User trial results for 19 dishwasher detergents: nine tablets and 10 powders
Since CHOICE's last dishwasher detergent report in Jan 2007, the number of dishwasher detergents sold has risen from 18.7 million to 19.8 million per year, that's an extra 38 million washes -- a staggering amount of detergent. Sales trends indicate tablet sales are on the rise, currently holding 55% of market share, while powders hold 43% and liquids a mere 2%.
It's not surprising tablets are the preferred choice as they're easy to use, particularly if they have dissolvable wrappers. However, this convenience comes at a price as they can cost much more per wash than powders. Switching from a premium tablet to a CHOICE Best Buy powder, for example, could mean saving up to $186 per year for dishwasher detergent while still getting good performance.
Tablets also need a longer cycle time to allow the detergent to fully dissolve, so you can't use fast wash and delicate cycles to save time, energy or water.
On the other hand, powders are cheaper and further savings can be made if you dose correctly according to how dirty your dishes are, or if your machine is half-full. For more energy and water saving tips with your dishwasher, see our article on dishwasher reviews.
Please note: this information was current as of June 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
How we trial
We survey the market and select the most popular products from each major brand that are widely available. Some brands have many more products on offer and hold greater market share, therefore more of these are included.
CHOICE home testers are sent four detergents each. They use each one three times in their dishwasher on a 'normal' program and rate it for its cleaning performance and ability to leave dishes streak-free.
To check consistency among the trialists' ratings, one of the four products sent out is a control product -- that is, the same as one of the other three. If the trialists' overall ratings of the control product are inconsistent, these results are excluded; this left 215 sets of results.
- Black & Gold Automatic Dishwashing Detergent Powder Lemon (IGA)
- Coles Smart Buy Automatic Dishwasher Powder
- Ecostore Auto Dishwash Powder Concentrate
- Ecover Ecological Automatic Dishwasher Tablets
- Finish Power Powder
- Finish PowerBall All-in-1 10 Power Actions Tablets
- Finish PowerBall Max-in-1 Power Tabs
- Home Brand 3 in 1 Dishwasher Tablets (Woolworths)
- Kwit Double Action Lemon Dishwasher Powder
- Logix Automatic Dishwashing Powder (ALDI)
- Logix Automatic Dishwashing Tablets (ALDI)
- Morning Fresh Complete Dishwashing Powder Lemon Fresh
- Morning Fresh Complete with Hydrofilm Wrapper
- Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Detergent
- Squeek Phosphate Free Concentrate Auto Dishwash Sachets
- Swift Boosted 4 in 1 Action Auto Dishwash Tablets (IGA)
- Tundra Automatic Dishwashing Powder (ALDI)
- Woolworths Select Dishwasher Tablets 8 in 1 Action
- You’ll Love Coles Ultra Action Dishwasher Tablets 5 in 1