The best dishwashers will remove all traces of food residue in a single cycle, leaving streak-free and dry results. Whether you’re dealing with burnt-on pots and pans or lipstick on glassware, a good dishwasher will clean the load quickly and effectively. It should also be as efficient as possible, using much less water than hand-washing as well as the minimal amount of energy to run. Ideally, the programs should take as long as advertised — so you don’t have to wait around to set the table. With all of this in mind, there’s actually a lot more to a good dishwasher than you’d think.
There are tons of features to look out for when it comes to modern dishwashers: quiet running has become more popular for those with dishwashers in their kitchens; Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can control and monitor it from your phone; and zone washing to name a few. Because of this, choosing the right dishwasher can be quite tricky. That’s why we’ve taken the time to do the research for you and have found the best dishwashers the market has to offer.
What are the best dishwashers?
According to our research, the best dishwasher is the Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N. We found it ticked almost every box; it's moderately priced, quiet when running and features a third rack for cutlery which adds convenience to the design. On top of that, of course, it delivers brilliant cleaning results with plates emerging spotless.
If you're looking for the best value dishwasher, then we recommend the Whirlpool WDF520PADM. At under $600, this dishwasher offers some useful features including a sanitize cycle, which is certified by the NSF to kill any remaining germs. It also comes with EnergyStar qualification, so running it will be easy on your wallet too.
The best dishwashers you can buy today
The Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N is our pick for the best dishwasher overall. Without setting you back a bundle, it gives you top-notch cleaning performance, a durable and spacious stainless-steel tub, and a third rack for cutlery. Among its cycles there’s one that washes and dries in just one hour and another that sanitizes. The Bosch 300 is so quiet that it projects a beam of light on the floor to let you know it’s running.
As the controls are out of sight on the top of the door, this model has a sleek upscale look. The only negative we can point out is that because the tines that separate plates are close together, you may have trouble fitting in chunky plates or bowls. Otherwise, the dishwasher's adjustable racks are great for accommodating a wide range of large and small dishes.
The Whirlpool WDF520PADM has an unbeatable price but will still get your dishes sparkling clean and hey, that’s why you’re buying a dishwasher. It’s a nice-looking unit, especially if you opt for the stainless-steel finish, but it’s definitely not fancy. The controls are on the front so it’s not as sleek looking as pricier models and the tub is plastic which means it may not hold up as well as a stainless steel one. Inside there’s no third rack for cutlery. The utensil holder can be positioned on the door if you need extra space on the lower rack but if may not get flatware as clean in that position.
It has fewer cycles than some machines, but you do get a one-hour express setting as well as a sanitizing one that’s been certified by the NSF which means you can be confident it will actually kill germs. Although not loud enough to disrupt dinner conversation, the Whirlpool can be heard when it’s running.
Many people love KitchenAid dishwashers for the wide spacing between the tines of the lower rack that easily accommodate plates of all sizes. This one also has a third rack on top that can hold small bowls and glassware in addition to utensils, freeing up space below for larger items like mixing bowls. Some of the tines on the top and middle racks can be either adjusted or folded down which also helps to make room for oversized things, including serving plates, pots and pans, and vases.
This model features KitchenAid’s ProWash system that senses soil levels and adjusts the time and temperature of the wash cycle. In addition, it has lots of other helpful cycle including Sani-Rinse and Express Wash. When it’s running, it’s so quiet you’ll probably have to take a peek at the top controls if you don’t remember whether or not you turned it on.
With an upscale design in fingerprint-resistant stainless steel and lots of extras, the Frigidaire Gallery FGID2476SF is a real bargain. Of course, it cleans and dries well, or we wouldn’t recommend it. But you also get a stainless-steel tub, cushioned stemware holders, and a convenient "favorite" setting that will automatically select the cycle and options that you use all the time. It pretty much does everything you really need except unload itself.
It has a sanitizing rinse that’s certified by the NSF which gives the assurance that it really does kill any bugs that may have survived the wash cycle. When the Frigidaire is running, it’s quiet and shines a blue beam on your floor; when the dishes are done, the light changes to green. All this and it’s an EnergyStar pick.
The Whirlpool WDF518SAHM 18-inch wide, built-in model offers the convenience of a dishwasher for a pocket-sized kitchen. While it can’t hold as many dishes as a full-size 24-inch machine, it should be more than adequate for daily family dinners. This isn’t a fancy machine—its controls are on the front and it has a limited number of cycles. However, the settings it does have are ones you need, including a quick wash and a high temperature one.
You can depend on the Whirlpool for excellent cleaning and drying results. When it’s operating, it’s quiet which is particularly nice as it may be installed in an apartment or small house where there’s not a lot of distance between rooms. It also has the EnergyStar thumbs up which means it won’t make a big dent on your electric bill.
The Samsung DW80R9950US is the dishwasher to go for if quiet running is important to you. Rated at just 39 dB, it’s by far the quietest on our list and would be best for running through the night. It appears both minimalist and sleek in its design and comes with 3 racks and 15 place settings, which is enough for a family-sized load. It’s also the most energy efficient full-size dishwasher on the list at just 239 kWH, so will save you money in the long run too.
We also love that it comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can remotely monitor and control this dishwasher from your smartphone. The AutoRelease door is another useful feature, as you know the load will dry more quickly once the cycle has finished. Our only qualm is that the prongs on the racks are quite widely spaced apart and you could probably get more place settings in there if it were tighter.
Looking for the smartest dishwasher on the block? The LG LDP6797ST has brains to spare, as it comes with a Wi-Fi connection. Pair it with the LG SmartThinQ app, and you can monitor the appliance from your smartphone to get an estimate of how long is left and a notification when the dishes are done. You can also give it orders through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and reorder detergent with the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service.
In addition to the smarts, the LDP6797ST has three racks, including a top rack meant for cutlery. Thanks to LG's QuadWash system, with four spinning spray arms to aim more water at the dishes, reviewers found this machine cut through baked-on cheese and maple syrup. It has lots of special cycles and is exceptionally quiet and energy efficient.
Don't have room in your kitchen for a full-size dishwasher? Or live by yourself and only use a few dishes? The SPT SD-2213 is your solution to cleaning up fast and sits on your countertop, rather than under it. It’s inexpensive and offers only the basics, but it will get the dishes clean. To operate it, you hook it up to your sink, so no installation is required.
As the SPT has just a single rack, it only holds about half as many dishes as a full-size model and can’t accommodate pots and pans – it's better suited to a meal's worth of dishes and cutlery. It’s not silent when it’s operating, but it’s not loud enough to compete with your Netflix binge in the other room. For smaller apartments that can't accommodate the other best dishwashers on our list, this is the countertop model to get.
LG has added a feature called TrueSteam to this quad dishwasher with 4 cleaning arms and claims it will give you 60% better drying to eliminate pools of water on your mug bottoms and give you crystal clear glassware. Using steam, you also get sanitized dishes for peace of mind when someone in the house has been sick with a cold or flu.
This machine has 3 racks. When you place your flatware and utensils on the top rack you have more room on the bottom for dishes and bowls. If you like controlling your appliances with Alexa or the Google Assistant, you’ll be happy to know this dishwasher is compatible with them. You can also monitor and control it with an app on your mobile phone. Last but not least, this LG isn’t loud enough to disturb kitchen conversation and doesn’t use enough power to jack up your energy bill.
Whirlpool’s newest dishwasher offers a third rack at a great price. By loading the top rack with utensils and small items, you free up room on the lower rack so you can pack in more dishes and glassware. In addition to having settings for heavy and quick washes, this machine has a Sani Rinse cycle that’s certified by NSF which is a guarantee that it will kill any germs lingering on your dishes.
It’s also EnergyStar certified which means it uses power efficiently to keep your electric bill down. You can choose this model in basic black or white as well as fingerprint resistant stainless steel. That makes it a good choice if you have an older kitchen and want it to match your other appliances. But at this price, you won’t find any smart features for remote control or monitoring.
How to choose the best dishwasher
Virtually all dishwashers are designed to fit in a space under the countertop alongside your cabinets. Most are 24 inches wide and 35 inches high but there are some 18-inch wide models available for smaller kitchens. It’s always best to check the dimensions of your space and appliance before you buy.
You can also purchase a stand-alone or portable type, which attaches to your faucet by a hose and drains into your sink. If you’re really short on space, a countertop model might work for you. Be aware that these counter-top models only have a single rack, so don’t hold many dishes.
As with all appliances, stainless steel is currently the finish of choice. However, you can find white or black models to match older appliances or black stainless steel or so called Tuscan stainless steel with a bronze tone. If you’re going with stainless steel, ask if it’s fingerprint- and smudge-resistant, especially if you have kids in the house.
The interior of the dishwasher will either be made of stainless steel or plastic. Stainless steel is more durable and if you can afford it, worth the higher price.
You’ll find anywhere from 4 to 14 on today’s dishwashers. Consider which programs you’ll actually find useful.
- Auto uses a sensor to detect particles in the rinse water and figure out when your dishes are clean. It then adjusts the time and water usage, reducing energy costs.
- Rinse settings are great when you don’t have enough items to run a full load but don’t want to leave dirty, smelly dishes in the machine overnight or longer.
- Extra Dry options enhance drying and eliminate spotting which is particularly helpful for plastics and glassware.
- Delay Start is great if you want to run the dishwasher during off-peak energy hours or in the middle of the night when no one has to take a shower.
- Sanitize kills bacteria and are nice to have when someone in the house is sick.
- China or Delicate cycles give glassware and fragile items TLC.
- Half load reduces water usage by washing items in either the top or bottom rack.
All dishwashers carry Energy Guide labels, detailing how much electricity they use and approximately how much they will cost you per year to run. The most energy efficient carry the EnergyStar label.
The lower the decibel rating, the quieter the machine. Check on the manufacturer’s website if you can't find it in the store. The quietest models are around 44 dB or lower.
Check to see how smoothly the racks slide out and whether or not they are adjustable. Racks that move up and down can make room for oversized items like pots or tall vases.
Another helpful feature are fold-down tines, which create space for serving bowls and casseroles. If you have any concerns about whether or not your dinner plates or a favorite platter will fit between the tines, bring them with you when you go shopping.
Increasingly, dishwashers are equipped with a third flat rack on top to hold flatware and tools. Some will even be deep enough for small bowls.
When to replace a dishwasher
Most brands will offer a one year warranty with a new dishwasher, however the National Association of Home Builders states that a dishwasher should last about nine years. You can buy an extended warranty, but we wouldn’t recommend it as it tends to cost as much, if not more, than any potential repairs.
If any repairs cost half as much as a new dishwasher, we recommend just replacing it. Likewise, if you start to notice rust or cracks forming, then it’s time to buy a new machine. If you notice any strange noises coming from your dishwasher, then that’s a sign that there’s a problem with your pump or motor. Other indicators that your dishwasher needs updating include: a broken door latch, failing to heat the water and water leaking onto the floor during the cycle.
The latest dishwasher models tend to be much more energy efficient. If you opt for one which is Energy Star certified, it will only cost about $35 a year to run, saving on overall water and energy consumption.
Features to look out for
The latest dishwashers come with built-in sensors which evaluate the dirtiness of the load and set the program accordingly. These can be described as Auto or Smart cycles. Sanitizing programs are more common as well, which will kill any lingering bacteria on your crockery. Half load or zone settings are also available which can focus the wash on either the upper or lower rack. This saves energy and water if you don’t need to clean a full load. Third racks are also very useful and are now becoming more widely available. These can be found above the upper rack and they essentially replace the cutlery basket, giving you more space for plates. Quiet running is also a useful option to have — with this you can easily have open conversations in the kitchen while a cycle is running.
Wi-Fi connectivity is becoming an expected feature with most premium models. Using this, you can connect your dishwasher to your smartphone to monitor and control it. You can even use voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant. Some models can self-diagnose faults and notify the manufacturer’s service center.
If you’ve noticed your dishwasher smells a bit musty, you might be interested to know that someone finally made a dishwasher that doesn’t get smelly. The new GE Profile Ultrafresh System Dishwasher features antibacterial properties and keeps itself clean between cycles. Essentially the main touch points are covered in an anti-bacterial coating and the dishwasher flushes itself through when it senses dirty water in the filter. This is an innovative design which would appeal to those who value cleanliness above all.
Dishwashers versus handwashing
It’s a common belief that dishwashers are less sustainable than handwashing, but it’s actually the other way around! Dishwashers use up to 10x less water compared to handwashing, although this depends on the cycle you choose and your model. It’s also much more hygienic to use the dishwasher as our hands naturally can’t stand the high temperatures that dishwashers can. On top of all of this, it saves you from the time and effort of handwashing, so why wouldn’t you use a dishwasher?
If you want to be as sustainable as possible, fill your dishwasher full before you run it, but don’t overload it. It’s important that there’s a gap between every dish and glass so the water can effectively flow through. Make sure that the fan can rotate freely and isn’t blocked by any tall trays. You can always raise the top rack if you’re struggling for space! There’s no need to rinse any plates before loading them either, you will just be wasting water. Try to use the best program for your load as well to avoid wasting energy and water — use the eco cycle if you have one.
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