Noisy dishwashers aren't a bother if your kitchen is separated from the rest of your living area. But that isn't the case with most homes today where open plans are the preferred configuration. That's why dishwasher manufacturers put a premium on quietness, a feature they tout loudly in their ads. At Consumer Reports we put two newly tested dishwashers side-by-side and recorded the noise. One washed with a whisper but the other was like that boring dinner guest who drones on and on never letting anyone else get a word in.
The two dishwashers are featured in our latest dishwasher tests. The quieter one scored some of the highest marks in our tests for noise—or lack thereof. The other made more of a racket but as loud as it was, there are others that are noisier still. In fact, the noisiest dishwashers we tested maxed out at about 70 decibels, about as loud as a typical vacuum cleaner.
Despite the din, there's no need to wear ear protection when you're cleaning up after dinner. Unlike the noise from outdoor gear, the sounds coming from the dishwasher are more of an annoyance than a threat to your hearing. As a rule, hearing protection is recommended once the noise level hits 85 decibels, the level at which gas-powered mowers, leaf blowers and generators typically operate.
Bosch has trumpeted its quiet dishwashers for years and they have proven to be on the quiet side in our tests. The Bosch SHX98M0UC, $1,550, scored excellent on our noise test and was also a champ at getting dishes clean and saving energy. But, as we reported recently, the top-rated Kenmore Elite 12783, $1,200, has overtaken another Bosch model in our dishwasher Ratings and also scored excellent for noise. KitchenAid too has cracked the quiet code with its KitchenAid KDFE454CSS, $1,500. Both the Kenmore and the KitchenAid were aces at getting dishes clean.
The noisiest dishwasher in our tests was the Amana ADB1000AWW. It also got mediocre marks for washing. On the plus side it's energy efficient and only costs $260. To check the noise level and performance of the 27 dishwashers recommended by Consumer Reports, check our dishwasher buying guide.