When selecting a dishwasher, you first need to determine your needs. Probably a family of five is going to need a larger-capacity dishwasher than a couple of empty-nesters. You have three considerations other than size; noise, water usage and energy efficiency. The more insulated the model, the quieter it will run.

Some newer models use less than five gallons of water for a standard cycle. If you want the most efficient model possible, look for ones that determine just how dirty the dishes are and program the temperature of the water and number of cycles accordingly. The Energy Star label is the easiest way to be assured that the dishwasher is more energy efficient.

Stylistically, you usually see the facing on the dishwasher match the one on the refrigerator. So if you choose overlay panels, you’ll need to have a dishwasher that has touch pad controls located on the inside of the door instead of the outside.

Take a good look at the inside of the dishwasher to make sure that it can accommodate the kinds of items that you tend to wash. Removable inserts for stemware and other items are also a consideration.


Dish Drawers

The main reason I keep hearing for buying a dish drawer is that you can run a half load. OK. I don’t know anyone who has so few dishes that they have to run a half-full dishwasher. The more interesting option with a dish drawer is when two drawers are installed one on top of the other. This allows you to fill one drawer with pots and pans that need to be cleaned with a more powerful cycle while putting all your glassware in the other dish drawer so that you can run it on a short, gentle cycle. This saves both water and energy.

If you have a particularly small kitchen and you need as much storage space as possible, you can even consider buying a dish drawer instead of a dish washer to save space. Dish drawers are also a consideration if you’re planning to live out your golden years in the home you’re buying for. The top drawer offers no-stoop convenience for loading and unloading.

And if you’re looking for “green” options, select dish drawers do come with an Energy Star rating. Be sure and ask how many gallons each drawer uses for a standard cycle.