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Use our guide to research and find the best dishwasher for you. Dishwashers are available for every budget, with more expensive models typically offering add-on features such as extra quiet settings, heated drying and self-cleaning filters. Dishwashers come in multiple sizes, and ENERGY STAR-rated dishwashers help conserve energy and resources.

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How much is a dishwasher?

The average cost of a dishwasher can range from around $300 to $2,000 before installation. Prices depend on the model of your dishwasher and what added features you want. Installation costs depend on how complex your plumbing is. You can often have your dishwasher installed by the same store where you purchase it.

  • Discount dishwashers: There are some nice options at a discount price, though you may sacrifice quiet operation to find a machine that really gets dishes clean at this price point.
  • Mid-level dishwashers: Many outperform luxury models and keep the noise down, so before throwing money at your dirty dish problem, be sure to look at a range of mid-level models.
  • Luxury dishwashers: Some of these are so quiet you can't hear them running, but the price can be quite high.

What to look for when buying a dishwasher?

Energy efficiency

You might pay a bit more for a top-rated Energy Star dishwasher, but what you pay for up front you can make back in running costs over the life of the appliance.

  • Lower utility bills: Energy Star-rated appliances use less electricity. In fact, dishwasher models manufactured before 1994 might add as much as $35 per month in electric usage.
  • Save on water: Newer, more water-efficient dishwashers save an average of 1,600 gallons over the lifetime of the machine, which works out to a monetary savings for you and a more environmentally friendly home.
  • Non-rated washers: While dishwashers with no Energy Star rating may come with a lower price tag, they cost you more in the long run, so it pays to spend a little more up front.

Noise level

Dishwasher models vary in noise level, with the range running from below 46 decibels to above 51 decibels. A noisy dishwasher can disrupt other activities in the area.

  • More than 50 decibels: These noisy dishwashers produce as much sound as several people engaged in a lively conversation. This could leave you turning the volume way up on the TV or shouting to have a conversation with friends and family.
  • More than 46 decibels: This moderate sound level offers a compromise between the loudest models and the quietest. Typically, they are quiet enough not to interrupt most daily activities, particularly if the kitchen is separate from other living spaces.
  • Less than 46 decibels: Often referred to as whisper soft, these quiet machines produce no more noise than a whisper, making them ideal for open floor plans, apartments or other areas where any noise pollution can be a problem.


Dishwashers come in sizes that range from countertop versions designed for flatware to deep tubs that can keep up with a commercial kitchen.

  • Countertop: This style of dishwasher is ideal for an apartment or kitchen that does not have space for dishwasher installation. It typically handles flatware for up to four people, and can even do glasses, though that may take a second cycle.
  • Under the counter: Built-in dishwashers are permanently installed in the kitchen. They need a recessed location under the countertop with enough clearance not to interfere with traffic flow.
  • Free standing: While they still need a considerable amount of space, a free-standing dishwasher usually has wheels to make it easy to move, and it may have hookups designed to go on during use and off for storage.

Optional features

Modern dishwashers have everything from self-cleaning filters to heated drying. Evaluate what you need your dishwasher to do before choosing options.

  • Self-cleaning filter: Self-cleaning filters add more noise during operation, but they help minimize clogged pipes, which can cause a leaking tub. With a manual-clean filter, you need to remember to take it out and clean it regularly to remove trapped food.
  • Heated dry: Without a heated drying cycle, water spots on dish ware are common. Make sure heated drying is optional, since it extends the cycle time and uses more energy to operate.
  • Soil sensors: Not sure what cycle is appropriate for a particular load of dishes? Machines with soil sensors can determine how dirty dishes are and adjust water pressure to match.

Cycle length

The longer it takes for the dishwasher to clean a load of dishes, the more dishes pile up while it runs. However, energy-efficient dishwashers tend to have extended cycles. Make sure the dishwasher has a selection of cycles so you can choose the best one for each load.

  • Less than an hour: Some models have a fast-clean cycle that can have dishes sparkling in just over half an hour. This usually doesn't include drying time.
  • Hour and a half: At approximately an hour and a half, many dishwashers can deliver clean and dry dishes, though not for heavily soiled loads. Those can take more than two hours.
  • Three hours: A dishwasher can take longer than three hours to complete a wash and dry, depending on the wash style, number of rinse cycles and average drying time. Run these dishwashers well in advance of needing the clean dishes.

What are the different types of dishwashers?

Built-in dishwashers

These traditional models have a permanent location and connection to your plumbing and electricity. This is the most common type of model. Standard size is 24 inches. You can install built-in dishwashers yourself, or you can have them professionally installed.

Drawer dishwashers

Like built-in dishwashers, this style needs a permanent installation, but the multi-drawer option lets you run a single drawer at a time and choose different cycles for each drawer. This makes them ideal for washing pots and pans at the same time you wash flatware. These are best for small kitchens without a lot of space.

Portable dishwashers

These dishwashers are on wheels and have a sturdy butcher block top, they run by hooking it up to a kitchen faucet. You can wheel them in to use and tuck them away afterward. Sizes range from 18-inches to 24-inches.

Countertop dishwashers

Usually set up next to the sink, these models hook up to the kitchen faucet. They are small and best used for flatware, so they make a good choice for apartments and small kitchens.

Commercial dishwashers

Restaurants and other commercial kitchens need high-volume washing. For their purposes, commercial dishwashers have a very high capacity and a sterilization cycle.

Dishwashers FAQ

Are dishwashers worth it?

Yes, dishwashers are worth it. Compared to hand-washing, dishwashers:

  • Save users time and hassle
  • Use less water
  • Clean better
  • Are more hygienic
Is 55 decibels loud for a dishwasher?

55 decibels is a little louder than average but not extraordinarily so. The average noise level of a dishwasher is about 50 decibels, which is slightly louder than a soft whisper.

Is it worth fixing a dishwasher?

It depends on what’s wrong with your dishwasher. If something simple needs repair, like a seal or door latch, it’s worth it. If the issue is more complicated and expensive to repair, such as a broken circulation pump, it may be better to replace it. This is especially true if your dishwasher is older.

How long should a dishwasher last?

The average life expectancy for a dishwasher is 10 years, but anywhere between seven and 12 years is normal. Like any appliance, a dishwasher’s longevity depends on its:

  • Build quality
  • Brand
  • Maintenance history
  • Amount of use
Is it more energy-efficient to use a dishwasher?

Yes, using a dishwasher is typically more energy-efficient than washing dishes by hand. Most newer dishwashers warm up water more efficiently than your water heater can. If your dishwasher is ENERGY STAR-certified, it often uses half the water as washing dishes by hand.

What is the decibel level of a quiet dishwasher?

A quiet dishwasher is 38 to 44 decibels. However, the average dishwasher can go up to 62 decibels, depending on the model.

Are drawer dishwashers better?

Drawer dishwashers are better in terms of energy efficiency, water consumption and tailoring the washing cycle to your needs.

How much does the average dishwasher cost?

The average dishwasher costs anywhere from $400 to $700. Dishwashers typically come in three separate price ranges (budget, midrange and luxury), which means you can buy a dishwasher for anywhere from $250 to $2,000. You may need to pay an extra charge for installation.

Not sure how to choose?

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