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Buying Guide

Whether you're remodeling the kitchen, picking appliances for a new home or simply upgrading your dishwasher from an older model, we can help you find the perfect dishwasher. Use this guide to explore dishwasher designs and finishes, discover what determines how quiet a dishwasher runs and learn about the features that make dishes come out sparkling.

Choosing a dishwasher.

A good first step is to think about how you will use your dishwasher. How often will you run your dishwasher? Would you like the option of running smaller loads more frequently? Do you have large pots, pans and baking dishes that need regular washing? How important is the noise factor? As you read through this guide, make a note of the designs and features that matter most to you.

Most people looking for a new dishwasher need a standard 35"H x 24"W built-in model. Built-in dishwashers have unfinished sides and are designed to be installed under a countertop. Many built-in dishwashers have a tall-tub design, which provides more interior space for larger loads and tall items, like cookie sheets and platters.

If you have a smaller kitchen or need a dishwasher for an office or a second area in the home, like a bar area or second kitchen, compact (18-inch-wide) built-ins are also available. Some countertops are less than 34 inches in height due to new flooring being laid on top of old flooring or handicap accessibility. In this case, seek out a short tub or an ADA-compliant dishwasher for the right fit.

If you don't have a spot for a built-in, portable and countertop models are a good option. They easily hook up to a kitchen faucet. And most portables stand on four wheels, so you can roll them out of the way when dishwashing is complete.

Designs and Finishes

When shopping for a new dishwasher, think about how it will fit in with the style and design of your kitchen. Finishes, handles and control panels have a large impact on how your new dishwasher will look.

  • Exterior finishes

  • There are many finishes available to ensure your new dishwasher matches your existing appliances and kitchen décor. Choose from black, black stainless, white, bisque (off-white), stainless steel or stainless-look finishes.

    Stainless-steel and stainless-look finishes both deliver a beautiful, modern look, but there are a couple of important differences. Real stainless steel is usually not magnetic and tends to accumulate fingerprints easily. On the other hand, stainless-look finishes are magnetic, more resistant to fingerprints and very easy to clean.

    • Control panels

    • The control panel will either be located on the front of the dishwasher (semi-integrated) or hidden on the top edge of the door (fully integrated), so you can't see it when the door is closed. Hidden control panels provide a clean look and keep buttons out of reach, a useful perk if you have little kids who love pushing buttons.

      With hidden control panels, you might not know what stage your dishwasher is in during the cleaning cycle, so look for dishwashers that have a time-remaining display if this feature is important to you. Some dishwashers shine a light beam on the floor to let you know your dishwasher is still running or when it's done, depending on the model.

      • Handles

      • Dishwasher handles come in a variety of styles, including recessed, pocket and bar handles. Recessed and pocket handles make it easy to clean the front of your dishwasher.

      • Interior finishes

      • Interior tubs come in either stainless steel or plastic. While dishwashers with stainless steel tubs usually cost more than a plastic tub model, they can help reduce energy costs because they retain heat longer, making dishes dry faster. They are also more durable, more stain-resistant and more odor-resistant than plastic. Plastic tubs, mainly found on more affordable dishwashers, are also very durable.

Quiet performance.

Do you move your conversation to another room or crank up your TV volume when your dishwasher is running? If you're upgrading from an older model, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much quieter dishwashers are today than they used to be. With some, you can barely hear them while they are running.

Most dishwashers come with sound reduction packages and, depending on the manufacturer, this might include layers of insulation, a solid base that absorbs sound, a motor designed with fewer moving parts and other sound-reducing innovations.

No matter what the sound-reduction package includes, the main feature to look for when comparing dishwasher noise level is the decibel level or dBA rating. Manufacturers use different terms to explain how they reduce noise, but the decibel level is the only true comparison. Dishwashers with a rating between 40 and 50 are fairly quiet. The lower the number, the quieter your dishwasher is while in use.

If noise level is a concern, steer away from a dishwasher with a hard food disposer or self-cleaning filter. This type of filter is more convenient than the manual-clean version, because it doesn't need cleaning and dishes can go straight from table to dishwasher without scraping. But, as the filter grinds up food particles, it inevitably creates additional noise. Manual-clean filters need occasional cleaning, but produce no noise. Both types of filters are great at preventing food from being re-deposited back onto clean dishes.

Loading your dishwasher.

Say goodbye to the days when you avoided putting certain things in your dishwasher, like larger utensils and odd-shaped dishes. Look for the following flexible loading features on your new dishwasher, and cleanup after meals will be a breeze.

  • Third racks

  • Third racks provide a lot more space and are great for larger utensils and cooking tools like whisks, tongs and cooking knives. Odd-shaped and small items, like espresso cups, baby bottle caps and measuring cups, fit well here too. Some third racks include silverware tines, so silverware can't stick together and escape a thorough cleaning.

  • Adjustable or removable racks

  • With adjustable upper and/or lower racks, you can easily move racks up or down to accommodate tall glasses and stemware or large plates and cookie sheets.

  • Adjustable or fold-down tines

  • Give large pots and pans and bigger bowls more room by moving tines to the left or right, or out of the way altogether. Fold-down tines can also secure lids and lightweight items that tip over and fill with water during the wash cycle.

  • Silverware caddies

  • Some silverware caddies are movable, so you can change the location from one load to the next depending on where it fits best. Covers on some caddies ensure small items stay put during the wash cycle.

Getting dishes clean.

  • Wash systems

  • Most dishwashers have three rotary spray arms located at the top, middle and bottom of the dishwasher tub, which spin and circulate water during the wash cycles. Wash systems with multiple tiers and washer arms provide a more thorough cleaning than a system with just one or two rotary arms.

    For more powerful cleaning, some manufacturers add dozens of strategically placed spray jets that blast away stuck-on food during pot scrubbing cycles or turbo wash modes. New types of spray arms and wash systems are always being developed, so watch for emerging technology in this area as manufacturers create new ways to reach every nook and cranny of the dishwasher tub.

    • Cycles

    • Most dishwashers offer the same basic washing cycles like light, normal and heavy, which is mainly used for pots and pans. Specialized cycles add extra cleaning power or tackle different types of dishwashing chores. The more cycles and options you have, the more you can customize cleaning for different types of loads. However, selecting additional, specialized cycles will make the wash time longer.

      Here are some specialized cycles you might want to consider:

      • NSF certified sanitizing rinse
        This heats the final rinse water to a very high temperature to kill germs on dishes and cookware, which is great for cleaning baby bottles or cutting boards and provides an extra measure of prevention during cold and flu season. NSF Certified dishwashers are independently tested to confirm the sanitizing cycle reduces bacteria by 99.9 percent.

      • Steam clean
        Dishwashers with steam-cleaning options use steam in different ways, depending on the manufacturer. Some have a cycle that pre-scrubs the dishes, using steam to soak and melt away caked-on food. With some, you can add a steam option to a traditional cycle for more cleaning power. And some have a special setting that only uses steam to clean fragile dishes.

      • China, crystal or glass-care cycle
        This provides shorter wash and rinse cycles with cooler water for delicate dishes

      • Extra rinse or rinse/hold
        If you're not ready to run a full load, rinse your dirty dishes with this 5- to 10-minute rinse cycle to prevent a stuck-on mess that's tougher to clean up later.

Energy efficiency — better for the environment and your pocketbook.

Look for dishwashers with the ENERGY STAR label to reduce your water and energy bills and to help protect the environment. These dishwashers meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. If your old dishwasher was made before 1994, you could save hundreds of gallons of water and hundreds of dollars in utility bills over the lifetime of your new dishwasher.

To further reduce energy use and save even more on utility bills, consider purchasing a dishwasher with these energy-efficient features:

    Soil sensors
    Dishwashers with soil-sensor technology monitor the amount of dirt and food particles in each load of dishes and adjust the water level and cycle time as needed. The dishwasher uses only the amount of water and energy needed to get your dishes clean.

  • Half-load options
    If you usually have smaller dish loads, look for a dishwasher with a half load or upper rack only cycle. These cycles typically use just one spray arm, or they are shorter cycles that use less water.

  • Speed wash or eco-wash cycles
    If your dishes aren't caked with stuck-on food, use a speed or express cycle that uses less water or has a shorter wash cycle.

  • Drying cycles
    If your dishwasher's drying cycle includes a fan, you'll use less energy because the dishes dry faster while using less heat. On many dishwasher models, you can choose to run the drying cycle without heat.

Dishwasher installation.

You can avoid the hassle of trying to install your new dishwasher by yourself by purchasing a dishwasher installation package from Best Buy. With Best Buy in-home installation, a professional installer will safely and reliably install your new dishwasher.

Each dishwasher installation package includes installation by a licensed and insured professional installer. A dishwasher hookup kit (sold separately) is also required for the installation.

If you install your new dishwasher on your own, you'll only need to purchase the dishwasher hookup kit. It contains the components you'll need to connect your dishwasher to a waterline and power source.

Shop online or in store.

Find a wide variety of dishwashers and installation packages on Your local Best Buy store also has a wide selection of dishwashers, and Pacific Kitchen & Home premium products are now inside select Best Buy stores, so you can shop from an impressive selection of quality brands. Plus, our friendly Blue Shirts are there to answer questions and help with choosing the best dishwasher for your needs.