Planning a kitchen remodel includes rethinking all your kitchen appliances. Are they the right size and style for your changing needs? Does replacement fit in your budget? Do you even need them at all?
The average dishwasher lasts 9-12 years, so it may be smart to factor a replacement into the budget for your kitchen remodel. But, these days, people are choosing to simplify and streamline their lives, some people are reconsidering even owning a dishwasher. Maybe it’s a large, expensive item that you don’t need at all.
Dishwasher Pros and Cons
Reasons to ditch the dishwasher:
- It’s simpler to do dishes by hand
- It takes up valuable space in the kitchen
- Many items need to be hand washed anyway
- Often the dishwasher doesn’t really get things clean, or leaves watermarks
- It’s yet another thing that needs periodic maintenance and repair
Reasons to have a dishwasher:
- Modern dishwashers are more energy efficient than hand washing
- Machines are generally faster than hand washing
- Higher water temperatures can kill bacteria and sanitize dishes
- Less clutter on countertops and in the sink
- Adds to the resale value of your home
Broadly speaking, if you have the space for it, a dishwasher is a good investment for value, function, and livability of your home. They are proven to use less energy and less water than hand washing, which makes them more environmentally friendly.
Note: If space is an issue, there are “compromise” dishwashers available such as a countertop model or a freestanding one that can be rolled away into storage.
When adding a standard, under-the-counter dishwasher to a kitchen remodel, the most important consideration is where it will be placed. The preferred location is near the sink, since most people will use the sink to rinse dirty dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. Most right-handed people will hold dishes in their left hand while using their right hand to rinse or scrape a dish, which means that placement of the dishwasher below and to the left of the sink is more convenient for right-handed people. Placing the dishwasher near the sink also eases installation and plumbing.
Also, consider how close the dishwasher will be to the drawers and cabinets where the clean dishes will be put away. Making sure that clean dishes are stored near the dishwasher makes emptying easier.
Once you know how much space you have for a new dishwasher, and what your price range is, it’s time to consider options and models. Shopping for a dishwasher isn’t easy since they all tend to look alike, and the price isn’t always indicative of value. Here are the features to shop for when choosing a new dishwasher:
Features of your new dishwasher
When loaded properly, all new dishwashing machines will adequately clean dishes without pre-rinsing. The cost of the dishwasher isn’t a determining factor for how clean dishes get. Even inexpensive models can clean effectively.
Many modern dishwashers have increased capacity over older models. Current motors and pumps are more efficient and smaller, which allows dishwasher doors to extend lower than in the past, increasing interior space.
Use of interior space
Just as important as cubic capacity is the way that the inside is organized. Many people prefer adjustable racks and foldable tines inside a dishwasher to accommodate both wine glasses and baby bottles or manage oversized plates and dishes. More expensive dishwashers place tines closer together, so there is more space for dishes.
If your kitchen remodel includes opening up the kitchen for a more spacious floor plan, noise may be a concern. Less expensive dishwashers are generally louder than the more expensive ones, although no modern dishwasher should be loud enough to wake a sleeping child in another room. They range from the low-40dB level inexpensive models to low-50 dB in less expensive dishwashers. Some dishwashers include a food grinding disposal feature, to prevent clogs and help keep the dishwasher clean, but these grinders add to the noise level at certain points in the cycle.
Appearance is, of course, a primary cost-driving factor in a dishwasher. A stainless steel dishwasher may cost up to $150 more than a plastic one with the same features. While plastic is more prone to staining, a stainless steel model doesn’t necessarily work better or last longer.
Other appearance factors are the look and feel of the handle and the placement of the control panel. Most people find that placing the control panel out of sight on the inner lip of the dishwasher, is more attractive, and that feature does cost more. However, if you don’t care, or would like to be able to check cycles at a glance, an exterior control panel can be an easy way to save money.
Cycles and options
This is where dishwashers truly differentiate themselves. While a basic model only has one or two cleaning cycles, more expensive dishwashers offer enhanced drying cycles, quick-rinse cycles, steam cleaning, delayed start and more. Many people love the quick-rinse in the morning to get eggy breakfast dishes off the table, into the dishwasher and rinsed off, but not running a full wash cycle until the machine is full later in the day.
Steam cleaning is another great feature when you need to sterilize items such as baby bottles. These extra cycles and options can add up but may be worth it for the features and conveniences that are important to you.
Taking the above-noted factors into consideration will help you to prioritize and choose the best dishwasher in your price range.