Dreaming of sparkling dishes without the elbow grease? This is our pick of the best dishwashers to buy
After a long day of work, the last thing most of us want to be doing is the dishes. That’s why investing in the best dishwasher you can afford is a decision you’ll never regret, and if you can find room for one in your kitchen or your utility room, you’ll soon relish having sparkling dishes, glasses and gleaming pots and pans a mere button press away.
In this article, our product recommendations are all of the most common type: the freestanding dishwasher. These full-width, full-height models simply slide underneath a kitchen counter and don’t require any specialist installation other than connecting the water inlet and outlet – something which even the most nervous DIYers shouldn’t be too daunted by.
How to choose the best dishwasher for you
What’s the first thing I should look for?
The control panel may be the first thing you notice – is it metal or plastic, cheap or classy? – but ultimately it’s what’s inside that matters most. The more you spend, the better equipped the interior and the better the quality of the machine’s hidden components.
What do the energy ratings mean?
Energy ratings give you an indication of each machine’s running costs and, as of March 2021, the old EU ratings have been replaced with a new scheme.
The new energy ratings provide you with a helpful overview. The top-level energy efficiency for each machine is rated A to G, and the sticker clearly shows the amount of water used per wash and how long that wash takes. These figures are based on each machine’s Eco wash programme. One further helpful change is that operating noise level is now both measured in dB and given a broad A to D rating for quick, easy comparison.
In truth, we’re pleased to see the back of the old rating system because the previous +, ++ and +++ ratings weren’t very clear.
Freestanding or integrated?
Freestanding machines are the most popular as they can be installed pretty much anywhere. All full-size freestanding dishwashers are around 85cm high, 60cm wide and 60cm deep. Consequently, any freestanding model will fit a 60cm gap between your kitchen cupboards. Just be sure that there’s a water outlet and drainage nearby.
Integrated models are designed to fit flush with your existing kitchen units; some models’ front panels can even be removed and replaced to match your existing colour scheme. However, integrated models have their drawbacks. For one, because the machine is installed in the kitchen units, chances are you will need to leave it behind if you move.
Also bear in mind that the control panel and display will be hidden away, so you can’t see the timer or even tell if it’s on without opening the door to check.
What about slimline models?
Slimline dishwashers measuring around 45cm in width are handy for those with small spaces. But be sure to choose a model that’s in the mid-priced range as budget models don’t have a great reputation. Most slimline models have the capacity for around ten place settings. If you’re in the market for a slimline model, check out our guide to the best slimline dishwashers.
Cutlery basket or cutlery tray?
Most budget dishwashers use a basket on the lower rack for cutlery storage. This can get in the way if you have large pots and pans to wash. Pricier models give you a range of positioning options, so you can fit it around other items, while the cheaper ones tend to have a fixed basket position.
High-end machines often feature a top-mounted slide-out cutlery tray instead of a basket. This is a bit slower to load, as every knife, fork and spoon needs to be correctly positioned. However, it’s much more space-efficient and gives the cutlery a more thorough washing.
Why do dishwashers need salt and rinse aid?
According to Finish, the salt provides sodium for the dishwasher’s “ion exchange resins”, which attract and trap the magnesium and calcium ions that cause hard water. This keeps the interior of the dishwasher free of limescale and other unwanted build-ups. Used salt is pumped out with the wastewater so regular top-ups are a must.
Rinse aid, meanwhile, is what helps your dishes and glasses sparkle. It’s a bit of a misnomer, though, as it has more to do with drying than rinsing: in short, it lowers the surface tension of water so it doesn’t form into droplets. That’s why your glasses come out of the machine without streaks and watermarks.
How do I clean a dishwasher?
Great question. If you want to keep your dishwasher working optimally, then it pays to give it a bit of TLC on a regular basis. Cleaning the inside of the dishwasher can help to both remove and prevent build ups of bacteria, and ensuring that the filter isn’t clogged with scrap of food ensures that you’re not rinsing today’s dishes in yesterday’s leftovers. If you want to learn more, then head on over to our dedicated guide to cleaning your dishwasher.
READ NEXT: Best integrated dishwashers
The best dishwashers you can buy in 2024
1. Bosch Series 2 SMS2ITW08G: Best affordable big-brand dishwasher
Price: £379 | Buy now from John Lewis
This might be one of Bosch’s most affordable full-sized freestanding dishwashers, but the Serie 2 SGS2ITW08G has all the essentials that any household needs to get those dishes sparkling.
There’s a refreshingly simple selection of programmes on offer. You get four to choose from: Eco 50°C, Auto 45-65°C, Intensive 70°C and Express 65°C, and you can tailor those to your requirements with the Extra Dry and Half Load options. There’s also a Machine Care programme, which is designed to prevent the build-up of grime and bacteria.
If you’re one of those people who always wonder which dishwasher programme is going to get your dishes gleaming, then you’ll love the Bosch’s Auto 45°-65° option. Set it going, and it automatically adjusts water temperature and the amount of time it spends rinsing to get the perfect results. If you’re keen on keeping those energy and water bills low, then this can only be a good thing.
You don’t get as much adjustability as pricier models, but the Serie 2 has enough to handle awkward loads. The Vario baskets allow you to adjust the height of the top basket, you get foldable plate racks in the bottom basket and – for those who like traditional designs – you also get a standard cutlery basket that nestles in the bottom basket. It’s a simple feature, but we’re fans of the Rack Stopper feature which stops the bottom basket flying out onto the kitchen floor when you grab it a bit too vigorously.
The whole package is rounded off with a reassuring ten-year warranty against rust-through. This means you don’t have to worry about your dishwasher disintegrating from the inside out after many years of keeping your dishes sparkling clean.
Key specs – Type: Freestanding; Place settings: 12; Rated efficiency: E; Wine glass support: Yes, short stem; Quick wash: Yes; Cutlery tray: No, basket; Adjustable basket: Yes
2. Beko BDFN15430X: Best efficient Beko dishwasher for under £400
Price: £389 | Buy now from AO Low running costs are becoming an even more important factor in our decisions about which appliances to buy. This E rated Beko dishwasher is one of the most efficient models available under £400, and it earned itself a bronze award for energy saving from independent energy insight company Youreko.
What’s more, with 14 place settings, it’s roomy enough for all your dishes, so you won’t have to switch it on more than necessary. The 58-minute quick wash is handy for when you’re in a hurry, and the auto programme makes use of sensors to adjust the settings according to how dirty your dishes are.
Users are universally impressed with the performance of this dishwasher for the price. Many people have commented on how well it washes, producing dishes that are sparkling clean.
Key specs – Type: Freestanding; Place settings: 14; Rated efficiency: E; Wine glass support: Yes; Quick wash: Yes; Cutlery tray/ basket: Basket; Adjustable basket: Yes
3. Samsung Series 11 DW60A8060FS: Best mid-range freestanding dishwasher for style
Price: £849 | Buy now from AO This discreet and streamlined stainless steel dishwasher features a hidden control panel, so the subtle blue countdown timer is the only info visible on the exterior. Its sleek lines and angles will look at home in modern and minimal kitchens, but it isn’t all style over substance; this model offers plenty of functionality to back up its beauty.
This efficient B-rated dishwasher holds up to 14 place settings and the flexible rack system allows you to configure the space to suit your kitchenware and crockery. The 55-minute quick wash is handy for when you need items cleaned in a hurry, and the open-door drying allows the load to dry thoroughly. Cutlery can be placed in the dedicated cutlery drawer at the very top of the dishwasher, and this flexible space can be adjusted to allow room for larger utensils, too.
It might be a little pricey, but this dishwasher offers all the important functions, while also looking great in your kitchen.
Key specs – Type: Freestanding; Place settings: 14; Rated efficiency: B; Wine glass support: Yes; Quick wash: Yes; Cutlery tray/basket: Basket; Adjustable basket: Yes
4. Miele G7410 SC: Best high-end dishwasher
Price: £1,529 | Buy now from John Lewis If it’s top-of-the-range design you’re after, and you’re happy to up your budget to get it, then Miele is the brand for you. And since it’s a super-efficient A-rated dishwasher, it will reward you with lower running costs over other models on the market. In addition, Miele dishwashers are designed to last a very long time, which goes some way to justifying that higher price tag.
This is a quiet dishwasher with fully adjustable baskets and a roomy capacity that can hold up to 14 place settings. Furthermore, it features Miele’s AutoDos system that works in conjunction with Miele-branded detergent capsules to automatically dispense just the right amount of detergent. The capsules last for 20 washes, meaning you will benefit from the convenience of not having to add detergent tablets with every cycle. Note, however, that at around 48p, they work out a bit more expensive per wash than most other dishwasher tablets.
There are six wash programmes to choose from, including a quick wash and dedicated glass cycle. And, as you’d expect, there’s app connectivity to deliver additional functionality. Online reviewers love its efficient cleaning and easy-to-load roomy interior that appears to have space for everything.
Key specs – Type: Freestanding; Place settings: 14; Rated efficiency: A; Wine glass support: Yes; Quick wash: Yes; Cutlery tray: Yes; Adjustable basket: Yes