Why Are Dishwashers So Expensive? [Cost-Saving Ideas]

Image of an expensive dishwasher

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you know how annoying and time-consuming dirty dishes can be. But if you go online and look at dishwater prices, you might wonder, why are dishwashers so expensive?

Dishwashers are expensive because each of their components comes at a cost. Hence, the bigger the dishwasher, the more expensive it’ll be. Getting all the latest features and accessories can make the dishwasher costly. However, if you only want the features you need, you can find affordable options.

Let’s take a look at what components make up a dishwasher, why they are expensive, and what you can do if you don’t have the space for a built-in dishwasher.

8 Components That Make Dishwashers Expensive

After a quick Google search, you might wonder why all dishwashers are so expensive.

Well, to answer that question, we have to look at the components that make up a dishwasher.

1. Heating Element

One of the most important parts of your dishwasher is the heating element.

This is the part responsible for heating the water in the wash cycles and controlling the air temperature during the drying cycle.

The heating element is crucial for your safety.

It makes sure that the temperature gets hot enough to sterilize all the dishes.

Depending on the sensitivity of the heating element, the prices will change.

The more sensitive it is, the more expensive the dishwasher will be.

Most heating elements are pretty affordable, though.

They can range from $5 to $150, depending on the dishwasher model.

2. Internal Dividers

Inside your dishwasher, you’ll find racks and baskets.

They make it easier for you to arrange all your dishes in the dishwasher.

The internal dividers also keep dishes away from each other. This is to avoid scratching and breaking.

The racks are heatproof to withstand the high temperatures of the dishwasher.

So it can be expensive to change out all the internal structures of the dishwasher.

Luckily, the racks are like a puzzle broken down into many pieces that fit together.

You can replace each piece individually at a relatively low cost.

3. Circulation Motor

Circulation motors move water around in the dishwasher.

They pump water through the spray arms onto the dishes.

To remove food residue from dishes, the dishwasher pumps the water under a lot of pressure.

To achieve this pressure, you need a strong motor. The stronger the motor, the more pressure it can generate.

And, if you have a large dishwasher, you’ll need a strong motor just to make sure the water gets all the way around.

It should come as no surprise that the motor is one of the most expensive parts of the dishwasher.

A motor can run you up anywhere from $400 to $900.

You can get more affordable motors, but they can get very loud. You might also have to replace them more often.

Recommended Further Reading: Are Dishwashers Worth It? | Are Dishwashers Water-Efficient? | Why Do Dishwashers Take So Long? | Can Dishwashers Catch Fire? | Why Do Dishwashers Need Salt?

4. Spray Arms

Dishwasher's spray arm

Spray arms have to carry the pressure from the motor to the dishes.

This sounds like an easy job, but they need to handle high temperatures of the water and do it spinning.

So, they need to be durable.

They’re usually made of heat-resistant plastic.

The material isn’t expensive, but you might need to replace them regularly.

5. Filtration System

After the spray arms wash away all the food residue, it collects at the bottom.

As time goes by, the residue can build up and clog your motor.

To avoid this, you need a reliable filter.

The filter will clean water as it enters the dishwasher and stops the residue from going into the motor.

This is quite helpful if you have hard water. It’ll also clean the water exiting the dishwasher to recycle it easily.

Disposable filters are affordable and usually under $30, though you can get filters that last for a long time.

You just need to clean them regularly.

6. Control Pad

The control pad is the brain of the dishwasher. This is the part with all the buttons and settings.

Manufacturers have to program each cycle and option on their own.

As you can imagine, this is a difficult, time-consuming task.

That’s why more options mean a more expensive dishwasher.

Programming is one of the main factors in pricing a dishwasher. This is why prices vary so much across brands.

7. Design

Design is another big part of making a dishwasher.

Manufacturers have to come up with a unique design that can blend with your other appliances.

Everything will affect price, from color to finish.

How big the unit is and details like a custom color or a stainless-steel trim will increase the price of a dishwasher.

8. Accessories

If you’re buying a new dishwasher model, you’ll find that many of them have special features.

Some of them come with Bluetooth so that you can control the dishwasher with your phone.

Others come with Wi-Fi and can even order detergent automatically from Amazon.

These are some of the main components of dishwashers.

A combination of them will decide the price of a dishwasher.

There are also other accessories and features that you can get for an extra cost.

Why Are Portable Dishwashers So Expensive?

Most kitchens come with a built-in dishwasher, but a portable dishwasher may be the solution if you have a small kitchen with no room for appliances.

You can get a dishwasher of a size that will fit in your kitchen, then move it around to position it correctly.

They’re like built-in dishwashers and have many of the same options, but built-ins tend to be a little bigger.

The portable dishwashers can also be louder.

They can move around making a lot of noise because they don’t have the dampening of the cabinets that built-ins do.

If you’re trying to save and you’re really strapped for space, you can opt for a countertop dishwasher.

A countertop dishwasher is a miniature washer that can connect to your sink faucet.

The main consideration with countertop dishwashers is size.

You want one small enough to carry around but large enough to fit a lot of dishes.

However, chances are you’ll have to do the dishes in batches.

Countertops won’t have the same options and settings as portable dishwashers, but they’re useful if you live alone or with a couple of other people.

However, if you have a large family, it might be better to invest in a portable dishwasher.

Interesting Further Reading: Are All Dishwashers Of The Same Size? | Can Dishwasher Pods Go Bad? | Are Bosch Dishwashers Good? | Are Dishwashers Hardwired? | Do Freezers Defrost Themselves?

Cost-Saving Ideas For Dishwashers

If you’re tired of spending hours on your feet doing dishes, it might be time for you to invest in a dishwasher.

They can be expensive, but if you limit yourself to the options that you need, you should be able to get a good deal.

And the savings don’t have to end there. Dishwashers use less water and soap than hand washing.

It’s also a great time saver since all you have to do is load the dishwasher and push a button.

And if you’re worried about your electric bill, here are a few things you could try:

  • Get a power-friendly (energy-efficient) model.
  • Let the dishes air dry.
  • Don’t use the hottest temperature setting all the time.
  • Pre-soak the dishes.
  • Only wash full loads.

When buying a dishwasher, the large sum you have to pay at the counter can be gut-wrenching, but think about all the time, water, and electricity you’ll be saving.

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