For most families, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where you prepare and often partake of daily meals; it’s where you create culinary delicacies and congregate for parties and holidays; and more often these days, it’s also an integral part of your main living area.
Whether your family is comprised of one or ten members, the underlying premise for open concept kitchens is the same: You want your dishwasher to be the subtle supporting actor that contributes to an overall “best picture,” not a demanding diva that needlessly steals every scene for all of the wrong reasons.
So to help you find the perfect dishwasher for your open concept kitchen, here are some things to keep in mind.
Sound Matters: Whether you’re hosting a party, having a family dinner, or watching a movie in the living room that’s only 10 feet away, the last thing you want is to have to listen to the dishwasher working away while you’re trying to enjoy some well-deserved down time!
Lower decibel levels and super-quiet features are huge assets when you have an open concept kitchen. This is because a dishwasher that is rated even four decibels higher than another is twice as loud (the lower the decibel number, the quieter the machine). In practical terms, this means that although a model with a decibel rating from 41-50 will be virtually silent, a rating of 60 or above makes conducting a normal conversation difficult.
To achieve a lower decibel rating, look for models with stainless steel tubs and good quality insulation
One trade-off you may need to consider is a dishwasher with a built-in disposal. This feature will make it louder, but it may be worth it to you if you and your family (based on your pre-rinsing habits) stand to benefit from the disposal’s grinding capability.
Size Matters: When you spend a ton of time cooking, baking or preparing food, selecting a dishwasher with a large internal capacity is key. Look for models that come equipped with an extra-large capacity or a tall tub.
Newer dishwashers have adjustable racks that you can lower or raise as needed. These come in handy because they affect more than just the rack; when you raise an adjustable rack, you automatically create more room for the taller sheet pans or serving platters below. The more you can fit in a single cycle, the less time you spend loading, unloading and washing dishes!
Time Matters: If you run the dishwasher at night before going to bed, the cycle duration doesn’t matter as much as it does when you are waiting to use the clean dishes. This happens most often during the holidays–when you have to wash the lunch dishes because you need to use them again for dinner.
But what about those times when you don’t want to run a full-length normal cycle at all? If you have a smaller load or just need something sanitized in a snap, you may need a dishwasher that comes equipped with more time-sensitive and soil-conscious options.
Design Matters: In the realm of marrying form with function, you want a dishwasher that packs a major aesthetically appealing punch but also works exactly how you need it to. One example of how this might come into play is a model with a touch pad control system.
Dishwashers with touch pads in place of traditional dials are handy, but the easily-triggered mechanisms can activate the machine when you bump into the panel.
A better solution if you find yourself congregating around this appliance is to select a model with the touch pad concealed “inside” the dishwasher on the top ledge of the door, or a “top control” model. This way, you have the fancy touch pad without the hassle of false starts (literally!) when you casually brush up against the outside of the dishwasher.
What’s your favorite feature on your dishwasher?
*** Rheney Williams writes about home appliances and home organization for Home Depot. Rheney spends many hours in the kitchen of her Charleston, S.C., home, so she’s quite excited when she can provide advice to homeowners on appliances such as dishwashers. A large selection of dishwashers available at Home Depot can be found on the Home Depot website.