Decoding Dishwashers: Making Sense of Suds & Cycles

Shopping for a dishwasher today is a lot more complicated than it was when all you had to do was rely on advice from the lonely Maytag repairman. Today, there are a multitude of makes, models and features to choose from across every price point. Here’s what you can expect to find, whether you’re looking for economy or extravagance in your selection.


Wallet-friendly Washers

Because of the “trickle down” effect in appliance technology, budget dishwashers do a lot more — and perform better — than they did 10 years ago. So if you haven’t updated your machine since the Avengers first hit the big screen, you’re probably in for a pleasant surprise. You can expect reliably clean dishes, less noise and a few finish options to coordinate with your kitchen decor. In some models, you may even get an adjustable upper rack, additional cleaning cycles or sensor cleaning that adjusts the cycle to how soiled your dishes are.


Midrange Machines

Some midrange models now have features that were mostly found in high-end machines just a few years ago: More durable (and stain resistant) stainless steel tubs, low noise level (<50 db), multiple wash programs, sensor cleaning, steam and sanitize cycles, food waste disposal, higher capacity and more color options, including panel-ready models that can be customized to match your kitchen cabinetry. Some, but not all, of these features will be available on individual models in this range; for example, you may or may not get a third rack.


While a feature like fold-down prongs to customize the racks is universally useful, at this price range, think about what you need most. Do you entertain a lot? Maybe you’ll choose higher capacity over an auto-opening door to assist drying. Is your kitchen open to the family room? Then a lower sound level might be more important. Since you won’t get every feature under the sun (or suds), decide what works best for your lifestyle and get as many of those options as you can — whether that’s a dish drawer, rapid high-heat drying or customizable racks.


High-end Performers

There’s almost no end to options available in high-end dishwashers. Convenience and high-performance features at this price point can include:

  • The ability to wash 15 place settings an hour (even up to 380 plates per hour in some).
  • Third-tray racks that can be adjusted to accept odd-shaped items or stemware.
  • Steaming, sanitizing and up to a half-dozen cleaning programs.
  • Alarms for both tub leaks and water hose leaks.
  • Auto door opening to allow faster drying.
  • “Knock to open” that auto-opens the door if you forget an item while loading.
  • LED Interior lighting.
  • Auto-dispensing tanks for wash solutions.

There are models with WiFi for controlling the machine from your phone, and even some that allow you to program it by email. Typically, these models produce sound levels between 38 dbs (literally a whisper) and 44 dbs (normal conversation) while running.


Sparkling Solutions

To get a better understanding of what modern dishwashers in various price ranges can do, visit our live appliance gallery and talk to one of our experienced consultants. Also, Aggressive Appliances services what we sell, no matter how much it costs. When you buy from us, help — whether it’s an installation issue or learning how to use the WiFi controls — is always just a phone call away.