Dishwashers can range in price from a couple of hundred bucks to well over a thousand dollars. Obviously, the more expensive the appliance, the more features it comes with. However, as Consumer Reports points out, some of these features just aren't worth it. Photo by Bart Everson.
Consumer Reports tested 172 dishwasher models and rated them based on washing, drying time, energy use and a handful of other factors, which you can read about in further detail here. According to their tests, there are a number of features that cost more, but don't really do much. As they put it, "you can give up many of these fancy features without seeing any decline in a dishwasher's primary function: cleaning."
In general, they found that extra wash cycles and special wash zones don't really get your dishes any cleaner. They reported:
Many newer models also include a quick or express cycle that cleans lightly soiled loads in as little as 20 minutes. Some dishwashers a range of other cycles, including single rack, pot scrubber, soak/scrub, steam clean, china/crystal, and sanitizing.
But you don't need all of those options. The three basic cycles should be enough for most chores, even for baked-on food...Some models designate a certain part of the dishwasher for heavily soiled items that need extra attention. These zones don't necessarily run the whole time — with certain models, it cycles on for only a few minutes.
Another feature that doesn't really add much benefit? A third rack. As they explain, adding an extra rack also means less space for taller items on the bottom rack. This is more of a preference, I suppose, but it's a tradeoff to consider. For more features worth thinking twice about, head to their full post.
5 Dishwasher Features You Can Skip [Consumer Reports]