Dishwasher Review

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How to Choose a Dishwasher

The top performers in our review are the GE Profile, the Gold Award winner; the LG EasyRack Plus, the Silver Award winner; and the LG Studio, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a product to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 31 products.

Dishwashers are a nice convenience, if not a necessity, in most homes. Like most appliances, you have to continually upgrade them after they break or wear out. If it has been a while since you last updated your dishwasher, you will find that they have improved dramatically. For more information about the various features and capabilities to look for when upgrading a unit, read our articles on dishwashers.

The best dishwashers now include stainless steel interiors, multiple spray arms, adjustable racks and several wash cycles to choose from. Not only are the machines more adaptable, but they also include energy-saving features, such as eco-friendly wash and dry options, that lower your energy bill and lessen your impact on the environment. With these improvements, the cycles run much longer, using less power and water to clean your dishes.

There are a variety of dishwashers to choose from. Between semi-integrated and fully integrated dishwashers, as well as countertop and portable dishwashers, you can find a unit that will fit in your home to effectively clean your dishes. If you want to match your other large kitchen appliances with the same brand as your dishwasher, check out our electric stove, side-by-side refrigerators and French door refrigerator reviews.

Every dishwasher should have an intuitive design, allowing you to load all kinds of dishes in a number of different combinations. The racks should make it obvious where certain dishes go by varying the height and space between tines. Foldable tines, adjustable racks and removable silverware baskets allow for even more loading flexibility. More and more dishwashers are including a third rack for silverware and cutlery, which opens up more space for large items on the other racks.

With modern features and capabilities, you can skip pre-washing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Instead, you can place dirty pans into the dishwasher that have baked-on foods and expect to pull out shining, clean dishes. With multiple spray arms, wash zones and cycles, you can customize your dishwasher to clean your dishes in the most effective manner, whether that means using the delicate cycle or a high-temperature wash. You also don’t have to worry about cleaning food particles out of your machine; most dishwashers include a hard-food disposer that will do the work for you.

To provide the fairest comparison between dishwashers, we evaluated models that fell below $1,500 for a variety of manufacturers; however, most companies offer machines that exceed this price point.

Dishwashers: What We Evaluated, What We Found

Using new technology and design, fine cleaning performance is a given for today’s dishwashers. Rather than focusing on performance, we evaluated the dishwasher’s energy efficiency and ease of use, including all of the components that make up those features.

Energy Efficiency: Small Range between Units

While the outright cost of the unit is important when purchasing a dishwasher, you should also consider the yearly cost of energy consumption. On average, appliances last between six to 10 years. By focusing on the yearly energy cost, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars over that span of time, with the unit ultimately paying for itself.

All of the units we evaluated bear ENERGY STAR ratings, with the exception of one. As such, the yearly costs of each unit share a small range between $27 and $33. Most of the dishwashers also promote eco-friendly wash and dry cycles, which help reduce energy consumption and costs.

In order to effectively clean dishes using minimal water and energy, the wash cycles require longer cycle times. We evaluated how long the normal wash cycle ran on each machine. The dishwashers ranged from 76 to 195 minutes. While this is a large range, the majority of units had a cycle time of 130 minutes. With longer cycle times, we suggest looking for the best dishwasher for your family, whether that includes a high-capacity machine or adjustable racks and tines.

Ease of Use: Focusing on Load Flexibility

In order to determine how easy the dishwasher is to use, we took into account several factors. We focused on flexibility features the unit offers, as well as capacity, cycle times and convenience features. We believe that all of these features and design elements determine how easy the unit will be to use.

The dishwashers varied in capacity. On average, the units have enough room for 14 place settings; however, several can hold up to 16. On the other end, some of the units only hold 10 place settings. How many people and how often you use your dishwasher largely determines the ideal capacity.

The design of a dishwasher can play an intricate role in how easy it is to use. Dishwashers with intuitive designs received a higher ease of use score because it helps you know exactly where to place your dishes to receive the maximum amount of cleaning performance. Some of the dishwashers even include wash zones, where you can place dishes that have baked-on food.

We also focused on the flexibility of the dishwashers, awarding those with fold-down tines and adjustable racks a higher score. If you can alter the inside of the dishwasher, you can conform it to fit your dishes, which will help clean them more effectively and allow for a wider variety of dishes.

In addition to capacity and design, we ranked the different convenience features that the dishwashers include. We looked for features like delay start timers, hard-food disposers, status lights, soil sensors, child locks and controls. These features significantly impact how easy your dishwasher is to use by giving you more control and making it a self-sufficient machine during cycles.

Finally, we included the number of wash cycles in our score. Dishwashers with more cycle options received higher marks because they allow you to customize your machine to clean all types of different dishes, whether that includes heavily soiled dishes, delicate china or plastic bottles. The dishwashers we evaluated ranged from four cycles to nine; however, most dishwashers have six options with the standard cycles ranging from brand to brand.

What Else Is Important in Selecting a Dishwasher?

Dishwashers: How Important Is the Interior?

While the layout of the racks and the ability to adjust them is important, the dishwasher’s interior is particularly important. Most of the dishwashers in our lineup have stainless steel tubs. While these cost more upfront, stainless steel is more energy-efficient than plastic and will save you money. With manufacturers shifting to stainless steel interiors, several aspects of your dishwasher are affected.

Using steel instead of plastic makes for a more energy-efficient machine. During wash cycles, stainless steel retains heat better than plastic and acts as a source of heat during drying cycles. It also can withstand higher water temperatures, which helps clean and sanitize your dishes. While it improves your dishwasher’s energy efficiency, the steel shows water spots and stains. The steel requires regularly cleaning in order to keep a clean appearance.

Another benefit of stainless steel is its ability to block noise. The metal walls insulate the machine and block the noise caused by the water vibrations from exiting the machine. The stainless steel dishwashers have noise levels ranging from 39 to 50 decibels, with the quietest sounding no louder than a whisper. The plastic models are slightly louder, reaching 55 decibels.

Dishwashers: Should You Buy a Model With a Soil Sensor?

A soil sensor helps the dishwasher determine if the dishes are still dirty and adjust the cleaning time. Without one, your dishwasher will be restricted to specific cycle times and cleaning models that generally use more time, energy and water than necessary to clean your dishes. With a soil sensor, the dishwasher sends an infrared beam into the water stream at regular intervals. If the water is turbid, it signals back to the dishwasher to keep working. Once the water is clean, the cycle ends.

While machines with soil sensors generally cost more, it helps you use your machine in the most efficient manner. In the end, you will use less energy and water with each cycle and save money. It also serves as insurance that your dishes will always come out clean.

Dishwashers: Our Verdict and Recommendations

We found that the best-rated dishwashers are the GE Profile, the LG EasyRack Plus and the LG Studio. Each of these dishwashers offer short cycle times, low operating costs, stainless steel tubs and minimal noise. Additionally, they have a wide variety of cycle options, including energy-efficient choices. You can adjust these machines to fit all types of odd-shaped dishes, and with three spray arms, you can expect everything to come out clean.

While the above dishwashers offer the best cleaning performance and energy-efficient machines, the Bosch 800 Series serves as the best value dishwasher in our comparison. The Bosch dishwasher has a wide selection of wash cycles, including energy-efficient options and a stainless steel interior. It offers similar cycle times and operating costs as the above machines, but costs much less than the top three models.

 
 
Appliances » Kitchen » Dishwasher Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
GE Profile LG EasyRack Plus LG Studio LG TrueSteam Electrolux Wave-Touch Electrolux IQ-Touch Bosch 800 Series KitchenAid KitchenAid Pro Line Series Samsung DW80F800
GE Profile LG EasyRack Plus LG Studio LG TrueSteam Electrolux Wave-Touch Electrolux IQ-Touch Bosch 800 Series KitchenAid KitchenAid Pro Line Series Samsung DW80F800
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Ratings
9.30
9.25
9.03
9.00
8.98
8.92
8.90
8.85
8.82
8.80
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9.25
10.00
9.75
8.75
7.50
9.63
8.13
9.75
9.25
10.00
9.50
7.50
9.75
9.00
10.00
9.50
7.50
9.75
8.75
10.00
9.75
7.50
10.00
8.00
9.75
9.25
8.13
9.75
8.00
9.75
9.50
7.38
9.50
9.75
8.50
8.88
8.63
9.25
8.00
9.75
8.75
8.63
9.38
8.00
9.75
9.25
7.38
9.63
8.50
9.75
 
Energy Efficiency
Cycle Time (minutes) 110 131 131 131 113 113 135 150 150 148
Estimated Yearly Operating Cost $33 $27 $27 $27 $29 $31 $27 $31 $32 $29
Energy Star Qualified
Cleaning Options
Number of Cycles 7 7 7 7 9 9 6 6 6 6
Wash Zones
    
 
Top Rack Only
 
NSF Certified
  
Eco-Friendly Wash Cycle
Variable Spray Pressure
Delicate Cycle
Quick Cycle
 
Steam Wash
      
Rinse Only Cycle
 
Fan Dry
     
 
Air Dry
   
 
 
Heated Dry
   
Load Flexibility
Ease of Use Score 95% 95% 95% 95% 100% 100% 90% 85% 90% 90%
Place Setting Capacity 16 14 14 14 14 12 15 14 14 15
Number of Racks 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 2 2 2
Adjustable Racks
Fold-Down Tines
Conveniences
Maximum Delay Start (hours) 12 19 19 19 24 24 24 4 4 24
Hard-Food Disposer
 
 
  
Status Light
Soil Sensor
   
Hidden Controls
 
Child Lock
 
Touch Sensitive Controls  
Design & Dimensions
Noise (dBA) 42 48 42 45 50 47 44 46 42 46
Number of Spray Arms 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
Filter Self-Cleaning Manual Self-Cleaning Self-Cleaning Manual Manual Manual Manual Manual Self-Cleaning
Color Variety Slate, Stainless Steel Black, White, Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Black, White, Stainless Steel Black, White, Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Stainless-Steel Tub
Bar Handle Model
 
Recessed Handle Model  
    
  
Height (inches) 34 33 1/2 33 5/8 33 5/8 33 7/8 35 3/4 33 7/8 34 1/2 34 1/2 33 7/8
Width (inches) 23 3/4 23 3/4 23 3/4 23 3/4 23 3/4 23 3/4 23 9/16 23 7/8 23 7/8 23 7/8
Depth (inches) 24 24 5/8 24 5/8 24 5/8 24 5/8 24 1/4 23 3/4 24 3/4 24 3/4 24 3/4
Warranty & Support
Labor Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year
Parts Warranty 1 Year 2 Years 2 Years 2 Years 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year
Racks & Electronics Warranty 1 Year 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years 5 Years
Tub & Door Liner Warranty 1 Year Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime Lifetime
Phone & Email
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