Dishwashers can make your life so much easier. Stuff the dishes in, turn the dishwasher on, and the dishes come out squeaky clean. The best dishwasher can make this process easy, holding lots of dishes and washing them all effectively without breaking anything, with the dishes placed so it's easy to take them all out again.
The best dishwashers combine effective cleaning with features that allow you to wash dishes large and small and to sterilize bottles for young children while still cleaning delicate glassware with care.
Our top pick for the best dishwasher is the Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N, a $750 model that offers a great selection of features, such as a third rack for cutlery and excellent cleaning performance. Our best pick for budget dishwashers is the under-$400 Whirlpool WDF520PADM, which offers good cleaning performance and a sanitize cycle that sterilizes dishes with hot water.
New JennAir smart dishwashers work with an app that allows you to control them remotely so you can start your dishwasher from the office or the car. The app also allows you to contact the JennAir call center to diagnose problems or arrange for service calls.
Bosch is introducing two new drying features to its dishwashers. The 800 Series dishwasher will get CrystalDry, which convert moisture into heat of up to 176 degrees, while the 500 Series will get AutoAir, which will automatically open the dishwasher door slightly after the final drying cycle to release moisture and circulate fresh air.
Shopping for other appliances? Be sure to check out our top picks:
1. Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N
Best dishwasher overall
Type: Built-in, top control | Racks: 3 | Noise: 44 dB | Place Settings: 16 | Energy Use: 269 kWH | Features: Auto, Sensor Wash | App Control: No
The Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N is the best dishwasher overall, because it has it all at a reasonable price: top cleaning performance, adjustable racks, and plenty of space for plates and dishes. Reviewers found that it had excellent cleaning performance, removing burnt-on stains and other food while never depositing it back on the other dishes. The removed food is held in a filter at the bottom of the dishwasher and then sluiced out when the wash is complete.
A rare feature at this price is a third rack. This thin rack slides into the top of the dishwasher and holds cutlery, small dishes and other items. The washer fires jets of water at this rack from the sides to give knives and forks a good cleaning.
Some reviewers noted that because of the arrangement of the tines (the rods that stick up and hold plates in place), you can't fit in larger dishes or saucepans. The racks are adjustable but can be awkward to lift up and down. If the top-control, stainless-steel design of this model doesn't appeal to you, don't worry: Bosch offers a number of similar models with different styles of handles and control locations.
2. KitchenAid KDTM354DSS
An older, but still very good dishwasher.
Type: Built-in, top control | Racks: 2 | Noise: 43 dB | Place Settings: 15 | Energy Use: 260 kWH | Features: ProDry, ProScrub, Sani Rinse, Top Rack Wash | App Control: No
The KitchenAid KDTM354DSS is an argument for patience. It's an older model that was first launched in 2014, but the upside is that the price has been falling ever since. Now that this formerly high-end, expensive dishwasher is much more reasonably priced, we see it as another top pick.
The KDTM354DSS has two racks and a silverware basket that clips into the top of the dishwasher interior. Some of the tines on each rack can be folded down to offer extra space for large dishes, although not all of the tines on the bottom rack fold down. Along with the usual spray arm under the bottom rack, an additional sprayer at the rear of the dishwasher (KitchenAid calls this ProWash) provides extra cleaning power for tough messes.
The reviewers found that this dishwasher had excellent cleaning performance, although the bottom rack was the place for really dirty dishes. Some more heavily stained dishes on the top rack were not cleaned as effectively. But as long as you put the really icky stuff on the bottom rack, this machine is excellent at cleaning dishes.
3. Whirlpool WDF520PADM
The best dishwasher for those on a budget
Type: Built-in, front control | Racks: 2 | Noise: 55 dB | Place Settings: 14 | Energy Use: 260 kWH | Features: NSF Certified Sanitize, Delay Start | App Control: No
The Whirlpool WDF520PADM has everything you need and nothing you don't, all at the right price. Available for just under $400, this dishwasher offers very good cleaning performance, stylish looks and little else. There is no third rack, no fancy cleaning cycle and no sterilize feature.
While the WDF520PADM may not have many bells and whistles, it has power where it counts, with the reviewers finding that it did a very good job of removing gunk from dishes. It's not a top scorer, though; the dishwasher failed to fully remove dried-on spinach from some plates, and it redeposited some on other plates. Reviewers also noted that larger dishes could block the rotating spray arm if the dishes weren't put in place at an angle.
The two racks did slide in and out easily, but the tines are not movable, so larger dishes can be difficult to place. That does mean that the racks can hold a good number of plates and bowls, though.
This dishwasher isn't the best at anything. Other models clean better, hold more dishes and are generally better overall. But those machines are twice as expensive, and the WDF520PADM offers great value for money.
4. Whirlpool WDF330PAHW
Another great bargain dishwasher
Type: Built-in, front control | Racks: 2 | Noise: 55 dB | Place Settings: 13 | Energy Use: 270 kWH | Features: Pots and Pans, Quick Wash | App Control: No
Another great option for the budget buyer is the Whirlpool WDF330PAHW, which is available for under $400. It's another no-frills dishwasher that has decent performance for the price but no fancy features.
This machine has two racks with fixed tines and a cutlery basket that sits at the front of the bottom rack, making the basket easy to load and unload. You can also place the cutlery container at the side of the rack, which is useful if you habitually put just one more dish in before you start a load. The front of the dishwasher is white, although a stainless steel option is also available. The few, simple controls are located around the handle.
5. Samsung DW80R9950US/AA
Best dishwasher for large families
Type: Built-in, top control | Racks: 3 | Noise: 39 dB | Place Settings: 15 | Energy Use: 239 kWH | Features: Sanitize, Half Load
If you have a houseful to clean up after, the large Samsung DW80R9990US/AA with three racks is our top pick for you. Reviewed.com found that this model could get rid of over 99% of stuck-on stains which most dishwashers won't be able to shift and it has extremely high user ratings. A Zone Booster lets you direct water jets to the lower left side of the washer for truly difficult to remove messes.
This dishwasher has three racks, including a top rack for cutlery and small dishes which has an adjustable section for oversized utensil like ladles and whisks. You also have the option of lowering or raising it to either accommodate tall items on the rack below or make space for bulkier tools on the top rack itself. At the end of a cycle, the door automatically opens to circulate air for better drying performance.
All of these features come at a price. At more than $1000, the Samsung is one of the most expensive of our picks. But it has the performance to justify the price, and features like the third rack will be worth it if you wash a lot of dishes and cutlery all the time.
6. LG LDF5545ST
The best budget dishwasher for large families
Type: Built-in, front control | Racks: 2 | Noise: 48 dB | Place Settings: 15 | Energy Use: 258 kWH | Features: Half Load, Pots and Pans, Rinse and Hold, Sanitize | App Control: No
Flexibility is the key with the LG LDF5545ST. This dishwasher has the same QuadWash technology as more-expensive LG models, in which four wash arms spray water in a variety of directions for more-effective washing. Although the machine has only two racks, both include fold-down tines to make it easier to put in large dishes. The top rack can also be lifted and lowered to fit larger dishes.
This LG washer also has excellent cleaning performance, with the QuadWash making a significant difference in removing stubborn gunk from dishes on the bottom rack.
The LDF5545ST isn't perfect, though. According to the reviewers, it is a little noisier when washing than more-expensive models, and it doesn't always completely dry the dishes, unless you use the Extra Dry option. This machine also lacks the Wi-Fi–connected features of LG's LDP6797ST (another one of our top picks), so you can't monitor this washer from the couch.
7. Bosch 800-Series SHPM98W75N
Type: Built-in, front control | Racks: 3 | Noise: 39 dB | Place Settings: 16 | Energy Use: 269 kWH | Features: MyWay Rack, AquaStop | App Control: Yes
Shh! Hear that? No? Neither do I, because the Bosch 800-Series SHPM98W75N is running. Bosch claims that this machine is the quietest dishwasher brand, and this model in the company's 800 Series would seem to back up that ambitious claim.
The reviewers praised the quiet running of this premium model, which made barely a whisper while water was sloshing around inside. The noise numbers are very close between this and the Samsung DW80M9960US, but the Bosch seems quieter, making no more than a slight distant whooshing when in use.
The top rack, which Bosch calls the MyWay rack, offers a number of lowered areas where you can put larger items, like soup spoons, potato mashers and the like, away from the plates below. This means that they stand a better chance of getting clean. You can also monitor this dishwasher using a smartphone app, and a feature called AquaStop will automatically drain the water if the feature detects a leak.
The SHPM98W75N is also a very efficient dishwasher. Reviewed.com found that a similar model used just 2 gallons of water when running a normal wash and just under 4 gallons on a heavy-duty wash. That's an incredibly small amount of water. If you pay a lot for your water, or have only a limited source, this could be an important factor.
8. LG LDP6797ST
Best smart dishwasher
Type: Built-in, top control | Racks: 3 | Noise: 44 dB | Place Settings: 15 | Energy Use: 258 kWH | Features: SmartThinQ | App Control: Yes
Looking for the smartest dishwasher on the block? The LG LDP6797ST has brains to spare, as it comes with a Wi-Fi connection. Pair this with the LG SmartThinQ app, and you can monitor the wash from your smartphone, getting an estimate of how long is left and a notification when the wash is done. That is, perhaps, a good thing, as some users commented on the long cycle times of this dishwasher.
In addition to the smarts, the LDP6797ST has three racks, with the top rack meant for cutlery. You can adjust the middle rack, moving them up and down to accommodate different-size dishes. The LDP6797ST also comes with LG's QuadWash system, with four spinning spray arms to aim more water at the dishes. The reviewers found that this system easily cut through baked-on cheese and maple syrup.
9. SPT SD-2213
Best countertop dishwasher
Type: Countertop, front controls | Racks: 1 | Noise: 55 dB | Place Settings: 6 | Energy Use: 203 kWH | Features: Heavy, Normal, Eco, Glass, Speed | App Controls: No
Don't have the space for a full-size dishwasher? Or do you live alone and use just a few dishes? A countertop dishwasher may be solution, as these smaller dishwashers sit on your counter rather than under it. Our top pick for this type of dishwasher is the Suncom SPT SD-2213, a cheap dishwasher that offers only basic features.
This machine has a single rack for your dishes and can hold only about half as many dishes as a full-size model. The small size also means that this washer won't hold pots and pans. But if you order takeout a lot and just need a small dishwasher to clean your plates and cutlery, this is a great pick.
How we picked
We spent 50 hours researching the best dishwashers, looking at products ranging from the cheap to the expensive and for families large and small. To make our picks, we looked at the reviews on Reviewed.com, Consumer Reports, CNet, Good Housekeeping and many other sites.
We also looked at the top sellers and reviews on sites such as Best Buy and Home Depot. Looking at all of these sources, we chose these dishwashers on the basis of price, features, performance and other factors.
5 things to look for when buying a dishwasher
Most dishwashers are built-in models, which means that they are designed to fit in a space, called the cutout, under the countertop alongside your cabinets. These dishwashers are usually a standard size (about 24 inches wide and deep and 35 inches high), but make sure that you check both the dishwasher size and the cutout space before you buy a model.
Other dishwashers are the stand-alone or portabletype, which are designed for temporary installation. These clip on to your faucet and drain into your sink. If you are short on space, a countertop or work-top model might work for you. These sit on your countertop but can be permanently plumbed in and connected. They offer only a single rack, though, so you can't fit as many dishes into them. If you are single, that might be an acceptable compromise.
Many dishwashers include a device called a turbidity sensor, which detects food from your dishes in the rinse water. These models can detect when your dishes are clean: If the water is clean, all of the dirt and food has been removed. These washers are preferable as they are more efficient and can wash lightly soiled dishes quicker.
A noisy dishwasher can be very distracting, so look for quiet models. Most models come with a noise rating, indicating the amount of sound they produced in testing. The lower this number (in decibels), the quieter they are. However, remember that dishwashers have to be properly installed to be quiet, with the noise dampening that covers them in place and not squashed or creased.
It's rather difficult to measure how many dishes a dishwasher can hold, as this depends on the type of dishes you put in the machine. Most manufacturers offer a number that indicates how many place settings can fit inside, each composed of a dinner plate, dessert plate, glass, soup bowl, tea cup and saucer, and cutlery. A large dishwasher may hold 15 place settings, while a compact dishwasher may hold seven or eight.
However, that isn't a very useful measure (unless you live in Downton Abbey), as it doesn't include larger dishes, casserole bowls or other cooking devices that real people put in dishwashers. Instead, the better way to think about capacity is to look at the number of dishes you typically put into a dishwasher and think about how they might fit into the washer models you are considering.
All dishwashers hold dishes using racks, which slide out when you're loading and unloading. It's important to find out how easy these racks are to slide out when the machine is fully loaded, as well as whether they are adjustable. With a good dishwasher, you can move the racks up and down a bit to accommodate larger dishes.
Another helpful feature is adjustable tines, the bits of the rack that pike up and hold the dishes in place. Some dishwashers have fold-down tines, which makes it easier to put in larger bowls and dishes. If the tines are fixed, this can make it difficult to get these larger dishes in place.