Dishwashers are a must-have in most kitchens, as they save you from having to wash piles of dishes by hand. When choosing the right dishwasher, there are several things to consider, from your space's installation requirements to the number of racks. We researched dozens of models, evaluating them on their effectiveness, special features, noise level, and capacity.
Our top pick for the best dishwasher with front controls is the Maytag 24-inch Stainless Steel Built-In Dishwasher, which is efficient, well-priced, and Energy Star-certified. For a top control model, we love the Bosch 500 Series 24-inch Built-In Dishwasher that operates quietly, and is outfitted with a flexible third rack for your favorite mugs, silverware, and bowls.
Here, the best dishwashers to save you time on dish duty.
Best Overall, Front Control
Maytag MDB4949SKZ 24 in. Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher
PowerBlast cycle for caked-on food
Energy Star certified
10-year parts warranty
No collapsible prongs
Limited cycle options
In terms of performance and value, it’s hard to beat this built-in dishwasher from Maytag, and that's why it's our top pick for a front control unit. This 24-inch unit has a durable stainless steel interior and touch controls on the front of its door so you can easily see which cycle your dishwasher is on. This appliance is Energy Star-certified, meaning it uses less electricity per cycle, so that will save you from overpaying on your next electric bill. It also has four different wash cycles to choose from, including a PowerBlast cycle that removes stubborn, caked-on foods, and its Dual Power filtration system works to remove and disintegrate food particles to prevent clogs. This means you don't have to pre-wash your dishes because this appliance can handle even the messiest dinner plates.
This dishwasher can hold up to 14 place settings per load, and it has a higher-than-average upper rack height that accommodates bulky pots and pans on the lower level. The heated dry cycle ensures your dishes come out as dry as possible, and the fingerprint-resistant stainless steel exterior resists smudges and streaks for a pristine appearance no matter how many times you open and close the door. While not the quietest model available, it still operates at a low enough volume that won’t disturb your day-to-day activities, and it’s backed by a 10-year limited parts warranty that protects the racks, chopper blade, and tub.
There are limited cycle options, but you'll likely be more than satisfied with the powerful ones that are available, and while there is plenty of room to load your dishes, the prongs aren't collapsible, so you can't customize your load in that way. However, we think these inconveniences are minor when you consider what you get with this top-notch appliance.
Price at time of publish: $879
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 34.6 x 24 x 24.5 inches | Decibel Rating: 50 decibels | Capacity: 14 place settings | Cycles: 4 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Front | ADA Compliant: No
Best Overall, Top Control
Bosch SHPM65Z55N 500 Series Top Control Tall Tub Pocket Handle Dishwasher
Flexible third rack
Very quiet operation
AutoAir system for drying and circulation
Energy Star certified
Junction box is sold separately
No heated dry cycle
In the market for a dishwasher with top controls? The Bosch 500 Series Top Control Dishwasher is your best bet. Bosch dishwashers are known for being on the more expensive side, but the higher price tag is for good reason. These appliances are whisper quiet, with this particular model operating at 44 decibels so it does not disturb your television show or conversation. They're also outfitted with a range of features and cycles so you don't have to circle back to your sink after running a cycle. This Bosch dishwasher includes five cycles, and an AutoAir system that opens the door slightly when a cycle is wrapped to allow air to circulate and dishes to dry further. While there is no heated dry cycle, you can make use of flexible tines if you want to wash a bulky item, such as a pot or pan, and a flexible third rack if you want to wash a set of knives or smaller items that could get lost in the mix below.
In addition, the Energy Star-certified appliance can hold up to 16 place settings at one time, making it a high-capacity option that would be suitable for larger families or anyone who doesn't want to run their dishwasher frequently. The tub is made of durable stainless steel, and the top control design leaves the front door looking sleek and clean. A half load setting also gives you the option to run your dishwasher before it's entirely full. It's a thoughtful option to make use of if you're heading out of town and want to complete your chores, or need a few specific items.
Now, you will need to keep in mind that this built-in dishwasher has a three-pronged outlet. The junction box is sold separately, as is the water connection kit that's required for installation. However, this is otherwise a super powerful and reliable pick that's worth every penny.
Price at time of publish: $1,100
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 33.88 x 23.75 x 23.56 inches | Decibel Rating: 44 decibels | Capacity: 16 place settings | Cycles: 5 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Top | ADA Compliant: No
Amana ADB1400AGW 24 in. Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher
Triple filter system
Internal heater for high-temperature wash and heated dry
Energy Star certified
Dishwasher connection kit not included
This tall tub dishwasher from Amana is a top choice for anyone who’s shopping on a budget. It’s available in several finishes, including white, black, and stainless steel, and the 24-inch built-in design can accommodate up to 12 place settings per load. It has a slim front control panel that allows you to choose between its three basic wash cycles, and the appliance is even equipped with an internal heater that aids in high-temperature wash cycles and heated drying.
The Amana dishwasher is Energy Star-certified, and it has a triple filter system so you don’t have to pre-rinse dishes before putting them in. There are two wash arms for more comprehensive cleaning coverage, and the silverware basket includes a handle in case you want to lift it up onto the counter to unload. The main drawback of this budget-friendly dishwasher is that it’s quite loud during operation—its noise level is around 63 decibels, which is enough to interrupt a conversation. Additionally, the dishwasher connection kit isn’t included with the appliance and will need to be purchased separately.
Price at time of publish: $499
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 34.5 x 24 x 24.5 inches | Decibel Rating: 63 decibels | Capacity: 12 place settings | Cycles: 3 | Tub Material: Plastic | Control Location: Front | ADA Compliant: No
Café CDD420P2TS1 24 in. Double Drawer Dishwasher
Sleek modern design
Double drawers can operate together or separately
Energy Star certified
Expensive replacement handles
If you’re willing to spend a little extra on a top-of-the-line dishwasher, this double-drawer model from Café is versatile and extremely stylish. The unique two-drawer design makes it ideal for smaller households since they can be run separately with small loads, and the appliance has a variety of high-tech features, such as a knock to pause option—simply rapping on the door will halt the cycle, allowing you to add a forgotten dish.
This two-drawer dishwasher can hold up to 14 place settings, and it has two removable silverware baskets, as well. It offers six wash cycles, including a Fast Dry and Sanitize option, and it operates at a quiet 46 decibels when just one drawer is running. The inner racks can be adjusted to hold even the largest pots and pans, and the appliance has fan-assisted drying to get your dishes cleaner, faster.
One of the appealing factors about Café appliances is that you can swap out the handles for a different finish to match any decor style, but a new set of handles for this dishwasher costs over $300.
Price at time of publish: $1,253
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 34 x 24 x 21.75 inches | Decibel Rating: 46–49 decibels | Capacity: 14 place settings | Cycles: 6 | Tub Material: Plastic | Control Location: Top | ADA Compliant: No
BLACK+DECKER BCD6W Compact Countertop Dishwasher
Variety of wash cycles
Easy to connect to faucet
Only fits plates up to 10 inches
Fairly loud operation
Not every home has space for a built-in dishwasher, and if you’re tired of handwashing dishes, you may want to consider this countertop model from BLACK+DECKER. It’s compact enough to place underneath most cabinets, and it hooks right up to your kitchen faucet for operation using a quick-connect adapter. The countertop design can hold up to six place settings at a time, and it offers seven different wash cycles, including options for soaking, glass, and eco-friendly washes.
This countertop dishwasher has a built-in detergent dispenser and removable filter, just like a full-size model, and it even has high-temperature wash and heated dry options. A child lock prevents your family members from tinkering with the appliance while it’s not in use, and it’s mounted on locking casters that make it easy to move around your counter as needed. Just bear in mind that this dishwasher is fairly loud, operating at 60 decibels, and it can only fit plates up to 10 inches in diameter.
Price at time of publish: $375
Type: Countertop | Dimensions: 17.2 x 21.5 x 21.7 inches | Decibel Rating: 60 decibels | Capacity: 6 place settings | Cycles: 7 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Front | ADA Compliant: No
Best with Third Rack
KitchenAid KDTM404KPS Top Control Built-In Dishwasher with Third Rack
Spacious third rack
Extremely quiet operation
Adjustable middle rack
Not Energy Star certified
Do you often find yourself wishing you had a little more space in your dishwasher? Then the KitchenAid FreeFlex Third Rack Dishwasher might be a good choice for your home. This high-end appliance features a unique extra rack at the top of the tub—unlike many other third racks, which only accommodate flatware, this rack is big enough to hold 6-inch glasses, mugs, bowls, and more. Plus, this dishwasher has an adjustable middle rack, as well, letting you change the interior to fit every last pot and pan.
While it is somewhat pricey, this appliance offers five different wash cycles and an advanced “Clean Water Wash” system that ensures fresh water is being used on all three racks. It’s extremely quiet, operating at just 44 decibels, and it can hold up to 16 place settings at a time, making it a top choice for larger households. The sleek exterior is another main selling point, and its stainless steel finish even resists fingerprints, helping to keep it looking pristine with minimal cleaning.
Price at time of publish: $1,349
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 34.6 x 24 x 24.5 inches | Decibel Rating: 44 decibels | Capacity: 16 place settings | Cycles: 5 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Top | ADA Compliant: No
GE GPT145SSLSS 18 in. Stainless Steel Portable Dishwasher
Mounted on swiveling casters
Hard food disposer
Adjustable top rack
Energy Star certified
No drying setting
No storage for hoses
Portable dishwashers like this 18-inch model from GE are mounted on wheels, allowing you to move them around your kitchen as needed, and they’re often an ideal solution in small kitchens where there’s not enough room for a built-in appliance. This option from GE is great because it offers most of the same functionality as a built-in model, yet it’s compact enough to store in a closet, if desired. It can hold up to eight place settings at a time, and its top rack is adjustable, allowing you to fit large dishes in the bottom.
This portable dishwasher is Energy Star-certified, and it has three different wash settings, as well as a sanitize option that’s certified to help reduce the amount of bacteria on your dishes. It operates at a fairly quiet 52 decibels, and it even has a hard food disposer that chops up any leftover particles to ensure they don’t clog the wash arms. However, it doesn’t have a dry setting, which can be pretty inconvenient, and there’s no easy way to store the unit’s hoses when it’s not being used.
Price at time of publish: $949
Type: Portable | Dimensions: 36 x 18 x 25.4 inches | Decibel Rating: 52 decibels | Capacity: 8 place settings | Cycles: 3 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Top | ADA Compliant: No
Frigidaire FFBD1831UB 18 in. Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher
Compact enough for apartments
Energy Star certified
Not always effective at drying dishes
Another option for smaller homes and apartments is a compact dishwasher, such as this 18-inch built-in model from Frigidaire. While it’s significantly narrower than a full-size dishwasher, it can still hold up to eight place settings per cycle and offers a variety of useful settings, such as a sanitizing cycle and heated dry system. It’s not the most effective drying cycle you’ll ever use—still, it’s better than nothing. Plus, it’s one of the only dishwashers on this list that’s ADA compliant, which means it’s short enough to fit underneath ADA-height counters.
This compact dishwasher has six different wash cycles, including heavy wash, rinse only, and more. It operates at 52 decibels, which is about average for a dishwasher these days, and it has a self-cleaning filter that traps food particles. The tub interior is stainless steel, which bodes well for its durability, but most of the external components, including the leveling legs, are made from plastic.
Price at time of publish: $849
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 34.8 x 18 x 22.5 inches | Decibel Rating: 52 decibels | Capacity: 8 place settings | Cycles: 6 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Front | ADA Compliant: Yes
Best for Dry Dishes
Whirlpool WDT730PAHZ Top Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher
Adjustable upper rack
Long cycle length
Your dishes will be dry and ready to go straight into the cabinet after one cycle in this Whirlpool dishwasher. It has a fan-assisted dry setting that pulls in fresh air when the cycle finishes, helping to get rid of any lingering moisture. Plus, it can hold up to 15 place settings at a time and has an adjustable upper rack that can be raised 2 inches, allowing you to fit tall items on the bottom level.
This 24-inch dishwasher is Energy Star-certified, and it operates at around 51 decibels, which is average for today’s dishwashers. There are five wash cycles to choose from, including a “sani-rinse” option that sanitizes dishes to kill bacteria and a high-temperature wash to more effectively remove caked-on food remnants. If you tend to use the same settings every time, you’ll like that this appliance automatically remembers your last cycle, making it quick and easy to start, and there’s even a one-hour wash cycle for when you need clean dishes ASAP. The standard cycle is longer than average, but that’s the price you pay if you want your dishes extra dry.
Price at time of publish: $959
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 34.5 x 24 x 24.5 inches | Decibel Rating: 51 decibels | Capacity: 15 place settings | Cycles: 5 | Tub Material: Plastic | Control Location: Top | ADA Compliant: No
LG LDP6810SS 24 in. Top Control Built-In Smart Dishwasher
Adjustable third rack
Energy Star certified
Long cycle length
Possible delayed delivery
For those who like monitoring their appliances remotely, this dishwasher from LG syncs up to your smartphone, allowing you to track its progress via the brand’s ThinQ app. That’s not all it offers in terms of high-tech functionality, either. The 24-inch dishwasher boasts an adjustable third rack for utensils, and thanks to its four spray arms, you can run a “half wash" if you just want to clean items on the top or bottom rack. Cool, right?
This dishwasher has a larger-than-average capacity of 15 place settings, and its TrueSteam technology uses steam to dissolve baked-on foods and eliminate water spots on glassware. It’s extremely quiet, operating at just 44 decibels, but its wash cycles can be extremely long, especially if you want the appliance to dry your dishes, as well. The dishwasher has a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish, and it has a sleek exterior that’s sure to look good in any kitchen. It's a popular appliance, so you may experience delayed delivery or waitlists in order to get your hands on one of these.
Price at time of publish: $1,099
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 32.5 x 24 x 24.6 inches | Decibel Rating: 44 decibels | Capacity: 15 place settings | Cycles: 10 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Top | ADA Compliant: No
Best for Quiet Operation
Samsung DW80R9950US 24 in. Top Control Tall Tub Dishwasher
Extremely quiet operation
Auto-release door helps dry dishes
No heated drying
If you don’t want your dishwasher disrupting your home, this model from Samsung is one of the quietest you’ll find, operating at just 39 decibels thanks to its special insulation. Chances are you won’t be able to hear it running, even if you’re in the same room. The 24-inch model also features a third rack for utensils, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to monitor the process of the cycle right from your phone. It can hold up to 15 place settings in a single load, and its racks are adjustable to help accommodate bulky items.
To get every dish as clean as possible, this Energy Star-certified washer has a unique sliding spray bar that moves in a linear motion for more complete coverage. It also has an AutoRelease door that pops open at the end of each cycle, helping to circulate air so dishes dry better. Of course, the caveat is that it doesn’t have a heated drying cycle, so air drying is really the only way to go.
Price at time of publish: $1,199
Type: Built-in | Dimensions: 34 x 24 x 25 inches | Decibel Rating: 39 decibels | Capacity: 15 place settings | Cycles: 7 | Tub Material: Stainless steel | Control Location: Top | ADA Compliant: No
Our top pick for a dishwasher with front controls is the Maytag 24-inch Stainless Steel Tub Built-In Dishwasher, which is well-priced and extremely effective at cleaning all types of dishes. It has a PowerBlast cycle for caked-on food, as well as a heated dry cycle, and it’s Energy Star-certified. For a top control option, consider the Bosch 500 Series 24-inch Built-In Dishwasher, which has a flexible third rack and operates very quietly. It doesn't have a heated dry cycle, but is spacious and includes a half load option for efficient dish-cleaning.
What to Look for in a Dishwasher
The type of dishwasher you purchase should depend on the layout of your space. If you have enough room for a full-size model, which needs to be professionally hooked up to your home's water system, then you'll want to look for a built-in dishwasher, otherwise known as a "tall tub" dishwasher. If you have less space—perhaps you live in an apartment or RV—then you'll want to shop for a portable or countertop dishwasher. Portable dishwashers usually hook up to a kitchen faucet, while countertop models do the same and also feature a drawer design.
Noise level is measured in decibels and can usually be found within the specifications of a model's listing, with the abbreviation dBA. A standard dishwasher typically has a decibel rating between 45 and 60 dBA—with 52 dBA being quiet enough to have a conversation over but loud enough to hear the rinse cycle start up. The lower the decibel rating, the quieter your dishwasher will be. So, if your household has children or you entertain often, you'll want to find a dishwasher in the 38 to 45 dBA range if you plan on continuing conversations and playdates while the dishwasher runs.
The control panel of a dishwasher can be located on the front of the model or the top of the door. A front control model is the standard setup and allows you to check the status of your cycle as it runs. The downside? It's easy to accidentally hit the buttons and change the cycle's progress. Our best overall, front control pick, the Maytag MDB4949SKZ 24 in. Front Control Dishwasher, solves some of the potential frustrations of a front control panel by having the panel placed in a recessed portion of the door. We still recommend being mindful of the latch and handle on your front control dishwashers, as they're often in the same location of the panel. A top-control model avoids this issue by hiding the control panel and giving your entire appliance a sleek look. If you shop for a dishwasher with a top control panel, know that you won't be able to monitor your cycles.
What Is the Best Type of Dishwasher for Me?
Built-in dishwashers are the most common dishwasher, and they must be professionally installed in your kitchen. They generally fit underneath your kitchen counter and continuously connect to your water system. Since they have a larger build, built-in dishwashers have more flexibility regarding features and price. You can find a built-in model with front or top controls, two or three racks, and for $300 or upward of $1,500.
A portable dishwasher hooks up to a kitchen faucet and measures only 24 or 18 inches wide. Despite their smaller design, they usually can fit anywhere between 6 and 12 place settings, the latter being around the same as a built-in model. Most portable dishwashers are mounted on caster wheels, allowing you to easily move and stash them away in a closet when not in use. The GE GPT145SSLSS 18 in. Stainless Steel Portable Dishwasher, our best portable pick, is set on caster wheels and has the look of a built-in dishwasher, without the necessary counter space. It even has features like hard food processor to effectively remove solids from your dishes and it can hold up to 8 place settings. Portable dishwashers start at around $400 but can cost up to $800 depending on the brand and model.
As you may have guessed, a countertop dishwasher is incredibly compact and designed to be placed on your kitchen counter. This type of dishwasher is the size of a microwave, ranging from 18 to 22 inches in depth, height, and length. Countertop models usually have a single rack and a drawer or door design—depending on the brand and model. Like portable dishwashers, they're hooked up to your kitchen sink to run, so no complex installation is necessary and cost anywhere from $200 to $300.
Typically, dishwashers have a lower and upper rack. A third rack—which is most convenient for larger households—maximizes the capacity of your dishwasher by giving you an extra layer for mugs, small bowls, kitchen utensils, and silverware that can’t fit in the basket. The rack is usually adjustable and can have an angled design to accommodate pot lids and tall glasses. The one downside is that it can limit what you place in the lower rack.
Stainless Steel Tub
Dishwasher tubs are typically made from either plastic or stainless steel, and there are several benefits to going with the latter. "Stainless steel tubs are best," says Tanya Klien, CEO at Anta Plumbing. "They cost more than plastic tubs, but they look better longer, and they are far more durable."
Stainless steel tubs in dishwashers help to keep the interior sanitized and clean. Like a stainless steel tub in a washing machine, the material is less likely to develop stains, harbor bacteria, and show wear over time. The metal is more conducive to heat, making it very helpful in drying dishes. If you purchase a model with a stainless steel tub and additional fans, your dishes will likely come out very clean and dry. This is a major perk for any household, particularly for those who might run the dishwasher more frequently.
A sanitize setting in dishwashers uses very hot water to cleanse your dirty dishes of lingering bacteria, allergens, and germs. It’s typically an add-on setting that can be paired with a normal cycle selection. Households with children will find this setting most handy, especially when paired with a stainless steel tub, powerful water jet system, and hard food disposer. Our best smart pick, the LG Electronics LDP6810SS 24 in. Built-In Smart Dishwasher, has a sanitize cycle that uses steam to penetrate heavy food residue and eliminate water spots by up to 60 percent. This setting can also be paired with the dishwasher's Dynamic Dry setting, which uses four steam jets to heat the interior for dryer dishes.
Select dishwasher models may be equipped with special bottle washing jets, which are ideal for cleaning inside reusable water bottles and other glasses with a narrow opening. These jets direct water and detergent inside these hard-to-clean containers, saving you from having to scrub them with a bottle brush.
Hard Food Disposer
If you’ve ever unloaded your dishwasher and found particles of food stuck to the clean dishes, you’ll understand the appeal of a hard food disposer. Think of this feature as a garbage disposal for your dishwasher—it uses sharp blades to chop up any food particles into tiny pieces and prevents them from being recirculated back into the wash cycle. This is also beneficial because it prevents large food pieces from clogging the wash arms or your pipes, and it also lessens the maintenance required, as you won’t need to frequently empty your dishwasher’s filter.
How do you clean a dishwasher?
To clean a dishwasher, first empty the interior of any dishes and racks. Once everything is removed, take a soft-bristled brush dipped in vinegar to the drain to clear the holes of any debris. Any larger pieces—such as food crumbs—can be removed by hand. After, add the racks back in and place one cup of distilled white vinegar in an open container on the top rack. Run a normal wash cycle.
Once the machine has completed the cycle, sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the appliance floor to fix a smelly dishwasher. Run a quick cycle with hot water, skipping the drying cycle. When it's finished, keep the door of the appliance open so it can air dry. For more, see our guide on how to clean a dishwasher.
What should you not put in a dishwasher?
While many of your plates, bowls, cups, and mugs are likely dishwasher-safe, there are some items you should avoid putting in the dishwasher. This includes anything made of cast iron, pots or pans with a non-stick coating, expensive knives, and very delicate items. The dishwasher's process can harm these items and materials, and even break them or reduce their quality. Wash these items by hand instead, making sure to follow our guides on how to clean cast iron and how to clean ceramic pans and cookware.
How long do dishwashers last?
"Assuming you’re getting a built-in dishwasher, you’re going to be living with your dishwasher for 10-15 years," says Klien. You can extend your dishwasher's lifespan by maintaining it properly. This includes cleaning the interior once per month, making sure it's not too full or too empty when you run a cycle, and performing necessary repairs. Buying your dishwasher from a reputable brand will also help.
How do you load a dishwasher?
Consult the owner’s manual to confirm the best way to load your dishwasher. Before you start, remove large pieces of food from dishes prior to loading. Place glassware, small items, and dishwasher-safe plastic items in the top rack, taking care to prevent items from banging into each other during the cycle.
Load plates, and large items, like casserole dishes and pans, in the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Keep items separated using the dishwasher’s tines, and make sure items are angled toward the spray arms of the dishwasher. Place bowls facing down and avoid crowding, so the dirtiest surfaces are sprayed during the wash cycle.
For clean silverware, make sure to alternate the direction of forks and spoons in the silverware basket, so they don’t nest together during washing. For safety, place knives in the dishwasher with blades facing down.
Can you use dish soap in a dishwasher?
Regular liquid dish soap cannot be used as a replacement for dishwasher detergent. Dishwashing liquid is specially formulated for hand washing. Dishwashers are made to operate without suds, and regular liquid dish soap creates foamy suds that can cause a dishwasher to overflow. If you don’t have dishwasher detergent on hand, you can make an emergency dishwasher detergent substitute using items you may have at home.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. As she was researching dishwashers, she spoke with Tanya Klien, CEO at Anta Plumbing, for insights on what consumers typically look for in a dishwasher and what features are worth buying. She evaluated dozens of products based on their performance, noise level, energy efficiency, and capacity, scouring user reviews to determine the pros and cons of each product.
This article was edited and updated by Marisa Casciano, the senior commerce editor for appliances, cleaning, and organization for The Spruce. Throughout her career, she's researched the ins and outs of air purifiers, dishwashers, cooktops, and more in the home and lifestyle space. Having lived in multiple apartments, she knows the difference that having a functional and quiet dishwasher can make.