When it comes to dishwashers, spending more generally means you get a better quality product with more features and options. Sometimes, however, you can get more value for your money with a less expensive brand.
Budget dishwashers may not have the bells and whistles of pricier models but they’ll clean your dishes just as well. And with improved technology, even inexpensive dishwashers are highly energy efficient, so running costs are not too high.
In this buying guide, we recommend the best budget dishwashers you can buy online.
For the purpose of this guide, the price range we have in mind when we talk about budget dishwashers is around £250 or less. We even have a countertop model that dips below the £200 mark.
Key Buying Considerations
While you should keep your expectations in check when shopping for a low-price dishwasher, there are some must-have basics to look for in a dishwasher.
A. Type: Integrated, Freestanding or Countertop
Integrated or built-in dishwashers are the most expensive. The dishwasher goes under your cabinet and blends well with your kitchen and other appliances, including washing machines.
While they look great, most integrated dishwashers have their control panel hidden away whether it’s harder to access and it’s hard to monitor the progress of the dishwasher. If you want a built-in dishwasher with easy access to the control panel, get a semi-integrated model.
Freestanding dishwashers are more common and less expensive. These can be set up anywhere and it’s easier to move with the dishwasher if you change homes.
The main downside of a freestanding dishwasher is that it will not blend as seamlessly in your kitchen as an integrated dishwasher. But you can try to get a colour that matches your kitchen décor.
If you are short of space, you can get a compact countertop dishwasher. A countertop dishwasher looks like a very large microwave oven and conveniently sits on a counter or table. You connect the inlet hose directly to your faucet and drain the dishwasher into the sink.
Countertop dishwashers are great for small kitchens, dorm rooms, apartments and RVs.
The main downsides of these compact dishwashers are that they are typically less energy and water efficient. In other words, they use more water and energy than full size dishwashers.
You are also limited in how many dishes you can wash at a time. That’s why a countertop dishwasher is ideal mostly for individuals, couples and small families.
Check the dimensions of the dishwasher to make sure it will fit in your kitchen.
Dishwashers have standard dimensions. Full size ones measure 60cm wide, 60cm deep and 85cm high. Slimline dishwashers have a narrower profile with a width of about 45cm. Countertop models are about 55cm wide and half the height of full size and slimline dishwashers.
C. Place Settings and Adjustable Racks
The capacity of a dishwasher is often expressed in terms of place settings. Full size dishwashers have between 12 and 16 place settings, slimline dishwashers have around 10 place settings while compact and countertop models have between 4 and 6 place settings.
The number of place settings gives you an idea of how many dishes can fit in a dishwasher. A full size dishwasher with 12 place settings can fit as many as 120 items while a table top dishwasher with 6 place settings will fit about 60 items.
If you have a big family, get a dishwasher with more place settings.
But capacity is not everything. You can have a large-capacity dishwasher that does not make efficient use of the interior space. Look at the placement of racks and tines. Also look for a cutlery rack or basket.
Some dishwashers also have tines for containers such as baby bottles.
Also, check if the racks are adjustable. You should be able to move the upper rack upwards to make more space for larger items.
Some dishwashers also have foldable tines to make space for large items.
Check the washing programs the dishwasher offers. Basic programs you should expect include normal, intensive, rapid, pre-rinse and eco.
Pricier dishwashers may have additional programs. For instance, some models have time-based programs for 45 minutes, 1 hour, 90 minutes and so on. Others have temperature-based programs like 40°C, 50°C and so on.
But the five basic ones we’ve mentioned above are adequate to handle all your dishwashing needs.
E. Water and Energy Efficiency
Most dishwashers will have an energy efficiency rating of at least A with the best ones rated at A+++. Check the energy label for more information.
Specifically, check how much water and energy the dishwasher will use in one year. This will give you an idea of how much the dishwasher will cost you to run.
Be careful though with the energy label. The energy and water consumption figures given are based on a specific program, usually eco. If you use the normal mode, you’ll use significantly more water and electricity.
F. Noise Level
The energy label will also list the expected noise level. Similar to the energy and water figures, the noise level is based on a specific program, usually eco, which is the quietest.
Depending on which program you use and the size of your kitchen, the dishwasher may be louder than you expected.
If you are concerned about noise levels, look for a dishwasher with a delay timer. You can set the dishwasher to start automatically at a later time such as when you are away from home.
Finally, decide what kind of finish you want keeping in mind that costs vary for different types of finishes.
To save money we recommend a standard white or black plastic finish. Stainless steel finishes look great but they push the price higher.
Best Budget Dishwashers: Reviews
1. Indesit DFG 15B1 K Freestanding 13 Place Class A Dishwasher
The Indesit DFG15B1K is the best budget dishwasher for most homes. It is a full size dishwasher with 13 place settings, so it easily fits a large family’s dirty dishes.
It has a sleek all-black finish that goes well with most kitchen decors.
The control panel is located along the top and contains a selector knob for the five programs, a start/pause button and various indicators.
The five programs include intensive, normal, rapid, pre-wash and eco.
Inside, the Indesit dishwasher has a practical design that handles all types of dishes. The lower rack holds large items like plates and pans. The upper rack is perfect for glasses, mugs and bowls. There’s also a cutlery basket for knives, spoons and forks.
For wine glasses, use the tip-up compartments on the sides to keep them safe and ensure they get properly cleaned.
The upper rack is adjustable, either upwards or downwards depending on your needs. If you want to fit large pots on the lower racks, adjust the upper rack upwards.
Overall, the Indesit DFG15B1K is super easy to operate. One thing you’ll notice is how quiet it is. The manufacturer-stated noise level is just 49 decibels. You can run the dishwasher at night without keeping everyone awake.
This is good because the Indesit DFG15B1K dishwasher lacks a timer, meaning you cannot set it to start at a later time like when everyone’s out.
The absence of a timer is a downside for those on an energy plan such as Economy 7 that charges cheaper rates at night.
What we like about it:
- Large capacity – ideal for large families.
- Versatile and practical compartments for utensils.
- Durable stainless steel interior.
- Beautiful modern finish.
2. Cookology Mini Counter top, Tabletop Dishwasher
Have no space for a full size dishwasher. We recommend the Cookology mini countertop dishwasher. It sits conveniently on your kitchen countertop and connects to your kitchen faucet using an adaptor.
You can also plumb it like a normal dishwasher.
The Cookology dishwasher measures 55cm wide, 43.8cm high and 50cm deep. It’s fairly big and takes up significant space on the counter. But if you don’t have the floor space for a full size freestanding dishwasher, Cookology is a good choice.
As expected, the Cookology mini doesn’t hold as many dishes as an ordinary dishwasher. It has six place settings, which are enough for individuals, couples and small families of 3-4 people.
There’s only one rack with compartments for plates, cups and glasses, bowls and saucers. A cutlery basket provides a safe place to place forks, spoons and knives.
One downside to expect is that the Cookology dishwasher doesn’t fit large items like large dinner plates or pans.
Another issue mentioned by customers is that Cookology doesn’t include fittings to connect it to the faucet. Customers had to buy their own fittings or pay a plumber to connect it under the sink.
In terms of features, the Cookology mini dishwasher is surprisingly packed. It has seven washing programs including the normal ones like intensive, normal, eco and rapid. There’s also a 90-min cycle that quickly cleans soiled utensils, a glass cycle for glassware and a self-cleaning cycle.
The control panel includes indicators for rinse aid and salt as well as a 24-hour delay timer.
The Cookology mini dishwasher has an A+++ energy efficiency rating and is available in three colours; black, white and silver.
What we like about it:
- Space-saving design.
- Energy efficient.
- Multiple colour options.
- Versatile programs.
3. Electra C1760W Freestanding A++ Rated Dishwasher
The Electra C1760W is a good choice if you are looking for a full size freestanding dishwasher that is highly energy efficient.
The Electra C1760W is rated at A++ and uses about 258 kwh of power and 3360 litres of water per year in the eco mode (based on 280 washes per year). In contrast, the Indesit DFG15B1K we reviewed above uses 296 kwh of electricity per year based on a similar cycle and number of washes.
The Electra C1760W is large enough for most families. It has 12 place settings, enough to hold different types of dishes ranging from cutlery to pots and pans.
It has the same double rack design as other full size dishwashers with slots for cups, glasses, plates and cutlery. The top rack can be adjusted upwards to make more room on the lower level. This is handy when you are washing large dinner plates or deep pots.
All the standard programs are available on the control panel including economy, intensive, eco and 30-minute quick wash.
When it’s done washing dishes, the Electra C1760W uses the built-in active drying feature to circulate hot air inside the dishwasher. This way, you can transfer dishes directly from the dishwasher to the cabinet.
The Electra C1760W comes with a delay timer, which is handy for delaying when the dishwasher will start working. You can take advantage of cheaper tariffs at night or set the dishwasher to start when you are at work.
What we like about it:
- Energy efficient.
- Easy to operate.
- Large capacity.
4. Indesit DFG15B1S Slimline Dishwasher
Indesit calls the DFG15B1S model a slimline dishwasher, but the dimensions are that of a full size dishwasher. It’s 60cm wide, 59cm deep and 84cm high. So don’t let the slimline name confuse you – this is a full size dishwasher and it takes up a fair amount of floor space.
Naming issues aside, the Indesit DFG15B1S is an excellent choice for large families that need a large-capacity dishwasher.
The Indesit DFG15B1S has 13 place settings that include a mixture of slots, tines, side racks and a cutlery basket.
Similar to other full size dishwashers, the top rack is height adjustable, so you can move it upwards to fit large items on the bottom rack.
The interior of the Indesit DFG15B1S dishwasher is stainless steel. It is more durable, shortens drying time and is more hygienic than a plastic tub.
The Indesit DFG15B1S dishwasher has a built-in 4-stage filtration system to keep debris and particles out of the dishwasher. This reduces maintenance work and increases the lifespan of the appliance.
The control panel is well laid out and easy to use. Using the cycle selector knob, you can switch between various cleaning programs including normal, intensive, rapid, prewash and eco.
Similar to the Indesit DFG15B1K we reviewed earlier, the Indesit DFG15B1S also lacks a delay timer; bad news for those who’d like to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates at night.
The Indesit DFG15B1S has an energy rating of A+ with an annual energy consumption of 296 kwh (eco mode) and a water consumption of 3360 litres.
What we like about it:
- Large capacity.
- Adjustable racks.
- Durable and hygienic stainless steel interior.
5. HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W 10 Place Slimline Freestanding Dishwasher
Now this is an actual slimline dishwasher. The HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W is 45cm wide, 59cm deep and 85cm high. It’s perfect for space-limited kitchens.
It, obviously, doesn’t hold as many dishes as a full size dishwasher. But with 10 place settings, it’s adequate for most families.
There are 12 washing programs including intensive, eco, normal, soak and express among others.
The HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W has a practical rack system that adapts to your dishwashing needs. Whether you are washing plates and cups, delicate glasses or pots and pans, the dishwasher is up to the task.
The lower rack is perfect for the heavier stuff like plates and pans. The upper is ideal for cups and small bowls. Foldable flaps make it easy to safely secure glasses while a cutlery basket provides slots for spoons, knives and forks.
One of the ways the HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W ensures a thorough wash is using what they call 3D Zone Wash. This feature increases water coverage in the lower and upper racks, which helps clean extra-dirty utensils.
The HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W is surprisingly quiet with a manufacturer-stated noise level of just 43 decibels. If you live in a small home or you don’t like noisy appliances, the HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W dishwasher is a great choice. It’s quieter than normal human conversation.
The HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W has an energy rating of A++ with an annual energy and water consumption of 212 kwh and 2520 litres respectively. These figures are based on the eco 50 program and an average of 280 cycles per year.
For smaller families that don’t need the capacity of a full size dishwasher, the HOTPOINT HSFO3T223W will be cheaper to operate.
What we like about it:
- Large capacity – ideal for small and medium size families.
- High efficiency.
- Space-saving slimline design.
- Quieter than most dishwashers.