertops feature custom heights, while other kitchens may have layers of flooring that reduce the length from floor to countertop. 

Before choosing a dishwasher, use a measuring tape to measure the depth, width, and height of the space where your new appliance will go. Leave about an inch of “wiggle room” on either side of the machine to ensure that air can circulate around and behind the dishwasher. 

2. Dishwasher Design

Dishwasher Finishes 

You can always select dishwashers in basic black, white, and off-white. That said, modern designs like black or silver stainless steel, stainless steel-looking finishes, or matte finishes can add a new and exciting design element to your kitchen. 

Many homeowners love stainless steel for its sleek finish, but a stainless-looking finish offers extra protection against fingerprints and easier cleaning than actual stainless appliances. 

Control Panel Placement

Your dishwasher may feature a semi-integrated control panel located on the front of the door or a fully integrated panel hidden at the top of the door that is invisible when closed. While some prefer a semi-integrated look so they can know which cycle their dishwasher is in, others prefer the monochrome style of a fully integrated panel. Parents especially love a fully integrated panel to ensure that children can’t push buttons. 

Types of Handles

Depending on your preferences, you can choose from handle styles such as bar handles, recessed handles, and pocket-style handles. Recessed and pocket-style handles make cleaning a breeze, while bar-style handles are easy to open and close. 

Interior Tub Finishes

Typically, you’ll have the option to choose between a stainless steel interior tub or a plastic tub. Stainless steel tubs may cost more than their plastic counterparts. That said, you can expect improved energy costs because stainless retains heat longer and helps dry dishes more quickly. Stainless tubs usually offer greater durability and odor resistance than plastic tubs as well. 

Dishwasher Features

Energy Efficient Design

Dishwashers that feature the ENERGY STAR symbol or certification from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency will help reduce your energy costs. Most dishwashers have taken strides to become more efficient, though that may mean longer cleaning cycles, less powerful cleaning, or low-water features. 

Types of Cycles

Most dishwashers have a combination of basic cycles such as Normal, Quick Wash, or Auto, which allows the dishwasher to change the cleaning time based on the number of the dishes or the soil level. You may also see settings such as Heavy Duty, Power Wash, Rinse, Energy Efficient, or China cycles.

Racks, Baskets, and Drawer Features

You’re likely accustomed to the standard two-rack dishwasher design, though some models have begun adding a third rack for utensils or small dishes. Check the interior of each dishwasher to ensure that it includes features that suit your lifestyle, like hooks for wine glasses or flatware racks. 

Smart Appliance Upgrades

It seems like every household appliance has a “smart” option, and dishwashers are no exception. From Bluetooth connectivity to sensor-based cleaning, some dishwashers do everything but load the dishes themselves.

Your Lifestyle Needs


Older dishwashers can cause a lot of noise, especially in the middle of a cycle. If you’re tired of turning up the volume on the TV or running the dishwasher between naps, then a dishwasher with a noise-reducing package may suit your needs. 


As mentioned above, you can choose a standard or compact dishwasher for your home. Depending on the number of people using dishes or the types of dishes you plan to wash, you may choose to opt for a compact, 18-inch dishwasher, which can hold between six to eight place settings, or a standard 24-inch dishwasher, which can hold up to 14 place settings. 

Your Budget

Last but certainly not least, your budget plays a pivotal role in the dishwasher buying process. Depending on your financial constraints, you may opt for a budget dishwasher coming in at $500 or less. But don’t confuse low cost with low performance. These basic appliances can get the job done without the added bells and whistles. 

Dishwashers in the $500 to $1,000 range offer enhanced noise reduction and features like adjustable racks and stainless tubs, along with a soil sensor. Fully loaded dishwashers will usually cost $1,000 or more and feature “smart” technology like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity and wash zones for heavily soiled dishes. 

Choose Eco-Friendly Appliance Removal Before Buying a New Dishwasher

Whether you’ve already purchased a new dishwasher or are ready to do so, you’ll need to remove your old, broken-down dishwasher. Luckily, our team at Nixxit makes appliance removal in the San Francisco Bay Area simple. From Alameda County to Contra Costa County, our appliance professionals will help you prepare for your new dishwasher.

Our local, woman-owned small business offers full-service, eco-friendly appliance removal and recycling for homes and businesses in the Bay Area. As one of the only Certified California Green Business appliance removal companies, our friendly specialists will remove your old dishwasher on your schedule and at an affordable rate, so you can enjoy your brand-new appliance faster.  

Call us today to schedule a pickup or book online for easy appliance removal and recycling. 

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