It is estimated that 80 million households across America have a dishwasher. There is a growing shift towards automated dishwashing within the home, but many are still skeptical about making the switch. We’ll take a look at some of the facts behind our dinnerware cleaning choices and breakdown what this means for you.


The initial outlay for a dishwasher ranges from around $200 for a budget choice, to upwards of $2,000 for a high-end machine. It is possible to pick up an affordable option with a reasonably high energy rating of at least A.

If you’re paying top dollar for a dishwasher expect all the bells and whistles. The most high-tech machines come equipped with varied cleaning options, flexible storage and even a fully integrated WiFi system that allows you to start washes, monitor activity and order more detergent remotely.

Dishwashers are very convenient, but handwashing is cheaper, isn’t it? Well, there are expenses for those who opt for the traditional option. It may seem counterintuitive but using a dishwasher could potentially reduce your water consumption, which brings us to our next section…

Energy Efficiency

According to research, households that use a dishwasher used less water and less energy on average than households that do not. A single cycle in a typical dishwasher equates to the same water and energy use as between four and six sinksfull for handwashing.

This means that one wash cycle is equivalent to running a hot tap for six to nine minutes. Given that the average household exceeds this time bracket, dishwashing is likely to be more cost-effective in terms of energy and water consumption.

The more you’re willing to spend on the initial outlay for a dishwasher, the more likely you are to benefit from their efficiency. The most expensive machines on the market come with the highest A+++ energy rating as well as an eco-program which washes at lower temperatures and uses approximately 20% less energy.


A dishwasher cycle lasts between two and four hours. The big advantage to this is that you’re free to do as you please while your appliance does all the work. Besides loading and unloading, which takes 15 minutes on average, there is very little time spent doing tasks.

By comparison, it’s estimated that the average household spends an hour washing the equivalent load by hand. Those 45 minutes per load saved using a dishwasher, equates to an extra 4 hours per week or 210 hours per year of free time.


There are several factors which fall under this subheading. First and foremost, the most important thing when cleaning your dishes is ensuring they’re actually clean. In order to fully sanitize dishes, water is required to be heated to 60 degrees Celsius. This simply isn’t possible when washing by hand.

Another major concern is the safety of your plates and glasses. Many people don’t trust dishwashers to clean their dinnerware without breaking things.

In truth, the issue is more likely to lie with the user if plates and glasses aren’t loaded correctly. Some items simply can’t be washed automatically and have to be washed by hand.

A report from the Council of Contemporary Families indicates that not sharing responsibility for doing the dishes leads to more disharmony in relationships than any other chore. Those who do the vast majority of dishes report greater relationship conflict and lower satisfaction. This issue would be bypassed by using a dishwasher.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, it’s about personal preference. Statistics can go a long way to helping make an informed decision but there is no right choice when it comes to choosing between these two.