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Dishwasher Buying Guide

Dishwasher Buying Guide

You walk into an appliance store looking to buy a new dishwasher for your kitchen. While looking at a bunch of dishwasher models with the same height, width, and features, you suddenly find yourself intimated and confused, asking the question, “How do you pick?”

With so many dishwasher brands available in the market that offer similar dishwasher parts, comfort, efficiency, performance, and suitability for cleaning dishes, choosing a dishwasher that suits you best can be challenging. 

But don’t worry. This dishwasher buying guide will provide you with clarity and other information seasoned with insights to cater to your needs if you are buying it for the first time. 

What makes a good dishwasher? 

Here are some of the most important qualities of a good dishwasher. 

1. Powerful cleaning 

A good dishwasher should thoroughly and effectively remove tough stains, grease, and food residues from dishes, utensils, and cookware. They achieve this through features like high-pressure spray arms, efficient detergent dispensing, adjustable water temperatures, and robust wash cycles.

Additionally, it is important to use dishwasher detergents that reputable dishwasher manufacturers endorse, such as Finish, to maintain dishwasher hygiene and consistently achieve spotless dishes.

2. Right features

Choosing the right dishwasher features depends on individual needs and preferences, but certain aspects are universally desirable. For example, they may opt for a stainless steel interior, adjustable racks, soil sensors, and an energy-efficient dishwasher. 

3. Eco-friendliness

A good dishwasher is energy-efficient, using minimal water for effective cleaning and drying. Such machines are eco-friendly, contributing to environmental preservation while also offering cost savings.

Key features to look for in a dishwasher 

Not every dishwasher has every feature, but you can trust a machine that has, if not all, but most of the features mentioned below:

  1. Indicator light: The indicator light signals the wash cycle stage—wash, rinse, dry, or complete. It's vital for monitoring dish cleanliness, energy efficiency, and cycle progress. This feature ensures user-friendly operation and effective cleaning performance when buying a dishwasher.

  2. Soil sensor: The soil sensor measures the level of food particles and dirt in the water during the wash cycle. Based on the detected soil, it helps adjust the cycle length and intensity, ensuring efficient cleaning while conserving water and energy. Considering a soil sensor is crucial for optimal cleaning performance and resource conservation.

  3. Third rack: Some dishwashers also have a third rack, which is an additional, smaller rack located above the traditional upper rack. Its purpose is to provide extra space for utensils, especially silverware, maximizing the dishwasher's capacity and efficiency. The inclusion of a third rack is important for accommodating more items and optimizing loading flexibility.

  4. Stainless steel interior: The stainless steel interior of a dishwasher refers to the tub or inner cavity made of stainless steel. Its purpose is to provide durability, resist stains and odors, and enhance heat retention for better drying performance. It might be costly, but it’s more durable in the long run for long-lasting reliability, hygiene, and efficient dish drying.

  5. Filter: The dishwasher filter traps food particles and debris during the wash cycle to prevent them from recirculating onto dishes. Its purpose is to ensure cleaner dishes and protect the dishwasher's pump and spray arms from clogs.

Related: Use our Finish guide to learn how to unclog the dishwasher, including which products to use.

  1. Adjustable upper rack: An adjustable upper rack allows you to change the height or position of the rack to accommodate taller items or create more space for loading dishes. Considering the adjustable upper rack when purchasing a dishwasher is important for optimizing loading options and ensuring all types of dishes and cookware can be accommodated effectively.

Related: Whether using the upper or lower rack, knowing how to load the dishwasher correctly is crucial for efficient cleaning and maximizing space, ensuring dishes are thoroughly washed, and preventing damage.

How should you shop for a new dishwasher?

Here are three primary questions you must ask yourself when you’re shopping for a new dishwasher. 

1. Does the dishwasher fit in my kitchen? 

Most dishwashers are typically 24 inches wide and 24 inches deep. If your kitchen is small, opt for an 18-inch dishwasher, which is 18 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Be sure to measure your space accurately and consider adjusting the leveling feet for proper installation.

2. Do my dishes fit the dishwasher?

Examine the interior configuration of the dishwasher to ensure it can accommodate your dishware. If you often use large bowls or casserole dishes, consider a dishwasher with a height-adjustable upper rack or fold-down tines on the bottom rack for added flexibility.

3. What features do I need for my dishes?

Consider the features of a dishwasher carefully, as more features often mean a higher price. So think through which extras you’ll actually use. For instance, WiFi connectivity allows cycle customization, but a reliable soil sensor eliminates the need for manual cycle adjustments.


Choosing the best dishwasher detergents for optimal cleaning performance requires considering factors such as dishwasher compatibility, water hardness, and desired cleaning results.

To prolong a dishwasher’s lifespan, regularly clean the filter and spray arms to prevent clogs, wipe the door gasket for a tight seal, and periodically clean the dishwasher using Finish dishwasher cleaner to deep clean the parts of the dishwasher you can't see and remove grease and limescale buildup in the pipes.

The average life expectancy of a dishwasher is about 10 years, but the issues tend to develop within the first five years.