Energy labels explained Dishwasher energy labels


Dishwashers are rated on both energy and water efficiency

Dishwashers are increasingly becoming energy and water efficient, but some brands, models and programs are more efficient than others. This means that choosing the right dishwasher and following our expert tips on how to use it will save you money on running costs.

All of our dishwasher reviews include star ratings for energy and water use on the main program and the energy-saving program. Which? members can log in to view our reviews, but if you're not already a member you can try Which? for £1 for access to this and all our other online content.

Energy ratings for dishwashers

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.

All dishwashers are graded A+++ to D for energy efficiency, with A+++ being the most efficient and cheapest to run. But if you bought your dishwasher before 2011, it could be rated as low as G and add a lot of money to your energy bill.

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 energy efficiency of the dishwasher is expressed in kilowatt hours per year. The label also shows figures for annual water consumption (litres), drying efficiency (a rating of A to G), capacity (in place settings) and noise emission (decibels).

Dishwasher label

New dishwasher energy efficiency ratings were introduced in 2012 and go up to A+++

How Which? tests dishwasher energy efficiency

Which? has tested more than 130 dishwashers, and each one is scored on how much energy and water it uses 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 used 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 models to find the ones scoring four stars or more for energy and water use during a normal program using the compare dishwasher features and prices tool. Or, to compare initial buying costs with lifetime running costs, check out our dishwasher energy costs calculator.

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.

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