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A dishwasher does the dirty work for you—transforming crusty, greasy, or messy dishes into clean, ready-to-use place settings. Instead of using drippy sponges and endless squirts of dish detergent, load up one of these top dishwasher models with your family’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes for a quick and easy path toward a clean kitchen.
The majority of dishwashers are built-in models that slide under the countertop in your kitchen. However, if you lack a spot for a built-in dishwasher, you can opt for a portable or countertop dishwasher to accomplish the same purpose. Popular features to consider include quick-wash cycles, steam or sanitize options, specialty drying modes, and components like a hard food disposer or third rack.
Here, the top dishwashers to save you time on dish duty:
Described as “the strong silent type,” this dishwasher is a workhorse that cleans your dishes, pots, pans, and anything else with a quiet determination that, at 50 decibels, is no louder than average conversation. This tall tub dishwasher holds plenty—up to 14 place settings. Both the upper and lower rack can accommodate larger objects, like plates, adding to the useful layout and design of this popular dishwasher. A front control pad keeps all your options front and center, but a lock feature avoids starting the cycle accidentally.
While this Maytag model doesn’t include all of the bells and whistles, it does have premium materials—such as a stainless steel interior for durability and a powerful 8.1 amp motor that is one of the most powerful available. A PowerBlast cycle takes care of even sticky, crusty messes on dishware, like peanut butter or spaghetti sauce, with no pre-rinse necessary. A mid-range option, this dishwasher won't cost you a fortune, but your glassware and dishes will sparkle and shine nonetheless.
"To put this dishwasher through its paces, we loaded it full of unrinsed toddler sippy cups, plates caked in lasagna, and knives covered in peanut butter. Whether we used PowerBlast, the most aggressive cycle, or stuck with the Normal cycle, the dishes came out spotless round after round."—Shannon Wells, Product Tester
This GE Profile dishwasher combines an abundance of features and options into a sleek package. This tall tub dishwasher includes must-have options for a high-end dishwasher, like a stainless steel interior, impressive capacity (16 place settings), low operating noise at 42 decibels, a Piranha hard food disposer, and steam cleaning with sanitizing function.
Unique features that make this model stand out include a Twin Turbo Dry Boost feature with two fans to ensure dishes come out sparkling and dry. While it adds some time to the overall cycle time, it’s worth it for the through sparkle (and to keep glasses from dripping in your cabinets). However, if you’re short on time, this dishwasher does include a one-hour quick wash cycle.
And if you’ve ever wondered how much longer until the dishwasher is done running, the built-in Wi-Fi connection enables you to check cycle status in an app on your smart device. While this spendy dishwasher costs more than the average model, it’s a perfect fit if you want a full suite of options when it comes to washing and drying your dishes.
Even if you don’t have room for a built-in dishwasher, you can put down your dishrag and tap into the benefits of having a machine do your dirty work with a countertop dishwasher. This model from Farberware is 21.7 x 19.7 x 17.2 inches and easily rests on your counter or in a cabinet. With a pull-out rack that includes a silverware basket, this model holds up to six place settings (with a maximum dish size of 10 inches). Use the included connectors and adaptors to quickly and easily connect it to your kitchen sink for a ready supply of water, and this machine is ready to go.
You won’t have to sacrifice much in the way of cycles or options since it includes several wash programs: Normal, Heavy, Baby Care, Light, Glass, and Quick Wash. Each cycle is represented by a small icon, so you’ll have to learn what each one represents, but the options are nice to have. In addition to washing up all of your dishes, this countertop dishwasher includes a hotter-than-normal rinse cycle to speed up drying times for Normal, Heavy, Light, Glass, and Baby Care cycles.
A newer trend in dishwashers is the addition of a third rack for dirty cups or utensils. And while many of these third racks have met with mixed reviews, this KitchenAid dishwasher incorporates one of the largest and most versatile versions. Designed to accommodate up to 6-inch-tall glasses, mugs, and bowls, the third rack surprised and impressed us by how much it could hold.
Aside from the useful design of the three gliding racks, you’ll also appreciate the durable stainless steel interior and quiet operation (just 44 decibels). A control pad built into the top of the dishwasher door preserves the smooth, sleek exterior of this KitchenAid dishwasher.
If you’re not keen on losing cabinet space for a built-in dishwasher, don’t despair. A portable dishwasher sits anywhere and, thanks to four caster wheels, glides up to your water supply and goes to work. Once it has finished washing and drying the dishes, you can slide it back into any corner of your kitchen.
GE’s popular portable dishwasher model holds 12 place settings, which is more limited in comparison to most built-in models but more spacious than other portable dishwashers on the market. A hidden control panel on the top of the door gives you wash and dry options that include a sanitizing cycle and a delay wash between one and 12 hours. Equipped with a Piranha hard food disposer, this dishwasher is equipped to handle food debris. Impressively, this portable dishwasher operates at 54 decibels, which is quieter than even some built-in models.
Bosch has a reputation for quiet efficiency, and the 800 series dishwasher doesn’t disappoint. Registering at a mere 42 decibels, this quiet dishwasher is designed to blend into the ambient noise of your home. Barely louder than light rain, it is quieter than even average conversation—which registers at about 50 decibels. What does this mean for your everyday activities? No need to raise your voice to talk over the dishwasher after dinner or when you’re on the phone. In fact, this dishwasher is so quiet that a red light shining on the floor is often the only indication that the unit is running.
At the same time, this low level of noise conceals the real action happening inside the dishwasher. Bosch’s PrecisionWash system uses sensors to assess soil level before and during the wash cycle, and the spray arms tackle all sorts of food messes. Keeping things quiet, a grindless food filtration system traps particles without contributing excessive noise to this dishwasher’s operation.
A fan-assisted dishwasher, like this Whirlpool model, is the one you want if you hate putting away drippy, wet dishes at the end of the cycle. An extended dry option with extra heat gives a boost to this dishwasher’s drying capabilities while the built-in fan propels out moist, hot air and draws in cool, dry air. To further prevent moisture accumulating on the walls and doors, run this dishwasher with a drying agent as well, according to the manufacturer.
Of course, your ultimate goal is dishes that are dry and clean, and this Whirlpool model uses a Soil Sensor to determine how large and how dirty each load is then adjusts the Normal wash cycle accordingly. One thing you won’t find in this Whirlpool dishwasher is a hard food disposer; however, it does include a filter to catch particles that collect in the bottom of the dishwasher.
This affordable model from Frigidaire is an efficient but simple dishwasher. It features two cleaning racks and a cutlery basket that hold a total of 14 place settings.
While you won’t find a stainless steel interior or steam-cleaning function on this budget dishwasher, it does have the features you’re likely to use and appreciate on a daily basis—such as a one-hour quick wash for when you need to run a small load stat or a four-hour delay if you want to avoid overly taxing your hot water heater or feel like the dishwasher will compete with your conversation or the television. At 60 decibels, this dishwasher is a little louder than some other models, but it’s not an issue for most households.
Quiet, powerful, and affordable.
If you’re looking for a spacious and affordable dishwasher, you can’t go wrong with the Maytag Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher (available at Home Depot). What it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for with high-quality materials, quiet performance, and consistently powerful washes. If you prefer something bigger with a slew of features, we recommend the GE Profile Top Control Tall Tub Dishwasher (available at Home Depot). It’s an extra-quiet dishwasher that you can control with your smartphone.
Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Dishwasher
Many people don’t appreciate the convenience a dishwasher provides until they live without one. This common kitchen appliance saves you a lot of time and effort, as you’ll otherwise have to handwash all of your dishes and cutlery—a daunting task, especially if you have a big family. Plus, new, efficient dishwashers actually use less water than it would take to scrub all your dishes by hand.
How exactly do these appliances work? Every dishwasher uses a heating element to create the hot water that cleans your dishes. Once that water reaches its optimal temperature—usually around 140 degrees—jets spray both the water and detergent mixture onto dirty dishes. The resulting dirty water is drained out of the appliance, then another rinse cycle takes place. Finally, hot air is used to dry the dishes while they are still inside your washer. This whole cycle can take anywhere from 30 minutes for a quick cycle to two hours or longer, depending on the appliance.
If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, you’ll have to choose between common options like built-in, drawer, and portable models. You’ll also have to make decisions about which cycle options you want, where the control panel is located, if the racks can be adjusted, how loud it is, and more. Read on to learn more about all of these features and to figure out which model is best for your needs.
What to Look for in a Dishwasher?
As you shop for a dishwasher, there are several important factors you’ll want to consider, including things like size, features, and finish.
- Size: Unlike other appliances such as refrigerators, most dishwashers are roughly the same size. Built-in dishwashers are typically 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and around 35 inches high, as they’re designed to fit seamlessly in kitchen counters. However, if you have a smaller kitchen, you can also find built-in models that are 18 inches wide. These dishwashers save precious space, and they’re often big enough for one or two people.
You may also come across Tall Tub built-in dishwashers during your shopping. These appliances have a larger inner cavity, allowing you to accommodate more dishes, but they typically have the same exterior dimensions as standard built-in models.
In addition to built-in models, there are portable and countertop dishwashers that are ideal for smaller kitchens, such as those in apartments or even RVs. These appliances are smaller and typically accommodate significantly fewer dishes.
- Cycle Options: Modern dishwashers come with a variety of cycles, and you’ll want to think about which (if any) are most useful for your needs. Normal wash, quick wash, and heavy-duty are standard options on most dishwashers today, but you may also want an appliance that has steam clean, pots and pans, delicates/fine china, extra rinse, and/or sanitizing settings.
Steam-cleaning is a popular feature that can work in several ways. Some brands use steam cleaning in place of pre-washing, using hot air to break up residual food before washing. On the other hand, some dishwashers have steam-only cycles, which can be used to gently clean delicate dishes.
Another popular cycle is sanitation, which uses high temperatures of around 155 degrees to kill bacteria on the dishwasher’s contents. This type of cycle is often used on baby bottles and cutting boards, as it kills more than 99 percent of germs.
- Racks: All dishwashers have racks, but some are more versatile than others. For instance, many dishwashers today have adjustable or removable racks, which can allow you to fit bigger plates in the bottom or taller glasses up top. High-end dishwashers may even have adjustable or fold-down tines, which allow you to pack your dishes in more efficiently, ensuring nothing falls over during the cycle.
Another popular feature is a third rack, which is essentially a shallow drawer at the top of the dishwasher cavity. These small racks are perfect for oversized utensils and small items like espresso cups, and some can even be adjusted or reconfigured to suit your needs. The downside of a third rack is that it limits the height of the second rack, making it a challenge to wash tall items like wine glasses. Plus, it’s considered a premium feature that will increase the price of the appliance.
- Control Panel: Another important consideration when purchasing a dishwasher is the location of the control panel. There are two common control-panel configurations: on the front of the appliance or on the top of the door. When the controls are on top of the door, they may also be referred to as “fully integrated.”
There are pros and cons to both of these options. When controls are on the front of the dishwasher, you can easily monitor the dishwasher’s progress throughout the cycle. However, you may accidentally press buttons if you lean against the appliance, and young children may like to push the buttons. (Many front-control dishwashers include a control lock to mitigate these issues, however.)
Top-control dishwashers, on the other hand, have a more sleek appearance and won’t accidentally be turned on, but you won’t be able to monitor the appliance progress during the cycle.
- Noise Level: Does it drive you crazy when your dishwasher is too loud? If so, you’ll definitely want to consider the noise level of your new appliance.
The noise a dishwasher makes is measured in decibel A-weighting, abbreviated dBA, which can make it tricky to gauge just how loud or quiet the machine is. After all, most people don’t know what 50 dBA sounds like offhand.
In general, the quietest dishwashers available are around 38 dBA while a standard dishwasher operates between 45 and 60 dBA. In general, experts agree you won’t be bothered by a dishwasher that operates at 44 dBA or lower, so don’t get too caught up on finding a model that’s in the 30-dBA range. On the other end of the spectrum, a dishwasher that’s above 50 dBA will likely be loud enough to interfere with conversation, so keep this in mind if you tend to socialize in the kitchen.
- Efficiency: Many appliances today are designed to use less energy—you’re probably familiar with the Energy Star program, which can help you find more eco-friendly appliance options. When it comes to energy efficiency in dishwashers, what does this label actually mean?
There are a few features that make a dishwasher energy efficient. For one, some have a soil sensor that can adjust the amount of water used and the cycle length based on what’s actually necessary, helping to save water and electricity. Other machines have half-load or eco-wash cycles for those times when you don’t have a full dishwasher. Finally, many appliances have a drying option that doesn’t use any heat, which can save energy.
- Exterior: Once you’ve made all these decisions about the technical details of your machine, the final piece to consider is the exterior of the appliance. Modern dishwashers come in a variety of finishes, including black, white, bisque, and the ever-popular stainless steel. If you want a more seamless finish, there are also custom-panel dishwashers, which have an unfinished door, allowing you to attach a cabinet panel, so everything can blend seamlessly together.
Finally, you’ll want to think about whether you want the dishwasher to have a handle. Many models simply have a recessed or pocket handle, which makes it easier to clean, but dishwashers with bar handles can be a bit easier to grip and open.
What Is the Best Type of Dishwasher for Me?
There are also several different types of dishwashers to choose from. These models vary in terms of size, style, and installation requirements, so choose the one that’s best for you.
Built-in dishwashers are the most common type appliance, and as the name suggests, these models must be installed in your kitchen. They generally fit underneath your kitchen counter, and if you’re not handy, you may need to pay a professional to complete the installation.
Built-in dishwashers come in a variety of styles, including top-control, front-control, third rack, and more. Because there are so many variations of built-in dishwashers, they range in price from around $300 to upward of $1,500.
Dishwasher drawers are a less common but increasingly popular style. This type of dishwasher comes in either single or double drawer styles, and while they are typically pricey, they offer several benefits that homeowners love.
For one, dishwasher drawers are a great solution for smaller kitchens, as they’re usually 24 or 36 inches wide and just 19 inches tall. Plus, you can stack two on top of each other for additional space. Even if you do have two drawers, you can operate them separately, which saves both water and energy. Plus, their doors are smaller than those of a traditional dishwasher, which can help save space in a tight kitchen.
The downside of dishwasher drawers is that they’re not as tall as standard dishwashers, making it challenging to wash large platters. Plus, they’re generally pricey, costing around $700 for one drawer and upward of $1,200 for double drawers.
Dishwashers are often categorized by the placement of their control panels. Those with front controls provide easy access to the buttons, allowing you to pause or monitor the cycle with ease. However, the downside is they might get turned on more easily, whether by being bumped or by curious little kids.
Budget-friendly front-control dishwashers can cost as little as $300 while more high-end models with extra features may reach $1,000.
The other common style is top-control or integrated dishwashers, which have their controls hidden on top of the door. Some people prefer the streamlined look of this type of appliance, and it’s also a good choice for those with small children, as little ones will have a harder time accessing the buttons.
The downside of top-control dishwashers is that you can’t monitor the cycle, and this style is typically more expensive, costing $700 or more.
No room for a built-in dishwasher? Then you might be interested in a portable dishwasher, which you can simply hook up to a faucet to run.
Portable models are popular for apartments and RVs, and they typically measure either 24 or 18 inches wide, giving you roughly the same space as a traditional dishwasher. Most are mounted on wheels so they’re easy to move, allowing you to stash them away in a closet when not in use. When you do need to wash dishes, simply wheel the appliance out and hook it up to the sink faucet—no complex installation required.
Portable dishwashers typically start at around $400 but can cost up to $800, depending on the make and model.
If you’re really pressed for space or simply don’t generate that many dirty dishes, a countertop dishwasher might be the perfect solution for you. As you may have guessed, these appliances are incredibly compact and designed to be placed on your kitchen counter.
These appliances are typically the size of a microwave, ranging from 18 to 22 inches in depth, height, and length. They typically have one rack that can hold around six place settings, making them a great option for two-person households. Like portable dishwashers, they hook up to your kitchen sink to run, so no complex installation is necessary.
Countertop dishwashers are generally in the $200-$300 range, making them an affordable option for those who have a small kitchen.
Certain dishwasher brands are known for their performance and reliability—always a plus. Keep an eye out for these manufacturers while you shop.
- Bosch: This European brand makes a wide variety of dishwashers, including both simple and high-tech models. In addition to being reliable, Bosch dishwashers are typically very quiet, operating in the 40 dBA range.
- GE: GE is a popular appliance brand that you’ll be able to find at most home improvement retailers. Its dishwashers are known to be a solid choice and affordable, making them a popular choice for many homeowners.
- Whirlpool: The Whirlpool Corporation not only makes Whirlpool dishwashers but those labeled as KitchenAid and Maytag as well. Whirlpool products are known for being well-made, making them a solid investment.
- Kenmore: Kenmore has three different lines of dishwashers—Kenmore, Kenmore Elite, and Kenmore Pro—that you’ll only find at Sears. These appliances range from budget options to more high-end models and are typically considered good machines.
- Frigidaire: Frigidaire makes a variety of appliances, dishwashers included. While its products are often on the less-expensive side, they’re not known to be the most reliable or well-performing dishwashers.
- Miele: If you’re looking for a high-end dishwasher, European brand Miele is a good option. While not cheap, these appliances have a stellar reputation for dependability and performance.
- Fisher & Paykel: If you’re interested in a dishwasher drawer, Fisher & Paykel specializes in this style. Its DishDrawer line is known to perform well, and its dishwashers come in a variety of modern finishes.
When you purchase a new dishwasher, it will probably come with a manufacturer's warranty that will cover the appliance anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. You’ll likely also be offered the option to purchase an extended warranty.
People have dissenting opinions on whether extended warranties are worth the additional costs. Some experts say to skip the extended warranty, as there’s a lot of fine print involved. Brands often deny coverage on certain parts of the appliance if they deem you didn’t conduct proper preventive maintenance. Instead, they recommend you just put that money aside to cover repairs out of pocket.
However, if you’re purchasing a more high-end appliance that costs close to $1,000, it may be worthwhile to spring for the additional coverage, as the parts for these machines are typically quite expensive.