A dishwasher is no longer the noisy, water-guzzling appliance it once was. There are more selections, features and options in dishwashers that make it possible to select the right dishwasher for you and the way you live.

Dishwashing style

Most of us have a dishwashing pattern. Some throw everything in the dishwasher. Others pre-wash dishes before they go into the washer. If you don’t pre-wash, a good scrub or pre-soak cycle will help ensure that everything comes out clean; that is a good feature to look for. If you do pre-wash or don’t do pots and pans in the dishwasher, then those features might not be necessary.

Dishes, pots and pans

Many homes fall into two camps: one that washes pots and pans by hand and one that puts them in the dishwasher. If you prefer to let the dishwasher handle your pots, pans and large items, look for an extra-tall tub and check to see if the upper rack can be raised or lowered to accommodate large dishes such as platters and skillets. But if you wash your pots and pans by hand, then you won’t need the extra features such as movable racks, a larger tub or a pots and pans cycle.


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There’s no question that dishwashers have come a long way in lowering the noise they produce. If you have a bedroom or living area that’s close to your dishwasher, you may want to opt for a quieter model that won’t disturb your sleep or watching television. Models that have higher insulation usually go up in price, but if your home has an open concept living space, the noise will travel. Having a better insulated dishwasher will keep your home quieter.

A little or a lot

There’s another style of dishwashing that’s much like clothes washing. Some homeowners want to do dishes frequently and run small loads more often. This makes a drawer dishwasher a great choice. They’re also nice if you do a lot of entertaining and need more glasses or have a larger family and need dish washing more often. There are also dishwashers that have a top-rack-only wash cycle that can help you get the best of a large washer but still be able to do small loads. If you like to run a large load in your dishwasher, which is generally the most water- and energy-efficient, select the largest tub available.

Specialty features and washers

If you are single or have a small household, look for a small countertop model that takes up about as much space as a microwave. It is terrific for an office, apartment or recreational vehicle.

Another specialty item is the third rack. Today’s dishwashers now come with a top rack that enables you to stack cutlery on its side and prevents scratching of silver plate or sterling cutlery. These racks are convenient, too, for other small items such as spatulas, graters and large serving spoons.