How to Choose Kitchen Appliances

How to Choose a Dishwasher

Led by high-end, stainless-steel European models, today's dishwashers are extremely quiet thanks to extra insulation. They're also more energy efficient than they were in the past, using fewer kilowatt-hours per wash cycle, less water, and an air-dry option that doesn't require heat. To further cut energy costs, choose a dishwasher with internal water heating; it increases temperatures to grease-dissolving levels so the machine doesn't place extra demands on your home's hot water heater.

While portable dishwashers are available, most models are built-ins and can be concealed behind panels that match your cabinetry if you desire. Top-of-the-line machines feature electronic touch-pad controls, stainless-steel interiors, and special wash cycles such as crystal, china, and pots/pans. Less-costly models employ push buttons or combine buttons with a dial. These models usually offer three cycles: light, normal, and heavy.

Kitchen appliances can be much more complex that other household appliances. For instance, the refrigerator is one of the few appliances you own that has to run continuously. That's why, it's important to know how to pick out the right appliance for you before you invest your money.

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About the Contributor:

Mary Wynn Ryan is the author of numerous interior design books including The Ultimate Kitchen, The Ultimate Bath, Cottage Style, Fresh Country Style and Garden Style.  She has written about home furnishings and interior design for various magazines and served as Midwest editor of Design Times magazine. She was also the director of consumer and trade marketing for the Chicago Merchandise Mart's residential design center. She is president of Winning Ways Marketing, an editorial and marketing consulting firm that specializes in home design and decorating.