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Are cheap dishwashers any good?

Our latest reviews reveals those you can rely on and the duds that won't remove the dirt from your dishes

We’ve just published new reviews of six popular cheap dishwashers, two of which leave you change from £200. They’re from brands such as Bush, Sharp and Zanussi and offer an alternative to typically pricier Bosch, Samsung and Miele dishwashers. 

One scored highly enough to be named a Which? Best Buy. But some cheap dishwashers we just tested were downright disappointing – with one rating just one star for its woeful drying skills.

Read on for more on these or go straight to our dishwasher reviews for the full results of our latest round of testing.

What a cheap dishwasher won’t have

Here’s what you might have to trade off if you tighten the purse strings.

Added extras

In most cases, you can forget about the added extras that pricier dishwashers offer. The majority of cheap dishwashers under the £400 mark will be missing a child lock (although the recently tested Zanussi ZDI26022XA, £299, is a rare exception), and delay timers either offer limited options or aren’t there at all.

Display

Occasionally very cheap dishwashers even scrimp on the display. This means you won’t be able to check how long you have left before the cycle completes. However, the very reasonably priced Bush BFSNB12W (£180) does offer a countdown on its digital interface, a nice touch for a basic model.

Programs

Prepare to lose some programs when you opt for a less pricey dishwasher. The settings that come as standard vary from machine to machine, but in general basic dishwashers will be missing at least one of the following:

  • Lower temperature washes for delicate glassware
  • Higher temperature cycles for a more hygienic clean
  • Intensive setting to target specific zones
  • ‘Silence’ programs to limit noise.

Most still have an eco-friendly mode though, so you don’t need to worry about your initially cheap dishwasher ramping up your utility bills.

We’ve found some cheap dishwashers clean so well on their standard program that you won’t miss all the extra settings. Find out which they are in our roundup of the best cheap dishwashers for 2018.

What you’ll get if you spend more

Pricier dishwashers have enticing features which, in theory, improve cleaning and drying performance and the machine’s usability.

Sensors

Going top-end with a model such as the Bosch SPS66TW00G/01 slimline (£480) often gets you sensors inside the dishwasher, which tailor cleaning to your specific wash, adjusting the temperature and running time depending on how dirty your load is.

Smart functionality

You can also take advantage of smart functionality on many top-of-the-range dishwashers, such as the pricey Bosch SMS88TW06G (£749). This means you can use an app on your phone to set your programs and check their progress, giving you more flexibility with running your loads.

Fancy features

Spend upwards of £600 and more niche features come into the mix. Added extras could include a light inside the dishwasher to help you load and unload more easily. Some integrated dishwashers, such as the Siemens SR656X01TE (£745), beam the time remaining onto the floor so you don’t need to open the kitchen unit door to see how long you have left.

These add-ons are a welcome addition, but we’ve found some expensive dishwashers fail to get the basics right. Head to our Don’t Buy dishwashers for the models you should avoid.

Dishwashers: buy cheap buy twice?

How long will a cheap dishwasher last? We survey thousands of appliance owners every year to find out which are the most reliable brands.

You might be surprised by the results, as some cheaper dishwasher brands do seem to be built to last, and the brand with the worst record retails most of its dishwashers over the £500 mark. One sub £400 dishwasher we’ve just reviewed is from our second most reliable brand with a huge 86% reliability score, so not only can you bag a great value Best Buy, but you can make a sound investment for years of dishwashing, too.

Find out which dishwashers are most likely to go the distance in our guide to the most reliable dishwasher brands for 2018.

New dishwasher reviews

To compare all of our recently tested dishwashers, follow the links below to the individual reviews.

Prices correct as of 3 September 2018.

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