Ample flatware slots
Ample flatware slotsFlatware baskets with lids provide individual slots for most of the utensils in our silverware load. Such lids prevent "nesting" and thus improve flatware cleaning. It is more time-consuming to load the cutlery into individual slots, though, so you can remove the lids if you prefer.
Adjustable upper rack
Adjustable upper rackMost models hold cups and glasses on the top rack, plates on the lower rack, and silverware in a basket. The ability to adjust the upper rack up or down an inch or so allows for more flexibility in loading items such as tall glasses.
Adjustable tinesMost models hold cups and glasses on top, plates on the bottom, and silverware in a basket. Features that enhance flexibility include adjustable tines, which flatten areas to accept bigger dishes, pots, and pans. A "yes" here indicates adjustable tines on at least the top or the bottom rack.
Displays remaining time
Displays remaining timeA digital display lets you know how much longer the dishwasher will take to complete the chosen cycle. Rotary dials or status bars generally give an indication of the stage the cycle is in, less precise but still helpful.
Door lockAll dishwashers automatically shut off when the door is opened during operation, so water won't flood out. A few models have door locks that prevent children from opening the dishwasher and touching sharp objects or hot surfaces.
Hidden controlsControls along the top edge of the door contribute to a sleeker look. Some models hide all controls; others hide only some controls.
Interior materialA dishwasher's interior, which includes the inside of the door, could be made of stainless steel, plastic, or a combination of the two--such as a plastic door and stainless sides and bottom. Unlike a plastic interior, an all-stainless interior won't discolor, but it does increase the cost of a dishwasher by about $100.
Requires custom door panel
Requires custom door panelSome dishwashers lack a finished front-door panel, so you must furnish your own at an additional cost. This lets you match the dishwasher's panel with your kitchen cabinetry, or to choose a stainless-steel front. Many models with finished fronts also let you add custom panels to change the finish.
Stainless/SS-look optionStainless steel is stylish, but it shows fingerprints. Another option: a vinyl-covered metal finish that gives you a stainless-steel look but resists smudging.
Self-cleaning filterA filter that cleans itself is convenient but can add to noise. While most mid- to high-end dishwashers come with filters that require periodic manual cleaning, a few newer high-end models come with self-cleaning filters that use micro-filtration rather than macerators.
SensorA sensor adjusts water usage and cycle time to the amount of soil on the dishes. This should make a dishwasher use water more efficiently, but we've found this isn't always the case. Moreover, a sensor can increase a machine's running time.
WiFiThis feature offers remote access through a wireless network. The specific functionality varies by model but can include options like problem detection and start/stop or cycle selection choices.