Many of us can enjoy the luxury of tossing dirty dishes into a dishwasher. However, you might have noticed some food particles left over at the bottom of the dishwasher’s tub. If you’re tired of pulling out dirty, foul-smelling food remnants from your dishwasher’s filter, then you should consider swapping your dishwasher out with one that has a food grinder.
Unlike their European counterparts, most American-made dishwashers will have built-in food grinders, which pulverize food remnants and turn them into tiny, easy-to-dispose particles. If you’re looking for such a dishwasher, you’ll have the most luck looking at GE and Hotpoint models.
So, what can you expect from a dishwasher with a built-in food grinder, other than the ability to chop solid remnants into a fine mush? I’ll answer this question and plenty more in the following sections.
Why Don’t All Dishwashers Have Food Grinders?
In recent history, we’ve witnessed dishwasher manufacturers gradually do away with food grinders. In its stead, they’ve installed multi-tier filter assemblies, which trap solid food particles rather than do away with them. But why is that?
The straightforward answer is that dishwasher manufacturers want to make appliances that are less power-hungry than they were in the past. Built-in food grinders, while great, required a ton of power to run, which would mean dishwasher owners would oftentimes stop the machine from running before the food grinder kicked into gear. To make matters easier, companies swapped out food grinders with electricity-free filter assemblies.
In addition, built-in food grinders were noisy. Even though dishwashers would have soundproofing features to keep noises to a minimum, you could still hear the dishwasher grinding food while standing dozens of feet away. And if you could heat, so could the people living in adjacent apartment units.
Now, how effective is a filter assembly compared to a food grinder? They are surprisingly comparable.
While filter assemblies are designed only to prevent food remnants from making their way down the drain line and possibly creating blockages, you can prevent this from happening by regularly emptying out the filters and scrubbing the meshes clean.
Sure, it’s a lot filthier than simply grinding the old food into easy-to-dispose sizes, but you won’t have to worry about spikes in energy bills or extremely loud noises coming from your machine.
What Dishwashers Have Food Grinders?
While built-in food grinders are the “old-school” method of getting rid of food particles, they’re not completely extinct. In fact, if you shop for an American-made dishwasher, odds are you’ll find at least one model from one brand with a food grinder. We can’t say the same for European-made dishwashers since most manufacturers from across the pond aim to make energy-efficient appliances.
Some dishwasher brands that still offer built-in food grinders in their machines include GE, Hotpoint, and Haier. However, there are still a few non-American brands out that still have food grinders, just in case you’re looking for something with a little more reliability (according to some).
So, what dishwashers have food grinders? Let’s take a look at the following dishwasher models.
The GE GSD2100VBB is a simple yet elegant 24-inch dishwasher. It measures 24 inches wide, offers 2 wash levels, and, unfortunately, that is pretty much it. This particular unit does not have a soil sensor, a self-cleaning filter, or an Energy Star certification. However, in exchange for all of that, it has a built-in hard food grinder that can easily do away with large solids.
This dishwasher comes with GE’s unique Piranha Food Disposer system, which is comprised of multiple stainless-steel blades that chop food remnants to a fine pulp. This virtually eliminates the need to pre-rinse your dishes.
As a subsidiary of GE, Hotpoint is also known for making dishwashers with food grinders. The HDA2100HWW is an excellent example of a large-sized dishwasher (24 × 34 × 25.75 inches) that has the capacity to was a dozen place settings in a single cycle. Plus, it comes with the Piranha Food Disposer system that’s both quick-working and reliable.
As you might expect from this machine, it does not sport the Energy Star certification, nor is it ADA-compliant. However, in addition to the food grinder, it also comes with a multi-tiered filter assembly that’s designed to trap large particles and relieve much of the work that the Piranha’s stainless-steel blades have to do.
This Danby unit doesn’t offer much in terms of washing capacity (it can only wash 8 place settings comfortably). However, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in convenience, especially if your kitchen is not fitted with a garbage disposal.
The space-saving dishwasher offers temperature control and a powerful sanitizing function, and it has an electric control panel that eliminates the guesswork of operating the machine. The grinder isn’t as top-tier, but it does more than a good job at pulverizing soft food remnants into a fine, easy-to-dispose-of mush.
If you’re looking for an energy-efficient dishwasher that has a built-in food grinder, then this Frigidaire model is definitely for you. Not only does it offer a multi-prong system to stop food particles from clogging your drain line, but it also sports the Energy Star label, ensuring that it saves much more on water and power than most dishwashers on the market.
In addition, this dishwasher is large enough to wash up to 14 place settings in a single cycle. Combine that with the 60-dBa noise output it exerts, you’re definitely going to enjoy using this machine, even when the food grinder is hard at work.
Are Dishwashers with Food Grinders Worth It?
I’ve already explained that dishwasher manufacturers have started avoiding built-in food grinders due to their loud noise and energy consumption levels (for the most part). But, since there are still dishwashers with food grinders, should you buy one?
It ultimately depends on what you will need it for. For instance, if your kitchen is already fitted with a garbage disposal, then getting a dishwasher with a food grinder is redundant. The garbage disposal will destroy solid food bits into tiny, manageable pieces, and it can be several times stronger than even the most reliable hard food grinder in any dishwasher.
In addition, the multi-tiered filter assembly that is more commonplace in modern-day dishwashers can prove to be more than enough to prevent your drains from becoming clogged. Sure, it can be a mess to clean up, and you will have to remove the contents in the filter regularly, but it will not fail over time. The same cannot be said for a food grinder, no matter how reliable the manufacturer makes it out to be.
Something else you will have to consider is the rarity of dishwashers with food grinders. Even American companies, such as KitchenAid, have avoided installing food grinders in their dishwashers for all sorts of reasons. And many retail stores only carry dishwasher models that the market wants—i.e., low-noise, inexpensive, easy-to-maintain models.
Finally, you have to consider the added upfront cost of purchasing a dishwasher with a food grinder. The prices of grinder-less dishwashers to those with grinders are almost night and day, especially if you’re looking at high-end models. On top of that, you have to consider the added cost of running the food grinder, which can take place multiple times a week.
Ultimately, only you can decide whether or not a dishwasher with a food grinder is worth the upfront cost and running expenses. That said, I’d wholeheartedly recommend sticking to dishwashers with filter assemblies since they are less power-demanding and a lot quieter.