Stainless steel tub
Doesn’t require a rinse aid
Tons of features
Sleek and modern looking
Can leave residue behind
Not the most user-friendly
KitchenAid 43 dBA Dishwasher with Clean Water Wash System
We purchased the KitchenAid 43 dBA Dishwasher with Clean Water Wash System so our reviewer could put it to the test on her dirtiest dishes. Read on for our full review.
When you’re spending money on a dishwasher, the goal is probably to save some time in the kitchen. There’s nothing worse than investing in a new dishwasher, only to find that it requires lots of pre-scrubbing and post-drying to complete the job. While there are many options out there—and at lots of different price points—this KitchenAid caught our eye thanks to its advanced features and sleek, modern profile. But is the dishwasher worthy of KitchenAid’s well-known name? We put it under some serious scrutiny to find out.
Setup Process: Book a plumber
While the KitchenAid’s actual setup process is best left in the hands of a licensed plumber, there are some things that you need to do to prepare your kitchen for its delivery.
As is standard with dishwashers, the KitchenAid requires both a water supply line and electrical power. To make sure your dishwasher has access to what it needs, you’ll need a water supply line and shut off valve within 6 feet of the hook up area. You’ll also need an electrical outlet within that same distance.
Before your new dishwasher arrives, it’s also a good idea to measure your cabinet opening and make sure it’s at least 24 x 24 x 34.5 inches to accommodate the dishwasher’s size. If you’re replacing an existing dishwasher, like we did, there’s an excellent chance that your cabinet opening is ready to go (most dishwashers are a standard size, unless you special order them); but it’s better to quickly measure it so that you know for sure.
Because the setup process is fairly complicated—and there’s potential for electrical shock if done incorrectly—we decided to play it safe and hired a plumber to do the actual installation for us. That process took about an hour and a half, but we imagine it would take significantly longer if you do decide to do the installation yourself. If you go that route, there are detailed instructions in the manual on how to get the job done, but they look a bit complicated to the untrained eye and you’ll have to use extra care to make sure it’s balanced properly so it doesn’t leak or overflow.
It’s also helpful to note that to successfully install the dishwasher, you’ll need additional parts and tubing, like a hose fitting, copper tubing, and a cordless drill, especially if this is a first-time installation and you’re not replacing an existing dishwasher. If you’re doing the installation yourself, make sure you have these parts ready to go before you start.
Design: Sleek and modern
With its sleek, stainless steel exterior and hidden top controls, this KitchenAid models fits effortlessly into any kitchen. While the dishwasher does have a small front display that allows you to monitor the cycle’s progress, the main control panel only becomes visible when you open the dishwasher door. Our previous dishwasher had front controls that were visible at all times, so this was one of our favorite design upgrades.
Additionally, the tub is made of stainless steel rather than plastic (you’ll often find the latter in less expensive options). This helps the dishwasher retain a nice shine after each cycle and allows the tub to withstand higher heat. Of course, the stainless steel also makes the inside of the dishwasher look just as beautiful as the outside.
Although the racks felt a little flimsy when we pulled them in and out, they held up well to large loads.
The KitchenAid KDTM354DSS also boasts a taller-than-average tub design and a large-capacity lower rack that can accommodate up to 15 place settings with ease. The lower rack is also equipped with a dedicated knife holder, a nice feature that we’ve never seen in other dishwashers. There’s also a full-length silverware basket covered with a removable separator that allows you to split up your silverware.
The adjustable upper rack has four stemware holders, two cup shelves, and two fold-down tines that allow you to customize the dishwasher depending on what you’re loading up at the time. The racks are made of plastic, but it’s a light gray plastic that blends in nicely with the stainless steel that surrounds it. Although the racks felt a little flimsy when we pulled them in and out, they held up well to large loads and didn’t seem to have a problem supporting the weight of the dishes when we got things going.
Performance: Exceptional with the recommended products
On our first go with the KitchenAid dishwasher, we followed the manufacturer’s instructions exactly as written. We went out and purchased the recommended dishwasher detergent and ran the ProWash cycle with a full load of dishes, which included a day-old lasagna pan—the ultimate test.
We kept our expectations low since we’ve owned several dishwashers that couldn’t handle the task without a little pre- or post-scrubbing, but we were pleasantly surprised with how well the KitchenAid tackled the job. All of our dishes came out sparkling clean without any water spots left behind.
While we tested out all of the cycles, we kept coming back to the ProWash option because it made life so easy for us.
For our next test, we veered off course a little bit and used another mainstream dishwasher detergent that wasn’t specifically recommended by the manufacturer. After that, we also tried a nontoxic, natural dishwasher detergent.
While the KitchenAid’s performance was exceptional with the recommended detergent, we did notice that the dishwasher doesn’t perform as well if you use any detergents other than the ones specifically recommended by the company. It still performed well with the other mainstream brand, but performance was just okay with the natural detergent.
Of course, this may be more of a fault with the detergent itself, and not the dishwasher, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re trying to go natural. Unless you’re using the recommended detergent, you may have to put in a little prep work before loading your KitchenAid.
Features: Lots to speak of
With so many intuitive features, the KitchenAid is like the smartphone of dishwashers. It has 12 pre-programmed options, but our favorite, by far, is the ProWash cycle. All you have to do is press the button once and the dishwasher will automatically determine the best cycle for the current load. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the dishwasher also makes real-time adjustments during cleaning to ensure optimal performance.
While we tested out all of the cycles, we kept coming back to the ProWash option because it made life so easy for us. Just one touch of the button and we came back to sparkling clean dishes every time.
With so many intuitive features, the KitchenAid is like the smartphone of dishwashers.
In addition to the ProWash cycle, though, you can also choose a sani rinse option that heats the last rinse cycle to 155 degrees to kill 99.999 percent of bacteria or the ProScrub option which uses 40 targeted jet sprays to remove baked-on food so you don’t have to soak or scrub dishes prior to loading them. The dishwasher also has a two-, four-, and eight-hour start delay options, which is nice to have if you want to make sure you get a hot shower in before the dishwasher starts running.
As for drying, the KitchenAid utilizes a PRODRY system which combines a recessed heating element with a fan that draws moisture out of the tub so you don’t have to use a rinse aid. We wanted to test this theory, so we ran the dishwasher without and without a rinse aid and were wildly impressed with how dry the dishes were in both instances. Our previous dishwasher needed a rinse aid every time or a significant amount of water was left behind, but this wasn’t a problem with the KitchenAid.
Another feature that stood out to us is the ability to run a top-rack-only cycle. With just two of us in the house, it can take a while to fill up a dishwasher with the capacity for 15 place settings, like this one. Because of that, we often found ourselves hand-washing dishes because we rarely had enough to warrant running the dishwasher. We appreciated the fact that once the top rack is full, you can run a targeted cycle that uses just enough water to clean the dishes you need, without being wasteful.
That said, even when the dishwasher is full, it uses an Energy Star-qualified clean wash water system that saves both energy and water. The dishwasher is also really low maintenance. According to the manufacturer, there’s no need to ever remove or clean the filter since the integrated features do the work for you.
Noise Level: Whisper quiet
While the KitchenAid has its fair share of features, its real claim to fame is its sound rating. The dishwasher registers at 43 decibels (or dBA) which is significantly quieter than most of its competitors. The industry standard typically falls between 46 to 60 decibels, with the average dishwasher coming in around 52 dBA. While this may not seem like much, dishwashers with higher decibel levels are loud enough to disrupt normal conversation. When the KitchenAid is running, you don’t have to raise your voice to speak or leave the room to have a conversation. It’s so quiet, in fact, that we had to lean in and put our ear against it a couple of times to make sure it was running. This was one of our favorite features since we typically run the dishwasher overnight.
Price: The upgrades are worth it
While the retail price tag of $1,149.00 is a little on the high end, we think the stainless steel upgrades and PRODRY system alone are worth the price of admission. KitchenAid also offers a lifetime warranty on the tub and inner door liner, which are often the first to go when regularly using a dishwasher, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Competition: Hard to beat
Amana Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher: If you’re looking for an option that will get the job done at a more budget-friendly price point, the Amana Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher (view on Home Depot) is a viable option. It has all the basic features and can clean up to 12 place settings in one cycle. Although it’s not as sleek as the KitchenAid, the Amana comes in stainless steel, white, and black so you can choose the option that best fits your kitchen.
GE Profile Front Control Dishwasher: If you’re more concerned with features than budget, the GE Profile Front Control Dishwasher (view on Home Depot) costs roughly the same amount as the KitchenAid and has several additional features that may appeal to your needs. In addition to adjustable racks and a spacious interior that fits up to 16 place settings, the GE also has 140 cleaning jets, some of which are designed to reach the inside of taller items, like bottles, and others that reverse direction during the wash cycle.
With 12 pre-programmed cycles, a ProWash option that intuitively chooses the proper cycle for you, and a whisper-quiet decibel rating that’s lower than the industry average, the KitchenAid KDTM354DSS is hard to beat.
- Product Name 43 dBA Dishwasher with Clean Water Wash System
- Product Brand KitchenAid
- Price $1149.00
- Weight 78 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 24 x 24 x 34.5 in.
- Item Model Number KDTM354DSS
- Voltage 120 V
- Decibel Rating 43 dBA
- Material Stainless steel
- Warranty 1-year limited warranty for parts and labor; 5-year limited warranty for certain component parts; lifetime limited warranty for stainless steel tub and inner door liner