Getting through the family dishes can be a time-consuming chore, so you’ll need a reliable dishwasher that can get the job done. That’s why we surveyed 933 family households about the dishwasher brands they use, what they think about their current model, what features they look for in a new one and more.
We also spoke to Lauren Clark, AO.com’s large appliance Trading Director to get her expert advice on all the important things to be aware of when buying a new dishwasher. This includes factors like energy efficiency, special features and size and capacity of the machine.
Combining our survey data and expert advice, we have compiled our buyer’s guide below sharing all of our insight, so you know exactly what to look out for.
Following our guide, we have also listed 10 dishwasher models from a range of brands with varying features and price-tags. All of these models were chosen according to what the respondents in our survey told us they were looking for.
We've included models for medium to large households which should be able to cope with the demands of a busy family, rather than smaller capacity or compact “table-top” dishwashers. We have also only listed models which were highly rated by previous buyers.
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MadeForMums Buyer’s Guide: how to choose the best dishwasher for your family
There are many important things to consider when choosing a new dishwasher, expert Lauren Clark explains.
“To make sure you get the right dishwasher for you, make sure that you read up on the varying sizes you can get,” she advises. “There are [also] three types of dishwashers to choose from, freestanding, fully integrated or semi-integrated.”
In addition to considering the size and style of a new dishwasher, you’ll need to consider other factors like price and which features you’d like.
Lauren recommends looking out for features such as:
- Type - fully integrated, semi-integrated or freestanding
- Energy efficiency
- Noise during cycle
- Length of the cleaning cycles
Which features are the most important for families?
In of our survey of just under 1,000 family households, when asked which 3 features were most important when choosing a family dishwasher, we found the following:
- Price - selected by 49% of households
- Size - 46%
- Energy rating - 44%
We found that price and size became more important the larger the size of the family, with 100% of those with 5 children identifying these as one of their top 3 features.
Depending on the layout of your home, you may need a freestanding, integrated or even semi integrated dishwasher (we explain these in more detail below). You’ll also need to check the measurements of the space you have available carefully, as dishwashers come in varying widths.
Which dishwasher brands are most popular and rated best by families?
The most commonly owned dishwasher brands in our survey were as follows:
When it came to households rating their current model overall, however, it was Miele that came out on top (of brands owned by 10 or more households).
The top 3 rated dishwasher brands from our survey of 933 families are:
- Miele - average score 8.8 out of 10 for overall satisfaction
- Neff average score 8.5
- Candy average score 8.3
Every brand manufactures a number of different models offering various features such as quick wash cycles, app connectivity and quiet technology and more.
In the remainder of this guide, we have broken down all the key information into clear sections to help you decide exactly what you will need from your family dishwasher.
What type of dishwasher should I buy?
There are two main types of dishwashers to choose from: integrated and freestanding. The one you will need for your home depends on the design of your kitchen or utility area where the new machine will be installed.
An integrated model would be one which fits within your existing units behind a cupboard door, offering a more streamlined look to the room. In this case, the controls for the dishwasher would usually be on the top edge of the machine, visible when the door is open.
“As people are looking to update and streamline their kitchens, hidden and integrated appliances have seen a rise in popularity,” explains AO’s Lauren Clark. “Having your appliances tucked away provides an opportunity to make a statement with your kitchen and newly fitted cupboards and finishing touches.”
There is also the less common option of a semi-integrated dishwasher, where a door is fitted to the front of the dishwasher leaving a front control panel visible at the top. This means the dishwasher controls can be accessed with the door closed.
A freestanding dishwasher refers to a stand-alone model which can be slotted into your kitchen alongside existing units, without needed to have any cupboard doors attached to the front.
“For freestanding models, aesthetics are important to take into account as it isn’t hidden away by a door, so it will be on show,” recommends appliance expert Lauren.
A table-top dishwasher refers to a compact, freestanding dishwasher which can fit on top of a unit. Due to the capacity constraints of this style of dishwasher for a family, we haven't focused on this type in our guide.
What size dishwasher should I buy?
When choosing the size of your dishwasher, there are two considerations to make. The first is the physical size of the machine in measurements.
Retailers and manufacturers usually categorise models as either full-size or slimline. A full size dishwasher will fit within a standard 60cm wide space, whereas a slimline model is designed to be no larger than 45cm in width.
“You need to make sure that you’re choosing a dishwasher that will maximise the space you’re working with,” explains Lauren. “Full width would suit a large family or kitchen nicely.”
The second size consideration to make when selecting a new dishwasher, is the internal capacity of the model. This capacity is referred to in place settings. For a family of 4 you'd be looking for around 12 place settings or more.
While the capacity of even similar sized machines can vary, slimline models will generally fit less items in each cycle. Slim models generally work best for tighter spaces and small families or couples.
What's the best value dishwasher for families?
The best value machine for your family depends on what size you’re looking for and what features you’d ideally need. It’s also important to think about the energy rating, as a machine which is cheaper to buy initially may cost more to run in the long term.
Energy ratings are scored alphabetically, with A+++ being the top rating available. Dishwashers will also have a water usage figure which calculated as a yearly average (more on this below). Generally, the better the energy rating score and the lower the water figure, the cheaper your machine should be to run.
How much should I expect to spend on a dishwasher?
Dishwashers range hugely from a couple of hundred pounds to well over a thousand, so a lot can depend on what you’re prepared to spend.
Around a third of households we spoke in our survey to spent £299 or less on their dishwashers. Just under a third (30%) spent between £300 and £499 on their model, which is reflective of the main price bracket for a large range of brands.
A smaller number (9%) of families in our household spent between £500 and £749 on premium model dishwashers.
What to look for when buying a dishwasher
Once you know what type of machine you’re looking at and what you’re prepared to spend, you need to decide which features would be most useful for your family.
What different features should I look for in a dishwasher?
There are lots of different features to consider, such as a special programs, smart technology and energy efficiency.
“Those with an open-plan kitchen may want to consider a quieter dishwasher, so we’d recommend looking out for the Quiet Mark symbol as these have brushless motors and won’t make as much noise,” adds Lauren.
Another distinguishing feature of a dishwasher may be the option for a quick wash cycle.
“Having a quick wash feature is beneficial when you need dishes in hurry as the cycle can be as quick as 15 minutes,” says AO’s appliance expert Lauren Clark.
How much water does a dishwasher use?
“When shopping for a new dishwasher, as well as considering the energy rating, you can compare the annual water consumption which is based on an average cycle,” explains Lauren.
The amount of water used by a dishwasher varies greatly according to both the manufacturer and the individual model. Certain features can further reduce water usage on individual cycles, which could save more than just money.
“Depending on the machine you have, the quick wash also uses less water so might be more environmentally friendly,” says expert Lauren.
How much does a dishwasher cost to run?
As water and energy consumption varies depending on the model type, the average cost of running a dishwasher will vary. However, a standard 12 place dishwasher will cost around £50 per year to run, according to AO’s appliance expert.
Like a quick wash feature, other functions could help reduce running costs, as Lauren Clark explains:
“Some dishwashers do feature eco-programmes which may take a little longer to complete the cycle, but they will use less water and electricity in the long run.”
How long should a dishwasher last?
A dishwasher can last, “anywhere from between seven to 12 years depending on how regularly you use it and how much general wear and tear it accumulates,” says Lauren Clark.
According to AO, regular upkeep on your machine such as running periodic cleaning cycles and cleaning out filters once a month will help keep your dishwasher running more smoothly for longer.
However, you may notice that your machine is not cleaning dishes in the same way it used to, even after being cleaned out. Before buying a new one, expert Lauren Clark recommends contacting the manufacturer to see if it can be repaired, especially if your machine is still within warranty.
“However, if it’s still not cleaning the dishes as you would like once you’ve contacted the manufacturer, then it may be time to consider replacing the appliance,” she advises.
Here's our pick of the best dishwashers for families
1. Miele G4203SC Freestanding Dishwasher, £499
Best freestanding dishwasher for top brand at mid-range price
Type: freestanding| Size: full size| Dimensions: H84.5 x W59.8 x D60 cm | Place settings: 14 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A+ | Annual water usage: 3780 L
In our survey of 933 family households, Miele scored an average of 8.8 out of 10 overall, making it the highest rated dishwasher brand (of those owned by 10 or more households in our survey).
This freestanding model has ample space, with capacity for 14 place settings as well as a handy quick wash feature to get through loads quickly in a busy household.
It is also one of the brand's more reasonably priced models, as the cost of others can climb relatively high.
Overall, this was was rated highly by previous buyers, with an average of 4.6 out of 5 from over 100 reviews on the John Lewis website.
Buyers were impressed with the relatively low noise level of the machine, making it handy for open-plan living, as well as the usability of the machine for family life.
“We love the versatility of the positioning of the middle tray (has three height options). [The machine also] has five wash settings, including an eco wash and glass wash,” said one reviewer. “For a family of four, we can get an entire day’s worth of washing up in the machine and everything comes out looking like new.”
- Versatile configuration
- Quick wash setting
- Higher water usage
2. Samsung Series 6 DW60M6050FW Standard Dishwasher, £349
Best freestanding dishwasher for usability
Type: freestanding | Size: full size | Dimensions: H84.5 x W59.8 x D60 cm| Place settings: 14 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A++ | Annual water usage: 2940 L
This Samsung model is recommended by AO’s Appliance Expert, Lauren Clark for a busy family of 4.
“It can hold up to 14 place settings at once, ideal for this size of family,” she says. “It also features a hygiene rinsing function which increases the temperature of the final rinse to 70 ºC, to give your dishes a more hygienic, thorough clean.”
As well as the hygiene rinsing feature, there is also the option to run a half load so you can whack on a quick load without worrying about wasting energy.
The adjustable top basket also means you can tailor the available space to suit the items you need to wash. A better organised dishwasher should also mean items are more effectively cleaned during the cycle.
- Hygiene rinsing feature
- Quick Wash
- Energy efficient
- Very large families may need more capacity
3. Bosch SMS67MW00G PerfectDry Freestanding Dishwasher, £649
Best for high end features and energy efficiency
Type: freestanding | Size: full size| Dimensions: H84.5cm x W60cm x D60cm| Place settings: 14 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A+++ | Annual water usage: 2660 L
Bosch was the most commonly owned family dishwasher brands out of all the families we surveyed. This model has the highest possible energy rating of A+++ so it should be efficient and cost less to run than lower rated models.
There’s also an automatic programme which regulates the temperature and time of the cycle to suit each load. This should also limit wasted energy and water being used on unnecessary cycles.
The “PerfectDry” feature promises to have everything properly dried at the end of each load so you can get things quickly put away, while the “SuperSilence” function drastically reduces noise – handy for overnight cycles or open-plan spaces.
This model was also rated an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars on the John Lewis website, with multiple reviewers saying it was the “best dishwasher” they’d ever owned with other positive comments about the “almost silent” running cycle of the machine.
- Top energy efficiency
- High tech functions
- Higher price tag than other models
4. Neff N50 S513K60X1G Standard Dishwasher, £499
Best integrated dishwasher for medium family
Type: integrated | Size: full size | Dimensions: H81.5 x W59.8 x D55 cm | Place settings: 13 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A++| Annual water usage: 2660 L
This integrated model works for a more streamlined kitchen look in a medium family household, as there’s capacity for 13 place settings. As well as a handy quick wash feature, there’s a “Chef 70” setting designed to tackle tough stains after a big family meal. You can also move and fold the handy “flex baskets” while loading to fit everything you need in.
In our survey of nearly 1000 family households, Neff dishwashers scored an average of 8.5 out of 10 making it the second highest scoring brand.
This model scored well on the Currys PC World website with reviewers who identified as “busy mums and dads”. Comments praised the 60 minute cycle as well as how easy the machine was to load (a plus when you have a million other jobs to be getting on with). However, some did comment that taller wine glasses could be tricky to fit in.
- Flexible loading
- High-powered setting
- Good energy efficiency.
- Tall wine glasses tricky to fit
- Longer quick cycle time (60 minutes)
Available from: Currys PC World
5. Candy CDP 1LS57W NFC Dishwasher, £279.99
Best for larger households on a budget
Type: freestanding| Size: full size| Dimensions: H85 x W60 xD60 cm | Place settings: 13 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A+ | Annual water usage: 3200 L
In our survey, we found that Candy dishwashers were the thirdly highest rated machines, averaging a score of 8.3 out of 10 overall. This model has an affordable ticket price, especially considering the 15 place setting capacity which should accommodate larger families.
The quick wash cycle on this machine is also only 29 minutes, meaning it is quicker than many other models with this function. This dishwasher can also connect to your smartphone, meaning you can control it on the go from the school run.
Previous buyers seemed pleased with their purchase overall saying it does the job well and is easy to use.
- Fast quick wash cycle (29 minutes)
- Value pricetag
- Smart phone connectivity
- Higher water usage
Available from: Currys PC World
6. Hoover AXI HDPN1L642OX Standard Dishwasher, £329
Best for big families
Type: freestanding | Size: full size | Dimensions: H85 x W60 x D60 cm | Place settings: 16 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A+ | Annual water usage: 2880 L
Although in our household survey less than 10 families owned a Hoover model, the brand still scored highly with 8.75 out of 10 overall. This model is particularly good for large families as it boasts a great capacity of 16 place settings.
The smartphone connectivity also means you can control your cycle from wherever you are – a bonus for busy parents constantly on the move.
Previous buyers were impressed with the large capacity machine in general, praising the overall quality of the dishwasher as “very good”. However, a couple of comments noted that the shallower plate rack meant some of the stacked dishes perhaps didn’t feel as secure as they could have.
- Huge capacity - perfect for big families
- Smartphone connectivity
- Plate stacking rack shallow
Available from: AO
7. Candy CDI2L952 Integrated Slimline Dishwasher, £249
Best slimline dishwasher for compact kitchens
Type: integrated | Size: slimline | Dimensions: H82 x W44.8 x D57 cm | Place settings: 9 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A++ | Annual water usage: 2520 L
Candy was the second highest rated brand by families in our survey. This model is a narrower, slimline model and is also fully integrated. This means it should fit discreetly into a more compact kitchen for any families short on space.
This smaller physical size does mean that the internal capacity is lower (9 place settings) which would suit a tight space or a household where perhaps smaller, more frequent loads are run. If this is the case in your family, the quick wash cycle at just 30 minutes long, which should help save time and energy as you run it.
Previous buyers were pleased with the dishwasher and said that it cleaned items efficiently, including during the eco wash setting.
One reviewer commented, “Once fitted it runs quietly (much quieter than our last machine!) and fits all the dishes for the day from a small family,” while another added, “It looks really nice and is easy to use.”
- Great for tight spaces and small families
- Fast quick wash (30 minutes)
- Lower capacity
Available from: AO
8. Miele G4203i Semi Integrated Standard Dishwasher, £769
Best for high-end, semi-integrated model
Type: integrated (semi) | Size: full size | Dimensions: H84.5 x W59.8 x D60 cm | Place settings: 13 | Quick Wash: no | Energy rating: A+ | Water usage: 3780 L
Miele came out as the top rated dishwasher in our survey of 933 family households. While this model has a higher price tag, the manufacturer promises it has been thoroughly tested for the equivalent of 20 years’ use, meaning you should get longevity for your investment.
This semi-integrated model will slot into a streamlined kitchen while still offering a visable front panel to operate from.
There are also special programmes like the “ThermoSave” feature, which connects to your hot water supply so it can utilise water which has already been heated for extra energy efficiency. The machine can also automatically detect the correct cycle settings needed for your load, taking the guess work out of operating it.
- Advanced functions
- Auto selects correct settings
- Energy efficient features
- No quick wash feature
9. Hotpoint Aquarius HFC 2B+26 C Dishwasher, £279.99
Best for medium household value
Type: freestanding | Size: full size | Dimensions: H85 x W60 x D59 cm | Place settings: 14 | Quick Wash: no | Energy rating: A++ | Annual water usage: 3640 L
In our household survey, Hotpoint scored well with 7.7 out of 10 overall, across various models owned by families we spoke to.
This Hotpoint model has a decent capacity for a family, with up to 14 place settings per cycle. There’s an adjustable basket for more flexibility to fit your family’s load in as well as a “Sanitizing Program”, which uses a special solution to clean the empty machine and keep it running in top condition for longer.
Reviewers were overall impressed with the self-opening door at the end of certain cycles and found the machine “good value for money” and “quiet, cleans well”. On average, this specific model received 8.2 out of 10 with more than 80 reviews.
- Good capacity
- Energy efficient
- No quick wash setting
10. Beko Pro DIN26X22 Integrated Dishwasher, £349
Best integrated dishwasher for usability
Type: integrated | Size: full size | Dimensions: H81.8 x W59.8 x D55 cm | Place settings: 14 | Quick Wash: yes | Energy rating: A++ | Annual water usage: 3080 L
Beko was the joint third most commonly owned dishwasher brand in our survey of 933 family households. This model should suit a medium to large household with a capacity of 14 places. It also has a handy quick wash setting which can blast through dishes in 30 minutes, saving time between loads.
This is also a low-noise level machine, meaning it should be kinder to little ears while children are sleep and won’t be as disturbing in open-plan living spaces. The adjustable upper basket and folding lower plate supports also mean that you can move things around to suit the needs of different loads.
Beko’s dishwasher model scored an average of 8.7 out of 10 with over 200 reviews on the Currys PC World website. Previous buyers were impressed with the overall effectiveness of the machine describing it as, “an all round brilliant dishwasher, easy to use and load,” and having a “quiet performance.”
- Speedy quick wash (30 minutes)
- Energy efficient
- Choice of only 2 settings
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