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    How to choose the right dishwasher

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    Aina Martin
    @ainamartin
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    Putting an end effortlessly to piles of dirty plates, heaps of soiled stemmed glasses and greasy casseroles, that's the promise of dishwashers; overview of these devices, more varied than one might think at first sight.



    Despite its undeniable practical side, the dishwasher is still a comfort appliance. Indeed, while the Spaniards almost all have a washing machine (97% of equipment rate) or a refrigerator (98%), they are on the other hand only 66% to benefit from a dishwasher according to the figures GIFAM (interprofessional association of household appliance manufacturers). Still considered as comfort equipment, its acquisition is made after the purchase of essential linen care, food storage or cooking appliances that meet much more essential needs.


    Built-in, the dishwasher is discreet. (© Siemens)


    However, this is not what scares manufacturers who do not hesitate to innovate to offer ever more sophisticated, more practical, more economical and cheaper devices. Nowadays, you can indeed find without too much effort dishwashers for less than 300 €. Of course, the higher the price, the more features there are. The most expensive models easily exceed 2 €.


    Not all dishwashers dry the same

    In fact, a dishwasher remains one of the simplest appliances. It comes in the form of a large cube and when you open it, you find (in the vast majority of cases) a rotating washing arm in the lower part of the tank and very often a second in the upper part. . As they rotate, they spray the utensils with water and detergent during washing. It should be noted that the water is used in a closed circuit and that it is recovered in the tank to be reused.


    This is where the magic happens. (© Whirlpool)

    Once the operation is finished, comes a first phase of rinsing; the now dirty washing water is drained away — after being filtered — and clear water comes to rinse the utensils. Often, a regeneration cycle comes in addition to remove limescale - to avoid marks on transparent glasses - using water and rinsing liquid. We then move on to drying; the water in the form of vapor is condensed – it is cooled to give it its liquid form – to be recovered before being expelled from the device. This operation varies between dishwashers.



    • Exterior condensation : the water vapor naturally reaches the upper wall where it condenses. A pump then evacuates it from the dishwasher. This method is the least energy-consuming.

    • Water condensation : as in washer-dryers, cold water lowers the temperature of a condenser and the water vapor returns to its liquid form. By gravity, it is directed towards a pump which rejects it outside the device.

    • Natural condensation : this time, it is the interior walls of the tank which form the condenser. The water vapor returns to its liquid form and, again, it is evacuated by a pump. It is the most energy-intensive system.

    Not so greedy

    The dishwasher is not only practical; he knows how to be economical with resources. Indeed, it is estimated that washing by hand requires 5 times more water than machine washing. Of course, all this must be put into perspective according to each person's habits (use of a double tank or a trickle of water for rinsing, for example) but dishwashers are no longer the ecological sinkholes they have maybe... provided you use them well and don't start a cycle for 3 place settings and a saucepan. For information, a program on today's appliances requires between 10 and 15 liters of water.

    What's more, advances in technology allow some models to further limit their consumption thanks to automatic programs. A turbidity sensor analyzes the dirt in the water so that the dishwasher continues the wash cycle or initiates a rinse cycle depending on the information received.



    Not everything goes in the dishwasher

    As practical as it is, the dishwasher is sometimes contraindicated. It is preferable to avoid using it for fragile dishes, including crystal glasses that shocks (thermal and other) risk damaging them. In the same vein, dishes decorated or with metallic borders do not like machine washing. Kitchen knives, if they are put in the dishwasher, will see their edge dull. It is best to wash wooden utensils (and cutlery with wooden handles too) by hand; the washing cycles are far too long for them to emerge unscathed from this treatment. The non-stick coating of pans and saucepans does not support machine washing. Finally, we will also avoid placing cast iron utensils in the dishwasher to prevent them from rusting.

    It is often said that plastic should not be put in the dishwasher; this is not a problem if the utensil bears the symbol which means that it can be washed in the washing machine. If this is not the case, it is better to be satisfied with washing by hand to avoid deformation of the container and having to deal with all the trouble that this can generate. Be careful, plastic dries less well than glass or porcelain.

    Finally, a dishwasher does no miracles against excessively dirty dishes. The family lasagna dish with its cooked cheese stuck to the sides is washed by hand.

    For all tastes, of all sizes...

    Those who want to equip themselves with a dishwasher are spoiled for choice; integrated, freestanding, 60 cm wide or just 45 cm, white, stainless steel, retro... almost any combination is possible.


    Who else but Smeg could give a dishwasher a beautiful American look? (© Smeg)

    There are even reduced-size appliances to be placed on the worktop or built-in (for 5 or 6 place settings) or others all in length.

    Moulinex Studio MINID2SL Introductory price €299

    Give your opinion In the absence of offers, find out
    • Moulinex MINID3SL Best price: 298.99 € View
    • Beko BDFN36530XC Best price: 579.99 € View
    • Bosch SMS53L32EU Best price: 499 € View
    • Siemens iQ700 SN27YI01CE Best price: 947 € View
    See more offers Smeg STO905-1 Introductory price €1490

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    How the price table works

    The first point to clarify is therefore the number of covers and the space available. Of course, the 45 cm wide models have a lower capacity than the 60 cm ones, which can accommodate up to 16 place settings. Be careful not to choose a dishwasher with too large a capacity. Indeed, the dishes will be stored there for too long, the dirt will dry and come off more difficultly. It's all about balance.

    Thomson TDW450WH Introductory price €399

    Give your opinion In the absence of offers, find out
    • Beko BDFN36530XC Best price: 579.99 € View
    • Bosch SMS53L32EU Best price: 499 € View
    • Moulinex MINID3SL Best price: 298.99 € View
    • Siemens iQ700 SN27YI01CE Best price: 947 € View
    See more offers

    Programs and control panel

    Abundance of goods does not harm and it is better to have too many programs than not enough. Dishwashers generally have basic programs whose temperature and duration differ; so you can go up to 75°C for very dirty dishes. The higher you go, the more possibilities there are. Depending on the circumstances and needs, one can, for example, go for a device with a cycle designed for baby dishes or stemmed glasses. But in our opinion, the presence of an automatic program (now widespread) is essential in the choice of the device.

    We will also take care to check the presence of a half-load option, even if it is present on the vast majority of dishwashers on the market.


    A completely standard control panel for a dishwasher (© De Dietrich)

    In general, dishwashers are not complicated to program. But an ergonomic and well-thought-out control panel makes operations even easier. Again, difficult to favor the physical buttons or the sensitive keys, however, emphasizing that the wheel seems to be living its last hours. Of course, this remains very subjective, a control panel placed on the upper edge of the door not only seems more aesthetic to us than its counterpart placed on the front, but also much more practical. Indeed, it avoids having to kneel in front of the dishwasher to configure it.

    Arm up, arm down

    Spray arms are important components of dishwashers. The less advanced devices have basic arms that perform simple rotations on themselves. This inexpensive system, however, has the disadvantage of not allowing spraying throughout the tank. To cover more space, some more sophisticated dishwashers are equipped with so-called planetary or orbital arms: like a planet turns on itself by turning at the same time around a star (hence the name), a part rotary at the end of the arm also rotates on itself during the rotation of the arm. This allows the jets of water to reach almost every corner of the tub and all utensils.


    An example of a planetary arm at Electrolux (© Electrolux)

    There is a latest technology specific to Samsung and called Waterwall. At the bottom of the tank, nozzles project powerful jets of water onto a deflector that moves back and forth; by hitting the latter, the water is redirected upwards and reaches the utensils. This technology is the one that covers the most space but it is only found in Korean devices.


    Samsung's Waterwall system. (© Samsung)

    All eggs in one basket?

    A good dishwasher has practical and modular storage. Ideally, these should be able to adapt easily to the load of dishes: for example, the upper basket should be easily adjustable in height to enlarge the space below or above. The presence of retractable pins is a real plus. In store, do not hesitate to handle the product to realize the ease (or difficulty) of handling.


    Very often, colored plastics indicate moving or removable elements (©Candy)

    It is once again the particular situation of the buyer who will direct him towards a classic cutlery basket (easy to take with you if the storage location is far from the dishwasher) or towards the dedicated drawer. The latter is often placed in the upper part of the tank, at the height of a drawer, which facilitates storage.


    The Electrolux ComfortLift system. (©Electrolux)

    At Electrolux, the bottom basket can be raised to the level of its top friend to simplify loading or removing utensils: all you have to do is pull it towards you.

    Maintenance and consumables

    Like all appliances intended for washing, the dishwasher is prone to clogging. It must therefore be maintained regularly by emptying and cleaning the filter, for example. You might as well not add muscularly painful contortions to this unsavory exercise.


    Let's be honest; it's disgusting ! (© iStock Iryna Dobytchina)

    To deliver sparkling dishes, a dishwasher needs detergent, rinse aid and regenerating salt; it is better that the various reservoirs are also easily accessible. Some dishwashers are equipped with an automatic detergent dosing system, notably at Beko (Autodose).


    The dispenser of the Autodose system. (© Beko)

    Miele offers a similar but proprietary system; a thick disk contains all the chemicals essential to the device (PowerDisk technology). Note, however, that completely standard products can be used.

    Miele G 7910 SCI Introductory price €2899

    Give your opinion In the absence of offers, find out
    • Beko BDFN36530XC Best price: 579.99 € View
    • Bosch SMS53L32EU Best price: 499 € View
    • Moulinex MINID3SL Best price: 298.99 € View
    • Siemens iQ700 SN27YI01CE Best price: 947 € View
    See more offers

    Noise in the kitchen

    Dishwashers are not noisy appliances. If the kitchen is far from a living room, or a door separates the two, no problem. On the other hand, if the kitchen is open, it is important to choose a discreet appliance. The quietest do not exceed 40 dB(A), but they are often expensive products.

    A little something extra?

    When all these aspects have been sifted through, we can look at the little practical or just aesthetic extras. Drying with zeolite (a volcanic rock that heats up when it absorbs moisture) for example is not essential but provides excellent results. More futile, some dishwashers (those whose control panel is invisible once the door is closed) project a light on the floor to indicate the progress of the cycle; even more prestigious models prefer to display a timer.


    At Bosch, the remaining cycle time is projected to the ground. (©Bosch)

    Finally, dishwashers are no exception to connectivity. Be careful, these features quickly increase the bill!

    Audio Video How to choose the right dishwasher
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