✔️ Powders are usually the most economical choice. They generally contain grease-cutting and other key ingredients, like chlorine bleach, but may not always have the most advanced enzymes or cleaners like those found in single-dose packs where detergent manufacturers are putting most of their development efforts. Powders can also be a bit messy to pour directly into the detergent dispenser and if not stored correctly can clump when exposed to moisture.
✔️ Single-dose packs or tablets are neat, easy and convenient — and, therefore, usually the most expensive. Because they’re so popular, they’re the most likely to be improved on a regular basis. They can be all powder or have separate gel or liquid components for bleaching or other benefits that combine with the powder once the tablet is dispensed into the cycle. Avoid handling them with wet hands as they can begin to melt and some may stick together or even burst before you get a chance to use them.
✔️ Liquids or gels fall somewhere in between powders and packs. They are easy to dispense and can have enzymes, oxi bleach or other ingredients for effective cleaning, stain removal and more. They can separate over time, so be sure to use them promptly and shake them well before squeezing them into the dispenser. We recommend buying gel dishwasher detergents with child-resistant caps for safety if you have children in the home.
In our tests, we see the biggest differences between brands — not within different forms of the same brand — so if you find a brand that cleans well in your machine and water hardness, any form should likely work for you.