Dishwasher Considerations: Tougher new rules have slashed the energy and water dishwashers can use to get the Energy Star seal. But you don't have to live with dirty dishes or endure even longer cycles. Better yet, some of the biggest energy misers are also easy on your wallet. Dishwashers built since January 2012 must use about 9 percent less electricity and 27 percent less water to meet the Energy Star standard.
Energy Star standards for dishwashers could add a wash-performance component as soon as January 2014. The Department of Energy, which sets the underlying standards, bases them on lightly soiled loads. Consumer Reports has urged them to use much dirtier loads, as we do in our tests. Here's what else to consider:
Look for convenience-for ease of use usually include adjustable racks and lots of flatware slots. Many also have fold-down tines, which let you fit large or odd-shaped dishes and other dinnerware. Stainless-steel tubs resist stains better than white plastic tubs.
Match your cleaning habits- If you do pre-rinse, skip extra-cost power-scrubbing modes and sidestep noisy self-cleaning filters. More models now have manual-clean filters.
Check the controls-Some models include interactive touch controls, but the usual touchpads are fine if they're clearly marked. Also look for cycle-time and other visible displays if you opt for controls that are hidden when the door is closed.