Condo Blues: How to Buy a Dishwasher: What I Bought and Why I Bought It

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Buy a Dishwasher: What I Bought and Why I Bought It

Long time readers know I am a fix it instead of replace it kind of gal. It is cheaper, it is greener, and it allows me to have a little more money leftover to sometimes spoil Lacey.

I want Lisa to use her smart shopping skillz to keep me rolling in grass fed T bone steaks!

Except when it comes to my High Efficiency (HE) dishwasher. At first, I liked the idea of saving water while it cleaned our dishes.  Later a plumber told us since HE dishwashers use less water, the water heat up cycle is shorter than a standard dishwasher, and we have to jack the heat on the water heater to remove the grit on my clean dishes problem.

Husband wryly observed, “We can save water, or natural gas but not both.”

Recently our dishwasher decided it didn’t want to wash any dishes at all.   Instead of calling a repair person to fix it, we replaced it.

It was the only logical option. After a month, the kitchen turned into this. 

 I hate hand washing dishes. Can you tell?

I couldn’t be happier. While researching what went wrong with the old HE dishwasher (a broken pump), I found out why we didn’t like the dishwasher in the first place – it was the wrong type of dishwasher for us.

How to Research a Dishwasher

I didn’t want another HE dishwasher. There was no way we were going with the same brand of dishwasher because we dislike the current one so much. Other than that, I had no idea what I should want in a dishwasher besides “clean dishes” and “not suck.”

I am more than a little in love with the new dishwasher. 
It is worth its weight in gold!

My first stop was Consumer Reports. They don’t accept adverting in their magazine, I think this makes them more impartial when they test and compare products than a source that just so happens to have an ad for the thing they highly recommend next to the article.

I also checked the CNET Dishwasher Buying Guide because Consumer Reports has a pay wall on some of the information I wanted and I didn’t want to pay for a subscription for one article. I trust CNET when I’m researching computer, electronics, and tech. I hoped it would give me trustful information on dishwashers. CNET filled in the info gaps enough so I could start considering features and brands.

My online research told me dishwashers run from $300 to over $1,000.00. The low end dishwashers have fewer special cycles and may not clean as well if you don’t prerinse your dishes first – guilty on that. As the prices increase so do the number of special cycles and cosmetic features.

The highest end dishwashers Consumer Reports tested and reviewed performed as well as the mid range dishwashers. The only difference was paying for more cosmetic options, drawers, hidden control panels, stainless steel, etc.

We budgeted for a mid range dishwasher. Not the cheapest (what we have that and hate it) and not the most expensive (stainless steel won’t match the rest of the appliances. I can deal.) My short list included Bosch (rated well in Europe), Whirlpool (3rd biggest dishwasher brand), Maytag as a safety (owned by Whirlpool), and surprisingly Kenmore (the largest dishwasher brand in the US.)

Next, I checked the prices at Lowes and Home Depot on line and was glad I was sitting down. Yowza high prices! 

My local Appliance Smart came through again on selection and price although their selection changes frequently which is how they keep their prices low. We had a great experience buying our HE washer and dryer from them. I suspected they would be The One but I had one more on line source to check before we stepped foot in a store to buy.

Lastly, I checked Sears and Kenmore only because of Consumer Reports.  Funny, because whenever we get a Sears gift card, we (me) end up buying tools with it. Other than my hand me down sewing machine, I haven't given Kenmore appliances a thought until now.

We narrowed our list to Bosch and Kenmore. Sears had a sale on Bosch and Kenmore dishwashers that made them less expensive than Appliance Smart. I was leaning toward the Bosch but went with an open mind.

I’m glad we went to the store. We asked a ton of questions. The Kenmore’s the little extras made it win over the Bosch. Then Husband found a Kenmore that looked identical in features and size to the Kenmore we saw on line for several hundred dollars less. The minor difference (to us at least) is the control panel is the front of the dishwasher of the less expensive of two. The other one has the control panel instead of hidden on top of the closed door.

I can deal with the buttons being on the front in order to save unexpected coin, especially since it was not a planned purchase.

I am probably more excited about this dishwasher than people should be allowed. Sorry. This is the first time I haven't had to rescrub the inside of a "clean" crock pot from the dishwasher in the history of ever.

Husband and I ended paying for the rest (with our own moulala minus a gift card we got for Christmas) on a Kenmore dishwasher with Turbozone - a super duper cleaning cycle that blasts baked on crud off the icky dishes I am allergic to rinsing before loading into the dishwasher (so Husband says.)

The Turbozone cycle sealed the deal but the extra features made us happier with our decision. The top rack moves up and down so I can put a stockpot in the bottom rack. It has two sprayer arms instead of one  Chopsticks don’t fly around the dishwasher anymore because there is a lid on the silverware holder to keep them in the place. Not to mention the silverware rack is on the side instead of the center and allows us to put stockpots and glass baking dishes in the dishwasher. Woo hoo party time!

Our One Small Green Change is to buy a Energy Star rated dishwasher and give the old broken dishwasher to a man who repairs, refurbishes, and resells used dishwashers.

While the new dishwasher only saves electricity and not water, it isn’t picky about detergent as long as it is powdered. Good thing I have a smorgasbord of experiments left from the old dishwasher I can finally use) and it cleans the dishes better than the old one did when it was new.

It wasn’t the cheapest dishwasher. It isn’t the most expensive but all of that legwork helped us choose the best type of dishwasher for us. I hope we make beautified clean dishes together for a long time to come.

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In case you were wondering Internet Powers That Be: I mentioned brands and stores in this post as a FYI and not because someone paid me to do it or gave me free or discounted dishwashers. The gift card was a Christmas gift from a family member and not some blogging thing. Seriously. If the dishwasher didn't die I was going to put the gift card towards a dust collection system for my workshop to be but it's cool because I haven't done anything with the workshop but sweep it because training with Lacey is more important right now.

Blogger Labels: Dishwasher,money,Lacey,High,Efficiency,dishes,,kitchen,Research,Consumer,Reports,,CNET,appliances,Bosch,Whirlpool,Maytag,Lowes,Home,Depot,Appliance,Smart,Sears,Energy,Star,dishwashers

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