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5 dependable dishwashers for $400 or less

Washing is impressive but you may get fewer features

Published: February 04, 2014 03:00 PM

Frigidaire Gallery FGBD2432K[W]

For some of us, the extra benefits of paying the average $1,200 price for one of the dishwashers recommended by Consumer Reports aren't worth the extra money. What you get by paying more—lots of flexibility, quiet running, a stainless tub, and shorter cycles—doesn’t matter if you can’t afford more than, say, $400. With this in mind, here are a handful of dishwashers that aren’t perfect—they all lack a stainless interior and an adjustable upper rack— but they'll get your dishes clean and you can spend the extra money on something else.

Frigidaire Gallery FGBD2432K[W], $400
The best of the bunch, this Frigidaire was Very Good in our wash test, which uses a full load of very dirty items, and was energy-efficient and easy to operate. Where it fell short was in its middling scores for noise, but if you’re replacing a dishwasher that’s 10 or more years old, you might not find this one particularly loud. It has all-visible controls but lacks an adjustable upper rack and special flatware slots.

Can’t find this one? Consider these similar models, which should perform the same but may differ in features: the Frigidaire Gallery DGBD2432K, Frigidaire Gallery LGBD2432K (Lowe's), and Frigidaire Gallery BBBD2432K (Best Buy).

Maytag MDB4409PA[W]

Maytag MDB4409PA[W], $380
Washing, drying, and efficiency were impressive in this model, and you do get delayed start and ample flatware slots. What you don’t get are hidden controls (a matter of preference) and adjustable tines—helpful if you want to fit a larger item. Yet there’s a bonus: With a 115-minute normal cycle, this machine finishes more quickly than some tested models costing more than $1,600.

Frigidaire Gallery FGBD2434PF, $400
This Frigidaire also did fine in our wash test, and it was energy-efficient, too. For drying it was so-so, and it lacks flatware slots and adjustable tines as well as the adjustable upper rack. The Frigidaire Gallery FGBD2432K[W] and its similar models did better overall, but you could do worse for $400.

Amana ADB1100AWW

Amana ADB1100AWW, $300
Inexpensive models sometimes lack a soil sensor, which adjusts water and wash time to the turbidity of the water, but this Amana had Very Good washing in our tough tests despite having none. It was also efficient. What you give up for the price is fine drying, ease-of-use, and such features as delayed start, adjustable tines, and hidden controls. But while you might shudder at the plodding 160-minute time to run a normal cycle, note that five models in our tests that cost more than $1,000 took even longer.

Frigidaire Gallery FGBD2435N[W], $400
Although this Frigidaire scored the lowest overall of the five, it washed well and efficiently—and has a soil sensor. For flexibility, options include delayed start and adjustable tines. But none of the controls are hidden and the filter is self-cleaning. That means a bit more noise but no filter-cleaning to remember. You also get no flatware slots, just the usual basket.

Whatever price range you have in mind, you’ll find something to like in our Ratings of 228 dishwashers. Before heading out to the store, remember to look up our dishwasher buying guide.

—Ed Perratore

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