dishwasher mainIf you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, today’s dishwashers come equipped with a seemingly endless array of features. These options can be overwhelming if you’re not quite sure what you really want. Of course, your dishes must fit, and you want your dishes coming out spotless, clean, and dry. But there are some other cool features you might like to have. Here are a few things to keep in mind when the time comes to choose your next dishwasher.

1. Cleaning performance

dishwasher frontMany dishwashers today feature special concentrated sprayers or power spraying cycles to target baked on foods and grease or to wash specific dishes such as pots and pans. These options are great for people who love a quick clean up after cooking and prefer to throw everything in the dishwasher. If you typically only wash dishes and cutlery, however, this might not be as important to you and you may want to look for dishwashers with other features.

Many homes have hard water; I know mine does. You will know if your water is hard if you notice white mineral build-up in areas like around your faucets or on your tiles and drains. A water softener feature included in your dishwasher will ensure you’re getting clear glassware and no fogginess on your dishes.

2. Dishwasher capacity

Dishwasher openTo determine the required capacity of your dishwasher, think about your family size and any extras such as coffee mugs and extra cutlery you’ll be washing on a daily basis. A standard 24” model fits about 12 place settings and is generally large enough to accommodate the dishes for a family of four.

You’ll also want to consider how you load your dishwasher. Does everyone just toss in their dishes wherever they fit, or do you have an organized system of what goes where? I’m one of those people that likes my dishwasher loaded a certain way and I often have to remove items or move dishes around to make space.

If you need or like to wash pots and pans or more than 12 place settings daily, you may want to look for a tall tub model. These have a larger inner capacity for washing dishes when compared to standard dishwashers, although both have similar exterior dimensions. Another consideration is having adjustable racks. In my home we tend to use a lot of glasses and coffee mugs, and then my husband likes to load in his lunch containers among them which often results in everything not getting cleaned properly. Our top rack has foldable tines which I love because I can arrange the glasses and lunch containers in a way that they can all get sufficiently clean.

3. A quiet dishwasher

Dishwasher with 3 tiersA quiet model dishwasher can make a world of difference. I don’t mind a quiet white noise in the background, but I shouldn’t have to yell over the sound of my dishwasher running. Sometimes, a quiet dishwasher is also a more expensive one. But if this is important to you, like if you work from home near the kitchen or have light sleepers or babies in the home and tend to run it at night, this may be the feature you splurge on.

Dishwasher innovation has grown tremendously over the years and with insulation and overall improved build quality, most newer dishwashers are much quieter than the old ones anyway.

4. Dirt sensors

Many dishwasher models come with dirt or soil sensors that monitor the level of particulate in the water. This means they can sense whether or not you’re washing dishes with leftover food bits and crumbs and will stop the cycle when they “sense” that the dishes are clean.

Many of the most advanced dishwashers have soil sensors, which automatically determine and apply the right amount of cleaning power to each load. This feature increases the chance that you’ll get immaculate dishes every time without wasting energy or water.

5. Energy efficiency

Smart dishwasherEnergy saving dishwashers and cycles use less water at a cooler temperature. They may also have options such as a half load cycle, speed wash, or eco-wash which are great for lighter load days. I know I use mine on days when we are out of the house more or we have take-out and thus use fewer dishes that day.

While the jury is out on whether or not you should pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, I still pre-rinse mine, and there’s another reason: all that extra food and grime means you’ll need to clean your dishwasher itself more frequently, which will, in turn, use more energy.

6. Extras

On top of all the basic features and options, there are some extras you may want to consider. A top third tier cutlery or flatware rack is perfect for expensive chef knives or other specialty cutlery you may use in your home.

If you’re looking for a dishwasher with all the bells and whistles, then why not go for a smart dishwasher? Some features and options they include are built-in Wi-Fi, an app to connect to your smart device, alerts, notifications, control options, and automatic adjustments to your cycles.

Dishwashers have a decent lifespan at about 9-12 years, so why not choose one that will fit perfectly to meet your household needs? Check out this dishwasher buying guide for some tips and help on choosing the right dishwasher.

You can find a variety of dishwashers with plenty of options at Best Buy online.

Lindsey Reed
I am a mom of two boys who loves reading and trail runs. I am passionate about health, fitness and food and write about these topics and more on my personal blog