Do Dishwashers Use a Lot of Electricity?

When choosing a dishwasher, one key question often comes up: “Do dishwashers use a lot of electricity?”

In this article, I cover the usage cost of running a dishwasher annually. I did my research by going through the energy consumption of some popular dishwasher models as well as the documents of energy labels (covered in detail in this article).

How Much Electricity Do Dishwashers Use?

As you evaluate the electricity usage of dishwashers, it’s important to consider that models can vary significantly in their energy consumption.

Depending on the model of your dishwasher, the electricity cost of running a dishwasher annually would be somewhere between $20-40 (which would depend on how many cycles you run as well as the specific model of your dishwasher.

And how did I get these numbers?

I did my research.

Every dishwasher you buy has an energy label that you can find in the packaging or download online.

Below is an energy label of a Samsung Dishwasher (the one that I have) that iI found on the website:

Dishwasher Electricity Usage

So if we talk about this specific model, the annual cost of running the dishwasher would be:

  • USD 35 – when running with an electric water heater (this translates to 17 cents per wash)
  • USD 25 – when running with a natural gas water heater (this translates to 12 cents per wash)

This calculation considers that you will run four loads per week (about 208 loads annually).

The actual electricity usage and cost of the dishwasher can change based on usage.

Factors such as the age of the appliance, the presence of an onboard heater, and whether the dishwasher is Energy Star certified can also significantly impact the amount of electricity used.

Newer, energy-efficient models tend to use less electricity, with some using less than 4 gallons of water per load, which in turn reduces their energy consumption.

While dishwashers do use a significant amount of electricity per load compared to some appliances, the overall monthly usage typically remains reasonable, as you might run the dishwasher once daily or less frequently.

By understanding your dishwasher’s electricity consumption and selecting energy-efficient options, you can better manage your energy usage and make choices that benefit both your household and the environment.

Also read: What to Do With Old Dishwasher? (Disposal/Recycling)

Dishwasher Energy Consumption

Several factors can impact the energy consumption of a dishwasher.

Comparing Dishwasher Models

Different dishwashers use varying amounts of electricity, typically ranging between 1,200-2,400 watts.

A regular dishwasher, for instance, uses around 1,800 watts per cycle, which is roughly the same energy as powering a hairdryer for a few minutes.

In general, the energy consumption of a dishwasher can be measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

On average, a dishwasher uses about 0.8-1 kWh of electricity per cycle. This translates to approximately 20-25 kWh per month and ~300 kWh per year, assuming.

To give you a reference point, this Samsung dishwasher mentions that it uses ‎255 Kilowatt Hours annually (assuming an average dishwasher usage)

Energy Star Ratings

To help you choose a more energy-efficient dishwasher, look for models with an Energy Star rating.

These dishwashers are designed to use less electricity and water compared to standard models.

Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) estimates that if you buy an energy star certified dishwasher for residential use, it can save you $56 over its lifetime in energy costs.

PerformanceBest AvailableENERGY STARLess Efficient
Annual Energy Use (kWh)199270307
Annual Energy Cost$17$23$26
Water Use per Cycle (gal)
Annual Water Use (gal)6887531,075
Annual Water Cost$3$4$5
Annual Energy & Water Cost$21$27$32
Lifetime Energy & Water Cost$237$310$366
Lifetime Energy & Water Cost Savings$129$56======

A standard-sized ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher costs about $35 per year to run and can save you an average 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime.


When considering the operating cost of a dishwasher, energy consumption is not the only factor. You should also consider how often you use the device.

Typically, one load will cost around 0.12-0.2 cents, meaning that running your dishwasher every day for a week will cost you just over a dollar.

As you can see, dishwasher energy consumption varies widely based on the model, its wattage, and its efficiency.

By opting for an energy-efficient model with an Energy Star rating, you can save money on your electricity bill and help reduce your carbon footprint.

Remember to also consider your usage habits; the more frequently you run the dishwasher, the higher your energy consumption will be.

Also read: Does Dishwasher Need Air Gap?

Factors Affecting Dishwasher Electricity Use

When it comes to dishwasher electricity usage, several factors can affect the overall energy consumption.

In this section, we will explore cycle options and settings, water heating and temperature, and appliance features and efficiency.

Cycle Options and Settings

Various cycle options and settings determine how much electricity a dishwasher uses. Some common options include:

  • Normal cycle: Typically used for moderately soiled dishes, this cycle is suitable for regular everyday use.
  • Heavy cycle: Designed for heavily soiled dishes or pots and pans, this option consumes more electricity as it operates for a longer duration and often at higher temperatures.
  • Quick cycle: Ideal for lightly soiled dishes, this cycle uses less energy as it operates for a shorter period.
  • Eco cycle: Typically found in modern dishwashers, this energy-efficient cycle is engineered to use less electricity and water.

Selecting the appropriate cycle based on your needs can help save energy and reduce electricity consumption.

Water Heating and Temperature

The majority of the energy used by dishwashers goes into heating water. Most dishwashers are connected to a hot water line, which supplies water at a certain inlet temperature.

To achieve the optimal cleaning temperature, the dishwasher heats the water to a higher temperature, usually around 120°F.

The greater the difference between the inlet temperature and the desired temperature, the more energy is consumed in heating the water.

Your water heater’s efficiency and settings can also impact the amount of electricity used by your dishwasher.

To conserve energy, consider turning down your water heater’s temperature or investing in an energy-efficient model.

Also read: Can You Run Dishwasher Without Hot Water?

Appliance Features and Efficiency

The features and efficiency of your dishwasher play a significant role in its electricity consumption.

Some modern dishwashers come with Energy Star certification, which means they are more energy-efficient than non-certified models.

Other appliance features that can save electricity include:

  • Delayed start: This enables you to run your dishwasher during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower.
  • Soil level sensors: These can detect how dirty the dishes are and adjust water usage or cycle duration accordingly, ultimately saving energy.
  • Onboard heater: An onboard water heater can reduce the workload on your main hot water heater, leading to lower energy consumption.
  • Air dry option: This air-drying feature eliminates the need for heated drying, thus conserving energy.

Choosing a dishwasher with energy-efficient features and settings can significantly reduce your monthly utility bills and help you maintain a more sustainable household.

Also read: Will a Dishwasher Fit in My SUV?

Electricity Costs and Savings

Most dishwashers use between 1,200-2,400 watts per cycle, which is not a significant amount of electricity when compared to other household appliances like heating and air conditioning units. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to consider the cost and potential savings of using a dishwasher.

  • Cost: The price of running a dishwasher depends on the electricity rate in your area. On average, using a dishwasher for an hour a day in the US might cost you around $0.2 per day. Your monthly expense would vary based on how often you run your dishwasher.
  • Energy-efficient settings: Many modern dishwashers come with options to use less water and energy, such as shorter cycles and lower temperature settings. Selecting these options could lead to savings on your electricity consumption and utility costs.
  • Time of use: Running your dishwasher during off-peak hours, usually at night, can benefit from lower electricity rates, which could save money on your monthly utility bills.
  • Heating: Some dishwashers come with built-in water heaters, allowing them to heat the water directly and consume less energy than relying on your home’s hot water heater. This feature can contribute to energy efficiency and lower your utility costs.

Using an Energy Star certified dishwasher, which typically uses 3.2 gallons per load, costs about 15.8 cents per hour, including the 12 cents operating cost.

Assuming you run 20 loads per month, that amounts to a total expense of $3.16. This shows that energy-efficient dishwashers can lead to some savings while being environmentally friendly.

In conclusion, dishwashers do use electricity, but when used wisely and with energy-efficient settings, you can minimize costs and contribute to a greener environment.

Remember to consider factors like electricity rates in your area, energy-efficient features, and the duration of dishwasher usage to calculate your energy costs and save potential

Also read: Can You Stop a Dishwasher Mid-cycle?

Environmental and Long-Term Considerations

Water and Energy Conservation

It’s essential to consider the environmental impact of using a dishwasher, including water and energy conservation.

Modern dishwashers are designed for efficiency, using about four gallons of water per cycle compared to the 27 gallons needed for handwashing the same amount of dishes.

To save more water and energy, here are a few tips:

  • Load your dishwasher properly: Ensure to load it to its full capacity while still allowing proper water circulation.
  • Choose a shorter cycle: Select the normal wash cycle instead of the “heavy” or one-hour cycle. Picking the right cycle will use less water and energy.
  • Avoid pre-rinsing dishes: Skipping pre-rinsing before loading the dishwasher can save a significant amount of water.
  • Use the dishwasher during off-peak hours: If your electricity provider offers lower rates outside peak hours, running your dishwasher at night can save on your energy bill.

Reducing Carbon Footprint

By using energy-efficient dishwashers and adopting best practices, you can help reduce your carbon footprint.

To minimize the environmental impact of using a dishwasher, consider the following:

  • Purchase an Energy Star-rated dishwasher: These models use less water and energy, making them more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
  • Forego heat-drying: Instead of choosing the “heat dry” setting, let your dishes air dry to save energy and control your electricity consumption.

Remember, being mindful of how your dishwasher is used can also save money on your monthly water and energy bills.

By following these guidelines, you will not only reduce your energy consumption and water usage but also contribute to a greener environment.

Also read: Can a Dishwasher Be Next to the Stove?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much electricity does a dishwasher consume monthly?

On average, the cost of running a dishwasher once a day would cost you 12-17 cents. This translates to approximately $2.5-3.5 in energy cost every month (assuming you run the dishwasher four times in a week)

Dishwasher vs hand washing: which uses more electricity?

It depends on various factors, such as water and energy efficiency. Generally, energy-efficient dishwashers consume less electricity and water than hand washing. An ENERGY-STAR certified dishwasher uses less than half of the energy used when washing dishes by hand – and it saves more than 8,000 gallons of water each year!

Is running a dishwasher at night more cost-efficient?

Running a dishwasher at night might be more cost-efficient if your electricity provider offers time-of-use rates, making electricity cheaper during off-peak hours. Check your utility company’s rates and policies to determine the best time to run your dishwasher.

What is the energy consumption of popular dishwasher models?

Energy consumption varies depending on the model and its energy efficiency rating. Ensure to check the Energy Guide label on various models for specific energy consumption information. Keep in mind that features like heat-dry options and water-saving cycles can impact energy usage.

What is the average cost per dishwasher cycle?

Average cost of the dishwasher cycle would be between 12 and 17 cents (this can vary based on the energy rates)

How many watts are used by a dishwasher per hour?

A dishwasher’s wattage varies depending on the model, but the average wattage ranges between 1,200 and 1,500 watts per hour. Keep in mind that the actual wattage may differ based on the dishwasher’s settings and usage.

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