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Stainless Steel vs Plastic Tub Dishwashers

January 14, 2022

Are you in the market for a new dishwasher?

When you get to the store, it can be overwhelming looking at all the options and trying to decipher why there is such a wide range of prices. Many times, you will find a big reason for the price variation is the tub itself. So, what is the difference between dishwasher tubs? Dishwashers with plastic tubs can be much cheaper than dishwashers with a stainless-steel tub. Why the big difference? Is stainless steel worth it? Let us take a look.

stainless steel tub dishwasher

Stainless Steel Dishwasher Tubs

There can be several benefits to having a dishwasher with a stainless steel tub. They are not only more costly to produce, but they have benefited you in the long run which is why you’ll find they often have a premium price.

When you spend the extra money to upgrade to a stainless-steel dishwasher tub you get a lot of benefits:

  • Require Less Energy: Since stainless steel tubs are lined with heat-absorbing metal, lower heat is needed from heating elements. As the hot water washes your dishes, the stainless steel warms up and helps to dry the dishes when washing is complete. Generally, dishwashers with stainless steel tubs are built with less powerful heating elements as a result and require less energy. This makes stainless steel a more energy-efficient option.
  • Less Maintenance: Stainless steel is less porous than plastic so it will resist stains from any rust in your water or spaghetti sauce. It also resists odors. If you have high levels of calcium in your water, however, it will show on stainless steel and require more frequent cleaning. A water softener will help take care of this issue.
  • Cleaner Dishes: Dishwashers with stainless steel tubs can run at higher temperatures since stainless steel can heat to higher temperatures than plastic can. These higher temperatures allow the dishwashing process to sanitize better and result in cleaner dishes.
  • Quieter Performance: No one likes a noisy dishwasher. Because stainless steel is a dense material, it absorbs sound better. Some studies have found that stainless steel dishwasher tubs can be up to 10 decibels quieter than plastic tubs (SFGate). Investing in a stainless-steel tub can make it easier to sleep at night while your dishwasher runs or entertain guests while cleaning up after dinner.
  • Premium Design: Stainless steel tubs can add a premium look to the interior design of your dishwasher. If you are hoping to have a high-end kitchen design, a stainless-steel dishwasher tub can make all the difference.

Plastic Tub Dishwashers

Dishwashers with plastic tubs are generally more affordable than stainless steel tubs. If you are on a tight budget, purchasing a dishwasher with a plastic tub may be a better option. Even so, dishwashers with plastic tubs can still have some benefits.

  • Lower Price Point: Depending on the brand, dishwashers with plastic tubs can be anywhere from $100 cheaper to 50% cheaper than stainless steel tubs. This can be a great way to save money for those working with a low budget.
  • Long Life: While stainless steel is more resistant to cracking, dishwashers with plastic tubs are made with extremely heavy-duty plastic. In most cases, this plastic will last longer than the life of the dishwasher itself and should not need to be replaced at any point.

Dishwashers with stainless steel tubs are certainly a premium option and have several benefits. If you are working with a budget that allows it, we often recommend purchasing a dishwasher with a stainless-steel tub.

However, there is still a time and a place for plastic tubs. They can have benefits, the main being a lower price point. If you are remodeling your kitchen on a budget or simply looking to upgrade your home and add a dishwasher but do not have extra money to work with, plastic tubs can be a great option.

Shop for Your Dishwasher at Howard's

If you are ready to purchase a dishwasher for your home, Howard’s can help you find the perfect model to meet your needs. Howard’s has been in business for over 75 years and is Southern California’s largest and most trusted appliance retailer. We offer free next-day delivery on purchases over $399 within qualified zip codes scheduled before 5 p.m. in the Southern California area. To make things easier for our customers, we also offer online chat, phone consultations, and online ordering. Shop one of our 13 locations or browse our selection online at

Looking to Finance?

Extend your budget and apply today for special promotional financing. Howard’s can work with you to find flexible financing and you can receive 18 months of no interest. Learn more about our financing options online today or contact us for more details.

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