Dishwasher vs Handwashing: Which is Better?


Not many people enjoy doing the dishes by hand, especially after a large family dinner, which led to the invention of the dishwasher. This machine does the dishes while you relax after a meal, ensuring your kitchen looks crisp and clean always.

However, not everybody is a fan of dishwashers. Some people believe dishwasher water usage is higher than what they typically consume when doing the dishes by hand. Others are more concerned about its cleaning performance when compared to hand washing. Also, with global warming in view, people are concerned that using a dishwasher would contribute to climate change, so they prefer hand washing.

While these concerns are legitimate, are they true? Is handwashing dishes more economical than using a dishwasher? How much impact does a dishwasher have on the environment? Keep reading as we would examine dishwasher vs handwashing dishes on many factors so you know which option works best for you.


1. Water Consumption and Efficiency

The dishwasher water usage is often dependent on several factors. For instance, with a dishwasher, the quantity of water consumed depends on its type, model, and age. Dishwashers manufactured before 2000 consume around 25 liters of water per wash cycle, while the more recent models use around 10 liters per cycle. Also, newer dishwashers have an eco-setting, which also helps reduce water consumption considerably.

Like the dishwasher, the amount of water consumed during handwashing also depends on some factors. One such factor is the type of water you use for washing, running tap water, or sink-stored water. Doing the dishes using running tap water by hand would increase water consumption considerably, as a tap flows at around 9 liters per minute. This means you consume more water than the average dishwasher uses in a cycle.

Also, studies show that while water-saving dishwashers make up 1% of the yearly water bill of most homes, hand washing makes up 4%. So, when it comes to dishwasher vs hand washing water usage, the dishwasher is a better option.


Water Consumption and Efficiency


2. Energy Efficiency

It is generally believed that dishwashers consume electricity like other home appliances. However, this is far from the truth, as modern dishwashers have a power rating that ranges between 1050 to 1500 Watts. A value considerably less than what other household appliances consume. For context, an appliance like the air conditioner can consume as high as 18kWh.

Like water consumption, newer dishwashers consume less energy than older ones. The reason is that newer dishwashers have built-in water heaters that ensure minimal heat loss and are usually energy star certified and rated. Manufacturers also provide the exact kWh rating of the appliance so you know just how much energy your dishwasher consumes.

Conversely, when hand washing dishes and you decide to use hot water, you consume more energy, as some of the heat produced by the water heater is lost to the environment.


3. Cleaning Performance

Regarding cleaning performance, using the dishwasher trumps handwashing in so many aspects. First, modern dishwashers feature several washing modes for your different dishwashing needs. These modes ensure your dishes are spotless while considering the different dish materials and types.

Also, most dishwashers wash with water at a temperature of around 700C, which is scalding hot. This ensures that dishes are sparkling clean and that washed dishes are free from germs and other harmful micro-organisms. The dishwasher also has features like steam drying that ensure your washed dishes are as hygienic as possible.

Hand washing cleaning performance is often dependent on the skill of the washer. In other words, the more experienced the hand washer is, the higher the expected cleaning performance. Also, its cleaning performance is nowhere near the dishwasher's, as it only rids dishes of dirt, not microbes. Hand washing dishes also exposes them to damage, as they could slip and break or scratch during the washing process.


Cleaning Performance


4. Time and Effort

One thing that scares most people from doing the dishes is the time and effort it takes. However, when you use a dishwasher, time and effort are non-issues. With a dishwasher, you only need to load it up with your dishes, set the desired wash mode and cycle, and unload after washing. This process takes at most 15 minutes from start to finish. Also, you can shorten the time spent by removing food remains before placing them in the dishwasher.

On the other hand, doing the dishes by hand takes a lot of time and effort, with studies showing that it takes about 30 minutes to hand wash dishes for a household of at least four people. This time does not include time spent drying and storing away the dishes.

Also, the time and effort spent during handwashing often depend on the number of dishes and the degree of dirt on them. In other words, the higher the number of dishes and degree of dirt, the higher the time and effort expended in dishwashing. Also, with hand washing, you would need to put in more effort if you want your dishes to have a squeaky-clean appearance.


Time and Effort


5. Environmental Impact

With the incidence of climate change and the world clamoring for a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, the environmental impact of dishwashers has become a hotly debated topic. Also, most people argue that dishwashers produce a high quantity of greenhouse gases not ideal for the environment.

However, this is not true, as recent studies show that dishwashers emit a meager 2,090kgs of greenhouse gases, as opposed to hand washing which produces 5,620kgs with 32 dish sets per week. In other words, doing the dishes by hand contributes more to global warming than using the dishwasher.

Also, asides from the greenhouse gases released, washing dishes by hand consumes a great deal of water. Water is a resource that should be conserved, not wasted, and using a dishwasher for doing the dishes conserves water, as the machine only draws as much water as it needs, with zero room for waste.


Environmental Impact


6. Cost Considerations

The cost to run a dishwasher depends on its type, size, and brand. The standard dishwasher costs between $400 to $1200, while countertop models cost between $250 and $500. A dishwasher might appear more expensive than using handwashing due to the initial investment one makes when buying the machine. But when you factor in the cost of extra water used during hand washing, you'd realize using a dishwasher is cheaper.


So, hand washing vs dishwasher, which is your pick? Well, I'd recommend a dishwasher. Although doing the dishes by hand has benefits, using a dishwasher is more energy efficient and has better cleaning performance and hygiene. A dishwasher also helps save time and effort while ensuring the kitchen remains clean and clutter-free.

Different dishwasher types and brands are on the market today, but your choice will depend on your household size and lifestyle. However, if you are in the market for a dishwasher, you can't go wrong with a HAVA countertop dishwasher.


HAVA countertop dishwasher


Being one of the best Amazon Best Seller brands, HAVA is an eco-friendly dishwasher with a large capacity. It has a compact size making it ideal for different use scenarios in the kitchen, boat, or RV. Besides, this dishwasher has 5 wash cycle options and a dry mode for your different dish types. Its 360 degrees of cleaning ensures all dishes within it come out squeaky clean.

One feature that makes the HAVA countertop dishwasher stand out is its water consumption, which is about 75% less than conventional dishwashers, thus helping you conserve water and cutting down the bill. This water-saving dishwasher also features a water storage tank, which often comes in handy when you are in a place where a direct connection to a water faucet is not obtainable. So why wait? Choose a HAVA countertop dishwasher today.