Yale Appliance University - Dishwashers

Chris Wurlitzer  |  September 14, 2013  |  3 Min. Read

Yale Appliance University

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We hear hundreds of questions each week from our customers so we've decided to start answering these questions with short video responses here in a segment we're calling Yale Appliance University.

This week, our Dennis MacDonald tackles some of our most common questions about dishwashers in this short video. Check out the answers below for links to more in-depth articles from our blog which tackle these topics.

If you have a question you'd like us to answer, let us know in the comments!

Hi, I'm Dennis MacDonald from Yale Appliance + Lighting. Today we're going to be answering one of the most common questions we're asked in the the store, which is "What's the Difference Between American and European Dishwashers?"


The first question we're usually asked is noise. What's the quietest dishwasher available? To answer that we have to talk about how these machines get rid of any food particles throughout the wash in the machine. The first are European dishwashers and what they use is called a trap system, essentially a strainer. Small bits of food would wash straight through, but bigger pieces would get caught in this trap. If you're the type of person that scrapes you may look in this every 4-6 weeks and realize there's nothing in it. If there were something in it you'd simply take it out and shake it into the trash. Pop it back in and you're good to go.

American dishwashers use a different system, they use a garbage disposal system, a soft food disposer. Basically it's a plastic disposer that's constantly spinning throughout the wash therefore grinding any food. The grinding noise is what really creates the noise of a dishwasher. So we remove the disposer...quiet dishwasher.

So generally speaking, European machines will be quieter than those of American.

Read more: Quietest Dishwashers by Decibel Rating


The next question we're commonly asked is Size and Racking. Let's answer size first. All dishwashers are the same width and height. What varies is the depth of a dishwasher. European machines are 24" deep or flush with standard counters and cabinets. Cabinets are 24" deep so when we install European you're going to get that clean, flush effect.

American dishwashers stick out 2"-3" beyond cabinet fronts. Particularly important is if you're considering putting on a wood fronted panel on a dishwasher, you may very well want to consider European to get that clean aesthetic.

Read more: Differences Between Miele Dishwashers


Racking. Let's talk about the two basic types of racking. Standard racking where we have two racks inside the machine, we've seen the introduction of a lot adjustability and height into dishwashers today. That allows you to put tall things on the bottom or top rack, depending.

The next racking system that we've seen come to market is a third rack. A third rack is used of silverware or large ladles or soup spoons. By placing these items here we're putting more usable space in the two main racks. These features are available in both European and American machines and vary by model.

Read more: Bosch vs Frigidaire Integrated Dishwashers


The next question we get asked all the time is energy efficiency. Which machine is going to be the most energy efficient for me to use? Two considerations. water usage. European dishwashers use roughly 3 gallons of water throughout a normal wash, where Americans use between 5 and 7 gallons. The Europeans win here.

The next would be the drying. And these two machines do operate differently. European machines heat the water to 160 degrees throughout the wash. That hot energy that it creates is then trapped and they use condensation to dry.

American machines use a heating element, much like the bottom of an electric range. They are constantly heating the air in the machine. The net result is a dry dish but by using pure condensation you get a more efficient dry.

Read more: Bosch vs Miele Dishwashers


The next big question we get asked is Stainless vs Plastic Tubs inside the dishwasher. We go back there again to the drying mechanism and how they operate. Where Americans have that heating element that's constantly drying the air, whether it's stainless or plastic doesn't make a difference. 

But in European machines we know that water seems to pull much better to stainless steel. So you'll always find on brands like Bosch, Miele and Asko, the most common European brands, always a stainless steel tub.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. One of the most common things we recommend for folks is to bring your plates and their silverware and all their items here to the store, to try and make sure you're making the right decision. 

Hopefully that answers some of your questions, and we thank you.

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Additional Resources

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