The skin on your hands is dry and brittle, your arm is sore from scrubbing spaghetti sauce off a pot, and you just poked yourself with a fork. On top of that, you just spent 30 minutes on these dishes.
Is it really worth it?
While dishwashers are an investment, time is money, and there are some incredibly affordable options on the market, today. So put down the dish washing gloves and let's take a look at some different options.
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Why Use Dishwashers?
Having one of the best dishwashers in your home means more time with your family, friends, or even just having more time to relax on the sofa. If you run a restaurant then you know how important speed and efficiency is, and how many dishes must be washed daily.
Instead of doing everything by hand, with a dishwasher, you have to load the dishes, add detergent, and select your desired cycle. The machine works by heating and shooting water through jets directed at dirty dishes. Through the combination of heat, pressure, and soap, all debris is washed away.
After they’re clean, they’re sprayed with another round of water to leave them sparkling. It’s undebatable that a good dishwasher will save you both time and money, particularly if used in commercial settings.
Top Brands of Dishwashers Compared
Bosch 800 Series
Choosing the Right Dishwasher
Digging in a little deeper, let’s go through each aspect of the selection process to narrow down which model and features you’ll want in your future dishwasher.
Built-in units aren’t portable at all, as they’re the most robust of the pack. However, if you have space, they can be quite useful. They’re always hooked up to a water supply, they’re relatively quiet, and they can hold a ton of dishes. These are what you’ll find in the majority of homes.
Portable units can’t hold as much as built-in models, but if you live in a smaller space, they can be moved out of the way once you’re done using them. As they’re often topped with a butcher block or laminate, you can use them as an island, taking advantage of the extra prep space.
Countertop units are also convenient in that they can be moved easily but hold only a few place settings. These work well for small spaces and small families (or just yourself).
24-inch models are the largest, so are preferable for larger homes. They often come with three racks and offer the widest variety within brands, features, and prices. 18” dishwashers aren’t much different, with most offering the same features, just in a slimmer package. If you don’t need the extra capacity or have the room for a 24”, this is a great alternative.
Each type of dishwasher will have its benefits and restrictions.
A countertop unit will typically only be able to fit three place settings, while portable models can manage about the double. 18” machines can handle 6 to 8, while 24” models accommodate anywhere from 10 to 14.
The higher the quality, the less space there will be between tines, to fit more dishes.
Adjustable or removable racks (commonly seen in the larger units) are incredibly useful when trying to wash larger pots, tall glasses and stemware. Without these, you may have no choice but to wash them by hand, which kind of defeats the purpose!
Dishwasher Styles (panel locations)
Style is crucial when it comes to any appliance in your home, not to mention one so large and noticeable. With that being said, it’s important to take into consideration the style and design of your kitchen when making your decision. With regards to finish, a little over half of the consumers opt for stainless steel.
While it not only gives a modern look that jives with just about any other color, it is magnetic, easy to clean, and relatively resistant against fingerprints (the finish, not actual stainless steel). A good percentage of consumers opt for plain black or white, as these colors go with most décor, but aren’t as flashy as stainless.
You’ll also find some models with a custom panel-ready option, providing a seamless look. With these, you can attach a panel which perfectly matches your other cabinets, so when it’s closed, you can’t tell the difference between them. The interior of the machine also has a finish: either stainless steel or plastic.
Stainless is typically more expensive, but can reduce energy costs due to how well it retains heat (thus, drying dishes quicker). Handles are often an overlooked aspect but are still worth mentioning. There are many different types, including recessed, pocket, scoop and bar handles.
Recessed and pocket handles allow for a flush front, making cleaning easier. Bar handles often have hidden controls with an easy-grab bar that lets you hang kitchen towels on. Scoop handles also come with hidden controls and a reach-in design for an ultra-low profile.
Control panel location can vary, from the front (semi-integrated), or hidden on the top edge (fully integrated). The latter hides the panel when the door is shut; however, this can make it difficult to tell how much time is left in the cycle. With some, this issue can be solved by projecting a light beam display on the floor.
Wash Cycle Options
Everyone wants a machine that can wash dishes quickly unless you’re just planning on washing them overnight. Models range anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours, which is quite the difference if you need a particular dish right away.
Most come with your basic Light, Regular, Pots & Pans, and Economy modes.
However, you’ll often find more specialized options, such as an NSF-certified sanitizing rinse, extra rinse or rinse/hold, steam clean and delicate glass care cycles. The sanitize mode works as a final rinse with very hot water, to eliminate up to 99.99% of germs.
This is ideal for baby bottles, cutting boards, as well as an extra layer of protection during cold and flu seasons. The rinse/hold mode is perfect if you don’t have enough dirty dishes to run a full load, but don’t want food residue on the few dirty ones you do have to turn cement-like while waiting.
This cycle goes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, giving a nice rinse to prevent extra hassle and mess. The “steam clean” cycle varies, depending on the brand. Some will use it similar to the rinse/hold to melt away stubborn residue, while others let you use it in conjunction with a regular cycle for improved efficiency.
Other manufacturers alternatively use steam as a way to clean fragile dishes that aren’t able to withstand hard jet streams of water. Last but not least, the glass care cycles are for shorter amounts of time, rinsing with cooler water.
Cleaning & Drying Power + Energy Efficiency
Cleaning power doesn’t always depend on the price. However, when you raise your budget, you’ll find many additional features that can improve cleaning power. For example, you may find a specialized wash sprayer for bottles or certain glassware, or spray cycles to get rid of baked-on foods.
Keep in mind that cleaning power is also affected by whether you are using hard or soft water, how well it’s installed, and how well you care for and maintain your dishwasher. However, drying is just as important. The most energy-efficient drying method is using a stainless-steel tub, which heats up to higher temperatures than a plastic one.
Noise level varies widely from model-to-model. While often, you’ll have to pay a higher price tag to get a quiet model, this is not a rule. Even if you may not spend a ton of time in the kitchen, they’re typically close to living/family rooms.
You’ll want to be able to have a conversation or watch TV without competing with the machine. Your average conversation between two people is around 55-65 dB, while a quiet room is about 40. Dishwasher decibels that land somewhere in-between those numbers are more than manageable.
You’ll find there are two materials used with dishwasher tubs: stainless steel and/or plastic. As briefly mentioned above, stainless steel can reach higher temperatures, which evaporates moisture better without baking on food.
While they typically cost more than plastic, they can reduce energy costs due to being more efficient. While plastic is durable, stainless steel will last longer and is more resistant against stains and odors.
On this guide, you’ll find that the featured models often come with more advanced features that make the washing experience as easy as possible. For example, many come with soil level sensors to adjust wash cycle times appropriately, along with temperature, water, detergent, and leak sensors.
These ensure proper water temperatures, keep the right amount of water inside for cleaning, release the correct amount of detergent, and prevent water damage to flooring, respectively. Most will also come with some anti-flood protection, but some come with an electric cut-off near the water tap connection which can stop hose leaks and machine leaks.
Safety locks are on nearly every model out there, providing an automatic locking mechanism and slowing down doors opening when the water cycle has finished. Finally, having the ability to reconfigure the interior of your dishwasher is invaluable. Height-adjustable top baskets along with adjustable pate racks and fold-down trays make washing pots and pans a breeze.
Most manufacturers offer a 1-year warranty on their products; however, some will offer more and others less. I see warranty length as the manufacturer giving a kind of testament to the quality of their product; the longer it is, the more well-made it is. This doesn’t have to be the case, but more often than not, it is.
9 Best Dishwashers Reviewed
1. KitchenAid #KDTM354DSS
Best Stainless-Steel Dishwasher
Yes - More details in Review
Considering that there are countless stainless-steel dishwashers on the market today, stating that the KitchenAid Top Control Tall Tub Dishwasher is my favorite, is really saying something. Providing you with timeless style and shorter cycles while saving you money on water and energy costs, this model will soon become your favorite dinner guest.
The 24-inch, built-in beauty comes with a sleek stainless-steel exterior, complete with hidden top controls to give a more seamless look while keeping buttons away from curious little hands. The panel comes with six cycle options, as well as heated dry, high-temp wash and delay start.
Soil sensors can detect levels of debris and adjust the cycle accordingly, so it’s always running efficiently. The stainless-steel dishwasher features a Clean Wash System to constantly filter out debris from clean water, along with PROSCRUB mode to remove stubborn debris with 40 high-pressure spray jets. For a healthier household, the Sanitizing Rinse is also there to remove up to 99.999% of bacteria – great for the colder seasons.
In my experience, this model was nearly perfect in getting rid of mess, and its drying performance scored just as well. The advanced PRODRY system uses both a recessed heating element and fan to evaporate and remove moisture from the stainless-steel wash tub.
If you love entertaining friends or have a large family, you’re sure to appreciate the tall tub design and large capacity lower rack which allow for up to 15 place settings.
Operating at just 43 decibels, you can have it running without anyone even knowing. In regards to stainless steel tubs, Home Guides states, “The heavier steel walls absorb noise better, making for a quieter wash cycle than with plastic tubs.”
The interior design is there to make things as easy as possible for you. The adjustable upper rack features 4 stemware holders, 2-fold-down tines, 2 cup shelves, and 4 light item clips, so you don’t have to struggle to fit dinnerware.
The removable utility basket in the upper rack is great for washing smaller items like baby bottles and lids safely, while the removable lower rack allows for greater customization. With an entire row of fold-down tines, a knife holder and full-length silverware basket, you can fit in those awkward-shaped knives and glassware with no problem.
While loading and unloading, I noticed thoughtful details like the SatinGlide max rails on the upper rack. This coating ensures the rack doesn’t catch while pulling it out, but rather “glides” along, which is incredibly useful when that rack is completely full.
It comes with a 1-year limited warranty, 5-year (limited) on parts, and limited lifetime on stainless steel tub/inner door liner. This is neither exceptional nor subpar in that regard. However, due to the stainless-steel construction, I have a feeling it will last you much longer than that.
2. Frigidaire #FFBD1821MS
Best 18-Inch Built-In Dishwasher
Yes, limited 1-year
The Frigidaire Front Control, 18-inch dishwasher, is a bit smaller than the last product, but it still packs a powerful punch. If you have a limited amount of space in your home, I can’t recommend this full-featured machine enough.
Even if this is your first time installing a built-in dishwasher, you’ll find it quite simple and straightforward. The stainless-steel exterior is durable, resistant to fingerprints, and looks good with any décor. Also, a stainless steel interior holds heat better and resists odor, as the material is nonporous.
As it is a smaller unit, it’s not going to have the capacity the 24” models do. I was able to fit 10 place settings inside, with no issue, which is sufficient for families of 5 and smaller. The compact dishwasher does provide a much-appreciated tall interior design with an 8-inch upper rack and a 10.75” lower rack.
While this is more than what most 18” units offer, I still would’ve liked to have seen more adjustability to accommodate different shapes and sizes of dishware.
On the front of the Frigidaire, you’ll find the electronic control panel, allowing for the convenience of one-touch operation without having to open the door to gain access to it. 5 different wash cycles can manage anything from heavy pots and pans to delicate China.
A 4-level wash system power washes all “normal” items, and the China/Crystal cycle lowers water pressure by 30% to clean thoroughly and gently. No matter which cycle you choose, you can count on it being quiet. While it was a bit noisier than some others on the guide, it’s nothing more than some light humming.
If you’re always on-the-go, you’ll love the fact that you don’t even have to be at home to start the wash! The 2-4-hour delay start options have you covered. Overall, I found loading and operation to be intuitive and easy to get up and running. The one real complaint I had, was that the silverware basket cover has odd-shaped cutlery slots which were a little awkward to get used to. The redeeming factor here was that the cover could be removed.
While these features on their own had me sold, it was the Energy Star qualification which earned its spot as the best 18” built-in dishwasher.
Coming from Energy Star themselves, “A new Energy Star-certified dishwasher will save, on average, 3,870 gallons of water over its lifetime”. Not only is that great for your utility bill, but for the environment, too.
3. Whirlpool #WDF520PADM
Best 24-Inch Built-In Dishwasher
Yes, limited 1-year
I can’t deny the aesthetic appeal of the Whirlpool Front Control Tall Tub Dishwasher’s monochromatic stainless-steel front. However, many feel that their front control panel isn’t as seamless-looking as top-located controls. In my experience, I say it looks great, and functions even better.
Managing a whopping 14 place settings while running at a quiet 55 dba, this is what I’d consider a “strong, silent type.” Let’s move onto how the interior of the machine is set up.
First, you’ll notice that rather than a stainless-steel tub, this model has one made of plastic. While durability is of no issue, it is more porous, making the material more susceptible to absorbing foul odors. Next, you’ll notice 2 spray arms, which jet water from below each rack to clean thoroughly. Helping out is the auto-calculated rinse-aid dispenser to eliminate spot formation.
The upper and lower racks both provide ample space for all types of dishes, with the upper featuring a cup shelf perfect for various types of plasticware. Whirlpool’s signature AccuSense soil sensor can monitor how dirty dishes are on each rack, adjusting the cycle accordingly to ensure they’re free of debris.
“Style and taste are cyclical – what’s popular now may not be popular in a few years. Front controls can be more convenient if you like to be able to check what cycle is running and how long it has left”, says Bellingham Electric.
If someone in your household is sick or you have a baby around, the NSF-certified sanitizing rinse will give you a safety net, eliminating 99.999% of food soil bacteria.
Finally, a triple-filtration system helps to get rid of all leftover food and other debris, while using less water and energy. So much, that it’s also earned an Energy Star qualification, and tier 1 rating! The 1-year limited warranty is pretty typical of these models, but once again, I felt it could’ve been longer.
4. Fisher Paykel #DD24DCHTX9
Best Double Drawer Dishwasher
Yes, limited 2-year parts, and labor
As one of the best-rated dishwashers in Australia, I had to give the Fisher Paykel 24” Double DishDrawer a go. I can easily say it’s one of the most convenient dishwashers out there today, with adjustable racks and multiple settings.
It really gives you the best of both worlds. While this 24-inch, built-in washer does look different from your traditional models, it comes with all of the same features while adding the flexibility to wash independently. The taller top drawer easily fits in larger items such as a wok, and since you don’t have to bend much, it’s easier on the back and on time.
If you have a busy kitchen, you’ll love the fact that you can quickly pull out the “drawer” and pop in dirty dishes without constantly bending over and pushing in/pulling out racks. Flexible racking only adds to the convenience, letting you adjust their height to fit in all kinds of pots, pans, knives, etc.
Foldable cup racks, fold-down tines, and adjustable pitch tines make fitting in 14 place settings no problem. From crystal to heavy-duty pots and pans, you’ll never have to worry again about dirty cookware!
You’ll find the control panel on the upper right-hand corner of the top drawer, although I did feel like controls had a bit of a learning curve. The Quick Wash mode is probably my favorite, as you get a high level of performance, and in just over 20 minutes, everything will be spotless.
The built-in water softener aids in this, ensuring you don’t have to deal with spots on your glassware. The Sanitize option is excellent if you want a sterile clean to keep you and your family healthy, and the Extra Dry setting is perfect with plasticware.
No matter which cycle you choose, this drawer dishwasher continues to run at a very low decibel rating (45 dba), so you can use it during the day or while you sleep. The stainless-steel build on the exterior and tub will ensure you have this stunning appliance for many years to come and includes a limited 2-year warranty.
5. GE #GDT695SSJSS
Best Dishwasher with Garbage Disposal
Yes, limited 1-year
While it’s not the most stunning design, visually, it does come in 6 different color options to suit your taste: Black, Fingerprint Resistant Black Slate, Fingerprint Resistant Black Stainless Steel, Fingerprint Resistant Slate, Stainless Steel, and White.
The control panel is located on the top edge, hidden away to give an uninterrupted design, save for the small indicator light right above the handle. The thick handle is typical of the brand, perfect for keeping a towel handy while remaining durable.
The control panel on this 24-inch, built-in model is one of the easier ones I’ve used, with an intuitive, user-friendly design. You’ll receive your “regular” cycles: Normal, Light and Heavy depending on how dirty the dishes are. In addition, you’ll get AutoSense, Delay up to 12 hours, Steam, Temperature Select (Boost and Sanitize) and Heated Dry.
I love using Steam as a prewash to help loosen up baked-on grease and grime, before moving onto the Scour Wash Cycle or any of the others. Washing true half-loads is easy, too, by using wash zones to choose just the upper or lower rack. Drying is quick and efficient, too, with the Heated Dry feature that uses a hidden vent with fan dry to extract moisture from inside the tub.
Thanks to the combination of the multi-position lower rack, fold-down tines, and customizable rack, you can move positions and fold-down different portions to accommodate larger or odd-shaped dishes. For large platters or baking sheets, the upper rack moves up to 2 inches up or down. Once the load has finished, the smooth-glide upper rack on ball bearings fully extends to make unloading it effortless.
“If you are looking to substantially improve your dishwasher’s capacity and simplify the loading and unloading of flatware and utensils, it’s time you looked at the most clever innovation in years and join the third rack revolution,” states Friedman’s Ideas and Innovations. With that being said, it’s no wonder why the GE Top Control Dishwasher has added it in.
I will say that I noticed it occasionally left a few pieces of spinach on a couple of bowls, but it wasn’t a huge deal. My favorite part of this best price dishwasher was the Piranha hard food disposer with a removable filter.
Running at 3,600 RPM, food gets pulverized in moments to prevent any chance of clogging while helping keep the water clean. While this may sound quite intense, you probably won’t even notice what’s going on, due to ultra-quiet operation.
6. Bosch 800 Series #SHPM98W75N
Yes, limited 1-year
If you take a look through the best dishwasher consumer reports, you’re sure to find the Bosch 800 Series Top Control Tall Tub Pocket Handle Dishwasher. While it’s important to read about others’ experiences, mine has led me to believe that this is one of the best monies can buy. Bosch is a brand that consistently turns out high-quality appliances, and 800 series is exemplary of that.
As one of the most feature-loaded machines I’ve used, the price is pretty great, even if it is a bit more expensive than most we’ve taken a look at. As Bosch is the quietest dishwasher brand in the US, it was no surprise that it ran at a mere 39 dBA; so quiet that you can have a conversation right next to it and not be bothered. It’s a good thing it emits a red light on the floor, so you know it’s running, as the controls are hidden on top for a more refined look.
I can assure you; you won’t have any issues with fitting in all of your dishes. The middle rack (of the 3) can be adjusted to three different heights, while extra folding tines accommodate large baking pans and much more. The “MyWay” third rack also provides a place for you to keep all of those awkward utensils and whatnot that wouldn’t otherwise have a spot.
This 24” built-in model comes with 6 wash cycles, including a 1-hour speed wash and eco mode to save water and energy. On top of that, you can select among 6 options, which include delay start (up to 24 hours), half load, delicates, sanitize, extra dry, and eco.
I had zero problems with leftover debris on the dishes, even with tough tests like dried egg yolk. You can control these from the top control panel, or on your smartphone. Yes, you read that correctly!
With stainless steel construction throughout and Energy Star qualifications, you can expect a lifetime of use, while saving money on utility bills.
7. Danby DDW1801MWP
Best 18-Inch Portable Dishwasher
Yes, limited 1-year
If for whatever reason you can’t install a dishwasher, or perhaps your home is a bit too small for a built-in, I highly recommend checking out the best portable dishwasher: the Danby DDW1801MWP. Not only is it the most feature-packed, but it’s one of the most affordable.
At 120-pounds, don’t be confused by the fact that it can be rolled around; it’s still quite sturdy. The compact dishwasher is an 18” model, so you could even stow it away in a pantry if you have the room. As such, it only has space for 8 place settings, which is more than enough for most small families or couples.
When you need to use it, simply roll it up, hook it up to a faucet, and drain into the sink below. For this reason, I love it for places like remote cabins.
“The biggest benefit offered by portable dishwashers is that they can be used in almost any household, regardless of their kitchen layout,” says Happys Appliances.
6 different wash cycles (Intensive, Normal, Economy, Rapid, Glass, Soak) ensure that you can pick the most efficient mode, no matter how dirty the dishes are or what you’re washing. While the washer itself is quite affordable, you’ll save even more money by using its low water consumption function. As it’s Energy Star-rated, you’ll shave extra off of your electricity bills, too!
The controls are located right in front, and while they look a bit dated, they’re straightforward and easy to understand. It may be basic, but it gets the job done while allowing for quite a bit of flexibility.
8. Whirlpool #WDP370PAHB
Best 24-Inch Portable Dishwasher
Yes, limited 1-year
If you’re searching for a portable dishwasher, but one that’s just as high-tech as the built-in models, I can’t recommend the Whirlpool Front Control Heavy-Duty Portable enough. Coming in a sleek, uniform black, it will look great wherever you place it.
“Families that often move should opt for this type of dishwasher. They are specially designed for apartments, condos of office kitchens”, says Mr. Right Ideas.
One thing that I should note before we get started is that portables aren’t known to be quiet. This is partially because they don’t have walls around them to muffle noise. This model produces around 65 dBA when it’s running, which will be noticeable.
The front electronic control panel looks much more modern than the Danby, with a minimal design and convenient scoop handle. If you have a large family, or just find yourself with a lot of dirty dishes, then you’ll take full advantage of its 12-place setting capacity. There are quite a few cycle options to choose from, to customize your washes every time.
The 1-hour wash is my favorite, cleaning up pans, glasses, pots and more in a single hour. It’s very similar to the normal cycle; however, it’s a bit faster. If you need something more robust, the heavy cycle adds on extra time to get rid of stubborn debris.
While it doesn’t have a dedicated sanitizing mode, it does have a high-temperature wash option which works well on things like baby bottles. Regardless of the cycle you select, you can pull any dish right from the machine, and it will be nice and dry, thanks to the added heat for drying.
9. SPT Countertop #SD-2201S
Best Dishwasher Under $500
Yes, limited 1-year
It may not look anything like what you’re used to seeing in a dishwasher, but the SPT Countertop model is still an excellent option for many consumers.
“A countertop dishwasher is a portable unit that is meant to be kept on the counter for everyday use. They pack just as much cleaning power as their full-size counterparts, yet use far less water and detergent,” state Compact Appliance.
It’s true; whether you’re living in a small apartment, would like to clean up the office break room, traveling in an RV, etc. this is the perfect addition.
With a height of just 17.24”, this unit will fit on most countertops with no issue. You can move it around as you need, but keep in mind it does weight almost 50 pounds. While it is small, it’s surprisingly spacious inside, with the ability to load up to 6 place settings.
Easily connect it to your kitchen faucet, even if you have zero experience. The entire process is quick and straightforward with an included faucet adapter.
The stainless-steel interior is not only sturdy but holds heat well enough that drying dishes is fast. With 6 wash cycles (Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, Speed, Soak), you’re able to wash an array of glasses, silverware, plates, and more.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be tough washing larger items such as pots. At just 55 dBA, the operation is so quiet, that even if you’re in a small space, it shouldn’t bother anybody.
Common Dishwasher Types Explained
Part of selecting the best dishwasher for you, is knowing which type is most appropriate for your needs. Let’s take a look at each, below.
Portable Dishwashing Units
This type of unit can accommodate just as many dishes as a built-in model, but sits on rollers for portability. Expect these models to use around 3 gallons (11 liters) of water per load. However, you will need a water source in the form of a hose which attaches to the kitchen faucet.
Portables are great if you don’t have a lot of room in your home, as you can easily roll them into a pantry to store them when not in use. If you do plan on stowing it away at some point, make sure you have the room to do so.
As you’ve probably guessed, this type of dishwasher sits on a countertop. They range in portability, depending on their weight, but can generally be moved around with ease. Due to this, their dish capacity is quite low, typically only being able to wash a few place settings per load.
However, countertop dishwashers only use around 2 gallons (approximately 7.5 liters) of water. Just like with the previous product, it uses water by connecting a hose to your kitchen faucet. This is an excellent option if you have nowhere to store a portable washer.
18-inch & 24-inch Built-in
Built-in dishwasher units are permanently installed in your kitchen, which means you don’t have to deal with continually connecting and un-connecting the water supply. Units are installed in a cabinet-type setup where there is a wall on each side to muffle noise.
18-inch models are more compact and are quite popular with smaller homes. Despite this, they usually come with just as many features as their 24-inch counterparts, though they are typically more expensive. 24-inch models are fully-featured, and although they take up a good amount of space, if you can spare it, it’s worth it. Often, these models will also include a third rack option and half-load settings, so you don’t use as much water.
Dishwashers with Food Waste Disposer
These extra-efficient models come with a hard food disposer built-in, so you have less work to do. While with a filtration system you have to clean out trapped food particles every month or so, these units completely disintegrate them, so they don’t end up back on your “clean” dishes.
No maintenance is required in terms of manual cleaning, and many units operate quietly.
Popular Dishwasher Brands
Bosch, Miele, GE, and Whirlpool are all quite popular. Bosch is known to be a luxury brand and is one of the top-sellers in Europe. Expect durability, user-friendliness, and often technologically-advanced additions like Wi-Fi connectivity.
Miele is another European luxury brand which consistently produces reliable models to last decades, and is typically on the higher end of the price spectrum. GE is one of the oldest appliance companies in the world, and have followed through on reliability for over 100 years.
Their products are typically better-than-average with ample space and sold at big-box stores. Whirlpool offers impressive visual designs, often with smart controls and very high performance.
Advanced Dishwasher Features Explained
Customizable Rack Options (Adjustable/Removable Racks, Third Racks, Fold-Down Tines)
Having the ability to reshape the interior of your dishwasher is invaluable when you’re trying to fit everything inside after a dinner party. Racks that move up and down are great if you have tall/delicate stemware or large pots that wouldn’t otherwise fit. There are some which even let you remove the racks, which is perfect for taller dishes.
Third racks are ideal for placing those dishes on top that don’t have a specific “type”, such as spatulas, or odd-shaped bowls. Finally, fold-down tines are great for longer dishes, such as large knives, which would be otherwise restricted by tines in their path.
I’d consider the most essential wash cycles to be Light, Normal, Heavy, and Half Load. Half Load is excellent if you are only using one rack, or not too many dishes. Light is perfect for just doing a quick run-through, Normal is what we’ll most often use, and Heavy is ideal for pots and pans that have tough grime cooked on.
Delicate is essential if you’re going to be placing fragile glassware, crystal, and/or China inside. This cycle often turns down water pressure by around 30%, so they’re not at risk of breaking.
Rinse and Hold is helpful for when you can’t run a full load, but don’t want the dishes sitting there while food cements.
It does a rinse, loosening up the food, making it easier to wash away when you are ready to go for a full wash.
Pots and Pans are often the same thing as Heavy and is made to be a more heavy-duty, high-pressure option. Sanitize heats up the water to very high temperatures, getting rid of over 99.99% of food soil bacteria, to create a safer environment for you and your family.
This is ideal for baby bottles, sports bottles, or as an extra protective measure during flu season. Finally, Smart Wash uses electronic sensors to detect the level of grime on dishes and changes the wash time, intensity, and temperature accordingly.
This goes hand-in-hand with Smart Wash, as it uses sensors to detect the soil level from the water, adjusting to make sure the dishes are being washed at the most efficient level. This is an excellent option if you have various dishes and can’t decide which cycle to select.
As the name suggests, this mode delays the beginning of the wash cycle. This way, you can pre-arrange the cycle for when you’re asleep or away from home, so you come home to clean dishes.
It’s also great for when someone is taking a shower, and you don’t want the dishwasher to take up the hot water, but also don’t want to forget to run the cycle.
Placing hot food on a cold or room-temperature plate can quickly cool down meals. Keeping hot food hot makes it taste better, especially food items like eggs, pancakes, or for use with buffets. Besides, it’s a quick and simple feature to use, so there’s no harm in trying it out.
This feature lets you add in a last-minute dish by opening up the dishwasher door without worry. Some models automatically lock once the cycle has begun, but there is often still time for you to add one in. This takes care of the guesswork for you, while keeping everyone safe.
Stainless Steel Tubs
Stainless steel tubs are my preference, and while plastic tubs are still durable, these last much longer. As they’re nonporous, they do not absorb unpleasant odors, and they also hold heat better, so your dishes dry quicker.
If that wasn’t enough, stainless steel tubs also make for quieter operation. While they may upfront be more expensive, they can easily save you money due to how well they hold heat.
While most dishwashers on this guide are very quiet, there are a couple that may interrupt a conversation or two. However, you can opt to get some noise insulation, which is around ¼” thick, muffling the noise. It’s essential to make sure you get polyester rather than cotton, so in case it gets wet, it won’t start rotting.
Dishwasher Connection and Installation
While it may look daunting, installing a dishwasher is something just about anyone can do, even if you have no prior experience. Before anything, make sure your space will fit your new dishwasher, and read the included installation instructions over. Also, make sure the power is off at the breaker.
- 1Take a look at where the power supply and drainage lines are located on the machine. Your included instructions should list this. Remove the bottom access panel to find the cord connection, inlet solenoid valve, and drain outlet.
- 2Tip the machine on its back and hook up the 90-degree fitting. Make sure to loop the flexible drain line all the way to the underside of the counter.
- 3If you need to adjust the leveling feet or wheels to fit the height of the space, your manual will advise you of how to do so.
- 4Mark where to cut a 1.5” hole in the cabinet wall.
- 5Once you’ve done that, slide your dishwasher in and verify the location.
- 6Slide it out again, and cut the 1.5” hole with a power drill and hole saw if you have them.
- 7Run the drain tubing, supply line, and power cord through, then slide the dishwasher back.
- 8Install the compression elbow on the dishwasher solenoid and bend the supply line, so it aligns with the elbow. If it’s cocked to one side, the compression nut isn’t going to fit, and you’ll get a leak.
- 9Slide the compression nut over, then place a compression ring on the end. Connect the tubing to the solenoid using a wrench (adjustable).
- 10Install a tee on the hot water supply, then measure and cut tubing to the tee.
- 11Connect all compression fittings, and turn on water supply and check for leaks.
- 12Replace the sink drain tailpiece with one which comes with a side inlet. Connect the drain line to the outlet by using hose clamps.
- 13Measure the hose, and cut it so it can hook up to the inlet with another hose clamp.
- 14Finally, match your white wires together and the black wires together. You’ll want to match the green to the ground screw and connect the wires with wire nuts.
- 15Lastly, plug in the supply cord to an electrical outlet under the sink cabinet, and turn the power on at the breaker.
It’s important to note that if you don’t feel confident or capable of taking this project on, it’s a better idea to let a plumber handle it. A professional is not only going to take a shorter amount of time but will correctly install your dishwasher.
For some DIY videos, check out this video which does a great job at taking you through the process visually, step-by-step.
If you do not wish to do this job yourself then we recommend getting a local plumber to do the job. You can find free quotes from your area by filling in the form below.
Cleaning and Maintenance of Dishwashing Units
Cleaning and maintaining your dishwasher is surprisingly easy, but many people skip over it. This can cause all kinds of issues or may weaken the cleaning and drying power of the machine. I highly recommend reading over your owner’s manual first to see what their recommended instructions are.
- 1First, take out the racks of your dishwasher so you can access the sprayer arm. Check the nozzles for any clogs, and clear them if needed with a toothpick. If they’re blocked, this can significantly affect how powerful and evenly they spray water on your dishes.
- 2After making sure your washer is unplugged, take off the tray or slide it out. After this, remove any debris at the bottom of the drain that could be blocking it. This can remove foul smells, and make it easier for the pump to operate.
- 3Also, take a look at the racks while you have them out. Make sure the paint isn’t chipping, and if so, find one on the manufacturer’s site that matches. If they’re severely rusted, you’re better off just purchasing replacements.
- 4When all of the above is in good working order, place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack, and run it through an entire cycle. Not only will this get rid of any remaining odors or pests, but will eliminate hard water deposits, soap scum, and rust stains.
Troubleshoot Drying Problems with Dishwashers
If your dishwasher isn’t drying your dishes properly, there are quite a few possibilities why.
- 1Keep in mind that plastic and other materials dry slower than others.
- 2Look at how you’ve placed your dishes. There should be ample space between them for air to flow in and out of.
- 3Review the drying settings on your machine. Some have various, which can be altered depending on how many/what type of dishes you’re washing. If you have a heated dry option, this can improve your results considerably.
- 4Take a look at the vent. If you’ve done all of the above and they’re still not properly drying, then the vent door may be stuck, not letting excess steam escape.
- 5Finally, if none of this help, look at the heating element. If it’s damaged or broken, this could be the root of the issue. To test the heating element, use a multimeter.
If you’ve revised all of the above, and you’re still coming out with wet dishes, I highly recommend calling a plumber to have a look and fix the issue.
People also Ask (FAQs)
How much water does a dishwasher use?
The average dishwasher can use up to 6 gallons per cycle, but if it’s Energy Star-rated, it will use around 4.
Where does a portable dishwasher drain?
These drain into the kitchen sink, through the connected hose along with a timer-controlled pump.
Can a portable dishwasher be permanently installed?
Absolutely. What you’ll need to do is replace the lines with permanent connections. If you don’t have a garbage disposal connected, you’ll also need to install a dishwasher drain adapter in the sink drain.
Where is the best place to install a dishwasher in the kitchen?
Ideally, you should install it next to your kitchen sink. You can choose whichever side you prefer.
How long do dishwashers typically last?
Typically, they should last anywhere from 7 to 12 years. This will vary, depending on how well you clean and maintain your machine, as well as how often you use it.
Which brand of dishwasher is the most reliable?
Bosch and Whirlpool.
What is the importance of the third rack?
A third rack not only provides extra space, but space perfectly made for awkwardly-shaped/sized items that otherwise don’t have a proper place in the bottom and top racks.
Should I buy home warranty to cover repairs and replacements for my dishwasher?
If you’re just purchasing a Home Warranty to cover your dishwasher, I’d advise against it. The reason why is because a basic plan can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 per year, which is going to quickly add up to be more than the cost of your dishwasher.
How much will a typical dishwasher installation cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to around $500 for labor, with the average landing around $350.
What is the price range of the models on our list?
We start out at just over $200 for the countertop model and end at a bit more than $1000 for a full-featured, high-tech built-in model.
I have a feeling you know just about anything you could ever want to about dishwashers, now. With that being said, which one of these models will be making its home in your kitchen? If you’re still on-the-fence, I highly recommend the KitchenAid Top Control Tall Tub.
It’s sleek, modern-looking, and has clean lines due to the controls being hidden away. The racks are highly adjustable to fit just about any kind of dishes and slide out without any tugging necessary. Not only that, but the operation is whisper-quiet, and can handle large loads at once.
I hope that this guide has helped you select the best dishwasher for you and your family. Thanks for visiting, and I’ll see you again soon.
Holly Curell is the editor extraordinaire for Plumbing Lab. Having grown up in Michigan, Holly has spent time living in New York, Virginia, & currently North Carolina, where she lives with her husband & family. Holly loves DIY & has years of experience with at-home plumbing problems that arise from having 3 kids & living in colder climates. When she’s not writing about her plumbing knowledge, Holly enjoys reading, hiking & relaxing with family.