Dishwashers aren’t a total necessity, but they sure make quick work of stuck-on food like spaghetti sauce or peanut butter, especially compared to cleaning dinnerware by hand. The latest crop of machines promises sparkling plates, glasses, and silverware using less water and energy. And there are more special wash cycles, adjustable racks and fold-down tines than ever before, making it easier for you to maximize the number of plates, cups, bowls, and more you can fit into each load—not to... mention all those oversized pieces that can now be accommodated.
If your old model finally kicked the curb or you’re just ready for an upgrade, there are a few features you’ll want to look for. First, choosing a stainless steel or gray-speckled plastic tub will resist staining and keep your dishwasher in better condition longer. Second, an automatic soil sensor can save you water and money by automatically adjusting the cycle time and water usage depending on how dirty your dishes are. Other things to consider include whether the unit has extra racks or reconfigurable compartments, which can increase capacity, and how loud the machine is when it’s running. Of course, most of these boil down to personal preference, the only thing you really need to be sure of is that your dishwasher door has enough clearance to open fully. So make sure you measure carefully before purchasing.
While there are a range of sizes available, most standard dishwashers are 24 inches wide and just under 36 inches tall, which is standard counter height. Expect to spend anywhere from $400 up to $1,500 if you want a new model with all the latest bells and whistles. With all this in mind, here are the best dishwashers on the market.
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As if forty targeted spray jets weren’t enough to tackle your dirtiest plates and cookware, this Energy Star top-control dishwasher also features a self-cleaning filter that continuously breaks down food particles in the wash water without making much noise. That means less soaking, less pre-rinsing, and less free time wasted on doing the dishes. There’s room for a dinner party’s worth of place settings in the tall stainless steel tub, and sliding tines in the lower rack can easily accommodate... deep or narrow serving dishes. The utility basket in the upper rack can also be removed for handy lid and utensil washing.
When it comes to cycles, there are several to choose from, including an express wash that’s good for taking care of a lightly soiled load in about 20 minutes. Use the detergent and rinse-aid dispensers for precision dosing, which should also help reduce spotting on items. The drying mechanism, which incorporates a fan, is also very effective, so you should notice less water pooling on your items. The only downside is that regular cycle times do run a bit long, but with a little bit of planning and patience, that shouldn’t be an issue.
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You might expect to pay a premium for a Bosch appliance, and you definitely will with our high-end pick below, but the good news is that they make a range of models at all price points. This Bosch 500 dishwasher isn't quite as sleek as its counterparts thanks to the recessed handle and controls on the front panel of the machine. But you will still get the benefit of quality German engineering.
The stainless steel tub houses three racks for a large loading capacity, and the flexibility of the... racks makes sure you can load all of your dishes, even if it takes a little bit of jigsaw puzzle maneuvering. The sensor will help determine just how much water you need or you can customize it with the five different wash programs. Finally, there's a sanitize feature that will make sure your dishes are completely clean.
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If you’re looking for an entry-level dishwasher, this Whirlpool top control is a no brainer. Like higher-end models, it has a sensor cycle that adjusts wash and dry settings depending on soil level for energy efficiency. And it’s considerable in size, with a tall plastic tub that features upper and lower racks, which combine to hold up to 15 place settings. The cutlery compartment fits on the door, freeing up space in the racks for pots, pans, and dishes.
A special silverware spray helps remove... stuck-on food, and an NSF-certified “Sani Rinse” option removes 99.9 percent of food soil bacteria. Sure, you’re not getting a million rack configurations here, and there isn’t a rinse/hold cycle, which is handy for reducing odors and preventing food from sticking while you wait for enough dirty dishes to run a full load. But for the price, the good definitely outweighs the bad with this machine.
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If you’re looking for a basic, budget-friendly dishwasher that doesn’t tack on dollars for sleek design or unnecessary features, the Whirlpool WDF320PADW could be a good choice. Experts say it’s an excellent performer where it counts: washing, drying and efficiency. And if white isn’t your taste, it also comes in cream, black and stainless steel with black accents.
This Energy Star-rated dishwasher holds 13 place settings and has a one-hour cycle that will automatically adjust depending on how... dirty your dishes are. The bottom rack is roomy enough for larger platters, and the silverware basket is removable. The push-button, front-panel controls are easy to use. It also remembers your last-used cycle and automatically applies it for the next wash unless you pick another. It’s engineered for quiet operation, and most reviewers agree that it’s not too noisy, even for open floor plans where kitchens and living spaces blend together. However, some warn that their dishes still come out a bit wet after the drying cycle is over. Warranty is one year.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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If a quiet dishwasher is on your wish list, the KitchenAid KDTE104ESS gets the job done at just 46 decibels – no louder than whispers in a library. It’s also an efficient, Energy Star-rated model, so it won’t wreak havoc on your utility bills. It comes with a sleek stainless steel finish that will be at home in modern, high-end kitchens.
This KitchenAid dishwasher is loaded with bells and whistles: top-mounted touch controls, an automatic ProWash Cycle that detects soil levels and self-adjusts, a... sanitizing option and much more. It also holds 14 place settings, making it roomy enough for larger families. The upper rack can hold stemware and plastic cups with equal ease, while the lower rack has fold-down tines that can make room for larger items when needed. Owners say this dishwasher is as quiet as promised, and they love the sleek look. But experts caution that it’s not the best at drying plastic items – take note if you hate toweling off the kids’ dishes after the cycle is over. A one-year warranty extends to five years for the racks and controls, while the tub and door liner are covered by a limited lifetime guarantee.
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Design buffs definitely gravitate towards dishwasher drawers for their added flexibility and unique look. And compared to conventional door models, they’re also quite a bit easier to load and unload. Capacity has been an issue for this category in the past, but Fisher & Paykel’s semi-integrated stacked double model has adjustable racks with a cutlery basket that fits 14 place settings, meaning it’s right on par with the rest of the traditional dishwashers recommended here. The top drawer is... particularly deep, making it well-suited for pots and pans when entertaining, while the smaller lower drawer is good for doing your daily dishes and cups. It’s a great option for a couple or a small family that wants to do smaller loads more frequently. Users love the efficiency of running one drawer while loading another—this cuts down on countertop clutter because you don’t have to wait for a cycle to end to start loading the next.
Spring for the unit with the water softener for super shiny glasses and dishes. The only real drawback to this Energy Star model is that it doesn’t heat dry and relies on air alone instead. That means you might have to wait a little longer to put away your clean dishes.
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If you don’t have the space in your kitchen for a full-size dishwasher, or you simply aren’t allowed to install one because you’re renting, consider a countertop unit like this Magic Chef Portable Dishwasher. It’s small enough for most apartments or office kitchens, and can accommodate six place settings per cycle – perfect for someone who doesn’t need to clean a ton of dishes, but wants to skip hand-washing.
Push-button controls and an LED display make the Magic Chef easy to use, and owners say... it’s quiet and convenient – they particularly love that a quick-connect hose makes setup a breeze. Inside, buyers will find a condensed version of a full-size dishwasher: There’s space for plates, cups, and silverware in the stainless-steel interior. Six wash cycles mean there’s a setting for most common scenarios, even when dishes are dirtier than usual, and users say this little machine is quiet. However, some warn that larger plates may not fit inside well. Warranty is one year.
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