Types of Dishwashers
Before you start your search, it’s good to have an idea of the type of dishwasher you want – in terms of size, and how it’s installed. The model you choose will depend on your habits, the size of your family, your budget, and how much space is available.
FREESTANDING VS INTEGRATED
Your first big decision is whether you want a freestanding or integrated (also known as built-in) appliance. Both have advantages, but it depends on how you want your kitchen to look once you have your machine installed.
Freestanding dishwashers are the most common type and can be slotted into your kitchen, either where a previous model used to be or into an empty space. The door is designed to remain visible and easily accessible.
Because of their popularity, there are lots of models available in this style, to suit all tastes and budgets. There are also a variety of colour options available, but the most common are white, black, grey and silver models.
This style is fairly portable as it’s not built into your kitchen, so if you move house you can take it with you easily. The main downside is that they don’t blend in with your kitchen units the way an integrated model would.
Because of their popularity, there are lots of freestanding models available.
Integrated dishwashers are a great idea if you have a fitted kitchen with a uniform look, as they are designed to be kept out of sight. Fully integrated styles are completely hidden behind a kitchen cabinet door. Semi integrated models are mostly concealed, except for a control panel that’s visible at the top.
Built-in models help to keep a streamlined look in your kitchen, but are more difficult to move than freestanding models, as they’re fixed in place. Also, you can’t see the control panel with fully integrated styles, so you’ll have to open the door to check the display.
Integrated dishwashers are a great idea if you have a fitted kitchen with a uniform look.
FULL SIZE, SLIMLINE OR COMPACT?
Dishwashers come in three main sizes – full size, slimline or compact. Larger models generally have more space for dirty dishes, but also take up more space in your kitchen.
Surprisingly, the type of dishwasher doesn’t affect the price greatly. For all three size brackets, you’ll find models from under £200 up to £800 or more.
Full size dishwashers have a large capacity and overall size. The smallest versions have room for 9-12 place settings, whereas the largest models can wash up to 16 settings – enough for 160 items. This style is perfect if you have a large household or like to hold dinner parties.
Both freestanding and integrated full size models are available, and they generally measure 60 cm in width.
The large capacity means full size dishwashers are great for water and energy efficiency as you can wash many items at once. However, you may not benefit from this if you don’t have enough dishes to completely fill the machine for each wash.
If you have a small kitchen it may be difficult to find space for a full size model.
Freestanding and integrated full size models generally measure 60 cm in width.
Slimline models are ideal if you have a small or narrow kitchen. At just 45 cm wide, they are 15 cm slimmer than a full-sized version, but don’t sacrifice on cleaning power. They usually have a nine or ten place setting capacity, so you can still wash about 10 items in one go. However, they may not be as energy or water efficient as larger machines.
Compact dishwashers are generally a bit bigger than a very large microwave and sit on top of your kitchen counter. Their small capacity of 4-6 place settings makes them perfect for a single occupancy household, if you don’t do much cooking, or don’t have the floor space for a slimline model. It also means you don’t have to bend down with heavy, dirty plates.
At roughly 55 cm wide, they don’t have a large capacity so you may struggle to fit in larger pots and pans. They’re also less energy and water efficient than slimline and full size models.
For all three size brackets, you’ll find models from under £200 up to £800 or more.