Handy tips when buying a dishwasher

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MILL-HOUSE Small kitchens
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The humble dishwasher was invented in 1887 by Josephine Cochrane and George Butters, and has since become an essential workhorse of the domestic kitchen. Originally unveiled at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the machine was supposedly created as Cochrane's servants were chipping and damaging the house's fine bone china. In order to save her precious ceramic tableware, she invented an appliance that would revolutionise the way we clean and maintain our plates, glasses and cookware. Since that time dishwashers have become a mainstay in any modern cooking space. If you are sick of cleaning pile after pile of dirty dish, it might be time to invest in a convenient and time-saving dishwasher. Luckily these days dishwashers aren't the clunky and cumbersome appliances they were in the last century, and can be easily hidden within the kitchen. Additionally, 21st century dishwashers are more energy efficient, water saving, and can look great too!

But where does one start when considering a new dishwasher? Unfortunately it isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario, and the appliance should be considered based on several different factors. You will want to look at the necessary size, situation, green-rating, and type as a beginning point, and thoroughly consider your options before purchasing. If you would like some handy hits and tips, check out the images below and buy your next dishwasher with confidence!

1. energy use and water rating

The energy and water rating of your new appliance is extremely important as it will determine how much you inevitably spend on household bills. Old machines can be particularly energy inefficient, and should be replaced with a more environmentally friendly alternative. In addition, water rating should also be considered. Dishwashers actually use less water than washing by hand, and some machines will weigh the volume of dishes to adjust the water level. 

Choose a washer with a good star energy and water rating, and avoid those with few stars.

2. type

As with different sizes of machine, you will also encounter different types and varieties. Look out for the following types: 


The standard dishwasher is most individual's go-to appliance. 600mm wide and deep, with an average height of 840mm, this is a versatile product to suit most kitchens. Suiting an average sized family, a dishwasher this size will help reduce the volume of tableware that piles up on the worktops and keep your kitchen sparkling clean.


Semi-integrated dishwashers are built into your kitchen space, but have the control panel visible. They are hidden amongst the cupboards, but recognisable by the sleek stainless steel control panel which provides easy access. 

Fully integrated:

As you can imagine, a fully integrated dishwasher is built into the kitchen design and is usually hidden. Matched with the joinery you have chosen throughout your space, this is added to the fascia of the machine, essentially making it disappear within the room. Perfect for minimalist spaces, or those who want to avoid the silver glow of a large dishwasher amongst their cupboards


A benchtop dishwasher is one of the smallest appliances available and therefore suits a small household or single individual. As these machines sit atop the bench they can be particularly useful for renters, or those not wanting to alter their kitchen.


Slim and perfect for compact kitchens, a slimline appliance is excellent for a smaller family or those within limited space. 


Drawer style washers can be excellent for awkward spaces, and look stylish too. They are produced by many different companies, with the DishDrawer style of machine unique to Fisher & Paykel. The beauty of these dishwashers is that they can be purchased in one or two drawers. Perfect for smaller households, these dishwashers are unique and able to wash two cycles at separate times, meaning they are ultra-efficient.

3. size

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a new dishwasher is the size and space that it needs to fit within. You will need to get some measuring tape and accurately document the dimensions ensuring you leave an extra centimetre or two on either side to accommodate the machine. 

Dishwashers are often available two sizes: slimline (approx. 450mm) to standard (approx. 600mm). Even though the width will conform to sizes, the height and depth can differ immensely. Once you have measured the cavity you should speak to a professional and choose the right sized unit. 

4. cleaning

When it comes to the actual cleaning of your dishes you are going to want to ensure you pick an appliance that will leave your tableware sparkling. Look for the following features:

Wash cycle, drying cycle, half load, delayed start, food disposal, digital display, soak, and sensor technology. 

Consult a professional to get some advice on each feature, and what might be necessary for your house and family's needs. 

5. noise

Another essential when buying a dishwasher is to consider the decibel rating associated with the machine. Manufacturers go to great lengths to decrease the noise of their machines, but some can still be fairly loud within the home. If you have a compact house where your dishwasher will impact the living quarters this is a crucial consideration before purchasing. 

Ask the salesperson or research the noise of the dishwasher during its intensive and normal cycle to determine if it will be suitable for your dwelling. 

6. price

Finally, but no less importantly it is crucial you choose a budget for your new appliance. Dishwashers can range in price from inexpensive to expensive depending on the features, water saving ability, and energy rating. It is essential you choose a machine that meets your needs within your price considerations. Generally an appliance that is made with a better lifespan and attention to detail will command a higher price. In order to get the right machine at the right price, you should research online, chat to a professional, and spend a little time trying out the different options in order to get exactly what you are after. Look for guarantees, warranties, and any service that might be included in the purchase price. 

We hope this provided you with a few handy pointers and ideas to get you on the way to buying a smart and suitable dishwasher. If you would like to read more, check out: Guide to mothproofing your kitchen

Do you have any handy hints for our homify community? Let us know in the comments below!

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