Dishwashers

In this guide we investigate, score and rank the ethical and environmental record of over 35 dishwasher brands.

We also look at energy efficiency, water use, shine a spotlight on the ethics of Glen Dimplex and give our recommended buys.

About Ethical Consumer

This is a product guide from Ethical Consumer, the UK's leading alternative consumer organisation. Since 1989 we've been researching and recording the social and environmental records of companies, and making the results available to you in a simple format.

What to buy

What to look for when buying a dishwasher:

  • Is it energy efficient? The amount of energy required to do your dishes varies greatly depending on the efficiency of the machine. Look for one with an A+++ rating for energy efficiency. 

  • Is it second hand? There is always an embedded energy cost to buying a new machine, so go for a second hand one to cut your carbon footprint.

  • Does it have an eco and quick wash setting? Eco settings generally use lower temperatures saving energy and therefore costing less for both you and the planet. Plus, if it has a quick wash programme that cuts out the drying cycle, you will make even more savings.

Best Buys

Our Best Buy, based on energy efficiency and supply chain management is:

Also recommended are A+++ models from Belling & Britannia (Glen Dimplex), Gorenje and Smeg.  

They are not eligible to be Best Buys as they all received a worst Ethical Consumer rating for Supply Chain Management.

As our ratings are constantly updated, it is possible that these companies will not always come out top on the scorecard.

What not to buy

What to avoid when buying a dishwasher:

  • Does your household need a dishwasher? The savings in water and energy that you may get from a dishwasher are less compelling if there is only two of you.

  • Is it too small? Running a larger machine once will be more efficient than running a smaller one several times. Go for a size that is suitable for your household.

Companies to avoid

A faulty line of Whirlpool tumble dryers caused several serious household fires, so we would recommend steering clear of Whirlpool Corporation which owns the following brands:

  • KitchenAid
  • Hotpoint
  • Maytag

Score table

Updated live from our research database

← Swipe left / right to view table contents →
Brand Score(out of 20)

Belling dishwasher [E]

Company Profile: Glen Dimplex Home Appliances
9.5

Brittania dishwasher [E]

Company Profile: Glen Dimplex Home Appliances
9.5

Gorenje dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Gorenje Group
9.5

Miele dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Miele & Cie. KG
9.5

Smeg dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Smeg SpA
9.5

White Knight dishwashers

Company Profile: Crosslee Plc
9.5

Belling dishwasher

Company Profile: Glen Dimplex Home Appliances
9

Gorenje dishwashers

Company Profile: Gorenje Group
9

Miele dishwashers

Company Profile: Miele & Cie. KG
9

New World dishwasher

Company Profile: Glen Dimplex Home Appliances
9

Smeg dishwashers

Company Profile: Smeg SpA
9

Stoves dishwasher

Company Profile: Glen Dimplex Home Appliances
9

Swan dishwasher

Company Profile: Swan Products Limited
9

Baumatic dishwasher

Company Profile: Baumatic Ltd
8.5

Candy dishwashers

Company Profile: Candy Hoover Group S.r.l.
8.5

Daewoo dishwashers

Company Profile: Dongbu Daewoo Electronics Corporation
8

Essentials dishwashers

Company Profile: DSG Retail Limited
8

Fisher and Paykel dishwashers

Company Profile: Haier Group
8

LG dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: LG Electronics Inc
8

LG dishwashers

Company Profile: LG Electronics Inc
7.5

Lamona dishwashers

Company Profile: Howden Joinery Ltd
7.5

Servis dishwasher [E]

Company Profile: Vestel A.S
7

AEG dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: AB Electrolux
6.5

Beko dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Arçelik AS
6.5

Leisure dishwasher [E]

Company Profile: Arçelik AS
6.5

Samsung dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
6.5

Sharp dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Vestel UK Limited
6.5

AEG dishwashers

Company Profile: AB Electrolux
6

Beko dishwashers

Company Profile: Arçelik AS
6

Blomberg dishwashers

Company Profile: Blomberg
6

Electrolux dishwashers

Company Profile: AB Electrolux
6

Flavel dishwasher

Company Profile: Arçelik AS
6

Grundig

Company Profile: Grundig AG
6

Samsung dishwasher

Company Profile: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
6

Sharp dishwashers

Company Profile: Vestel UK Limited
6

Zanussi dishwashers

Company Profile: AB Electrolux
6

Hotpoint dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5.5

Ikea dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: IKEA Ltd
5.5

KitchenAid dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5.5

Whirlpool dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5.5

Hotpoint dishwashers

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5

Ikea dishwasher

Company Profile: IKEA Ltd
5

Indesit dishwashers

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5

KitchenAid dishwashers

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5

Maytag dishwashers

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5

Russell Hobbs dishwashers

Company Profile: Russell Hobbs
5

Whirlpool dishwashers

Company Profile: Whirlpool Corp
5

Bosch dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: BSH Hausgeräte GmbH
4.5

Gaggenau dishwasher [E]

Company Profile: Gaggenau Hausgeräte GmbH
4.5

Neff dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: BSH Hausgeräte GmbH
4.5

Bosch dishwashers

Company Profile: BSH Hausgeräte GmbH
4

John Lewis dishwasher

Company Profile: John Lewis Plc
4

Neff dishwashers

Company Profile: BSH Hausgeräte GmbH
4

Siemens dishwashers [E]

Company Profile: BSH Hausgeräte GmbH
3.5

Siemens dishwashers

Company Profile: BSH Hausgeräte GmbH
3

Bush dishwashers

Company Profile: Home Retail Group
2.5

What is most important to you?

Animals
Environment
People
Politics
Product sustainability

Our Analysis

The dishwasher market is dominated by four companies, each with several different brands. In total these four accounted for almost 75% of sales in 2016. 

About 30% were from BSH Home Appliances (Bosch, Siemens, Neff and Gaggenau), 18% were from Whirlpool (Whirlpool, Hotpoint, KitchenAid, Maytag and Indesit), 14% from Electrolux (Electrolux, AEG and Zanussi), and 12% from Beko (selling Koç Group brands Beko, Blomberg, Flavel, Grundig and Leisure).

Image: Dishwasher
Carola Schubbel

All of these best-sellers are in the bottom half of our Ethiscore table. All four company groups received a worst rating for supply chain management, and for their lack of conflict minerals policies, and all lost a whole mark for anti-social finance for having high risk subsidiaries in jurisdictions considered to be tax havens. 

The Whirlpool Corporation has also been the focus of serious concern over its failure to recall faulty tumble dryers which have caused fires in the UK. 

Dishwasher energy labels and ratings

Dishwasher EU energy labels range from A+++ (most efficient) to D (least efficient). The label includes information about drying efficiency and noise, as well as annual energy and water consumption (based on 280 cycles/year or around five per week).

We gave an extra half mark to a brand if it had at least one A+++ model of dishwasher available on its website. With some brands, all models were A+++ rated. But nearly half the brands on the table had no A+++ models.

How do dishwashers compare to washing up?

The first question ethical consumers generally ask about dishwashers is: are they more energy efficient than washing up by hand? Studies tend to conclude that dishwashers win. Modern dishwashers can be so efficient with their use of hot water that they can beat all but the most frugal of washer-uppers.

The second question is: does this include the energy used to manufacture the machine in the first place? It does: the embedded energy accounts for less than 10% of that used over the lifetime of the product. 

However, it is worth noting that all the studies show that the amount of energy and water used depends a lot on how you do the job. Most importantly, they find huge variation in how much hot water people use to wash up by hand. Modern dishwashers use about 10 litres per cycle.

In a 2011 global comparison (which did not include the UK), the average amount of water used to wash 140 items by hand ranged from 34.7 litres in Australia to 160 litres in Russia. Individuals used between 18 to 473 litres! It seems like some people do their dishes in the bath. 

How much energy would you save using a dishwasher? 

In a 2010 study, the average hand-washer in the UK used 49 litres of water and 1.7 kWh of energy for a load, compared to 13 litres of water and 1.3 kWh of energy used by the dishwasher. (The difference in energy was not as great as the difference in water, due to people using cold water as well as hot).

The average Brit uses about 35 MWh of energy per year in total, so if you washed up once a day, this 0.4 kWh daily saving would be slightly less than half a percent of your energy usage. 

That isn’t nothing, but it should probably be considered to be at the upper end of what you might achieve. The dishwasher used in the comparison was set to an Eco cycle which only heated water to 50 degrees, lower than many standard dishwasher cycles.An Eco cycle may take longer and will not be everyone's first choice.

Also, the study did not include any pre-rinsing, which many people do, and which can add 10-20 litres per cycle. Dishwashers can also encourage people to use items only once, where otherwise they might reuse them before washing, particularly mugs and glasses. 

So should I buy a dishwasher if I'm concerned about energy use?

It is likely that you can save some energy and water by using a dishwasher, if you use it in the most efficient way. Full size machines (12-14 place settings) are more efficient than compact (6 settings) or slimline machines (10 settings). 

However, if you are in a household of one or two people, and wash up very efficiently, the case for a dishwasher is less compelling than in a larger household. 

And even in terms of how much water you heat in your house, there may be more effective changes you could make. Only 1% of the average UK home’s heated water use is for a dishwasher, or 4% for washing up, compared to 9% for baths, and 25% for showers. 

If you do have a dishwasher, keep it in good repair 

  • Weekly - clean the filter 
  • Weekly - wipe the door seals – to prevent perishing leading to leaks
  • Every 6 months - remove and clean the spray arms
  • Every 6 Months - run a hot cycle on empty to stop any smells.

Company Profile

Glen Dimplex, the company behind the Belling, Britannia and New World brands is a privately owned Irish electrical goods firm and the world's largest electrical heating business, founded in 1973. 

Glen Dimplex gets our worst rating for Supply Chain Management, Environment Reporting, Toxics and Conflict Minerals. The fact that it appears so high up the table is testament to the low standards in this market, and is merely because it avoids many of the issues that affect the others. 

Want to see more?

See detailed company information, ethical ratings and issues for all companies mentioned in this guide, by clicking on a brand name in the Score table.  

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