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Aztec’s Dishwasher Buying Guide [Features, Aesthetic, and Price]

by Pam Silvia

Last week, Aztec Appliance experts shared our favorite features of newer dishwasher models. As you might have gleaned, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to shopping for this kitchen appliance. Seemingly unassuming at first glance, the dishwasher easily tackles the post-dinner cleanup we all dread. And we can’t thank them enough for that.

To spotlight their hard work and promote the endless possibilities they bring, we created a 2021 dishwasher buying guide—just for you.

Hey, here is a New Year’s resolution you’ll have no trouble accepting: Don’t dish out a job you can’t take—and leave the dirty work to your new dishwasher! From high-temperature sanitize options to delicate wash cycles and sleek to heavy-duty appliance finishes, our Dishwashers catalog has got it all.

Check out what features, aesthetic, and price considerations you should take as you browse our inventory:

two women socialize as they unload a Café built-in dishwasher


First, we’ll recap a few of our top dishwasher features. (Psst, we might have thrown in a couple of new ones we didn’t discuss in our previous blog.)

Sanitize Option

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: What good is a dishwasher if it doesn’t eradicate food bacteria off your dishes?

Sanitation in dishwashers is more important than ever, so you’ll be happy to learn that many mid-end dishwashers (including Bosch and KitchenAid) offer sanitize cycles that run higher-temperature water (at least 150 degrees) and longer wash times to eliminate food-soil bacteria. Typically, this option increases the heat during the main wash cycle and finishes with an even hotter rinse.

That said, don’t forget to read the manufacturer care instructions for the items you’d like to run under higher-temperature water.

Delicate Wash [China and Crystal Cycles]

If your dishwasher can clean any accidental muck from your crystal serving platter without leaving a scratch, you know you’ve got a keeper on your hands.

Delicate wash cycles work to preserve your fanciest dishware so you don’t have to slave over the sink to get them cleaned. But be sure to do your research! This feature assumes different names across brands and models. For instance, some GE dishwashers term it as “Light,” “China,” or “Crystal” while Thermador patents it as “Crystal Protection.”

Designed for lightly soiled china and crystal, this cycle operates with a wash action that is softened by pumping air along the water, protecting your items. Delicate wash cycles also employ less hot water and use a shorter fill time.

Flexible Third Rack

It wasn’t until recently that many mid-end dishwashers (including models from Bosch, Samsung, LG, and KitchenAid) come stocked with a height-adjustable third rack. Yes, what was once a premium feature in high-end dishwashers can now grant you the luxury of space to fit everything from tall wine glasses to tiny espresso cups. In other words, you can get more done in fewer loads.

Thanks to this dishwasher feature, you are able to accommodate long items, like soup ladles and grill tongs, with ease. Not only that, but a flexible third rack also gives you the option to forgo bulky silverware baskets—some models even come with a cutlery tray for this top compartment.

WiFi Connectivity

If what you crave is innovation, a smart dishwasher will satisfy that hunger. Engineered to do more than just wash your dishes, smart dishwashers can deliver recommendations for dishware cycles to your smart device, even allowing you to start or stop your dishwasher remotely. Receive push notifications when your dishes are done and to troubleshoot issues from your smartphone.

That’s right—you won’t even have to get up from the couch to get housework done.

Quiet Performance

Do you hear that? No? Good. With a low-noise dishwasher, you can be assured you won’t be thrown abruptly off your groove. According to industry experts, the decibel level of a quiet dishwasher is anywhere between 38 to 44. For reference, a whisper is around 15 decibels and a typical conversation is estimated to be about 50 decibels.

When you consider that most dishwashers range from about 46 to 60 decibels, we can imagine it would be difficult to even hold a conversation in the kitchen while running a cycle.

The Quietest Dishwasher Brand in the U.S., Bosch, incorporates 18 unique sound-reducing technologies in their dishwashers. With multiple insulation layers, grind-less food filtration, and a sound-absorbing base, you don’t have to wait until bedtime to run your appliance.

sleeping dog rests in front of quiet Bosch dishwasher

Pictured: Bosch 300 Series 24" Built In Dishwasher - Stainless Steel


In addition to being optimally functional for your kitchen, your choice of dishwasher should suit the aesthetic of your kitchen. To inspire you, we’re spotlighting a few popular design features here.

Installation: Built-In

The most popular style by far, built-in dishwashers are installed to fit within your kitchen cabinetry.

Installation: Portable

Unlike their built-in counterparts, portable dishwashers are freestanding and can be wheeled into a separate storage location when not in use.

Finish: Stainless Steel and Black Stainless Steel

If you’re a no-frills person, you can’t go wrong with classic stainless steel. Effortlessly modern, stainless steel is among the most popular appliance finishes, as it can work with most design schemes. Whether you are looking to live out a minimalist’s dream with pristine white cabinetry or yearn for a rustic ambiance with wicker bar stools, stainless steel adds a gentle touch.

Alternatively, black stainless steel is the perfect appliance finish if you’re looking to give your kitchen an edge. This color option serves as a modern alternative to the industrial look of standard stainless steel, allowing you to cultivate a more elegant aesthetic. Often backdropped by dark-hued cabinets and island surfaces, black stainless steel is also a smudge-proof high-gloss finish, meaning you don’t have to compromise shine due to upkeep concerns.

Finish: Matte [Black or White]

While appliances in a matte finish may not gleam, that doesn’t make them any less attractive. Case in point: Café dishwashers.

Offering your choice in matte black or matte white (in addition to the tried-and-true stainless steel), Café allows you to customize your appliance hardware in brushed copper, brushed bronze, brushed black, and brushed stainless steel. No matter your color preferences, Café’s premium matte finishes can perpetuate a style that is all your own.

Finish: Panel-Ready

If you prefer a seamless kitchen design that screams luxury, panel-ready dishwashers bring uniformity to your space, as these built-in models can be customized to match your cabinetry. If you’ve got the bucks, we think the end result is worth the investment.

woman controls her matte white Café dishwasher with her smartphone

Pictured: Café 23.75” Matte White Built In Dishwasher


It goes without saying that budget is a critical factor in any major appliance investment. Here is our rundown of three common price brackets.

$500 or Less

You can still get a dishwasher that is excellent at cleaning and drying. We’re happy to report that lower-price models now have a soil sensor that automatically adjusts the wash cycle’s time and water levels according to the load’s soil levels, which improves water efficiency!

Some drawbacks for shopping within this price bracket are rooted in the fact that the dishwasher features are basic—adjustable racks and stainless-steel (i.e., non-plastic) tubs are not a given, and most dishwashers in this range may be noisy.

In terms of brands, GE, Frigidaire, and Whirlpool offer plenty of dishwasher options that are capped at around 500 dollars.


For a few hundred dollars more, you can score quieter operation, superior cleaning power, and convenient features, including adjustable racks (some with cutlery trays), and a stainless-steel tub, making it a more durable machine that is also easier to clean.

Often described as mass-premium appliance brands, KitchenAid, Samsung, Bosch, and LG are usual suspects in this category.

$1,000 or More

Finally, we arrive at our luxury tier. Make no mistake: Luxury is defined by comfort, not a price tag. With that in mind, dishwashers in this price bracket are aesthetically stylish and offer even more flexible loading options so you can safely run a full load. Special wash zones for heavily soiled items and WiFi-enabled features are considered givens at this high-end price point.

Thermador, Café, and Bosch Benchmark dishwashers reign supreme here, gracing high-end kitchens with sleek panels and intuitive touch controls.

interior shot of Thermador dishwasher with blue LED lighting

Pictured: Thermador 24" Built In Dishwasher

Let Us Help You

That wraps up our dishwasher buying guide! Whether you call or visit us in-store, our experts at Aztec Appliance are happy to help you ring in the new year with flair. For your convenience, we are also available to answer your questions via chat.