How to select the best dishwasher and what else you can do with your money

Friday, January 21, 2022
Veli Markovic

The Question

What is the best dishwasher for you?

We've all heard of the star rating system for appliance efficiency but there's more!  In this presentation we look at:

  • The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program
  • The programs objectives
  • How to correctly assess a dishwasher's vital statistics,
  • Compare two different models and 
  • Look at the time value of money 

You may be surprised at the results. The most expensive appliance is not necessarily the best!!

What is the energy rating system?

The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program is a cross jurisdictional program through which the Australian Government, states and territories and the New Zealand Government collaborate to deliver a single, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labeling for equipment and appliances.

On 1 October 2012, the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Act 2012 came into effect creating a national framework for product energy efficiency in Australia. The GEMS Act is the underpinning legislation for the program. 

What are the program objectives?

  • To reduce energy bills for households and businesses in a cost effective way by driving improvements to the energy efficiency of new appliances and equipment sold
  • Improve the energy efficiency of new appliances and equipment that use energy and
  • Improve the energy performance of products that have an impact on energy consumption
  • Reduce appliance and equipment related greenhouse gas emissions through a process which complements other actions by jurisdictions.

Star rating

The star rating is about energy efficiency – that is how efficient a model is relative to other models of the same size.

More stars means more efficient – when compared to other models of the same size.

Most products are given between 1 and 6 stars.

Tip: Always choose which size (or capacity) model you need first, then use the star rating to compare them.

How do we select the best appliance?

So we now know how to select the best appliance, in this case a dishwasher, for our needs or do we?

If for example we use the star rating system we find a fairly large variation in results because this rating system allows for a range.

How do we select the best dishwasher?

When selecting a dishwasher there is going to be a price difference between a more efficient option, say 4.5 stars compared to a less efficient one.

But questions need to be asked:

  • What is the actual price difference between two models with similar capacity?
  • How many years will it take to recoup the difference if purchasing the more efficient model?
  • What about the price of electricity increasing? How do I factor this in?
  • What if I invest the price difference between models, is this a good way to go?
  • What about the warranty? 

Energy rating examples: purchase $, cheapest

So we can see that the cheapest dishwasher is the Euromaid at $488 with a three star rating.

Energy rating examples: purchase $, most expensive

The most expensive  dishwashers are the  Ariston and Fischer and Paykel both with 3.5 star ratings.

There is a big difference in cost!

In our example the difference between the cheapest dishwasher and the most expensive is $1311.

So we need to ask lots of questions?

There are other things to consider?

We have determined the different prices for the clothes dryers but what about other factors:

  • Cost to run per year
  • Star rating
  • Purchase cost per kilogram
  • What else can I do with my money

Energy rating examples: cost to run per year cheapest

Both the Ariston and Fisher and Paykel are the cheapest to run per year.

Energy rating examples: cost to run per year expensive

The most expensive is another Ariston model followed by the Euromaid.

Cost to run per year

The cost to run per year is an ongoing one.

I have assumed a price of $0.28/kWh and have multiplied this with the supplied kWh consumption per year and what has emerged is the following:

  • The most expensive dishwashers to purchase (Ariston s/steel and the Fischer and Paykel) are the cheapest to run per year but don’t have the highest star rating
  • The third cheapest (LG platinum steel) shares the highest 4 star rating with one other dishwasher
  • Why does a 4 star dishwasher use more energy per year than a 3.5 star unit?

What accounts for this disparity?

Energy rating examples: number of stars

We have 2 x models with 4 stars and 4 x models with 3.5 stars with a decent variation in prices.

Star rating

This is an interesting area as the star rating system is, effectively, a range. In the examples we have presented the models range from 3 to 4 stars:

  • For example we have 4 x examples of 3 star ratings ranging from 275 kWh/year for the Glem
  • To 325 kWh/year for the Ariston
  • With 4 star have 2 x dishwashers using 230 and 235 kWh respectively
  • But have a 3.5 star model using only 134 kWh/year?

Why is this the case? It’s because the star rating is simply a guide and also takes into account the capacity of the dishwasher as well.

What else can I do with my money?

So we have a range of prices and yearly operating costs and star ratings.

So the question is, if I do buy a more expensive machine, how long would it take to pay off?

Also what if I selected a cheaper model and invested my money in the bank?

Would this be a better option?

Lets select two dishwashers

Have selected the Bosch 60cm Series 6 Anti-Fingerprint Freestanding Dishwasher and the Ariston 60cm Freestanding Dishwasher - Stainless Steel

A small difference in price and a considerable difference to run per year based on $0.28 kWh:

  • Difference in purchase price between the two, $400
  • Electricity assumed to be $0.28 kWh with 2% increase per year
  • We have the option to invest the $400 difference @ 1% compound interest if purchasing the cheaper option

Lets select two dishwashers

If the more expensive option was selected it would take 13 years to recoup the difference in price via the savings.

Difference in price $400

If your decision is made purely on best dollar value buying the cheaper dishwasher would be the go!

Payback period meets investment

So what is the maximum number of years if we invest the difference at a certain interest rate to match the payback?.

  • If we invest for 2 years
  • At 1%
  • Would receive $408 dollars
  • At three years would receive $412


  • When looking at dishwashers look at the star rating of the appliance
  • Then the kWh used per year
  •  Calculate the cost per cubic capacity of your dishwasher
  •  Don’t forget the time value of money, warranty, replacement costs and other factors


If you’d like to see what Greenwood Solutions get up to in the real world of renewable energy, solar, battery storage and grid protection check out our industry and commercial pages:

About the author

Veli Markovic

CEC Designer
Veli has nearly two decades of experience in the renewable industry. He is passionate about providing people with valuable education and is highly regarded throughout the industry as an educator and operator.
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