Is it worth buying an energy efficient dishwasher?

When someone talks about an “efficient dishwasher”, they could be referring to a dishwasher that’s efficient in its water use. A dishwasher is essentially a box that gets litres and litres of water pumped in and out of it, so it’s certainly worth thinking about water consumption. However, if you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, you should also seriously consider the energy efficiency of any models you look at.

Consumers looking to purchase any household appliance will be asking themselves the same question: Is it worth buying a more expensive model for the sake of energy efficiency? Sure, you’ll save money on electricity bills for as long as you own the appliance, but will those savings be enough to justify the initial hit to your wallet?

To try and answer that question we crunched the numbers on three different freestanding dishwashers – with energy efficiency ratings of 2 5 stars, 3.5 stars and 4.5 stars – to see whether there’s a significant long-term financial benefit to purchasing a more expensive, more energy efficient dishwasher.

We came up with these figures using the base assumption that the average Australian household runs their dishwasher 14 times a week (twice a day). If you run your dishwasher more or less than 14 times a week, your annual running costs will differ from those in this article.

Keep in mind that these calculations don’t include the cost of water used when running your dishwasher, which will add an extra expense. And finally, this comparison is based on an electricity price of $0.29/kWh. Electricity rates vary across the country, so keep this in mind, too.

The 2.5 star model – Emilia EDW62SS

User-friendly in its simplicity, this mid-sized model from Emilia offers three different wash cycles, heavy duty, normal, and delicate. It comes with an anti-flood device, meaning that your floor and home are safe from any malfunction your dishwasher may suffer. It also has a 4 star water rating, and uses 12L of water per cycle, making it rather efficient for a model at this price point.

  • Purchase price – $469
  • Energy consumption – 330kWh
  • Energy used each year – 660kWh
  • Annual running cost – $189
  • Running costs over 10 years – $1,894
  • Total cost of ownership over 10 years – $2,363

The 3.5 star model – Samsung Waterfall DW60H9950FW

Equipped with Water Wall technology, which allows for a more thorough cleaning of your dishes, this dishwasher from Samsung offers five different wash cycles, along with half-load functionality and an eco-mode. It also has a 5 star water rating and uses 12.2L of water per cycle, making it incredibly efficient for a mid-range dishwasher.

  • Purchase price – $1,169
  • Energy consumption – 295kWh
  • Energy used each year – 590kWh
  • Annual running cost – $169
  • Running costs over 10 years – $1,693
  • Total cost of ownership over 10 years – $2,862

The 4.5 star model – Bosch SMS88TI03A

Described as “whisper quiet”, this dishwasher from Bosch is designed to be quiet enough to be runnable in households with babies, making it family-friendly as well as environmentally friendly. With a 4.5 star energy rating and a 5 star water rating, this dishwasher is hands-down the most efficient overall on this list. It uses 12L of water per cycle and offers eight different wash programs, half-load and quick-wash functionality, and an eco-mode. Adding to its child-friendly aspect is the inclusion of a child-lock feature.

  • Purchase price – $2,069
  • Energy consumption – 205kWh
  • Energy used each year – 410kWh
  • Annual running cost – $118
  • Running costs over 10 years – $1,177
  • Total cost of ownership over 10 years – $3,246

Does it pay to be energy efficient?

So it’s evident from this comparison that when it comes to dishwashers, improved energy efficiency does little to offset the higher initial cost of purchasing. The Bosch model costs more than the other two dishwashers by a large margin, even after 10 years of better energy efficiency.

The total difference between the 3.5 star and 2.5 star models ($499) isn’t that much larger than the difference between the 4.5 and the 3.5 star model ($384), which means that if you’re looking for the best value dishwasher, it might be an idea to go with the less efficient 2.5 star model. Even after 10 years, its inefficiency won’t cost as much as the higher rating Bosch model will. However, you should consider the improved cleaning results that you would expect from a more expensive dishwasher.

Also keep in mind this is a very specific comparison and that not every 4.5 star model will be more expensive to run than every 2.5 star model, but it does provide an enlightening insight into whether or not it pays to buy energy efficient.

Also note that the more efficient a model is, the more environmentally friendly it is. So if that’s important to you, you may want to make that the biggest point of difference.

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