Dishwasher Features Explained
Dishwasher technology is constantly improving, and modern models have a host of features to help make washing up a breeze. Read on to find out what a spray arm does, why you should watch out for a time delay and explanations of many other features, to help you pick the right machine for you.
Spray Arm Technology
Spray arms dispense the water in your dishwasher with the aim of covering all your dishes and cutlery evenly to ensure a thorough clean.
Every dishwasher has them, but there are four main types:
This style is the most commonly used and has a circular water distribution pattern, a bit like a garden sprinkler system. Water is pumped into the two spray arms, located under the lower and top baskets, and then sprays onto the dishes. The water pressure is enough to cause the arms to spin, thus circulating the water evenly.
Additional Spray Arm
Some dishwasher brands have a third spray arm attached to the roof. This is usually in place if the dishwasher also has a dedicated cutlery tray at the top of the machine, ensuring a more thorough clean.
When trying to wash awkwardly shaped dishes, cleaning performance can drop if the water jets can’t get to everything. That’s where a satellite spray arm comes in handy – it’s a mini spray arm located on the end of the larger bottom spray arm. This double-rotation means water can reach awkward corners and nooks that might otherwise not be cleaned properly.
Samsung’s WaterWall™ Jet washing system uses a bar spray arm that moves back to front along the bottom of the tub. This ensures even coverage to all the dishes and creates a wall of water, hence the name. Some other brands are starting to create their own version of this.
Controls and Displays
Control panels are generally located on the front door of the dishwasher, but some models have them on the top edge of the door.
This is primarily for stylistic reasons, so the controls are hidden when the door is closed.
Many models have LED displays with clock timers to tell you how long a programme has left to run and an alarm to signal when it’s finished. Touch screen controls are becoming more common, although most models have a mixture of dials and buttons.
Look out for indicator lights too – these warn when the salt and rinse aid levels are too low and take the guesswork out of filling them up.
Interior Layout Design
Adjustable racks are a really useful feature to have, as they allow you to change the layout to better fit the load. If you have larger pots and pans to wash, height adjustable racks will let you fit them into the lower rack even if you have a full upper rack.
Fold down prongs are helpful if you have a large number of glasses or wide trays that needed holding up. Some models have a third tray designed specifically for cutlery too – this ensures it receives a thorough clean and frees up more room in the lower trays.
Specific wash zones are designated areas for heavily soiled items that need extra attention. They don’t feature in every model, but can be useful if you often have baked-on grime to shift.
Stainless steel interiors are the latest trend in dishwasher design as they’re sturdy and low maintenance. These models are a bit more expensive than your average plastic-lined tub, but their design means they save you money in the long run. They utilise a lower wattage heating element for drying their loads, saving energy and money, and this system is also kinder to any heat-sensitive items you may have.
Stainless steel models are quieter and have more efficient drying cycles as the heat is reflected back off the metal lining. They also allow for a higher water temperature, which ensures all your dishes are sterilised and sparkly clean.
Many models have LED displays with clock timers to tell you how long a programme has left to run and an alarm to signal when it’s finished.
Stainless steel models are quieter and have more efficient drying cycles.
Delayed start is a really helpful feature to ensure your dishes are clean and ready to use exactly when you need them.
Just load up your dirty plates, set the time for when you want the programme to start and enjoy freshly cleaned dishes to coincide with dinner.
A child-safety lock might be useful if you have young children. This ensures that curious fingers can’t change the programme settings or open the door whilst the dishwasher is on.
Sensor washing is a feature often found on higher-end models that measures the soiling level of the water to adjust the temperature and length of the wash.
Soil sensors such as Whirlpool’s AccuSense follow the same principle, but base the cycle length and water use on how dirty the load is.
Dishwasher filters are generally tube-like sieves in the bottom your machine.
These collect the food that comes off in the wash and stop it being redeposited back onto clean dishes. Manual filters require you to empty them out by hand, whereas self-cleaning versions look after themselves.
The high-temperature of steam kills bacteria, ensuring you have hygienic dishes for your whole family to use.
Electrolux Luxury-Hold ™ Doors stay at whatever angle you leave them at, so say goodbye to doors suddenly dropping down when you’re loading things up.
Steam dishwashers uses high-pressure, high-temperature steam during the wash to loosen tough, dried or burnt on stains.
This powerful cleaning performance means there’s no need for pre-washing.
The high-temperature of steam kills bacteria, ensuring you have hygienic dishes for your whole family to use. It doesn’t require harmful or expensive cleaning chemicals, plus you only need a small amount of water to create enough steam to clean the entire load.
A really useful safety feature, anti-flood protection ensures you won’t come home to a flooded kitchen.
It automatically turns off the water supply if it detects a burst pipe and will stop water levels rising too high in the base of the machine.