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Dishwasher Buying Guide

by Grand Appliance and TV

Grand Dishwasher Buying Guide

Last Updated 11/30/21

A good dishwasher is a vital tool in any home. Hand-washing dishes is the last thing anyone wants to do after a meal, and it cuts into precious time after a long day. A reliable dishwasher saves time, energy, and lets you focus on the important things after your evening meal, rather than adding an extra chore to your plate. Finding the right dishwasher for your home can also be a chore, so our experts have put together helpful guidelines to navigate through all the styles and features you’d want available in the market today.

In This Article: 


They’re on the internet, so they must be true! But seriously, reviews should always be considered. It’s important to maintain the right perspective, however. A customer that has had a bad experience is far more likely to write a review than a person that has had a good experience. On the negative side, a bad review is a bad review - there’s no sugar-coating it. On the positive side, however, it indicates that items with great reviews exceeded customer expectations to the point that the customer felt compelled to leave a favorable review of the product. 

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Space and Capacity

dishwasher sizes

Not all dishwashers are created equal when it comes to tackling mealtime messes. Even though most dishwashers have a standardized width, the amount of dishes they can hold varies from model to model. Measure your space and know what size dishwasher fits best in your kitchen when you start shopping and be sure to ask questions about a dishwasher’s capacity too. Models with the latest space-saving features can fit tons of extra dishes without adding any extra bulk!


Most standard dishwashers are made to be built right into your kitchen. They’ll typically measure about 24 inches across, 34 inches high, so be sure you have enough space under your counter before you head to the store. Dishwasher capacity is generally gauged by how many complete, five-piece table settings can fit inside during a normal wash. Your average built-in dishwasher can usually hold about 12 place settings, but larger capacity models can hold 14 or even more.

Shop Standard 24” Dishwashers


A common variant for standard dishwashers are ADA Compliant dishwashers. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant models can accommodate cutout heights of 32”, as opposed to the above standard 33-34 inch under-counter height requirement. These dishwashers are usually mandatory to fit kitchens with lower counter counters or raised floors. If you are looking specifically for ADA, we highly recommend confirming in the product specs or with our experts 

Standard vs ADA dishwasher Bosch

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Compact dishwashers are also typically built-in, but they come in smaller sizes than the traditional dishwasher. At about 18 inches across, these dishwashers are great if you’re shopping for a smaller space, though they do have proportionately less washing capacity. Expect to fit about eight five-piece place settings in one of these at a time.

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Portable dishwashers come in a number of shapes and sizes, but they’re almost always smaller than a standard dishwasher. Some are about the size and shape of a normal compact washer, but with wheels, so it can be easily moved. Others are closer to the size of a bread box and can sit right on your countertop. These don’t require installation and can be taken with you when you move. They can also be stored easily when not in use, making them ideal for small apartments, dorms, or anyone who moves frequently.

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Drawer dishwashers are just what they sound like - small dishwashers that fit in with the rest of your cabinetry and roll out like a drawer. They’re typically about the same width as a standard dishwasher, but take up half the vertical height, or come with double doors. These models have the benefits of blending in with your cabinetry and being slightly easier to unload, with the trade-off of capacity. Drawer dishwashers make great supplemental helpers for entertainers to quickly clean and rotate out stemware without interrupting the use and space of the main dishwasher.

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Exterior Styles

Most dishwasher series will often come in a variety of handle styles, with options in both front and top control styles. When choosing the preferred style of your dishwasher handle, consider the look of the matching appliances in your kitchen, as well as preferred use and the location of the dishwasher.


Front Control

Dishwashers with the control panel visible on the front of the door typically have recessed handles. Front control dishwashers are generally cheaper with the tradeoff of open controls, which can break a streamlined look or add concern for households with toddlers.

  • Recessed: Non-obstructive variant that's easier to wipe down

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Top Control

Dishwashers with “hidden”, or “integrated” controls, have their panels located on the top edge of the door. This creates a sleek look, and offer more handle options like towel bar, or pocket handles 

  • Bar: Classic and traditional top control design and provides a bar to hang dish towels

  • Pocket: Streamlined design with no obstructing handles or buttons and easy to wipe down

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Custom Panel

Panel-Ready dishwashers are designed to be outfitted with a custom panel to integrate with the rest of your kitchen cabinetry. When shopping for panel-ready models, most higher-end series will have this option available. It’s always recommended to confirm with our experts when working with custom appliances.

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Learn more about Dishwasher Door Styles 

Interior Tub Material

Stainless Steel

The most recommended material for interior dishwasher tubs. Stainless steel not only offers the best durability, and noise reduction, metal interiors also reflect heat and draw condensation off of dishware for more energy-efficient drying. Stainless steel tubs can also withstand higher temperatures for sanitizing and are more mold-resistant than plastic tubs.

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Economic and basic dishwashers are typically outfitted with a plastic polymer. Note that plastic interiors do not affect the cleaning power of a dishwasher, and are favored for their lower price points. You will typically find plastic tub interiors in rental properties unless featured otherwise.

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Some models have a combination of both stainless steel on the interior door and a durable plastic tub.


Wash System Features

dishwasher features

Aside from the exterior and interior options above, it's important to consider the technology and features when choosing the best dishwasher for your home. A machine with modern quality-of-life features might cost more, but ultimately, it can revolutionize the way you eat, clean, and live.


Silent Performance

Depending on your kitchen layout and living space, a loud dishwasher can put a serious damper on family time or become a hindrance when working from home. Noise levels are measured by decibels (dBA), and every dishwasher brand out there is competing to make the quietest possible machine. The average dishwasher operates at around 52 dBA (comparable to whispered conversations), and premium models can go virtually silent below 42dBA. It's important to note that dBA measurements are logarithmic, so the difference between, let's say 44 and 45 dBA, is actually a matter of magnitude. Noise reduction is achieved by many factors such as exterior insulation, stainless steel tub, and quality of the motor.



Every day is different, and dishwashers with adjustable racks allow customizable rack heights to accommodate whatever you’re fitting in the bottom or main rack. Premium models offer easy-to-lift or smooth glide features. Some dishwashers even have a 3rd rack, which offers even more space for cooking utensils, bowls, glasses, and more, intended to free up space in the main racks below. Racks also include foldable tines that allow you to further configure a rack to fit variable items from large pots to rows of glassware.

Learn more about 3rd Rack Dishwashers


Spray Arms

All dishwashers will have a spray arm that varies in technique and mechanics per brand, but all fundamentally operate the same. Pressurized water is drawn into the arms, and spin to thoroughly target dishes from different angles.

  • Upper Spray Arms: Found in 3rd rack dishwashers that have smaller arms to wash from above

  • Satellite Spray Arms: Additional rotating arms on main arms that can cover any blindspots from main arms

  • Bottle Jets: Useful stemmed spray jets perfect for narrow hard-to-clean objects like bottles or glassware.

  • Water Walls: wall-to-wall coverage found in high-end models that provide a quicker and more thorough clean.



How do dishwashers handle food particles? The 2 main solutions are hard food disposers or filters, which seem distinct from each other, but serve the same purpose.

  • Hard food Disposal: Disposers pulverize food particles then cleared before water recirculates into the wash. These are usually maintenance-free and help keep spray arms and waterpipes free of debris. Disposers can be much louder compared to the actual wash cycle and usually come at a higher price point.

  • Advanced Filtration: Filtration systems collect food particles in a basin at the bottom of the tub, to be manually cleaned bi-weekly or monthly depending on the frequency of use. Its worth noting filters are prone to residual odor and occasional clogging if not maintained properly. While not maintenance-free, manufacturers favor filters because they are much quieter.



Dishwashers with Sanitizing features have longer cycles and hotter water to kill germs and bacteria. A minimum temperature of 150°F is required by NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), and many brands go above that. Sanitize cycles are great for tough soils and the occasional deep clean, but not necessary for everyday use. It's important to note this feature is designed for dishes. If you want to clean the dishwasher itself, products like Affresh are specifically designed for that purpose, and typically used on normal cycles.

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Leak Prevention/Notification

No one wants a floor leak, but how would you know if the unit is enclosed, and surrounded by cabinetry? Dishwashers with leak prevention features typically have a pan to catch small leaks, as well as a moisture sensor to notify you if a leak occurs.


Additional Features

Wi-Fi Connected Smart Appliance

Get connected anywhere, anytime with a Wi-Fi-enabled dishwasher. As smart homes continue to expand in popularity, every major brand offers smart dishwashers with app connectivity for immense benefits in ease and control. On these models, you can check your machine’s efficiency, customize wash cycles, and best of all, start cycles remotely. Best of all, smart appliances can send phone notifications on maintenance and care, making clean-up easy and helping you keep your machine in good condition.

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Soil Sensors

Save money and energy with specialized sensors that can identify how dirty your dishes are, and even what kind of food is on them. A high-end dishwasher can customize settings like temperature, speed, and spray strength for each load, maximizing your clean without running up water use and energy bills.

Speed Cycle

Wash time is another factor that can bump a dishwasher up in price, quality, and convenience. No one wants to wait hours for fresh dishes, and dishwashers with speedy cycles can be a lifesaver during dinner parties or holiday gatherings. Most wash cycles run anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours, but washers with speed cycles have crunched that time down to an hour or less.

Floor Lighting

Some dishwashers are so quiet, it's hard to tell if a cycle is running or finished. For these premium dishwashers, floor light indicators can help signal if a cycle is complete, with some advanced models capable of displaying cycle time durations.


Dishwasher price range

Have a budget in mind from the get-go when you start the search for a new dishwasher. A standard-sized, built-in dishwasher can go for as low as $300 or as high as $2,500, depending on style, noise level (dBA), and equipped with enhanced quality-of-life features like a 3rd rack, bottle jets, food disposal, advanced drying, and many more. Think about what kind of features you want in a new dishwasher when setting your budget with our expert-curated overview of available options.

Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean

Keep your dishwasher performing at its best with these tips and tricks recommended by our experts.