No matter whether your experience of doing the washing up has amounted to decades of expertly sluicing through piles of plates left by a mysteriously disappearing family (who just as mysteriously appear again when food materialises) or gingerly picking through suctioned-on bits of pasta in a student flat’s filthy sink, it’s no-one’s favourite chore. If you’re fed up of the drudgery, or have simply given up trying to pull off Marigolds as a legitimate fashion accessory, it’s time to invest in a dishwasher – and this is our pick of the best. But before you go ahead and add the snazziest-looking washer to your virtual cart, there are a few things you might want to consider in order to hunt down the best dishwasher for you.
While there’s obviously nothing as electricity-efficient as elbow grease, a dishwasher can use less water than a bowl of washing up – around six litres compared to hand-washing’s nine – and be cheaper to run than you might think. The way to clock this is through the energy rating, which we’ve listed for each of the units below. For new appliances, the rating typically runs from D to A+++, and some of our chosen models have achieved that top rating.
After that, it’s a case of getting down with the lingo concerning what kind of dishwasher you’re after. Fully integrated dishwashers can be concealed behind a cupboard door for a seamless look that fits in with the rest of your kitchen, while semi-integrated models go underneath the counter, but keep the control panel exposed for easy access. Some dishwashers’ worktops are also removable to give you a bit of wiggle room. If you opt for a freestanding one, you might want to consider style and opt to match it up with your fridge and freezer to save it looking like an eyesore.
A full-size dishwasher can usually take between 10 and 16 place settings, but if you simply don’t need that much capacity for the size of your household, or don’t have enough space in your kitchen to accommodate another bulky appliance, you can opt for a smaller compact, or even smaller slimline dishwasher instead.
Our top pick is this fully integrated dishwasher by Miele, thanks to its superb A+++ energy rating and time-saving power wash, the latter’s goal being to clean and dry dishes in 58 minutes without compromising on the end result. Reviewers have been uniformly impressed, saying that they wouldn’t be without Miele for their reliability and range of features, including remote app control, auto 3-in-1 detergent detection, and 3D cutlery tray that corralls both glasses and smaller items with ease.
The adjustable sections in this Smeg dishwasher make it a great bet for experimental cooks who frequently find themselves having to wash up odd combinations of differently-sized pots, pans and utensils (plus that lone glass from the wine that was meant to end up in the stock). The orbital wash system makes for maximum efficiency, meaning less water and fewer pennies wasted in the process, and its fastest cycle is just 27 minutes, around half that of the Miele’s quick wash. Oh, and as if we weren’t going to mention – it looks absolutely smashing in its glossy candy apple red finish.
With A++ economy, this full-sized freestanding dishwasher handles all manner of tasks without racking up the numbers on the meter. It’s ideal for bigger households and those with curious kiddos, as it’s spacious enough to carry all the remnants of a large family dinner (that is, 13 place settings) and boasts a child lock for extra safety mid-cycle, while automatic load size detection means no wasted water if the number of dishes is lower than usual. With five easy-to-use wash programmes, an adjustable top basket, large capacity, impressive energy rating and a budget price, this is a great all-round buy so long as the kitchen can accommodate it.
While there’s simply no beating Miele’s ‘20 years tested’ promise for peace of mind, for over £1,000, it turns out you really can put a price on it. Luckily, you can get a lot of what our Miele model offers in a more cost-effective package thanks to this Hotpoint dishwasher. It boasts the same excellent A+++ energy efficiency rating, so it’ll save you more in the long run too, and reviewers loved that the interior layout allowed for lots of different types of dishes, its flexibility and capacity – allowing for up to an impressive 14 place settings – making it great for medium to large households.
This freestanding slimline dishwasher might not be the most energy-efficient on our list with a mere A+ rating (perish the thought!) but for the budget price it simply can’t be beaten. It also comes in a choice of black, white or silver to suit most kitchens, and a slimline design that keeps it to a mere 45 centimetres wide means it’s ideal for diminutive diners. Reviewers who’ve tested it out in the field have commented that it’s the ideal size for a household of three, but depending on how involved your cooking is, you may find it a little small. Overall though, it’s superb value, and on the quieter sound too.
Check out our other kitchen guides to help you work out which brands and appliances are best for you...