Dishwashers are often considered the most expendable of the three major kitchen appliances. Storing and cooking food are essential, after all, but more easily cleaning dirty dishes is a mere convenience.
But convenience is just one of the reasons why you should own a dishwasher. There are actually quite a few benefits, and you don’t have to spend too much money to reap them. Even an inexpensive, entry-level dishwasher can do a lot for you beyond cleaning your dishes.
1. Dishwashers Save Time
The time to load a dishwasher is minuscule compared to individually washing each item.
Most lists build up to their best entry, but we’re going to lead with ours: The best reason for owning a dishwasher is that you don’t have to do the dishes yourself!
Seriously, what’s better than having more time to do whatever you want? A dishwasher gives you more time to tackle other chores, spend time with friends and family, read a book, knit… whatever!
The time it takes to load dishes into a dishwasher and hit Start is minuscule compared to individually washing and rinsing every plate, bowl, fork, and knife by hand.
2. Dishwashers Save Money
We’ve tested dozens upon dozens of dishwashers in our labs, and we’ve found that a single Normal wash cycle typically uses about 3 gallons of water. According to the EPA, most faucets use 2.2 gallons of water per minute. Unless you can finish a load without running the water for more than 2 minutes, the average dishwasher’s got you beat on efficiency.
Hand-washing costs you on your water bill, but there are other effects, too. A recent study showed that just 10 hand-washing sessions uses more energy than what’s needed to build a dishwasher. Long story short, the least resource-intensive and most environmentally friendly method of washing your dishes is using a dishwasher.
3. Dishwashers Save Your Skin
Constantly washing dishes by hand leaves your skin rough and dry—or even cracked and bleeding, if you work in a commercial kitchen. But when your dishwasher does the work, you’re not just saving your skin, you’re protecting your hands as well.
You don’t have to worry about gripping slippery dishes or scrubbing stubborn stains, both of which stress your fingers. If you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, the dishwasher might be great physical therapy.
Then there’s the fact that you’re far more likely to drop a dish or knife during hand-washing than while loading or unloading a dishwasher. That not only exposes you to injury, but could lead to breaking an expensive or precious dish.
4. Dishwashwashers Can Sanitize
This is something hand-washing simply cannot do. Anti-bacterial detergent and elbow grease can only go so far; to truly wipe out disease-causing germs, you need to bring the heat. And only dishwashers can bring wash temperatures up to bacteria-killing levels.
Your kitchen sink and counter are the perfect breeding grounds for disease. But even if you keep those areas germ-free, sanitizing serves another purpose: What if someone in the household is sick? That coffee mug, soup bowl, or baby bottle they’ve been using could spread their illness to the next person who uses it. A sanitizing rinse can easily put an end to that.
5. Dishwashers Spiff Up Your Space
De-cluttering your kitchen not only makes it more livable—it helps de-clutter your mind, too. The key to organization is to have a home for everything, and the dishwasher is the logical place for dirty dishes.
This means you won’t have dirty dishes piled up in the sink or hanging on a drying rack. When every dish can be stowed inside something—the dishwasher if it’s dirty, the cabinet when it’s clean—then they’re out of sight and out of mind. That’s something your guests will appreciate.
Bonus: Dishwashers Add Value to Your Home
If you’re thinking of selling your house or renting out your apartment, potential buyers or renters will always take stock of what appliances are installed before negotiating the price. The presence of a dishwasher gives you leverage, and you can be sure that the absence of one will count against you.
A premium dishwasher also adds aesthetic value to your home, which can work to boost its monetary value. A pretty kitchen with fancy appliances that match the cabinetry is undoubtedly more appealing than one that’s missing a major appliance.
And the right dishwasher really can pretty up a kitchen. Models like the KitchenAid KDTM704ESS lend a clean, professional vibe to your space, while the Samsung DW80H9970US’s clever Star Display will give it a more high-tech, futuristic feel.