What size dishwasher do I need?

Written by

Tim Greenhalgh

Posted on

February 12, 2020

Choosing the right dishwasher to meet all your needs is important for energy efficiency, savings and peace of mind.

Top of your wish list should be the capacity and the standard measurement for this is the amount of place settings, but what does that mean?

Well, the industry has agreed on a place setting as being a dinner plate, dessert plate, soup bowl, a glass, a teacup with its saucer, a variety of cutlery, two serving spoons, a gravy ladle and a medium serving bowl.

Now obviously we’re not all going to have a full place setting with all these bits to put In our dishwasher at the same time but this helps to give us an idea of what the machine will hold.

Dishwasher capacities range from 10 to 16 place settings, with 13 as standard so the range should cover almost every need and available space in the kitchen.

An example of a 13 place setting dishwasher

BEKO DFN05310W side

Effective wash

Looking beyond the place settings measurement, when you have a lot of cookware like pots, pans, and baking trays, it will be a balancing act around how much you can fit in for an effective wash. Thankfully, dishwashers can offer options for a little bit of extra flexibility.

Many have tines that fold down so when you are faced with a small mountain of dishes, frying pans and saucepans,  flattening these helps you to load more. Some dishwashers have folding tines in both top and bottom racks, while others opt for just one.

Some models will also supply a cutlery tray for the top rack, rather than the standard basket at the bottom, and this can help you arrange any unusually shaped dishes more easily.

Choosing the right capacity means you can run your dishwasher in the way that saves energy and costs, with the bonus of minimising carbon footprint and gives you peace of mind with the most effective use. A fully loaded large dishwasher, for example, is more efficient than a smaller model that you would have to run twice as much.

Three main models

You will find three main types of dishwasher: full size, slimline, and integrated.

A freestanding full size dishwasher is well suited for your everyday needs and these models come in a standard width of 60cm, which should fit well with the vast majority of kitchen spaces.

The full size option is perfect if you have a large family or if you do a lot of meals when entertaining friends or just like to build up the dishes to wash in one go, and really provides big time savings with maximum flexibility for your varied needs.

The slimline models are designed to provide a solution when you are pressed for space in the kitchen, with average widths of 45cmm so if you have a smaller kitchen or studio flat these are ideal. And they can take a generous amount of place settings to provide a good service.

The integrated models are simply versions of the full-size and slimline but tailored as replacements for old fitted dishwashers or for a built-in kitchen, if you are opting for a redesign. These have the same widths as the free-standing versions.

Measuring up

But whatever model you are thinking of buying, it’s crucial to measure precisely – and worth remembering the old builder’s maxim, “measure twice, build once”. Double-checking the height, width and depth measurements of the space you have – known in the trade as a “rough opening” – will bring peace of mind. There’s nothing worse than having an appliance arrive, unpacked and then finding it doesn’t quite fit.

When replacing an old model in your kitchen, first you’ll just need to measure from the floor to the base of the counter for height and check both left and right sides to see if there is a difference. Most models have adjustable-height legs to accommodate differing cabinets and countertops, so this should not be an issue but again, it’s worth double-checking.

Then you can measure for depth, from the back of the rough opening to the front of the cabinets, again checking left and right to be sure. Width is pretty straightforward, measuring across the rough opening top and bottom.

Choosing a quality dishwasher that suits your needs best will provide years of convenient, effective, efficient service, keeping your energy use and carbon footprint low, with a long lifespan so less need to junk and send to landfill.

Looking for a new dishwasher that keeps your dishes clean and your bills low? Choose from our range of energy efficient dishwashers.

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