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Best Dishwashers

Updated December 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 61 Models Considered
  • 41 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 161 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best dishwashers

    Last Updated December 2018

    Who really wants to clean dishes by hand? A dishwasher provides a convenient, quick way to clean all your plates, cutlery, and cups thoroughly. With a dishwasher, there’s no more need to soak dishes in mucky water, or deal with streaky wine glasses.

    Choosing the right dishwasher model, however, can be a bit of a challenge. There are so many options! Not to worry, the BestReviews team has created an informative buying guide to help you narrow down the right choice of dishwasher for your kitchen. We go over the various types, capacities, and features to look for when shopping for a dishwasher, and provide you with helpful tips for getting the cleanest dishes in town.

    At the top of this page, you can also find our top five picks for best dishwashers with a brief description of each model and its pros and cons. When you’re ready to buy, be sure to check out our recommendations.

    Dishwashers, on average, use one-third the amount of water as hand washing the same number of dishes.

    Considerations when choosing a dishwasher

    What should you be on the lookout for when shopping for a new dishwasher? We’ve covered the main items to be concerned about below.

    Dishwasher types

    There are a few types of dishwashers available, and each addresses different needs.

    • Built-in models are meant to be fitted right beneath a countertop, and offer standard capacity. Typically, built-in dishwashers are located next to the kitchen sink for plumbing connections, and it makes it easy to rinse the plates before loading them up.

    • Countertop models are more compact, and perfect for those with no space for a built-in. They are also less expensive than their built-in counterparts.

    • Portable units, on the other hand, can provide the same capacity as built-ins, but have wheels for easy transport around the kitchen. These often have a hose that attaches to the kitchen faucet for water supply.
       

    Countertop and portable models are great for those who move around a lot, or who lack the space for a traditional built-in.

    Capacity and configuration

    The capacity required will depend on the number of people you feed on a daily basis. Most regular sized built-ins have space for up to 12 place settings. Compact models have considerably less capacity, and are a good choice for those who produce less dirty dishes. Families or avid home cooks will likely prefer the flexible capacity of a regular-sized dishwasher.

    Examining the interior configuration of a dishwasher is also essential. Does the layout work for you? Most models come equipped with utensil caddies that fit into the bottom or top racks, but some units feature a built-in door caddy to maximize dish space inside. Many models also feature adjustable sections, with tines that fold down to accommodate awkwardly shaped dishes. The interior should make sense to you, each rack should slide smoothly, and everything should be easy to reach.

    Spacious, Yet Narrow

    The Frigidaire 18" Built-In Dishwasher has what's called a "tall tub" design that maximizes internal space. It allows this machine to hold a full twelve standard place settings, which is pretty impressive, given how narrow the appliance is. Extra flexibility is provided by an 8" upper rack for standard plates and dishes, and a taller lower rack for larger pans, dishes, or other unusual items.

    Energy efficiency

    If you’re concerned about conserving energy and water, look for models with the Energy Star label. Your own best practices also help maximize the appliance’s efficiency. Only run it when full, and load it up correctly to avoid the need for a second wash cycle.

    Noise

    Every unit produces some noise; that’s to be expected. You can find out how loud a dishwasher runs by checking the decibel level rating. A lower number rating means the appliance will produce less noise. A quieter unit can be run during the night, without disturbing sleepers.

    Functions and cycles

    Most dishwashers come equipped with basic wash cycles like normal wash, quick clean, and a pots and pans setting for cleaning tough messes. There’s little variation between units when it comes to wash cycle options, and most cycle sets simply feature slightly different names. Some dishwashers, however, do have automatic cleaning cycles that use sensors to detect the level of grime and dirt on your dishes, and wash accordingly. Many units also have a cleaning option for fragile items like wine glasses. Some units also feature an eco-friendly wash cycle that uses less water.

    If you often find yourself going long periods without starting your dishwasher, it may be wise to choose a unit with a “Rinse” cycle. This helps to avoid caked-on foods that get stuck and are tough to remove, even with the strongest wash cycle.

    EXPERT TIP

    Don’t put nonstick pots and pans in the dishwasher. You’ll ruin the nonstick coating.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Dishwasher pods and tabs may be more expensive, but there’s no need to measure anything out.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Some dishwashers have a hard-food disposal feature, which removes large food chunks, then filters them out.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Versatile Placement

    The big advantage of the SPT Countertop Dishwasher is that you can put it more or less anywhere. At under 18 inches tall, it should fit comfortably between countertop and wall-mounted cupboards, for example. Its width is similar to the majority of standard kitchen cabinetry, so it will look fine, too. Its capacity is rated at six standard place settings, which makes it ideal for single people or small families.

    Dishwasher prices

    There are budget dishwasher options available for under $500. These are often compact, have a smaller place setting capacity, are slower to clean, and have fewer features. Regular built-in models range between $500 to $800. They have plenty of features, more durable construction, and many work more efficiently because of sensor technology. More expensive models over $1,000 have a larger capacity and more luxury features, with a sleeker exterior finish.

    Getting the most out of your dishwasher

    Are you worried that replacing your dishwasher won’t fix the issues you’ve had in the past — dishes coming out dirty after a cycle, and caked on foods? It may not be your dishwasher. A few simple dishwasher tricks can help you get your dishes ultra-clean.

    • Avoid loading your dishwasher without cleaning plates that still have large pieces of food on them. Large, solid pieces of food can clog your dishwasher drain.

    • Cleaning off large pieces of food also reduces the chance of permanent, caked-on dirt.

    • Resist the temptation to stick one more plate inside. An overloaded dishwasher won't clean as well.

    • Clean your dishwasher! Yes, the dishwasher itself needs to be washed once in awhile.

    • Not everything goes in the dishwasher. You can ruin delicate items that aren’t meant for the dishwasher, or cause them to break inside the appliance.

    • Careful. Make sure plastic items don't fall to the bottom of your dishwasher. If this happens, they're likely to melt, and give off a nasty burning smell that will linger for the whole day.

    • Careful to load your dishwasher so that no plates, utensils, or other cookware blocks any moving parts.

    • Load cups upside down, or you'll get a cup full of (probably dirty) hot water at the end of a wash cycle

    • Keep fragile items apart, so they don't clink and break one another.

    Always use the right amount of detergent in your dishwasher. Too much can create a soapy film on your flatware.

    FAQ

    Q. My dishwasher smells funny. Is there a way to clean it?
    A.
    Yes. You can purchase inexpensive tablets that help wash away stinky build-up inside your appliance.

    Q. My dishes aren’t cleaning that well, what’s going on?
    A.
    It may be that the draining mechanism in your dishwasher is clogged. You can try to take it apart yourself to check for blocking debris. If you're not comfortable doing that, call a plumber.

    Q. I found liquid dish soap on sale, can I use it in the dishwasher?
    A.
    Unfortunately, you can’t. Liquid soap produces a whole lot of suds. You’ll likely come back to your kitchen to find a whole lot of bubbles pouring out of the dishwasher.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Alvina
      Alvina
      Photographer
    • Amos
      Amos
      Director of Photography
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Branson
      Branson
      Videographer
    • Ciera
      Ciera
      Production Assistant
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer
    • Vukan
      Vukan
      Post Production Editor

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