What to look for in a dishwasher
Our dishwasher expert Ashley Iredale says you should look for these eight features in a new dishwasher:
- Anti-flood device: This will stop leaks in the hose, not just the machine.
- Concealed heating element: This protects items from damage if they fall through the basket, and stops food from being burnt onto the element, which can cause a bad smell.
- Fault display: Notifies you of any problems, whether simple or more serious.
- Accessible filters: Filters that are easy to remove and clean.
- Fan or auto open: Some models now come with fan-assisted drying, and others even automatically open once the cleaning cycle is complete, which helps with drying.
- Salt dispenser for softening hard water: Dishwasher detergent may not work as well in areas with hard water. Look for a dishwasher with a salt dispenser, which will make the water softer for a better wash.
- Child safety: If you have small children (including guests) look for child-safe door locks, control locks and detergent-dispenser locks.
- Water connection: Check whether a hot or cold connection is recommended for the machine. If you're connecting hot water, check the recommended maximum hot water inlet temperature – you may need a tempering valve if the water in your pipes is too hot.
Quite the dish: CHOICE expert Ashley Iredale.
Consider the following features to give yourself more flexibility when stacking your dishwasher:
- Adjustable plate racks: Some models come with fold-down racks, which can be useful if you want to put pots and pans in your dishwasher.
- Height-adjustable top baskets: An 'easy-to-lift' top basket offers you more versatility when loading – you can adjust the height without needing to remove the top basket completely. Some models can even be adjusted when fully loaded.
- Cutlery tray or basket: This depends entirely on your cutlery loading preference – a tray lets you sort cutlery as you load, whereas a basket lets you sort the cutlery drawer.
How to get the most out of your dishwasher
- Use a good detergent: Your dishwasher is only as good as the detergent you put in it. Check out our dishwasher detergent reviews to find the best product for you.
- Put dirtier items closer to the middle of the dishwasher: Anything in the corners of the baskets won't be cleaned as thoroughly. Check our guide on how to load a dishwasher, and find out the definitive answer to the age-old question – should you stack your cutlery up or down?
- Check that the spray arm can move freely during the wash cycle. If it gets stuck, your dishes won't get clean.
- Don't bother pre-rinsing your dishes: Just scrape and go. Our test results show that you don't need to rinse before you put the dishwasher on, which means you can save the water.
- Deep clean your dishwasher: Giving it some love will improve performance and avoid any nasty smells. Our guide to cleaning your dishwasher tells you everything you need to know.
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