The Insider: Full steam ahead for clean and easy dishes
Saturday 18 July 2009
Washing up by hand can be a quick and simple way to clean your dishes, but it's possible to save time, money, water and effort if you invest in a good dishwasher.
The type of dishwasher that best suits you will probably depend on how many people there are in your household or how often you entertain.
"A full-size dishwasher holds up to 14 place settings – an enormous 147 plates, bowls, cups, saucers, knives, forks and spoons," says Martyn Hocking, editor of Which?. "Smaller households, or those with less space, might want to opt for slimline models. You can even get table-top styles that are a bit bigger than a microwave and ideal for people who live on their own."
The type and number of programs vary between different models. As well as standard wash cycles, most also have eco programs that save water and electricity, and some have half-load programs.
Other options to look out for include intensive programs, which are designed to clean extremely dirty pots and pans, delicate programs for fine china and glassware, and programs specifically for use with three-in-one tablets which combine detergent, rinse aid and dishwasher salt.
You don't have to buy a dishwasher with lots of different programs to get a good machine though, as most people tend to use just the main and energy-save programs.
The Bosch SMS69L09 (£508), above left, is one of the top-performing full-size dishwashers in Which?'s tests. As well as being one of the quietest machines Which? has tested, it is cavernous inside and is particularly good at drying dishes – leaving very few watermarks. Its water and energy use are also good for a large machine.
According to Which?, the highest-scoring slimline model is currently the Miele G120SC (£657), above right. It cleans crockery, cutlery and glassware well, on both the main and the eco program, and is also a good choice if you're after a quiet machine. It's easy to use and the main program is shorter than some models, at just two hours.
Which?'s latest reliability survey found that Bosch, Siemens, Neff and Miele dishwashers were the most reliable.
Where to buy
It's a good idea to look at the model you're interested in to check the displays and controls are easy to use, but even the largest retailers only have limited stocks on display in store. If you can't find the model you want near to where you live, retailers such as John Lewis and Currys will order appliances for you from their online catalogue or another branch, while independents will often track down models for you.
Alternatively, many manufacturers, including Bosch, keep lists of dealers that you can access by calling their customer care telephone line or on the company's website.
Questions to ask...
How flexible is the space?
Some models have adjustable or removable lower baskets, height-adjustable or tilting upper baskets, and cutlery baskets with a removable top.
What handy features does it have?
Look for lights that warn you when the rinse-aid or salt need topping up, as well as timer or delayed start functions so you can set your machine to run overnight.
What safety features does it have?
Dishwashers use strong chemical detergents and scaldingly hot water, yet only a few models have child-safety locks to stop the door being opened while the machine is running. Most machines have anti-flood devices.
How eco-friendly is it?
Dishwashers are graded "A" to "G" for energy efficiency, with "A" being the most efficient. Choosing the energy-save program uses less water and electricity, but there's no standard definition, so one machine's standard program may be more economical than another model's energy-save program.
How easy to use are the controls?
They can come with concealed controls, raised or flush buttons, or electronic touch pads. Check they are big enough to read, and easy to operate.
The Insider is written by Which?, the independent consumer champion. For more information go to www.which.co.uk/dishwashers. To get three issues of Which? magazine for a special price of £3, call 01992 822800 and quote INADVICE.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Mark Dampier: Woodford’s young companies could be the stars of the future
You'll need £220,000 for a minimum wage in your retirement
Questions of Cash: Something rotten in the cellar causes trouble up above
Weekly Money: round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 20-24 October
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...
Day In a Page
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village