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20 May 2022

Should you pay a premium for the latest dishwasher features?

Automatic and smart features can come with a hefty price tag. Some are worth it, and some aren’t.

If you haven’t bought a dishwasher in a while, you’ll likely see a few things that you didn’t see years ago, including smart connectivity and automatic detergent dosing.

The auto wash now also replaces the 'normal' wash on most dishwashers except cheap and basic models, while automatic door opening is now widespread on mid-range to premium models.

These features are designed to make your life easier, but some of them come at a premium and so you're probably wondering whether they are really worth it. 

Our exclusive Which? analysis shows just how much more you'll pay for these and we share our verdict on each.

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Automatic detergent dosing

Seen on the latest, premium-priced Miele G7 line of dishwashers and on a few Beko models, automatic dosing is often claimed to release precisely the right amount of detergent for the program you've selected.

But in our test of Miele’s, the cleaning wasn’t any better than using a Best Buy dishwasher tablet. And when you do the maths, it ends up being more than twice as expensive.

Find out more about our test of Miele's PowerDisk detergent dosing.

The Beko models are much cheaper and work slightly differently. They have a compartment inside the dishwasher door you fill with special liquid dishwasher detergent and, in theory, it should last all month.

  • Average price of dishwasher with automatic detergent dosing: £1162
  • Average price of dishwasher without automatic detergent dosing: £458
  • Difference: £704
  • Verdict: can be more expensive than just using detergent tablets, without being more convenient.

Read our reviews of popular dishwashers with automatic detergent dosing, including the Miele G7100 SC and Beko DIN59420D.

If you prefer using tablets, read all of our dishwasher tablet reviews

Automatic door opening 

We’re seeing this on more and more modern dishwashers, and with good reason.

The door opens slightly at the end of the wash to allow steam and moisture to escape. The claim is that this reduces the energy needed to dry dishes.

We've tested a lot of dishwashers with this feature and our testing seems to confirm this. On average they dry slightly better and use less energy.

As such, if you're shopping for a new dishwasher, keep an eye out for one with automatic door opening because it could help you save on your energy bills.

  • Average price of dishwasher with automatic door opening: £802
  • Average price of dishwasher without automatic door opening: £414
  • Difference: £388
  • Verdict: more energy efficient and better drying.

Read our reviews of popular dishwashers with automatic door opening, including the Samsung DW60R7040FS and Bosch SMS56EDW02G.

Find out how much your dishwasher costs to run with our dishwasher running cost tool

Automatic sensor wash

Most dishwashers now come with an auto wash as standard. This measures how dirty your dishes are in the first rinse and adjusts the wash temperature and duration to suit. Only budget dishwashers will have just a standard length 'normal' wash.

It's claimed this gives more cleaning power when it's needed and less when it's not, saving energy and water.

Our testing shows that dishwashers with auto programs tend to clean better and are more energy efficient than those without an auto wash. Although it's hard to tell if this is just due to the higher price, as they're often manufactured by more premium brands.

  • Average price of dishwasher with automatic wash: £648
  • Average price of dishwasher without automatic wash: £390
  • Difference: £258
  • Verdict: better cleaning and lower energy use.

Read our reviews of popular dishwashers with automatic sensor wash, including the Beko DEN36X30W and Candy CDIN 2D620PB-80.

Master your dishwasher with our expert dishwasher programs guide

Smart connectivity

Controlling your dishwasher via your smartphone is becoming more popular, and in some cases you can even use voice commands with your Amazon Alexa or Google Home assistant.

Smart connectivity allows you to do a number of things, some of which are useful and others which are just gimmicks.

Starting your dishwasher from your phone isn't realistic, as you need to be there to put a dishwasher tablet in (unless your dishwasher has automatic detergent dosing). Ultimately, using the delay timer will be easier.

Some also let you download new programs, which could be useful if you want more freedom in how you wash. In addition, they can let you monitor energy consumption, which is more important than ever, and get troubleshooting diagnostics to help you repair your dishwasher yourself.

Be careful, though. In June 2020 we asked manufacturers how long they committed to updating the software on their appliances and found that security updates for smart appliances could end after just two years.

  • Average price of dishwasher with smart connectivity: £761
  • Average price of dishwasher without smart connectivity: £459
  • Difference: £302
  • Verdict: only a few useful features on the apps

Read our reviews of popular dishwashers with smart connectivity, including the Bosch SMV6ZCX01G and Miele G 7410 SC.