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A bargain dishwasher doesn't master the basics in our tests

Consumer Reports News: November 30, 2012 01:38 PM

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Anyone shopping for a dishwasher these days knows they typically don't come cheap. The 90 tested models in our Ratings sell at an average price of more than $950. True, some brands aim for value rather than dazzling performance, and a few such models might still perform decently. But pay too little, and you may be in for a big disappointment. That's the lesson of the Frigidaire FBD2400KS, at $310 almost the least expensive model we've tested.

One of three new models we've just added to our dishwasher Ratings, the FBD2400KS was exceptionally efficient in its energy and water use. Unless a dishwasher also washes well, though, that's hollow praise. Washing was only so-so; drying was worse. Even the least-expensive model we've tested, the $300 GE GLD2800V[WW], washed and dried better and offered more features, including a soil sensor.

Paying only $100 to $300 more for a Frigidaire gets you more machine, as we noted in our recent comparison of three mid-pack Frigidaires with different spray arms. Those models included some helpful features but, given the price, they didn't include a stainless tub, hidden controls, or flatware slots. Still, wash performance was impressive. The brand is no longer listed among the most repair-prone, according to new data from the Consumer Reports National Research Center's Annual Product Reliability Survey, but other brands such as Bosch, Miele, and Whirlpool have lower repair rates. On a tight budget? It's your call whether to play the odds.

The Kenmore 15693, the best of the newly tested models, cost $540 more than the Frigidaire FBD2400KS and narrowly missed making our list of picks; it includes a turbo cycle we found helpful. (The other model just tested is the $1,700 Dacor Renaissance RDW24S.) Before you shop, check out our buying guide, which includes a video on how we test.

Ed Perratore

   

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