It’s easy to be overcome by a wave of excitement about investing in a dishwasher. Typically, it begins with visiting a friend’s home where they flaunt their new machine that’s packed with innovative features such as WiFi connectivity and custom cycles.
Then, you begin shopping and discover that the market is littered with all types of models, brands, and styles. And, to the unfamiliar eye, they all look the same but vary in price.
Some of the latest machines may be unfamiliar, more so if you haven’t been shopping around for a new stainless steel dishwasher in years. After all, technology has significantly and quickly evolved over the years.
Fortunately, our guide will simplify the process. We’ll help you maintain that exhilaration that comes with investing in a new stainless steel dishwasher without the confusion and frustration.
Let’s face it. No matter how stylish and durable a stainless steel dishwasher looks, or which special features it has, it all boils down to efficiency. Nowadays, there’s a multitude of products that range from affordability to costing an arm and a leg. And most of these dishwashers will deliver the cleaning potency you desire.
Nonetheless, you’ll see a broad range of features offering enhanced power for a more thorough and reliable dish cleaning. For instance, some dishwashers contain concentrated wash sprayers for bottles and different types of glass.
Furthermore, you may stumble onto options with uniquely built and powerful spraying cycles to remove grease and foods. These features can quickly accumulate. So, it’s essential to focus on those that matter as opposed to features that are aesthetically pleasing in an advert.
Out of the broad range of features that you’ll find in high-end dishwashers developed by big brands, perhaps only a quantum is genuinely useful to average users. The truth is you can find a topnotch stainless steel dishwasher with unmatched performance within your preferred price range.
When it comes to cleaning power, hard water is one of the culprits that result in your dishwasher wearing out quickly. Places such as New Jersey can usher in problems for the machine quality. It may come as no surprise then, that some manufacturers include water softeners. These ensure you have crystal clear utensils with the absence of fogginess or spots.
Along with the machine’s cleaning power, most of its efficiency boils down to how well you’ll take care of it. It begins with an ideal installation whereby it’s advisable to follow the instructions of a professional or the user manual to the letter.
Secondly, it’s important to be aware of problems with your dishwasher and rectify them right off the bat. Lastly, the placement of kitchenware within the dishwasher will also impact how well they’re cleaned. Most manuals, including the Bosch 300 Series, offer guidance when it comes to this.
2. Drying Performance
It’s not only crucial when it comes to getting your kitchenware spick and span but is also half the job. After all, a stainless steel dishwasher should also be effective in drying utensils.
Think of the times you opened your dishwasher only to find your kitchenware still soaked in water. It’s a sight that makes you cringe, to say the least, because it ushers in the hassle of drying each utensil by hand. So, a machine that isn’t also effective in drying isn’t worth your time and money.
With the advent of technology, some dishwashers feature drying elements. Just like an electric stovetop, these are large pieces of metal that produce heat levels up to 170°F to dry dishes.
While this is a lifesaver in drying the water, it’s a double-edged sword as it bakes toxic calcium and food deposits onto your utensils that are nearly impossible to get rid of. The high temperature can also melt pieces of plastic that are accidentally placed next to the drying elements.
The most energy-efficient and advanced drying technique is the implementation of a stainless steel tub. Its walls pave the way for condensation-based drying that doesn’t bake on food or melt plastics. Instead, it works perfectly to get rid of moisture from the kitchenware after each normal cycle.
3. Quiet Performance
With open-plan kitchens soaring in popularity, having a noisy stainless steel dishwasher isn’t the smartest choice. After all, you want to operate your appliance and still have use of the dining area and kitchen as it runs. But a noisy machine can get in the way of this, leaving you and your loved ones to shout over the noise.
Luckily, you don’t have to resign yourself to this fate. There’s a barrage of options available that deliver remarkably quiet operation. You simply need a grasp of decibel (dB) ratings and how they impact the appliance’s pricing.
The volume of a normal conversation of 2-3 people falls anywhere between 33 dB and 65 dB, whereas, in a quiet library, it’s about 40 dB. Therefore, you want to find a dishwasher that’s the perfect balance between these two ranges, for instance, the LG LDT7797BM Top Control Dishwasher.
In today’s technological era, the overall build quality and insulation materials of dishwashers have increased. So, you can find a quieter machine that won’t dent your wallet. Stainless steel dishwasher noise levels fall into three categories.
- Noisy: Greater than 50 dB
- Fairly Quiet: From 44 dB to 49 dB
- Impressively Quiet: Below 44 dB
For the average household, dishwashers below 49 dB won’t be a major disturbance. However, you may want to choose a quieter model if you’re overly sensitive to noise and prefer to operate your dishwasher without noticing its presence. So, upon going below the 44 dB mark, the variations in the volume are hardly noticeable to the human ear.
4. Cycles and Options
Unless you’ve conducted your due diligence on dishwashers, you’re probably wondering what the various cycles mean. And, what differentiates one from another? So, there are three main variables from one cycle to another.
- Water temperature
- Cycle duration
- Intensity (the quantity of water used and the pressure)
Remember, a barrage of cycles is not an indication of a superior quality dishwasher. Quality always surpasses quantity. So, you want useful cycles that have a purpose. With that being said, here’s a breakdown of wash cycles.
It’s also referred to as One Hour or Express Cycle and uses more water of higher temperature for a maximum of 1 hour. It’s great for the speedy cleaning of utensils with a moderate level of soiling.
This is for heavily soiled utensils such as pans and pots that have sticky, baked-on, dry dirt. That’s why the heavy cycle is also referred to as the “Pots and Pans” cycle. It essentially has higher water consumption at higher temperatures for a longer washing duration.
Dishwashers, such as the AMANA 55 dB is integrated with soil sensors, offer Auto Cycle. Currently soaring in popularity, it’s becoming a standard feature with the release of more modern models.
Upon detection of the soil from the water, the sensor calculates the ideal heat temperature, intensity, and washing time. Brands use various terms such as “Smart Wash” and “Sensor Wash.” It’s an efficient alternative if you have different utensils and are undecided on a washing cycle.
At times, you just stack a few utensils in the dishwasher and prefer to wait until it’s stacked enough for a complete cycle to run. The rinse cycle uses a small quantity of water and no detergent to curb odor and dried food particles and grease on the utensils.
It’s a cycle that’s energy and water saving. The water temperature isn’t overly high. And, the duration is longer or the equivalent of generic “light cycles” that are useful in lightly soiled kitchenware.
This is designed to get rid of bacteria on the utensils with the use of high-temperature water. Based on the guidelines of the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), you can get rid of over 99% of bacteria with water of at least 150°F. The Frigidaire FFBD1831US Dishwasher, for instance, comes with a sanitization cycle.
5. Smart, Connected Dishwashers
As time elapses, home appliances, including dishwashers, are becoming increasingly integrated with technology. So, they’re packed with connected features for enhanced connectivity.
While various high-end and newer models offer wireless connectivity such as the 42-decibel LG LDT7808BM, how it’s used differs from one brand and model to another.
What are the perks of investing in a stainless steel dishwasher with a WiFi connection? For starters, you can control the machine from the convenience of your smartphone, or via digital personal assistants, such as Google Home and Alexa.
Secondly, you can remotely check the overall dishwasher maintenance information and the remaining cycle time. Thirdly, you can receive feedback on the efficiency after and during washing loads.
Lastly, you can choose the custom options and cycles from your smartphone. And, if you have mischievous kids at home, you can remotely lock the dishwasher’s controls from your smartphone.
6. Interior Design
If your budget allows, consider investing in an ergonomically built stainless steel dishwasher to fit more utensils in the same space. Thoughtful brands provide the same rack arrangement and tines. And more compact tine arrangements permit more closely packed dishes. You’ll still receive quality cleaning courtesy of the advanced nozzles and spray arms.
A myriad of topnotch machines also contains folding tines that allow you to position large items on the upper or lower rack. Thus, you can come up with custom patterns of your kitchenware. It also lets you discover the ideal spot for large plates, vases, bowls, and tall wine glasses.
A 3rd rack is a great choice to fit flatter utensils, thus making room on the lower racks for larger dishes such as pans and pots. You’ll find 3rd racks with silverware tines that guarantee sufficient separation for deep cleaning.
7. Maintenance, Reliability, and Installation
Regardless of the type of stainless steel dishwasher, the goal is for it to last for years to come. It would be amazing to have a definitive rating of the brand that provides the most durable machines; the fact is, reliability differs from one model to another, including within one brand.
So, specific features and factors usually result in enhanced reliability and durability. For instance, dishwashers with stainless steel tubs last longer than their plastic counterparts. Moreover, you want to ensure that the dishwasher installation is well done.
Improperly positioned pumps become clogged, which in turn damages the machine. By performing frequent maintenance and cleaning your dishwasher often, you can guarantee its extended life. Filters need to be cleaned at the required intervals. And it’s crucial to select a topnotch detergent.
For dishwashers that lack integrated disposal systems, it’s essential to get rid of major soiling on the utensils before loading them into the machine. Doing so prevents clogged particles from damaging the drain or wash arms.
8. Energy Efficiency
As one of the most commonly used phrases, do you truly understand what the term “energy efficiency” means? It encompasses machines that have minimal negative effects on the environment. It’s a method of building appliances in a way that ensures they use minimal energy while running, for instance, the SPT SD-6502SS.
Chances are you’re familiar with the Energy Star rating from the Environmental Protection Agency. It certifies how efficiently an appliance utilizes resources such as water and electricity.
Along with qualifying for these ratings, many dishwashers go the extra mile in proving the efficiency of their products. They throw in extras such as half-load options, eco-wash cycles, soil sensors, and quick wash. These go a long way in significantly boosting humanity’s effect on the environment.
But remember, you’re unlikely to notice anything more than a slight variation in your monthly power bill. The differences from one unit to another will usually amount to a few bucks per year.
Now that you’re ready to select and buy a new stainless steel dishwasher, remember to purchase what you need without getting caught up in high-tech features and brand names. More importantly, select a product that falls within your budget and meets all your daily requirements.