Comparing energy use of old and new, energy-efficient appliances

To replace or not to replace

Knowing exactly when to replace an appliance, especially one that is still working, can be difficult. 

Generally, older dishwashers will consume more energy than a new highly energy-efficient one as EU regulations setting limits to energy use have come into effect. On average, dishwashers sold in 1990 used 38% more energy than those available today[1]. 

Actual energy consumption can vary considerably from model to model. Which? calculated the annual energy costs for more than 122 dishwashers and found across these models, running costs varied between £22 and £68 per year. Compact models cost from just £22 a year to run[2]. 

Monitoring the energy usage of your current appliance

You may find it useful to monitor the actual energy consumption of your dishwasher. This can be done using a plug-in energy-usage meter. This is plugged into the socket and the appliance is plugged into the meter. Monitoring electricity usage for a month, or even a week, allows you to gain an idea of the annual consumption.

Bear in mind, you may use your dishwasher more frequently at certain times of the year such as the summer or Christmas holidays. So ensure you perform the test during a time that represents your typical usage. 

The new EU Energy Label shows the average annual electricity use of dishwashers, so you can easily find out how your appliance fares compared to a new model before committing to a purchase.  

What size dishwasher?

If you are planning to buy a new dishwasher, think about what best suits your needs. Look out for the number of place settings you require – they range from six to 15. 

Full-sized dishwashers are generally the most energy- and water-efficient. For a single-person household or a small kitchen, a compact or slimline model may be more suitable. 

In any case, look out for the Energy Label – the best performing models on the market will be rated A+++ and you can see the annual average energy consumption on the label.


[1] Domestic energy consumption in the UK since 1970, DECC Factsheet, July 2012