The Top 5 Most Energy Efficient Dishwashers Today

how much energy does dishwasher usehow much energy does dishwasher use

It might seem counterintuitive to say that using dishwashers can help the environment. After all, these appliances use electricity and what may look like plenty of water per load or cycle. However, contrary to popular belief, doing the dishes using dishwashers requires less water than washing them by hand.  

You may counter by saying that the energy consumption of these appliances can negate the benefits of their lower water usage. But even that doesn’t hold, uhm, water. The estimated energy usage of these appliances isn’t that high. Moreover, using an energy efficient dishwasher will boost the eco-friendliness of the device as it will require less energy to operate. 

Dishwashers can reduce the time you spend on household chores, so investing in one can be advantageous to the planet and your wallet. So how about we look at what these devices are all about? 

What is a Dishwasher?

A dishwasher is a device that automatically cleans and rinses dirty dishes. You’ll still have to load the plates, cutlery, and the like, add detergent, set the cycle, and turn on the unit. After that, the appliance performs the chore humans used to do by hand. Dishwashers must also connect to your home’s electrical and water outlets to accomplish the task. It works by dispersing detergent over the dirty dishes and rinsing them by means of a high-powered agitator and sprayer. 

Several models of this kitchen appliance exist, but the most common type is the stainless steel built-in dishwasher. These come in other materials, including plastic. The materials are used often to determine the price and durability of the machine. Meanwhile, the technology behind the dishwasher will tell you whether it’s an energy-efficient model. 

Dishwasher’s Energy & Water Consumption

Most energy-efficient dishwashers in the market come with technologies that help clean your dishes faster and more efficiently. These types of dishwashers save energy, making them eco-friendly options for consumers. 

A dishwasher should consume less than 270 kWh of electricity a year to be considered energy-efficient. This is according to the Energy Star website. Regarding water usage, Energy Star qualified models should not consume more than 3.5 gallons of water per cycle. 

The estimated energy use of these appliances varies from one model to another, but generally, they are 10% more energy-efficient and 20% more water efficient than their conventional counterparts. As a result, using these dishwashers will cost you only about $35 per year. 

How Much Does an Energy Efficient Dishwasher Save?

The amount of electricity it consumes is one of the key factors that determine whether a dishwasher is energy-efficient or not. Energy Star-certified models use about 5 to 40 percent less electricity than non-Energy Star-rated ones.  

But it’s not just electricity you save when you opt for dishwashers with Energy Star certifications. You lower your home’s water consumption as well. Some units use 50 percent less water than other models. That bodes well for the environment, and your pocket, too. 

Average Cost of a Dishwasher

Energy-efficient dishwashers cost between $600 to nearly $3,000. The sticker price varies depending on several factors. Let’s examine what determines how much you’ll need to shell out for one of these appliances. 


As a dishwasher is a costly investment, it’s vital that you choose the size that fits your needs. Consider the number of dishes, utensils, and cutlery you typically use and the space where you’ll place the appliance. 

Underestimating the size of your machine can lead to running more loads, which can hike your power and water consumption. What’s considered standard capacity for most homes will likely suit your everyday requirements if you have around 4-5 family members.  


Different dishwasher brands and models exist. You can opt for a built-in dishwasher, a countertop type, or a portable unit. Compact models are great options for renters or those who move a lot, while those with large capacities work best for families who entertain frequently. 

Meanwhile, many consumers consider the appliance brand when choosing a dishwasher. They often equate known brands with high quality. This makes sense because those brands have a reputation to maintain. 

Special Features

The unique features that come with several dishwasher models can enhance the machine’s performance and efficiency. On top of that, it can make it easier for you to accomplish the task of doing the dishes. So, yes, those innovations matter. However, they also influence the sticker price of the appliance. 

Adjustable racks, soil sensors, and steam prewash capability are just some examples of those features.  

Important Features of a Dishwasher

We’ve mentioned that some dishwasher models come with special features. You may not need some of those innovations, so it’s best to determine what those new features can offer. 

Energy-Saving Wash Cycles

Energy-efficient dishwashers offer you a choice of cycles. Utilizing the light wash cycle for lightly soiled dishes helps save energy and water. Some Energy Star models use only half the water of conventional units. That means hundreds of gallons saved in a year. 

Soil Sensors vs. Standard Models

Using soil sensor technology, a dishwasher with this feature automatically adjusts the machine’s water use and cycle time depending on the dishes’ soil level (how dirty they are). This additional feature leads to lower electricity and water consumption compared to standard models.  

Energy-Saving “No-Heat” Dry

A heating element is used to dry dishes at the end of the final rinse cycle. Some even have a dry boost feature that improves drying performance. This consumes electricity, accounting for about 7% of the appliance’s energy use. Dishwashers with the No-Heat Dry feature use room air that’s circulated through the machine’s tub by fans, thus reducing energy consumption.  

Compact vs. Standard Capacity

Dishwashers have two classifications: compact and standard capacity. Compact models can hold fewer dishes than standard-sized ones. However, they also use less electricity. Standard models are 24 inches wide, while their compact counterparts are 18 inches wide. 

Finding The Most Energy Efficient Dishwasher

With so many models and brands to choose from, figuring out which dishwasher is right for you can be a bit challenging. Here are some tips to help you find the most energy-efficient dishwasher. 

Look for the Energy Guide Label

The Energy Guide label estimates each dishwasher’s power consumption and operation cost, making it easy for you to compare the various models. Appliances bearing the Energy Star label are your best bet when looking for the most energy-efficient option. 

Select the Appropriate Size

Dishwashers come in standard or compact sizes. Standard models can hold over eight place settings and six serving pieces. Meanwhile, their compact counterparts can accommodate less than eight place settings and six serving pieces. If you don’t wash many dishes, opting for a compact model can help lower your energy bill because smaller dishwashers use less electricity.  

Choose One With Multiple Cycle Options

Machines with multiple cycle options let you choose the settings that fit the needs of each load. As a result, you’ll only use enough water and electricity to clean the dishes of the particular load. This is where you can see the benefits offered by models that detect soil levels.  

Increasing the Efficiency of your Dishwasher

You don’t have to replace your current dishwasher with a more energy-efficient model just to see some reductions in your electricity bill. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to cut the cost of running your existing model. 

Don’t Pre-rinse Your Dishes

Modern dishwashers do a great job of cleaning dishes, even heavily soiled ones. That means you can skip the pre-rinse cycle and still get sparklingly clean plates, utensils, and cutlery. Scraping the food off your dishes instead of pre-rinsing them lets you save up to 20 gallons of water. 

Wait for a Full Load

Your dishwasher uses the same amount of water and electricity whether you run it full or half-empty. As such, it makes sense to defer running a cycle until you have a full load. You get to save not only on water and electricity but on detergent as well. If you want to run the machine with only half a load, check if it has a feature that allows you to wash a half load more efficiently. 

Let the Dishes Air Dry

A “heated dry” option consumes additional electricity as a heating element to produce heat to dry your dishes. Instead of using this feature, you can let the residual heat in the tub dry your dishes. Another option is to open the dishwasher door at the end of the cycle and let your dishes air dry.  

Load the Dishwasher Correctly

If you don’t load your machine correctly, you may need to rewash your dishes as they aren’t as clean as you’d like them to be. Rewashing means using additional water and energy, which isn’t energy-efficient at all. Make sure that the plates, cutlery, utensils, pots, and pans are in the best position to get an intensive cleaning. 

Place Oversized Items in the Back of the Bottom Rack

Large items should go into the lower rack so as not to block the water spray. Place pots and pans at the bottom to ensure that the water and detergent give them thorough soaping and rinsing. Don’t forget to check if the pans are dishwasher safe. For example, stainless steel can go into the machine, while those made with aluminum, bronze, brass, and wood need to be hand washed.   

Position Items with Baked-on Food Facedown

Place pans with burnt or baked-on food facedown in the bottom rack towards the lower spray arm. This allows the jet of water to work on loosening the grip of baked-on food on the pan’s surface. 

Mix your spoons, knives, and forks together

Spoons and forks tend to stack and stick to each other. When they do, the water and detergent won’t be able to circulate through them, leaving a less-than-desirable cleaning. Jumble your utensils to allow your dishwasher to thoroughly clean and dry each utensil.  

The Most Energy Efficient Dishwashers in the Market

The number of dishwashers in the market can make choosing the best one a bit daunting. We’ve listed some of the most energy-efficient brands and models and their features to ease the task. Take note that these are all Energy Star models. 

  1. Miele 24″ Built-In Panel-Ready Dishwasher G7596SCVI

This model costs approximately 230 kWh a year to run. One cycle typically uses 3.2 gallons of water. 


  • Ergonomic basket handles
  • Detergent agent
  • Comfort basket design
  • Half load running efficiency
  • 12 wash cycles
  1. Bosch 24″ Built-In Dishwasher SHPM65Z55N 

This unit’s estimated energy use is 269 kWh a year. Water usage per cycle is 3.5 gallons.


  • Can accommodate 16 place settings
  • 5 wash cycles
  • Easy glide rack system
  • Auto air
  • Sanitize option
  1. Samsung 24″ Built-In Dishwasher DW80R7061US

This model consumes around 239 kWh a year. Each cycle uses 3.2 gallons of water.


  • One-touch adjustable racking system
  • 6 wash cycles
  • Half-load cycle
  • With third rack
  • Digital touch control
  1. KitchenAid 24″ Built-In Dishwasher KDTM404KPS

The energy usage of this unit is approximately 270 kWh per year. Its water consumption per cycle is 3.5 gallons.


  • FreeFlex third rack
  • Heat Dry option
  • Advanced clean water wash system 
  • 44 dBA sound level
  • ProWash cycle
  1. Frigidaire 18″ Built-In Dishwasher FFBD1831UB

This unit uses about 270 kWh a year. It consumes around 3.5 gallons of water per cycle.


  • Can hold 8 place settings
  • 6 wash cycles
  • Self-cleaning filter
  • 52 dBA sound level
  • Dual spray arm


Is a dishwasher cheaper than washing up by hand?

Using dishwashers not only saves you time but money as well. Washing dishes by hand uses up more water than running a dishwasher, which means you not just lower your water bill but help the planet as well. 

Are dishwashers unhealthy?

Germs, fungi, and bacteria can lurk in your dishwasher. However, only a few can survive because of constantly fluctuating conditions inside your machine. Still, regularly cleaning your dishwasher should be a part of your routine to ensure that its interior is as clean and germ-free as possible. 

What is the most reliable dishwasher brand?

Appliance service professionals shared their expert opinion regarding the different dishwasher brands. Their list of the most reliable ones includes Whirlpool, Bosch, KitchenAid, and Mielle. 

How long should a dishwasher last?

Good quality dishwashers usually last between 7 to 12 years, with 9 years being the norm. That said, you can’t expect your appliance to function perfectly for the length of its lifespan.  


Dishwashers can help you save time and energy when doing your household chores. The good news is they don’t consume too much water and electricity. In fact, doing dishes by hand wastes more water than running your dishwasher.  

To go a step further in protecting the planet, you can opt for energy-efficient dishwashers. Your best bets are Energy Star-certified ones. They may cost a bit more, but they’re worth the extra money you spend.. 

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