How Do I Choose the Best Dishwasher for an Apartment?

Rebecca Mecomber

Ever since American housewife Josephine Cochran invented the dishwasher in 1886, the appliance has become a staple in most modern kitchens. Dishwashers are manufactured in multitudes of shapes, styles, colors, sizes and operational options. Manufacturers also offer specific types of dishwashers for apartment dwellers. The best dishwasher for an apartment is generally a small dishwasher with insulated sides and an integrated water heating element.

Size considerations are important when shopping for a dishwasher.
Size considerations are important when shopping for a dishwasher.

Apartments might be large or small, but space in an apartment kitchen is almost always prime real estate. If the kitchen provides existing space for a dishwasher, a standard large dishwasher might be practical. A tiny kitchen is best served by an integrated dishwasher. This sleek appliance is installed within cabinetry for a seamless look. If your apartment has no space for a standard-size dishwasher or integrated dishwasher, consider another type of dishwasher for an apartment or, more specifically, for small kitchens: a tabletop dishwasher, also known as a countertop dishwasher, which sits freely on a kitchen counter or table; or a portable dishwasher, a free-standing unit with a small counter on top.

Modern dishwashers are more efficient and can save on utility costs.
Modern dishwashers are more efficient and can save on utility costs.

Besides size, the best dishwasher for an apartment is one that runs quietly. Dishwashers can be extremely noisy during the wash and rinse cycles. Look for an insulated dishwasher for an apartment that will muffle these often-annoying sounds. These types of dishwashers are more costly than the basic, uninsulated appliances, but the expense is worth it if your kitchen is small or your neighbors are close.

In apartments where tenants share utilities, select an energy-saving, water conserving model. Modern dishwashers are more energy-efficient than older models, use much less water and offer more energy-saving options, such as a "no-heat" drying cycle, customized wash cycle options, superior water pump arms that circulate water more efficiently and more. Newer models also feature an integrated water heating element that will raise the temperature of the water as it circulates in the dishwasher. This feature is especially helpful if your apartment water heater is set to a lower temperature, because dishwashers are less efficient unless the water is very hot.

Finally, consider the costs and labor for installing a dishwasher in an apartment. Most dishwashers are readily installed next to the kitchen sink, but the dishwasher requires its own separate hot water heater supply line. The dishwasher drain taps into the kitchen sink drain; if the drain is not equipped with the dishwasher drain pipe, a new one must be installed. Consider whether the new pipes can be run to accommodate the new dishwasher for an apartment, and always consult the landlord before attempting to do any plumbing work.

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