You probably don’t like doing the dishes if you’re anything like me. Don’t get me wrong; I know that doing the dishes is an activity you really can’t skip, but something about it being a chore is what particularly ticks me off.
Now, as much as I hate doing the dishes, I can’t help but admit that I have been on edge about getting a dishwasher. It sounds weird, but I just can’t trust a dishwasher as much as I trust my hand.
However, at the end of the day, when I get back from work and see the piles of dishes in the sink, I feel quite inclined to get a dishwasher. But I can’t get a dishwasher on a whim; there’s a lot of research that one has to do before getting a dishwasher, and sometimes you wonder whether it’s even worth it.
If you’re in the same boat as me, your mind is probably waging a dishwasher vs. hand washing war. If that’s the case, take a look at this guide I’ve compiled, so you can decide who’s the winner for yourself.
Do you need to make the decision swiftly? Here’s a quick overview of the dishwasher vs. hand washing fight:
|Most Energy Efficient||✔️||❌|
|Most Time Saving||✔️||❌|
The first question that people ask when they’re thinking of dishwasher vs. hand washing is money. Of course, you wouldn’t want to spend a few hundred on a dishwasher and find out that it’s much more expensive in the long run.
On the other hand, if you’ve been concerned about your water bills, you’re probably hoping to find a way to do the dishes without racking up a couple of dollars. Naturally, you’ll think a dishwasher is much more expensive than hand washing; but is it?
As unlikely as it sounds, a dishwasher isn’t as expensive as you think; it could very easily be cheaper than hand washing. I know it sounds absurd, but let’s look into the matter in detail.
You probably think I’m mad for suggesting that a dishwasher is cheaper but think about it; is hand washing affordable? When you’re doing the dishes by hand, you’re not using any electronic appliance, which means you’re not pulling any electricity or energy.
But, while washing the dishes by hand, you’re letting a lot of water run freely, even if you only open the flow when you’re about to wash the soap off the dishes. Running water increases your water bill; depending on where you live, you’re probably also using a heater to heat it. Add the heater bill to the water’s, and you could pay around $500-700 per month.
Hand washing may be cheap if you think you’re doing the work instead of an electronic appliance like a dishwasher, but if you’re paying $500-700 every month, you might as well get a dishwasher.
You’re not wrong to think an electronic appliance may be more expensive than doing the dishes yourself. But not many people know that a dishwasher actually saves you a lot.
How is a dishwasher cheaper than hand washing? When you’re getting a dishwasher, the only bills you have to worry about are its purchase and installation. A dishwasher costs around $500-25000 depending on the brand, and installation charges can take $100-200, but that’s about it.
Yes, in comparison to hand washing, a dishwasher may look expensive, but a dishwasher is a once-in-a-lifetime investment. Once you’ve got that bay nestled in your kitchen, you won’t have to worry about excessive expenses.
Yes, every once in a while, you might have to spend around $100 for maintenance, but if you take care of your dishwasher, you won’t have to worry too much.
And, as crazy as it sounds, a dishwasher uses less water than when you’re hand washing the dishes. Here’s a vague comparison; if you’re doing the dishes by hand, you’re using around 15-20 gallons of water per load!
On the other hand, if you’re using a dishwasher, you’re only using a small quantity of water to wash all the dishes at once, saving you gallons.
When you switch to a dishwasher, your water bill drops by $100-$300!
Albeit, when you use a dishwasher, you are using electricity, so you might see your electricity bill go higher. But before you begin panicking, you should know that there are energy-efficient dishwashers that consume very little energy, so the max you’re looking at is around a $30-50 increase.
Here is a rough comparison between dishwasher vs. hand washing to figure out which is cheaper. I must add that this comparison may vary across dishwasher brands and the area you live:
|Installation||$100-200||Heater installation and fixation can take $100-$200|
|Monthly Bills||Water Bills: It costs around $0.46-0.50 per load. The monthly cost would be around $14.26-28.52 (one load per day vs. two loads per day) Electricity Bills: A dishwasher’s usage costs around $30-$50 per month.||Water Bills: It costs around $0.50-1.00 per load. The monthly cost would be around $15.5-31 (one load per day vs. two loads per day) Electricity Bills: Hand washing has no electricity bill unless you use an electric heating system, costing around $36.50-50 per month.|
|Overall Monthly Expenditure||For the first month, you’re looking at the expense of $644.26-2278.52. However, this is a one-time expenditure. For the subsequent months, you’re looking at $144.26-278.52||For the first month and the following months, you’re looking at $152.5-282.|
|Overall Yearly Expenditure||Your yearly expenditure would be around $1755.12-3342.24.||Your yearly expenditure would be around $1830-3384|
As you can tell from the table, you’re actually saving over $50 if you use a dishwasher instead of hand washing the dishes.
We’ve got the cost down, so let’s talk about the other important topic: which is easier to do, using a dishwasher or washing by hand? The winner seems obvious, but before we reveal the winner, let’s discuss this in a little more detail.
When hand washing the dishes, you’re spending a lot of time on each dish. You make sure the glasses have no rims, the plates have no greasy leftovers stuck to the bottom, the cups aren’t stinking, etc.
But then you get to the bigger dishes, the pots, and the pans. They require much more energy and, honestly, reach. You fold your sleeves and get ready to drop your hand into the dirty end of the cooker or the blender.
But the effort isn’t the only thing you need when hand washing the dishes; you also risk getting injured easily.
Accidentally grabbing the knife from the wrong end, breaking glass when it slips from your hand, or cutting yourself when cleaning a grinder or blender are some common actions that can injure you when dish washing.
Hand washing the dishes also takes a lot of time, which most of us don’t have.
In short, hand washing may sound like a simple task, but it demands much more than you can give.
On the other hand, when using a dishwasher, you don’t have to deal with as much stress and energy as when hand washing the dishes.
Using a dishwasher is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require individual focus; you can easily pop all the utensils onto the dishwasher’s rack and press the start button. In less than two minutes, you’re done with your part of the work; the dishwasher does the rest.
Unlike hand washing, using a dishwasher is safe; you can easily wash sharp, jagged, or hard-to-reach utensils like knives, graters, blenders, blades, and grinders in a dishwasher, risking injuries.
But you know what the best part about using a dishwasher is? You don’t have to muster the energy to clean dirty gunk off the utensils; the dishwasher does the (quite literal) disgusting job for you!
I think we can all admit that a dishwasher is much more convenient than hand washing. Nobody likes doing the dishes, and those who do are the ones who hand wash as a stress reliever. For the rest of the world, a dishwasher is much better.
Most people will only think about a dishwasher vs. hand washing costs or energy usage when many other factors, such as effective cleaning and hygienic wash, matter a lot.
Stop to think about it; when you’re doing the dishes by hand, are you just washing off the dirt, or are you also giving your dishes a healthy environment?
Allow me to explain. Most of us think that a dirty dish means that it has leftover food, oil, or grease stuck to it. But that’s not the only case; any excess food, be it a sauce, condiment, oil, or juice, attracts bacteria and germs. The longer your dishes stay in the sink, the greater the chances of them being unhygienic.
Now, most people will defend that they use a bar of antibacterial dishwashing soap to do their dishes and are sure their dishes are bacteria-free. Some will even say that they use hot water to kick any bacteria.
While these are significant steps, hand washing is ineffective in eliminating bacteria. Why? Because you can only bear hot temperatures to an extent, you cannot wash the dishes with water hot enough to ward off most bacteria.
In comparison, using a dishwasher is much more hygienic. Dishwashers have multiple settings where you can adjust the water temperature, which means you can set a wash cycle to the highest temperature.
Dishes that undergo wash cycles with boiling water are much more likely to be cleaner in terms of bacteria and germs than dishes that you clean with mild to cold water.
And that’s not all; dishwashers also have a drying system that uses hot air to dry utensils, which means even after a wash, you’re not exposing your dishes to extra germs from the environment.
Here’s the thing; we can’t declare an outright winner among the two because, to some, a dishwasher is the most effective, and to some, hand washing the dishes is the most effective way to clean.
But let’s compare the two to decide which is better for you.
When you’re hand washing the dishes, you’re giving each utensil individual time.
Your attention is solely on each dish separately, so you’re taking your sweet time doing the dishes. For example, you might wash the forks and spoons with a separate sponge or use a particular soap for different utensils.
For those who like everything exactly as they want, hand washing dishes is much more effective because they get to see every utensil washed the way they prefer.
In strict comparison, a dishwasher doesn’t give individual attention to dishes, which is why you can’t get the satisfaction of cleaning the utensils your way. However, dishwashers are very effective cleaners and are even better than hand washing.
Dishwashers may not spend a minute or two on each utensil, but they have an effective cleaning system that carefully sweeps all the dishes, leaving no dirt behind.
And when you think about hygienic washes, you already know that a dishwasher is the most hygienic way to do the dishes, which means it’s also a more effective cleaner.
I believe that a dishwasher is a more effective and hygienic cleaner than hand washing the dishes. Yes, a dishwasher doesn’t give individual attention to your dishes, but it’s proven to be a much stronger cleaner.
However, if you prefer your dishes cleaned a particular way, a dishwasher may not be the right fit.
An average person spends an hour to an hour and a half doing the dishes daily. After all, doing the dishes by hand takes time and effort. Washing minor utensils like forks, glass, and cups take 10-20 minutes but washing larger dishes like cookers, deep pots, and greasy pans can take 20-30 minutes.
Using a dishwasher doesn’t take as much time; you can load all the dishes in one go and clean them in less than 30 minutes. According to the same average, your dishwasher takes three and a half hours per week.
Some of you will argue that doing the dishes manually doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes. Sure, that might be true for some people, but when you think about how much more you could do while your dishwasher is doing the dishes, you realize that a dishwasher is the better bet.
For example, you might spend 30 minutes per day doing the dishes. Let’s suppose a dishwasher takes the same time. Doing the dishes by hand forces you to stand in front of the sink and delay other chores and tasks. A dishwasher lets you use the 30 minutes for yourself; you could practically do anything, from working to relaxing!
I’m going to be blunt here; whether you like doing the dishes by hand or using a dishwasher, it will be very inconsiderate if you were to damage the environment. We have already given enough grief to our planet, and we can’t risk hurting it more.
You may think that using a dishwasher pulls more energy, and while a tiny portion of this is valid, a dishwasher is much more energy efficient than you think.
What’s my take on the dishwasher vs. hand wash water use? The water is constantly running when we’re doing the dishes by hand. Of course, we can’t measure how much water is pouring out of the faucet, but a rough estimate is 9-15 gallons per load, which you can imagine is a lot.
On the other hand, a dishwasher doesn’t use as much water; the dishwasher uses less than 4 gallons to wash an entire batch of dishes.
Of course, saving water isn’t the only factor for energy efficiency; how much electricity you use is also an important input. When washing the dishes, you’re not using electricity, giving hand washing an edge.
However, contrary to popular belief, a dishwasher doesn’t pull a lot of electricity. Many dishwasher models across brands are energy efficient and can run on a low voltage throughout a wash cycle.
At a glance, it seems like a dishwasher uses more energy than hand washing, but that’s not the case. Surprisingly, a dishwasher saves energy and is far more efficient than hand washing dishes.
If you’re still confused about whether a dishwasher is a good investment for you, take a look at this comparison that I’ve listed:
|Pros of a Dishwasher||Cons of a Dishwasher|
|Saves water||It can lead to water damage|
|Energy efficient||It uses more electricity|
|Cheaper in the long run||Costly to purchase and install|
|Helps organize your kitchen||May make you lazier|
|Great for large families||Not suitable for single-person households|
|More hygienic||May be too harsh for intricate utensils|
To make it easier for you to decide, here’s a quick review of the benefits and disadvantages of hand washing:
|Pros of Hand Washing||Cons of Hand Washing|
|Saves electricity||Wastes water|
|Focused wash||Takes time|
|Great way to use your energy||Takes a lot of effort|
|No additional costs||More expensive in the long run|
|Great for single-person households||Exhausting for larger families|
|You clean the dishes as you want||Messier and unaesthetic kitchen|
So far, we’ve been talking about which is better amongst dishwashers vs. hand washing, but we haven’t touched on the bigger question: is a dishwasher necessary for every household?
As much as a dishwasher is efficient, you don’t need to buy the appliance if you don’t want to. Dishwashers are wondrous appliances, but sometimes they may not be the best fit for you.
However, if you have enough money to buy a dishwasher and want to save money and energy in the long run, I would suggest a dishwasher. You see, there are many hidden benefits to owning a dishwasher that not many talk about, and some of them include:
For disabled people or anyone who has any disability, doing the dishes by hand can be uncomfortable and difficult. Disabled people often face difficulty reaching the sink, putting back the dishes, and handling utensils.
Dishwashers are accessible for everyone, and you can thank dishwasher brands for introducing models that offer different accessibility features to make it easier to wash the dishes.
A dishwasher isn’t only accessible for everyone; it’s also safe.
Washing the dishes by hand can often injure you if you’re even only a little careless. But doing the dishes manually can be dangerous in more than one way. Water drips down to the floor and can trip you, and if you’re not careful enough, you might even damage electrical appliances near the sink.
Another benefit of having a dishwasher is that it’s safer to use for anyone who’s allergic to dish soap and water. If your hands dry up or begin to sting or burn anytime you come in contact with water or soap, a dishwasher is a problem-solver.
As I’ve mentioned, you don’t need to get a dishwasher, especially if you’re not willing or don’t have the money right now. That said, if you open up to the idea, a dishwasher is an excellent investment.
Dishwashers are energy-efficient, cheaper in the long run, and make your kitchen aesthetic.
If you want to get a dishwasher, there are some things you should know beforehand. Buying a dishwasher may sound easy, but it involves careful research and evaluation because it is a significant investment.
Getting a dishwasher can be pricey, especially for the first year. You can get a dishwasher at $500 across most brands, but as you move to popular and more prominent companies, you might be looking at a $2000 purchase.
After you buy your dishwasher, you must factor in delivery/service and installation charges. If you’re transporting your dishwasher to your house, you save on the delivery fees. However, if you’re ordering your dishwasher online or transporting it from a slight distance, you might have to spend $30-$100, depending on where you live.
Some dishwashers are easy to install and portable, but some have a more complex setup. You might have to ask a service member to install it, costing you around $100-200.
For the first year, you’re looking at an expenditure of $600-2200. After the first year, you’re looking at annual maintenance of $100, and that’s about all.
The brand of your dishwasher is essential. If you choose the wrong brand, you can get stuck with a dishwasher that could have many problems. And it’s not just the dishwashers; besides good products, a great brand also has great customer and after-sales service.
One of the top dishwasher brands are Bosch and Miele. Both Bosch and Miele make user-friendly, aesthetic, and high-quality dishwasher brands. However, you can also consider brands like Samsung and LG.
When you want to buy a dishwasher, you’ll find many options available on the market. Dishwashers by brands, dishwashers by price, and dishwashers by rank are just some of the factors you’ll think of when buying one.
But it would help if you chose a suitable dishwasher because choosing a dishwasher based solely on looks or brand name can impact your experience.
You might need a more detailed guide, but here’s a brief overview of how to choose the right dishwasher:
Most people consider the cleaning performance of a dishwasher, but its drying performance is equally important. Look into which dishwasher has the best cleaning and drying performance, and then choose your dishwasher model.
Older models of dishwashers consume a lot of energy, which is why you shouldn’t settle for anything less than an energy-saving dishwasher. Find a dishwasher that is ENERGY STAR certified.
Is your dishwasher accessible to everyone? Does it have an ergonomic design? Are the controls easy to use? If the answer to all these questions is yes, you’ve found yourself a good dishwasher. If the answer is no, keep looking.
There are some things that not many people know when they’re getting a dishwasher. I’ve tried to bust all myths so you won’t have to:
You might have heard people say you need to pre-rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, but that’s not true. You don’t have to do this step unless you want to.
The expense of buying a dishwasher might throw you off, but trust me, that’s only an expense for the first month. Once you get your dishwasher, it’s going to be a money-saver.
Depending on the brand, you might be tempted to get a big dishwasher. But if you get a dishwasher that’s too big or too small for your kitchen space, you’re wasting your purchase.
A dishwasher bigger than your space won’t fit in the kitchen, and you’ll have to consider other places to put it, and a dishwasher that’s too small creates an uncomfortable gap.
Getting a branded dishwasher is a dream for many, but sometimes, it isn’t worth going for the higher and more expensive brands. Expensive and hi-fi brands will often compromise on quality, and you won’t find out until it’s too late.
If you think the dishwasher won the dishwasher vs. hand washing war, you’re probably looking to buy a dishwasher. Here are some of my top recommendations:
Miele G7312 SC Freestanding Dishwasher has the best cleaning and drying performance among all its competitors.
The most ergonomic dishwasher is the Bosch SPS4HKW45G Freestanding Dishwasher.
If you’re short on cash, the Bosch 100 Series Dishwasher is the best option, which costs only $500.
The Fisher & Paykel Full-console Dishwasher is ADA-compliant and perfect for anyone who wants an accessible dishwasher.
Let’s circle back to our discussion. Dishwasher vs. hand washing; who takes the crown?
Hand washing takes effort, time, and energy and wastes water. On the other hand, dishwashers are energy efficient and don’t require effort or hard work.
As you can see from the detailed comparison throughout this guide, a dishwasher is better than hand washing the dishes.