Our Green Choice designation will help you find a dishwasher that's easier on the environment
By Liam McCabe
Dishwashers are fantastically efficient. Today, more than 700 individual dishwasher models carry the Energy Star badge for superior water and energy savings. Even the dishwashers that don’t qualify for Energy Star still use far less water and energy than all but the most disciplined hand-washing techniques. So using a modern dishwasher—preferably without pre-rinsing—is a big win for the environment.
But if you want a dishwasher that makes the smallest possible negative environmental impact, consider a dishwasher with the Consumer Reports Green Choice label. These models are marked by a green leaf icon in our dishwasher ratings.
We award this mark to dishwashers not only for their water and energy efficiency (as measured in our extensive lab tests) but also for a host of other bigger-picture factors.
“Sustainability is about minimizing the impact on the environment for any product from cradle to grave—all that is required to make it, use it, and dispose of it,” says Shanika Whitehurst, CR’s associate director of product sustainability.
What Makes a Dishwasher a Green Choice?
To earn CR’s Green Choice designation, dishwashers must stand out in a variety of key environmental assessments, including:
Water efficiency: In our labs, we measure a dishwasher’s water consumption on our intentionally difficult washing performance test. The vast majority of models we’ve tested, including our Green Choice winners, use between 4 and 5 gallons per load, though a few models use a bit less. Notably, that’s more than the 3.5 gallons that the Energy Star certification requires.
"We use special loads in the dishwasher to trigger the soil sensors to deliver the maximum water and energy usage," says Jim Nanni, CR associate director and appliance team testing leader. The test for government certifications, on the other hand, "uses an essentially clean load of dishware."
Energy efficiency: We measure how much energy is consumed during a normal wash cycle by the dishwasher. A couple of Green Choice models use about one kilowatt-hour of energy per cycle (about 13 cents’ worth of electricity), but most use only about three-quarters of that amount.
Brand reliability: Based on information from surveys of more than 125,000 CR members who purchased a new machine over the past 10 years, this rating estimates the likelihood that a particular brand and type of washer will break or experience problems within the first five years of ownership. “Poor reliability can lead to the premature removal of an appliance from the home,” says Whitehurst.
Weight and volume: Bigger and heavier dishwashers typically take more raw materials to produce, and require extra fuel (and therefore carbon emissions) for shipping. We calculate these scores based on the dishwasher’s advertised weight and dimensions.
Interior materials: Dishwasher tubs are either made of stainless steel or plastic (or a combination of the two). Stainless steel is easier to recycle, and may help the dishwasher perform better for longer. So dishwashers with this tub type get a higher score.
Green Choices at CR
• In autos, we ID the vehicles that produce the fewest pollutants.
• Only the top tier of efficient washers earn our green leaf.
• It’s part of our efforts to build a more sustainable future for all.
For more, see CR’s Guide to Sustainable Living.
Since our dishwasher ratings already account for reliability, water use, and energy use, it should be no surprise that many of our Green Choice dishwashers are also among our top-rated models overall. CR members can read on for a list of dishwashers that not only ace our performance tests and rate highly in our member surveys but are also a Green Choice. Consult our dishwasher buying guide as you shop. CR members can also see CR’s complete dishwasher ratings for even more options.
Best Eco-Friendly Dishwashers
Here are four of the most noteworthy Green Choice models, with strong scores on our performance tests, sold by brands that received great feedback on member surveys.
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