18" Built-in Dishwasher
24" Built-in Dishwasher
Keeping It Quiet
Dishwasher noise levels are often listed in decibels. For every 3 decibels increased, the noise is twice as loud. Whisper-quiet libraries are about 40 decibels and many dishwashers today are just as quiet.
Stainless steel tubs have helped achieve these low decibel ratings because manufacturers have been able to melt rubber and other materials to the outside of them. Often times an indicator light is the only way to tell a premium dishwasher is running!
Nylon Racks vs. PVC Racks
Nylon racks are much more resilient than PVC racks against chipping, peeling, and rust. Most mid-line to premium dishwashers are equipped with nylon racks. PVC is only found on the most basic models today, though they were very prevalent in the past.
Rack materials are usually listed in the detailed specifications, but simple fingernail test will tell you right away. If the material gives in, then it's likely PVC. Nylon shouldn't give in at all.
3 Racks are Better Than Two
A few manufacturers have started offering a 3rd rack on their dishwashers. The rack is located at the very top of the tub, staying out of the way of bulkier items on the other two racks. This 3rd rack has proven to be very useful for sharp knives, large utensils, lids, and even wine glasses. It's an ingenious use of space that increases total capacity as much as 30%.
Drying: Heat vs. Condensation
Traditionally, all dishwashers used heated drying with a heating element on the bottom of the tub. Popular European style dishwashers now use condensation dry. Condensation dry is possible due to the stainless steel tub material. Stainless steel cools off much more quickly than the dishes do so the steam/water is naturally attracted to the steel and then runs out the drain.
The advantages of traditional heating elements are faster drying cycle times and dryer plastics. Condensation drying is more energy efficient, won't deform thin plastics, and no steam damage to wooden counters/ cabinets.
Adjustable upper racks are available on most mid-line to premium model dishwashers. The upper rack can adjust up or down a couple of inches to accommodate large items on the bottom rack or taller glasses on the top.
Easy gliding racks are also available. These offer a smooth, premium feel. Heavy loads will always roll out smoothly and the smooth action will help alleviate any chipping or cracking.