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News; More Energy Efficient Dishwashers

Published: Monday 23 April, 2012

Tougher federal efficiency rules for 2012 will help all new dishwashers save water and energy over those built only a few years ago. But you can still get soaked on big names and fancy features.

It pays to get an efficient model. Lower operating costs can save you more over a dishwasher's lifetime than the price difference between an efficient and less-efficient model. However, longer cycle times are a downside to added efficiency as machines stretch less heated water over longer periods to get dishes clean.

In general the newer fancy drawers were expensive and they tend to use more energy and water than conventional dishwashers.

In Consumer Reports tests on 47 models, some used more energy than their yellow EnergyGuide labels suggest. The Consumer Reports energy tests are based on much dirtier loads and are a more accurate gauge of efficiency.

When you buy an Energy Star-qualified model, be aware that the program's criteria changes as of January 20, 2012, affecting which models will qualify. (Models already in stores will have no indication of whether they still qualify after that date.)

All the tested models recommended below qualify for Energy Star after the January 20 2012 update. They are grouped alphabetically within two price categories: premium and budget-priced.

Premium priced: generally have more features, and are less noisy.
Bosch SHX98M0[9]UC ---$1,484.10 - $1,649.99

Bosch SHX65P0[5]UC --- $1050

Bosch Integra 800 Plus SHX58E2[5]UC --- $1500

Bosch Evolution 500 SHE55M1[2]UC ---$739.00 - $805.56

Kenmore Elite 1404[3] --- $1,800

Kenmore Elite 1396[2] -- $952

KitchenAid KUDE50CX[SS] --- $1,140.00 - $1,399.99

KitchenAid KUDE70FX[SS] --- $1,259.00 - $1,309.92

KitchenAid KUDS30SX[SS] --- $952.08 - $953.08

Miele Futura Dimension G5575SCSF ---$1,949.00
Budget-priced: generally clean as well as pricier models, but have fewer features.
Bosch SHX43P1[2]UC --- $800

Bosch Ascenta SHE6AP1[2]UC --- $673.09 - $674.18

Kenmore Elite 1392[2] --- $756.49

Kenmore 1328[3] --- $572.99

Samsung DMT800RH[W] --- $732.66 - $899.99
Key features

There are several features that affect energy efficiency so you may want to look for them.
• Soil sensors adjust the cycles time and water use to the load's soil level, improving efficiency.

• Rinse/hold cycle lets you rinse dirty dishes before you're ready to start a full cycle. This cycle can reduce odors and prevents soil from setting while you accumulate enough dirty dishes for a full load.

• Filter keeps wash water free of food that could be re-deposited on clean dishes. There are two types: self-cleaning and manual. Most filters are self-cleaning; a grinder pulverizes the debris and flushes it down the drain. That's convenient but noisy. Some models have a filter without a grinder. It's quieter, but it needs periodic cleaning, a job that takes a few minutes. It's your choice.

• Light or half-load is a useful option if you have a small family.
Related links

Consumer Reports Video: Buyer’s Guide to Dishwashers.

Consumer Reports Dishwashers Buying Guide.

Guide to greener kitchens: Dishwashers. 8/11
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