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Best dishwasher 2021: The best freestanding dishwashers you can buy

Sasha Muller
30 Nov 2021
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Find the best dishwasher for you with our bite-size reviews and handy buying guide

What domestic invention can top the dishwasher? It saves us from endless wrestling matches with grimy plates in hot, greasy water and a 15-minute tea towel drying session afterwards. So, a belated hats-off to inventor Josephine Cochrane for making our domestic lives so much easier. Thanks, Josephine.

However, choosing the right dishwasher can be confusing. After all, every dishwasher does the same job, right? That’s true to some degree, but certain models perform the task better than others. That's why we’re bringing you this lovingly curated shortlist of the best models on the market, featuring everything from sub-£300 budget models to the best money can buy.

Below, you'll find the best freestanding dishwashers from brands you can rely on such as Miele, Siemens, Bosch and Zanussi, along with all the key specifications and information you need to make your choice. Dip in, the dishes are smelling rosy.

READ NEXT: Looking for an integrated dishwasher? Head to our dedicated roundup


Best dishwashers: At a glance


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 21 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 the 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’ll 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.

READ NEXT: Best integrated dishwashers

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.


    The best dishwashers you can buy

    1. Bosch Serie 2 SGS2ITW08G: An affordable big-brand dishwasher

    Price: £349 | Buy now from Currys

    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, 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 buildup 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 dont 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 which 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 10-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

    Buy now from Currys


    2. Beko DEN59420DX: The best full-sized dishwasher for £400

    Price: £380 | Buy now from Currys

    If you’re shopping for a capable dishwasher that doesn’t cost the earth, you won’t be surprised to see a Beko on our list. This full-sized freestanding dishwasher is both economical and capable of delivering great washing performance.

    There’s room for an impressive 14 place settings, and the AutoDose feature means you only have to fill the detergent and rinse aid reservoirs once every few weeks. Amazingly, it also packs in Wi-Fi remote control via Beko’s HomeWhiz app, and there's Alexa support too. You can ask Alexa to start a wash or enquire about how long is left before the current wash finishes, and all without getting up from your chair.

    Washing performance and energy efficiency are very competitive for the money, but pricier models fare better on both counts – if you’re a porridge fiend, it may be worth opting for one of the more expensive models here. Still, this Beko is simply superb value.

    Read our full Beko DEN59420DX review

    Key specs – Type: Freestanding; Place settings: 14; Rated efficiency: A++; Wine glass support: Yes; Quick wash: Yes; Cutlery tray: Yes; Adjustable basket: Yes

    Buy now from Currys


    3. Miele G7312 SC AutoDos: The best high-end dishwasher

    Price: £1,469 | Buy now from Marks Electrical

    This feature-filled freestanding dish cleanser is A+++ rated for efficiency (on average, its wash cycle uses between six and 8.9 litres of water) and comes equipped with a height-adjustable upper basket and a top-mounted 3D MultiFlex cutlery tray that can be altered to allow room for the stalks of tall wine glasses below. In fact, you can configure the baskets in this machine pretty much any way you please.

    Wash programs include a 58-minute QuickPowerWash sequence, a half-load option with auto load recognition and a scorching 75˚ cycle for cleaning pots and removing rebellious substances such as dried egg and Weetabix.

    The AutoOpen drying system is another handy Miele innovation that’s been adopted by others: at the end of the wash program, the door clicks open a smidge to allow fresh air to complete the drying process and remove any remaining condensation.

    This Miele is an exemplary performer; it’s extraordinarily efficient, easy to use, quiet and, above all, reliable. However, you will need to fork out a hefty amount for the privilege.

    Read our full Miele G7310 SC AutoDos review

    Key specs – Type: Freestanding; Place settings: 14; Rated efficiency: A+++; Wine glass support: Yes; Quick wash: Yes; Cutlery tray: Yes; Adjustable basket: Yes

    Buy now from Marks Electrical


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