New models clean well, but cycle time is long

Last reviewed: August 2010

Most of the 53 dishwashers in this report did at least a very good washing job in our tests even as federal efficiency standards have become stricter. One downside of using less water is that dishwasher cycles are longer, with some models needing 3 hours for a normal cycle.

We put each dishwasher through a tough challenge, using a heavily soiled 113-piece load to test cleaning prowess. Models that are able to handle that messy melange should shine on your less-demanding loads. Here are some other details from our latest testing:

Efficiency gains can hamper cleaning

The Electrolux Wave-Touch EWDW6505G, $1,200, has been revised since we last tested it, we believe to meet the federal government's stricter energy-efficiency standards. The EWDW6505G used about 3 fewer gallons of water per load in our tough test (around 6.5 gallons total), but its washing performance fell from Excellent to Very Good.

Steam isn't all that hot

We tested four steam-equipped dishwashers. Models that scored highly for washing did about the same in steam mode, though steam did improve the cleaning of dishwashers with lower scores in that area. Steam caused water consumption and energy use to soar by more than a third on average.

Dishwasher drawers disappoint

Dual-compartment dishwasher drawers offer convenience and style. But several of the tested dishwasher drawers didn't clean as well as and used more energy and water than conventional models. The Fisher & Paykel DD24DCTW6, $1,000, excels at washing but is from a repair-prone brand.

One filter reveals flaw

The seeds from the raspberry preserves we used on our dirty dishes sometimes made it through the manual filter on the Asko D5233XXL, $1,500. The seeds often clogged the spray-arm nozzles, degrading cleaning performance.