Dishwasher Buying Guide

Modern dishwashers use much less water and energy than hand washing dishes—saving you time and money. How does a dishwasher work its magic? First, water is pumped in and heated, then detergent is released and water jets wash the dishes. The dirty water is drained away, and everything’s rinsed with water before the dishwasher drains again. Some dishwashers heat the air to dry the dishes, or automatically open the door for faster air-drying. What’s the best dishwasher? There’s no one size fits all answer. To choose the best dishwasher for your needs just follow these simple steps.

1. Measure your Space

Use a tape measure to write down the exact dimensions (width x height x depth) for the space where the dishwasher needs to go, and remember you’ll need to leave room for ventilation at the back. Don’t make the (potentially very expensive!) mistake of guessing or trying to remember them. If you’re one or two centimetres out it can be a disaster. Always double check your measurements are 100% correct before buying, and make sure your water supply can reach where you want your dishwasher to go.

2. Load Capacity

Once you’ve measured the space for your new dishwasher, you need to consider.

  • The maximum capacity inside the dishwasher for each wash load.
  • The maximum dimensions the dishwasher can be to fit into the space.

Internal Capacity

Dishwasher capacity is measured by the maximum number of place settings that can fit in each load, with each place setting including everything one person needs for a three-course meal (one soup bowl, dinner plate, dessert plate, cup and saucer, tumbler, knife, fork, teaspoon, dessert and soup spoon).

Not many of us have three-course meals every night, so how many place settings will you need? That really depends on whether you work from home, eat out or entertain a lot, but here’s a rough guide:

2 people

1-2 people: 6 - 9 place settings

4 people

3 - 4 people: 9 - 12 place settings

5 people

5+ people: 12+ place settings

External Dimensions

There are three main options in terms of dishwasher dimensions (but these vary between brands and models so make sure you confirm the exact dimensions):

Full Sized Dishwashers

  • 600mm width x 820-850mm height x 600mm depth
  • With extra depth at the back for ventilation
  • 12-14 place settings
  • For households that generate lots of dishes

Slimline Dishwashers

  • Same height as a full-sized dishwasher but narrower
  • 450mm width x 820-850mm height x 600mm depth
  • 9-10 place settings
  • For households with small kitchens where space is limited

Compact Dishwashers

  • Same width and depth as full-sized dishwashers but half the height
  • 600mm width x 430-460mm; height x 600mm depth
  • Up to 8 place settings
  • For small households who do small loads or have limited kitchen space

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3. Types of Dishwashers

4. Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

When comparing different dishwashers it’s important to check the energy ratings (shown as stars) and how much energy they’ll use (shown in Kwh per year).

The more energy star ratings a dishwasher has the better it is for the environment and the less it will contribute to your power bills, so investing a bit more in an energy efficient dishwasher could save you money over your dishwasher’s lifetime.

Some models also have special features to help you with utility bill savings:

  • Delayed start option—to run the dishwasher during off-peak power periods
  • Half load/load sensing/eco/economy settings—use less electricity and water

Today’s dishwashers use about 40% less energy and 50% less water than dishwashers made in the ‘90s, so it’s worth replacing your old dishwasher with one of the newer models.

Energy Efficiency

5. Water Rating

Water Rating

All dishwashers have a WELS star rating, and more stars means more water savings. A wise dishwasher choice can use up to 50% less water so it’s really worth paying attention to these ratings when comparing different dishwashers.

Australia’s droughts have made our water an extremely precious resource, so we have some of the best water-saving dishwashers in the world.

Today’s dishwashers use less water than washing by hand and are designed to give great results without rinsing—even eggy plates and cereal bowls! Don’t waste water by rinsing before stacking, just scrape food scraps into the bin or compost and stack everything straight in the dishwasher.

6. Design and other considerations

7. Installation & Premium Delivery

Dishwasher Concierge

There are three different dishwasher connections that need to be set up: the power supply, the washing water supply and the waste water drainage. Having your dishwasher installed by a professional plumber is definitely the best option.

The Concierge Home Installation service can organise a reliable, licensed and insured professional to do your dishwasher installation so it’s all set up to do your dishes. No stress and no mess, and all work is guaranteed. Please note: any cabinetry work that’s required is not included in these Concierge installation services.

Dishwasher Concierge

Not sure what a dishwasher air gap is and whether you need one? An air gap is simply a method of plumbing your dishwasher’s drainage in an upside-down-Y-shape using one of the spare holes on your sink rim. The top of the upside-down-Y (the air gap) sits above your kitchen benchtop, and connects to the dishwasher and the sink’s drainage or garbage disposal system (the two triangular parts of the upside-down-Y). This prevents dirty water flowing back into the dishwasher, which can cause unpleasant dishwasher odours and be a health hazard.

Whether you need an air gap or not depends on three important factors:

  • The building code where you live
  • The dishwasher manufacturer’s installation specifications
  • Your personal preference


If you don’t need or want a dishwasher air gap, loop the drain hose in an inverted V-shape, as close to the underside of the kitchen benchtop as possible, to minimise the risk of water flowing back into the dishwasher if the sink is clogged or there’s a water surge.

For more information, click here.

8. Important Care Information

  • Read and always follow your new dishwasher’s user manual and loading instructions.
  • Never put wood, fine china, delicate crystal, hand painted or gold-rimmed crockery, or insulated coffee mugs in the dishwasher.
  • Never rinse dishes before putting in the dishwasher—just scrape and stack! If you rinse dishes, the detergent won’t cling to food particles as well as it would if you didn’t rinse.
  • Clean the filter after every wash—if it’s clogged your dishwasher may not work properly, your utility bills may increase, and water might build up in the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Make sure you maintain your dishwasher so it doesn’t leak or get stinky. To ensure it drains properly and avoid these problems:
  • - Odours – regularly wipe the door seals, clear and clean the filter, do an empty hot wash using a dishwasher cleaning product, and clear blockages.
  • - Blockages – check the filter, spray arm holes, air gap, and drainage hose (straightening kinks) and clear any clogs. Use hotter, longer cycles that break down food if you get a lot of blockages.
  • - Leaks – leaks from the door can usually be fixed by replacing door seals. If there’s a gap between the rubber seal and the door the water can leak out of the dishwasher.

9. What's Next

  • Read the Dishwasher Energy Efficiency Guide
  • Get a tape measure and measure the dishwasher space (check it twice!)
  • Write down everything you need and want:
  • - The precise measurements you need for your new dishwasher
    - Which features are important to you (must haves and nice to haves)
    - Your budget range
  • Browse online to find out more about different brands and dishwasher technology
  • Buy your new dishwasher online; or
  • Visit your nearest store with the important information you’ve written down and one of your plates and glasses—taking them shopping with you is the only way you’ll know for sure that they’ll fit!

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