July 10, 2020

The Dirt on Dishwashers

If you want your dishes to dazzle and your glasses to sparkle, dig this: dishwashers have finally come of age. Those nondescript boxy breeds that graced yesterday’s kitchens have been replaced by an array of sleek and sophisticated models that pack plenty of punch. Using state-of-the-art technology to improve their overall performance, The Dirt on dishwashers have kicked up the clean quotient quite a bit. And if you’re a stickler for style, don’t despair—these kitchen mainstays have an updated new look that is sure to please. There are small-scale dishwashers that are no bigger than a kitchen drawer, narrow dishwashers that can be squeezed into the confines of a small apartment, and tall tub dishwashers that can accommodate the aftermath of even the most talked-about dinner parties.

The Dirt on Dishwashers From compact to super-sized

If you live in a small apartment or an older home that was built before dishwashers became standard household appliances, you may think you’re doomed to a life of scrubbing dishes at the sink. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. Fisher & Paykel’s single DishDrawer makes it possible to enjoy the convenience of a dishwasher in just a fraction of the space needed for a full-sized machine. The MSRP is $750. A double DishDrawer, which is twice as nice, on average, costs about $1,300.

Cynthia Sporre, a certified kitchen designer at Kitchen Blueprints Inc. in Wilmington, NC, says drawer-sized dishwashers are also a great option for those who want an additional dishwasher at a second location in their kitchen. If you do a lot of entertaining, for example, you may find it useful to have a DishDrawer conveniently located at a kitchen island where you prepare meals.

Double drawer dishwashers are another option that allow for added flexibility. KitchenAid’s Drawer Dishwasher (MSRP $2,500) offers the convenience of two independent dishwashers in the same amount of space as a standard dishwasher. You can take advantage of this layered configuration by separating heavily soiled pots from delicate glassware. Or, you can run a mini load without guilt. “People who don’t have large loads can save energy just by using one dishwasher drawer,” says Doug Gorman of Gorman Brothers Appliances in Prairieville, LA.

If a drawer-style dishwasher still doesn’t solve your space dilemma, there’s an even more compact option on the market. KitchenAid’s Briva In-Sink dishwasher is inconspicuously incorporated into half of a side-by-side kitchen sink. It can run a complete cycle in as few as 18 minutes, and it requires up to 50-percent less water than a standard dishwasher. When not in use, the rack and spray arm can easily be removed, allowing the tub to double as a spacious sink. The lid of the in-sink dishwasher can also be closed to provide a convenient food preparation area.

On the other end of the dishwashing, spectrum are a handful of models that effortlessly accommodate super-sized loads. If you have a large family or if you entertain frequently, you need to think big. A standard dishwasher just may not be able to get the job done. Maytag offers a line of tall tub dishwashers that incorporate a smartly-designed third rack, making it possible to clean more dishes in a single cycle. And with two adjustable racks, you have the ability to manipulate the configuration a bit depending on the needs of a particular load. Odd-shaped items like casserole dishes and bulky pots easily can be accommodated.

The Dirt on Dishwashers

Want a big dishwasher? You’ve got it. Dacor’s 30-inch model, the Epicure (EDW30) holds 20-plus place settings. Plus, it looks good, with a hidden control panel outside and a stainless-steel interior inside.

Seen But Not Heard

Dishwashers are quicker and quieter than ever before. In fact, newer model dishwashers make it easy to carry on a conversation without having to leave the room. Ms. Sporre of Kitchen Blueprints Inc. says noise level is one of her clients’ chief concerns when they shop for a new dishwasher.

“People really want them to be quiet, especially nowadays when kitchens are open to the main family area,” she says. “People don’t want to be competing with the dishwasher when they’re watching their big-screen TV.”

Peggy Deras, a certified kitchen designer and interior designer at Kitchen Artworks in South San Francisco, agrees. “Most people use their dishwasher every day. When you have to flee the house because the dishwasher is running, that’s not a good thing.”

Thermador’s nine-program HD Dishwasher, for $1,699 to $1,749, illustrates how a dishwasher can provide heavy-duty performance while maintaining a gentle whisper-like tone. It operates at just 44 decibels, a noise level that is comparable to a library or a quiet residential area. By comparison, a moderate rainfall measures about 50 decibels and an alarm clock usually falls somewhere between 80 and 95 decibels. The HD Dishwasher and a handful of other surprisingly quiet dishwasher models employ the use of sensors that use a small red light at the base of the dishwasher to provide a visual cue-you can see when you can’t audibly tell when a dishwashing cycle is complete.

Dishwashers have also picked up the pace. Frigidaire’s new Speed Clean dishwasher ($499-$649), for example, runs for just 50 minutes. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the Speed Clean dishwasher isn’t thorough; it has a special National Sanitization Foundation certified sanitize option that removes 99.999 percent of bacteria.

Washing dishes

Washing dishes in the confines of a small kitchen is a breeze with the Briva In-Sink dishwasher by KitchenAid. In addition to being compact, it’s speedy, too—it can complete a cycle in as few as 18 minutes. The dishwasher also requires up to 50-percent less water than a standard dishwasher.

Powerful Performance

Next to finding a dishwasher that maintains a comfortable noise level, performance is equally important. Jean Kamens, Director of Training at Kurtis Kitchen and Bath Centers in Livonia, MI, says, “We all want to make sure that we’re able to load a dishwasher and get great results without having to thoroughly rinse the dishes ahead of time.”

Thankfully, the technology being used in today’s dishwashers allows for a very thorough cleaning environment. Smaller water jets placed strategically throughout make it possible for dishwashers to distribute water even in those hard-to-reach places. To help you understand the important role spray jets play, Ms. Kamens uses the analogy of a garden hose. When you let water run directly from a hose without a nozzle, the water comes out at a steady pace. But when you use your thumb to partially cover the end of the hose, the remaining water comes out in forceful spurts. The same principle holds true with dishwashers. Smaller jets allow water to come out with increased speed and force, and that helps get more debris off your dishes.

Other features offer an extra measure of comfort for parents of young children. Many manufacturers have moved the control panel from the front of the machine to the top of the door. Some take that design feature a step further by incorporated fully integrated consoles that completely conceal the control panel, such as Bosch’s Integra dishwasher for $1,549 and GE’s new Monogram dishwasher for $749-$1,349. The benefits of this out-of-the-way placement are twofold: the front of the dishwasher maintains a sleek, smooth appearance, and young children aren’t tempted by a smorgasbord of buttons every time they toddle through the kitchen.

A Wealth of Sophisticated Style

Finally, the aesthetic appeal of a kitchen is not to be discounted. Dishwashers have adopted an updated sense of style, doing their part to make kitchens—often considered the heart of a home—attractive and comfortable. Many dishwashers come in a handful of neutral colors, including stainless steel, black, white, and bisque. Others incorporate integrated paneling, a design feature that helps camouflage the dishwasher for a seamless look. “It looks just like another cabinet, which is very popular in today’s kitchen,” Ms. Sporre says.

If you’d rather be bold, Kitchenaid offers the ability to add a burst of color to your kitchen. Majestic yellow, cobalt blue, hunter green, and empire red panels are available on certain models for those who are inclined to make a lively statement. Stylish options don’t end on the outside of a dishwasher, either. Many dishwashers have stainless-steel interiors, such as Miele’s Incognito G663SCVi dishwasher for $1,849, a feature that allows for easy cleaning and minimizes odors.

With a full array of features and design options to complement your particular lifestyle, the sleek style and powerful performance of today’s dishwashers will certainly add a little pizzazz to your kitchen.

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