The upfront costs of some highly efficient dishwashers can be daunting, but while all appliances designed for efficiency cost more, the long-term savings are significant. They can reduce total water use by one-third, which translates to an annual savings of $95.
The following are basic criteria to use when choosing a new unit:
Energy Star qualified models typically use one-third less water and 41 percent less energy than non-qualified models. The percentage above indicates the percent more energy-efficient each dishwasher is; Energy Star does not currently factor in water savings for their ratings.
Consumer Reports rates dishwashers based on their performance in washing ability, energy use, noise, loading flexibility and ease of use. The numbers on the chart indicate the score each appliance was given based on a scale of 0 to 100.
If your current model is at least 10 years old, it likely uses between eight and 15 gallons of water per cycle (gpc) when set on “normal,” while the average new Energy Star-rated dishwasher uses four gallons per load. A newer model can save more than 1,000 gallons of water annually.
Compact capacity models hold eight place settings plus six serving pieces, while standard capacity models hold more. If your home sees a lot of dirty dishes, a compact model will use more energy and water if it’s run more frequently to handle multiple loads.
Look for models with several cycle selections. If your dishes don’t need heavy-duty washing, you can use a light or energy-saving cycle and less water.
At the store, compare the energy- and water-consumption costs of one model to another using the yellow “EnergyGuide” label on the product.
Choose a model with an air-dry feature, which cuts down on energy use.