Energy labels explained Dishwasher energy labels
Dishwashers are increasingly energy and water efficient these days, but some brands, models and programs are more efficient than others.
The EU energy label found on all new dishwashers at the point of sale provides a good indication of how much energy and water a model typically uses.
Energy ratings for dishwashers
All dishwashers are graded A to G for energy efficiency, with A being the most efficient and cheapest to run.
The EU energy rating is determined by testing the energy consumed washing a collection of soiled tableware and dishes using the standard cycle recommended by the manufacturer. The cleaning, rinsing and drying performance are also evaluated.
The actual energy efficiency of the dishwasher is expressed in kilowatt hours per 12 place settings, which is the average for a larger-sized dishwasher.
According to the European Commission, 90% of new dishwashers are now achieving an A-rating for energy, making it difficult to differentiate between products. As such, new A+++, A++ and A+ energy ratings (you'll already find the latter two ratings on refrigeration products) have been recently introduced by the EU. Look out for these energy ratings appearing on products from December 2010 onwards - the new labels will be made compulsory for all new dishwashers to carry from 20 December 2011.
How Which? tests dishwasher energy efficiency
Which? has tested more than 160 dishwashers, and each one is scored on how much energy and water it consumes during a main and eco program, giving an all-round picture of dishwasher energy efficiency.
Choosing the eco or energy-save dishwasher program usually increases the duration of the cycle, but by heating the water to a lower temperature and washing the contents for longer, the total amount of energy and water use is less than on the standard program.
For example, a typical normal program can use 20 litres of water and 1.5 kWh of electricity, but an eco program can reduce this to 15 litres and 1.0 kWh.
You can filter dishwasher models to find the ones scoring four stars or more for energy and water use during a normal program using the compare features and prices tool.
Dishwashers versus washing by hand
Washing by hand may be quick and easy for a few dishes, but it won’t always save water compared with a fully loaded dishwasher.
Imagine washing up nearly 130 items with little more than a standard 10-litre washing-up bowl of water – that’s what the most water efficient full-sized dishwashers can do.
To beat that, you’d have to wash everything by hand in a single bowlful of water, avoid leaving the tap running and dispense with soaking or rinsing items.