The real cost of using your dishwasher

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Dishwashers have become a common feature in Australian kitchens, but are they the culprit for higher than expected electricity bills? Dishwashers save you time, that’s for certain, but whether or not they save you money remains one of the most divisive appliance debates. Canstar Blue has crunched the numbers to work out the real cost of using your dishwasher.

How much does a dishwasher load cost?

Most household dishwashers will cost you between 11.9c and 28.2c in electricity and water charges for each load of dishes. The cost of electricity makes up the largest portion of dishwasher expense, costing 9.9c to 25.1c for most dishwashers. The amount of electricity it uses will depend on the size of the dishwasher (measured in place settings), as well as its energy efficiency star rating.

Average electricity usage cost of a dishwasher

Dishwasher Size 1 to 3 Star Energy Rating 3.5 to 4.5 Star Energy Rating
6 to 8 Place Settings 13.6c 9.9c
9 to 11 Place Settings 15.4c 13.9c
12  to 14 Place Settings 21.4c 18.5c
15 to 17 Place Settings 25.1c 18.9c

Source: www.canstar.com.au – accurate as of September 2020. Based on average energy consumption figures per freestanding and built-in dishwashers listed in the Commonwealth of Australia E3 Program’s Registration database. Usage cost estimates based on the national average electricity usage cost of 26.6 c/kWh; based on rates available for an annual usage of 4,200 kWh.

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What’s the cost of water in a dishwasher?

water rating

A standard dishwasher uses around 11.5 litres of water per load. At a relatively standard rate of $2.53 per KL ($0.00253/L), water will cost 2.9c per load.

Again, the amount you pay for water usage depends on the size and efficiency of your dishwasher as well as the rates in your area.

The amount of water a dishwasher uses will be displayed on its water efficiency star rating label. The image displayed shows a 3.5 star rating for a dishwasher that uses 13.1 litres of water per load – relatively standard for a dishwasher.

Average water usage cost of a dishwasher

Dishwasher Size Cents per Load
6 to 8 Place Settings 2.0c
9 to 11 Place Settings 2.7c
12  to 14 Place Settings 3.0c
15 to 17 Place Settings 3.1c

Source: www.canstar.com.au – accurate as of September 2020. Based on average water consumption figures for freestanding and built-in dishwashers listed in the Commonwealth of Australia E3 Program’s Registration database. Water usage cost estimates based on the capital-city average water usage cost of $2.53 per KL; based on rates available for an annual usage of 189.5KL (the average household water usage per ABS Water Account 2017-18).

What’s best: Dishwashers or hand washing?

The question is difficult to put to rest because there are so many factors that come to play: dishwasher efficiency and size, how often you do dishes, water heater type, preferred dishwashing temperature, and the list goes on…

Many Aussies are adamant that washing dishes by hand is cheaper, after all – muscle power is free. However, washing dishes by hand uses considerably more water than most dishwashers – a sink might hold 20 to 25 litres of water while the standard dishwasher only uses 11.5L. The water itself is not too expensive, but the water heating cost of heating the water certainly adds up, especially if you constantly run water or refill your sink several times when doing the dishes.

Energy star claims an energy efficient dishwasher can save you hundreds of dollars in energy and water costs over a 10 year life of your dishwasher. This, however, did not account for any possible dishwasher maintenance costs, which again vary depending on the model and how well a dishwasher is cared for.

If your dishwasher is old, inefficient or unnecessarily large, then it may well work out that washing dishes by hand is the cheaper option (albeit more burdensome). Generally speaking, however, an energy efficient dishwasher will be cheaper than washing dishes yourself.

Compare Energy Prices

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Here are some of the cheapest published deals from the retailers on our database that include a link to the retailer’s website for further details. These are products from referral partners†. These costs are based on the SA Power network in Adelaide but prices may vary depending on your circumstances. This comparison assumes general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Please use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. Our database may not cover all deals in your area. As always, check all details of any plan directly with the retailer before making a purchase decision.

Original author: Brendon O’Neill

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