Buying a dishwasher is a large financial commitment that, when made well, will save you time, effort and money by cutting the cost of your annual energy bills.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average UK home uses nearly 350 litres of water every day and washing the dishes accounts for around 5 per cent of domestic water use.
Dishwashers can be an all-round more efficient way of cleaning dishes and, importantly, allow you to spend less time at the sink in rubber gloves.
We surveyed over 1,000 households to find out what dishwashers people currently own, why they chose them, what features they find most useful and whether they would buy them again.
We also spoke to domestic white goods experts from AO.com, Currys PC World and whitegoodshelp.co.uk along with specialists from Glotech Repairs and Pimlico Plumbers, to bring you trusted advice and recommended dishwasher suggestions, and help you make an informed decision about what dishwasher to spend your money on.
Discover some of the best dishwasher brands and find the right dishwasher for your household and budget, with the BBC Good Food dishwasher buying guide.
For more unbiased expert buyer’s guides, visit our reviews section to find 400+ round-ups of everything from the best dishwasher tablets to slow cookers to food processors.
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Dishwasher buyer’s guide: BBC Good Food Survey of the best dishwasher brands
This year, we rallied the BBC Good Food community with a survey distributed across our website, newsletter and social media channels to establish your favourite dishwasher brands, usage and purchase drivers, and received 1,264 responses.
BBC Good Food dishwasher survey: key findings
80 per cent of BBC Good Food’s online audience own a dishwasher, 51 per cent of whom said they use it about once a day. A very small minority said they use it once a week or less often (5 per cent). 63 per cent of respondents haveowned their dishwasher for over three years and 12 per cent have used theirs for 10 years or more.
When choosing a dishwasher, the top two most important factors by a clear margin are value for money and high energy rating. Water usage and product guarantee were the next important factors in people’s decision making.
People valued the brand’s legacy in their selection criteria. 29 per cent of recipients chose their brand based on it being known for quality; playing an even more important role than whether the machine was the best fit for the kitchen/washing area or its reviews.
Responses also suggest that people are more open to paying for a high quality dishwasher from a reputable brand than they were concerned about whether the brand was cheap.
When it comes to choosing a dishwasher, Lauren Clark, Trading Direct of AO.com says: ‘carefully consider what features are important to your household, such as:
- What energy efficiency you’d prefer
- How many table settings you’ll need it to wash
- How flexible you need the shelving to be
Some dishwashers are more adaptable for switching between stacking pots and pans and lots of glassware.’
‘We’re looking at all the same features as the buyer at home when choosing which dishwashers to stock at AO.com. The following are factors to consider:
- The quality of the appliance
- How much energy it uses
- How easy it is to use
- How good it looks in the kitchen’
What type of dishwasher do I need?
Depending on the design of your kitchen, dishwashers can be installed differently to best fit the space available. There are three main types:
Integrated: integrated dishwashers sit under your kitchen counters and are entirely hidden by a furniture door that matches the rest of your kitchen.
Semi-integrated: the dishwasher is also placed under a countertop but the machine’s panel and door is on show.
Freestanding: these can stand alone wherever you place them and are finished on all sides.
What dishwasher features and programs should I look for?
Andy Trigg, director of whitegoodshelp.co.uk with 44 years in the white goods and domestic appliance industry, shares his recommendations of features to look out for when buying a new dishwasher.
Place settings: this should be prominently mentioned in the dishwasher’s specs and capacities range from 12 place settings up to 16 on a full-size dishwasher. The place settings calculation should be around 10 items per person, including cutlery.
Anti-flood protection: a dishwasher with anti-flood protection should detect leaks, drain out the water and shut off before any major damage is done.
Child lock: with all dishwashers, as soon as the door is pulled open the dishwasher stops working. You can usually just see the spray arms slowly come to a halt. However, the dishwasher could potentially be full of very hot water, plus there is access to sharp knives. So, it might be desirable to have a dishwasher with a child lock system.
Adjustable top rack: some top racks move up and down to accommodate extra large dishes or pans.
Hot fill option: some dishwashers can be connected to the hot water supply instead of cold. This may or may not be something that you are aware of as a possibility. Dishwashers are normally plumbed in with only a cold water supply, so if you wanted to use hot water instead you would need to have extra plumbing fitted.
Quiet Mark symbol: if a dishwasher is advertised and promoted as being quiet, then it should be fairly safe to rely on that.
Eco setting: a longer wash cycle that uses less energy.
Auto wash: sensors that can detect how clean or dirty the water is and adjust the wash cycle accordingly.
Time remaining display: whilst not always 100 per cent accurate, they do usually give a reasonable estimate of the time remaining. It’s extremely useful if you don’t want to leave a dishwasher running when leaving the house or going to bed (never leave a dishwasher running when no one is around).
What indicates that a machine is particularly water and energy efficient?
Legislation by both the UK Government and the European Commission dictates that all dishwashers sold in the EU must have a label showing their energy efficiency rating. The grading system used ranges from A+++ (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
The energy class on these labels take into account the following information:
- Energy consumption
- Power consumption when the dishwasher is not switched on
- Power consumption when in standby mode
- Standby mode duration
- Capacity of the dishwasher
- Program type
Insights on the machine’s noise emissions, drying performance and water consumption per standard cycle should also be included, according to UK legislation.
An efficient dishwasher will not only use less electricity and water to run but can also cut the cost of your energy bills.
Which is cheaper – washing-up or using a dishwasher?
‘Modern, energy efficient dishwashers are a great way to save water usage in your home,’ says Lauren Clark of AO.com. ‘It’s a common myth that they use more water than hand-washing, and the higher temperatures used means that they are also far more effective at killing bacteria.’
Using data by Carbon Footprint, Peter Earl of Compare the Market presents the average yearly running cost of a 1.44kWh dishwasher against those of other energy-guzzling household appliances.
Costing £19.44, the dishwasher sits just in front of a kettle at £16.90 and behind an electric oven at £21.08.
‘On average,’ writes Earl, ‘the majority of modern dishwashers use 11-13 litres of water per cycle. Hand-washing, on the other hand, can call for up to nine times that amount.’
Small actions like fully loading your dishwasher before turning it on and scraping excess food from your plates will help improve the efficiency of your dishwasher’s water and energy consumption.
How much water does a dishwasher use?
Our survey revealed that a dishwasher’s water consumption was a top-five deciding factor for participants when it came to buying their dishwasher. Andy Trigg shares a simple rule of thumb to follow.
‘Dishwashers with the highest A+++ energy rating tend to use the least water. This is likely to be because a dishwasher using less water will also use less energy to heat up.’
‘The annual water consumption quoted for dishwashers is based on 280 wash cycles a year,’ Trigg tells us. ‘That works out as 5.38 wash cycles per week. So if you use your dishwasher more or less than that, your costs will vary accordingly.’
Having checked the annual water consumption figures of 50 dishwashers from various brands with a range of place settings, Trigg found that the amount of water used by a dishwasher doesn’t always correlate to its capacity. He recommends instead, using the energy rating as a more accurate guide of a dishwasher’s water efficiency.
Annual water consumption of a dishwasher data:
A+++ rating: lowest 2,492 litres – highest 2800 litres
A++: lowest 2,520 litres – highest 3,360 litres
A+ rating: lowest 2,880 litres – highest 3,360 litres
How do you know if your dishwasher is quiet?
A noisy dishwasher could become quite intrusive if, for example, you have an open plan kitchen/living area. You will find details of a machine’s airborne acoustic noise emissions rating and class on the machine’s energy label in dB(A).
‘Some dishwashers are praised for being almost silent (44dB),’ says Andy Trigg, ‘whilst others can be very noisy (50dB).’ The following noise emission classes relate to the decibels generated during the average wash cycle.
Dishwasher noise emission rating data*:
B: 39 – 45
C: 45 – 51
*data taken from the European Parliament Commission Delegated Regulation with regard to the energy labelling of household dishwashers, 2019.
Cutlery tray vs. cutlery basket?
It’s common for dishwashers to have small cutlery baskets that sit in the bottom layer during washes. Others have a slim tray that pulls out like a drawer and sits right at the top of the machine for laying cutlery down in.
Cutlery trays allow for extra washing room between each piece and offer more flexibility for utensils such as spatulas, tongs and sharp knives to also be washed safely. Sometimes, large dishwashers have both. A separate cutlery tray leaves you with additional room for plates in the lowest dishwasher rack.
What is a smart dishwasher?
Smart dishwashers connect via WiFi to an app on your phone, allowing you to control them remotely through that app. You no longer have to pay through the nose for them but Andy Trigg suggests approaching these with an air of caution.
‘Think carefully before paying extra for smart features,’ says Trigg. ‘These technologies seem to be put there mostly because they can.
‘Being able to turn your dishwasher on remotely has no advantages as far as I’m concerned because you should never run a dishwasher when no one is present in the house. They are a potential fire risk. If you can see that there are genuinely useful (and not just novel) functions on a smart dishwasher then you will no doubt be happy to pay extra for one.’
A dishwasher’s size comes down to two factors; its physical dimensions and the number of items or place settings it can hold. Measure the space you have available for a dishwasher and compare that to the standard dimensions of these three common types.
Recommended dishwasher dimensions:
Full-size: 120-150 items / 60cm wide / 4+ people
Slimline: 90-100 items / 45cm wide / 2-4 people
Compact: 40-60 items / 55cm wide / couple
Our survey of over 1,000 BBC Good Food readers revealed that Bosch was by far the most popular dishwasher brand, with a quarter of BBC Good Food’s online audience owning one by the brand.
Nine in 10 said they would also buy the dishwasher again (four per cent said they would not). The next most popular dishwasher brands were Beko and Hotpoint, with nine per cent and eight per cent respectively owning their dishwashers.
Using the results of this survey, suggested models from AO trading director, Lauren Clark, Currys PC World white goods specialist, Karl Beasant and advice from Andy Trigg, we bring you a selection of highly-rated dishwasher models from top brands to consider for your household.
Best all-round dishwasher: Bosch SMS25EW00G | A++
- Flexible baskets and racks
- Two foldable cup shelves in top basket
- High energy efficiency rating
- Freestanding full-size, so not suitable for slimline spaces
Cycle options: five
This machine washes 14 place settings at a time and boasts improved efficiency over the SMS40T32GB model, along with reduced water consumption, making it cheaper to run.
The brand has added a third rack VarioDrawer to place cutlery and utensils on whilst its top basket is height adjustable to offer flexibility over what can be stacked inside. If you’re washing precious or delicate glasses, select the specific program to achieve what’s reportedly watermark-free and shiny glasses.
The machine’s motor is brushless and is said to be energy-saving, all to help reduce friction noise and drive a smoother operation. We also like the safety features including a childproof lock door and leak protection system to give you peace of mind. The dishwasher comes with a 10-year rust warranty on its inner cavity.
Best budget dishwasher: Beko DFN05R11W | A+
- A+ energy rating
- Popular budget brand
- Well reputed cleaning capabilities
- No child lock
- Lacks a time-remaining indicator
Wash cycle options: five
This freestanding dishwasher by Beko sits at the lower end of the dishwasher price spectrum, but offers a full-sized capacity for washing 13 place settings in one go.
There are five wash cycle programs including a 30-minute wash at 30C if your plates are only lightly soiled and a 58-minute ‘Quick&Shine’ cycle.
This machine’s eco-wash takes just over three hours and is a more efficient wash for both energy and water, so a good option for saving on your annual energy bills. If you only need to clean a small number of items at a time, opt for a half load wash.
The racks are not adjustable in this machine and there’s limited flexibility for accommodating large plates anywhere than at the edges. However, if you’re looking for a back-to-basics dishwasher to provide great cleaning at a budget price, this could be a good option.
Best semi-integrated dishwasher: Miele G7310 SCi | A+++
- Top-rated for energy and water efficiency,
Cycle options: 10 with four additional functions for personalisation
This is a sophisticated and versatile full-sized dishwasher that’s been seemingly designed to give you ultimate control over cleaning your dishes, without any of the effort.
One of the most impressive things about this dishwasher is its A+++ energy rating, highlighting it as being particularly efficient with energy and water. This therefore suggests it would be a cost effective dishwasher to run.
You can choose from 10 programs ranging from an eco 50C to a hot hygiene wash for sterilising items like baby bottles. Its automatic program runs at temperatures between 45-65C and auto adjusts its wash to suit the number of items you have loaded.
An ecosmart feature would also allow you to set the machine to come on when energy tariffs are at their cheapest, for example, at night. Capacity-wise, it takes 14 place settings at a time and is covered by a two-year guarantee, but you do need to use Miele’s PowerDisk detergent that sits around the £9.49 mark for 10 washes.
The machine has wifi capabilities so can be controlled through the WiFiConn@ct app and linked to an Amazon Alexa device for voice control.
Available from John Lewis (£1,299)
Best integrated dishwasher: Bosch SMV68MD01G | A+
- 14 place setting capacity
- Silence program
- Optional extra dry setting
Cycle options: seven
This integrated dishwasher by Bosch is backed by ‘great reviews and no issues raised,’ says Trigg. Holding 14 place settings, the machine offers seven wash programs and features a TimeLight to project the exact time remaining onto the floor during wash cycles so you know when it’s safe to open.
The cutlery holder is a draw rather than a basket in this machine. The lowest rack is well-spaced to provide an easy loading guidance whilst the top rack is adjustable to three settings.
An important feature to mention is the low sound rating (39dB) that accompanies this machine. Combined with an additional silence program, this would be a discrete machine to have chugging away in the background.
Useful extras include anti-flood technology, child lock, delay timer, height adjustable top rack, time remaining indicator and a sensor/auto wash, allowing the machine to adjust its temperature and wash-length to the plates you load.
Best dishwasher for large households: Hoover AXI HDPN1S643PW WiFi connected standard dishwasher | A+
- Large capacity
- WiFi connectivity
- 30-minute quick wash
Cycle options: six
It seems you get a lot of dishwasher for your money with this Hoover AXI model, which has WiFi connectivity capabilities usually accompanied by a heftier price tag. It handles 16 place settings at once and would suit large families looking for a dishwasher with a good energy rating.
The main panel is touch-control and can be connected to via Bluetooth and WiFi with the Hoover Wizard app.
At 45dB, the dishwasher also sits at the quieter end of the spectrum, meaning if you had an open plan living and cooking area it could be a less intrusive option than others during its automatic wash.
At a basic level, the plate spikes in its lower basket are adjustable and it has both a cutlery tray and basket for fitting utensils alongside knives and forks.
Best dishwasher for small families: Bosch Serie 2 SMS24AW01G | A+
- Adjustable shelves
- Ecosilence drive
- Not the quietest dishwasher on the market
Cycle options: four
With a 12-setting capacity, the Bosch Serie 2 is a good option for smaller families.
Although it lacks some of the bells and whistles of more expensive dishwasher models, this freestanding Serie 2 does feature adjustable racking over three heights and the brand’s brushless motor, which it claims will achieve a powerful wash with minimal energy loss.
There are four wash cycles to choose from: normal 65C, eco 50C, quick 45C and pre-rinse. If you’re particularly lacking in time, the variospeed option tells your dishwasher to complete the wash and dry cycle in the shortest time possible. The quick wash takes just 29 minutes which is handy if you’re in a hurry.
The model comes with a two year manufacturer warranty, so if you’re looking for a budget dishwasher that works quickly, this is one to consider.
Best dishwasher for medium families: Samsung DW60M6050FW | A++
- High efficiency rating
- 30-minute quick wash,
- Independent cutlery tray
Cycle options: seven
The Samsung DW60M6050FW dishwasher can hold up to 14 place settings at once. It also features a hygiene rinsing function which increases the temperature of the final rinse to 70℃ which gives your dishes a more hygienic thorough clean – two reasons why this dishwasher is one to consider for medium families.
A child-proof lock on its door is another feature that makes this Samsung family-friendly, alongside the general versatility of the baskets within. Tall plates and pots can be accommodated within by moving the upper basket up and down. The plate spikes can be adjusted in angle to best support the load.
If there are only a few bits and bobs to wash, Samsung gives you the option to run a half-load/zone wash which auto adjusts water and energy to the quantity inside. A delay timer gives you the option to set this machine to run overnight when tariffs are lower.
Best smart dishwasher: Miele G7360 SCVi| A+++
- A+++ efficiency rating
- Smart capabilities
- Separate cutlery tray
Cycle options: 10
The Miele G7360 is a full-size integrated dishwasher that holds 14 place settings and has all the basic features you could want for a functional dishwasher.
But where it really stands out is in its energy efficient rating (A+++) and smart capabilities. This is a modern piece of kit for your kitchen and that is reflected in the price.
Like the Miele G7310 SCi featured above, this model can be monitored and controlled through the WiFiConn@ct app on your phone, or voice controlled through pairing with an Amazon Alexa. You would be able to order new detergent rings through the same portal.
There are 10 washing programs to choose from including a 45-65C automatic wash that will adjust the wash according to how dirty the contents is. Four additional programs will allow you to have even greater control over how your dishes are cleaned.
For example, enabling the IntenseZone feature will make the wash more intense for cleaning extra dirty pots and pans in the lowest basket, whilst ExtraDry boosts the drying stage of the cycle. Once the wash and dry cycles have finished, the door of this machine will auto-open to release any steam.
It comes with a two year warranty as standard, which is useful for complex machines, but if a smart dishwasher is what you’re after, this is a good option to ponder on.
Best slimline dishwasher: Bosch SPS24CW00G | A+
- ExtraDry setting for more drying power
- Glass protect option
- Load AquaSensor
Cycle options: four
‘Bosch has a good reputation for decent appliances at good prices,’ said Andy Trigg. ‘The SPS24CW00G is a good choice for a slimline dishwasher.’
This Series 2 free-standing model has a couple of additional functions to help make life a little bit easier. The top basket is height adjustable for flexibility when loading larger items like pots and pans. There’s a glass protection setting for more delicate items and an ExtraDry button for more drying power.
According to Bosch, an AquaSensor III system will automatically regulate the water temperature and rinse time to best suit the soiling of the plates during auto settings, meaning in theory the machine will only use what it needs.
How much does a dishwasher cost to run?
You will often find annual running costs provided in dishwasher product descriptions, which comes in useful when deciding what dishwasher to buy. However, many reviews and product retailers quote the energy usage of dishwashers in pound sterling rather than kilowatt hours. When comparing the running costs of dishwashers, take these with a pinch of salt and remember that as energy prices change, so will the annual running costs of the dishwasher.
If you look for a dishwasher with a high energy rating, you will likely save more on energy bills over the long-term.
How long should a dishwasher last?
How often the machine is used and how well it’s cared for can both affect the lifespan of a dishwasher. A smart investment can often last 10 years.
‘Dishwashers are relatively reliable,’ says Trigg. ‘Compared to something like a washing machine they have very few parts. They don’t do as much physical work either. Usually only on once a day, and essentially they are just heating up water and swishing it around, which isn’t particularly hard work. So dishwashers can last a very long time.’
When should you replace a dishwasher?
‘If your dishwasher is still functioning, but you feel like the dishes aren’t coming out as clean as they should be, or that the cycles take too long for your family’s requirements, it may be worth looking into replacing it,’ says Lauren Clark of AO.com.
‘Drainage issues are a common problem people experience with their machines’, says Mark Davidson, appliance engineer with Pimlico Plumbers. ‘This happens for two main reasons; people don’t scrape their plates before they put them in the dishwasher,’ and ‘the other is broken glass where items have smashed in the wash and the tiny shards have got stuck when draining the machine.’
If you’re having issues with your current appliance, we recommend checking the product’s warranty or checking in with the manufacturer to see if your existing dishwasher could be repaired before you replace it.
‘Running a regular cleaning cycle and cleaning out the filters will certainly help it to last longer,’ adds Clark.
Top tips for looking after your dishwasher
Mark Reeves, director of Glotech Domestic Appliance Repairs shares his top tips for taking care of your dishwasher.
Clean your filters regularly: modern dishwasher filters are designed to be really efficient with energy and water so are more sensitive than older ones.
Keep your dishwasher salt topped up: salt is used to clean the water softener so without it the dishwasher will get scaled up, causing elements to burn out.
Be gentle with your control panel: make sure you don’t press the buttons too hard as it can bend the PCB [printed circuit board] behind.
Don’t put washing-up liquid into the dishwasher: it foams up and can cause damage.
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This review was last updated in May 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.