General Appliance & Kitchens serves the Berkeley/Oakland area with dishwashers that vary in price — and features — from basic models to stylish high-end units. In general, the more expensive the dishwasher, the quieter it is and the more features it includes. High-end dishwashers are often only a little louder than a running refrigerator, have highly adjustable racks, multiple wash cycles and sleek designs that often include hidden controls. High-end dishwashers are often more energy-efficient, too. Although most dishwashers in all price ranges are Energy Star-qualified, luxury models usually exceed Energy Star standards for power use and consume less water without sacrificing cleanliness.

We offer quality dishwashers from GE/General Electric, Whirlpool, Amana, Asko, Bosch, Dacor, Fisher & Paykel, Frigidaire, Gaggenau, Kitchenaid, Maytag, Miele, Samsung, and Thermador.

Budget dishwashers lack adjustable racks, offer fewer wash cycles and are considerably louder. Most have plastic (rather than stainless-steel) wash tubs, which are less durable and tend to stain over time.

Between these two extremes is a wide range of midpriced dishwashers. Midpriced dishwashers are quieter than budget models but louder than luxury models and usually include several wash cycles and a built-in food disposer, which eliminates the need to scrape dishes before washing. Many have adjustable racks and a stainless-steel wash tub. Overall, we found this category receives the best feedback in owner reviews.

Here are some other things to consider when shopping for a dishwasher:

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t pay to pre-rinse dishes. Dishwashers have become increasingly better at conserving water, with many using just 4 gallons per load. Yet the biggest water waste lies with consumers themselves. Most dishwasher owners pre-rinse dishes before washing, a step that is completely unnecessary, since it wastes water and makes virtually no difference in cleaning performance. Most dishwashers have no problem handling stuck-on foods and food-smeared dishes without pre-rinsing —
even when left overnight to dry.

As a rule, the more spray sources within the dishwasher, the cleaner the dishes get. For the best washing, there should be spray coming at least from the bottom, top and under the top rack. It is best to avoid the kind of bargain-basement dishwasher in which the water only sprays up from the bottom. What little water makes it past the dishes in the bottom rack doesn’t spray the dishes in the top rack with enough force to thoroughly clean them.

Sensor washing can help save water and reduce the length of a wash cycle. This feature works by measuring the cloudiness of the water and using the information to determine whether additional rinse cycles can be skipped.

Folding tines and adjustable top racks give you more ways to position dishes. Another helpful feature is a self-cleaning filter with a hard-food disposer. Without it, any food particles left on plates will wind up accumulating at the bottom of the dishwasher, and you’ll need to empty the filter manually. A high-temperature wash option is a hedge against germs, and a few extra cycles, such as china wash or quick wash, give you a way to protect fragile items or avoid wasting large quantities of water cleaning a lightly soiled load.

Other than ending up with dirty dishes, what’s most likely to annoy people about their dishwasher is the noise it makes. Price seems to correspond with noise level, so more expensive models usually have better insulation and are therefor quieter. The lower the decibel level, the quieter the machine.

A time-delay setting is handy, because it allows you to load up the dishwasher and set it to run when nobody’s around to hear it. However, you should not run your dishwasher while you’re away from home or asleep, for safety reasons.

Give us a call or stop by our showroom at 2524 Shattuck Avenue in Berkely and we’ll be happy to show you a variety of outstanding new appliances for your home.