Faster cycles and an arsenal of grime-fighting features help the latest dishwashers handle surprise guests and impromptu parties. Consumer Reports' latest tests of more than 90 dishwashers show that some do their work much less noisily, a plus for open kitchens. But you can also pay a lot and get a middling machine. Here’s how to navigate the options:
Speedier cleaning. Most normal cycles take at least 125 minutes. At 85 minutes, the Blomberg DWT54100SS, $750, is among the fastest we’ve tested and just missed our recommended list. A better bet: the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7UC, which was quieter, took only 10 minutes longer and costs $20 less. You can also pay $2,700 for the Miele Futura Diamond G5975SCSF and get a 50-minute express cycle—though less-than-stellar washing.
Quieter running. Less noise ranks right up there with washing performance, space, and speed on shoppers’ wish lists. Most of our top dishwashers proved reasonably quiet in our sound-level tests. The top-rated Kenmore Elite 12793, $1,350, is one of five on our winners list that’s exceptionally quiet. It also aced our washing and energy tests and holds 12 place settings. And as with our other picks, you can load it before dessert and set it to start after the party’s over.
A better way with spray. The best dishwashers should free you from hand-scraping and prerinsing, which slurps up more than 4,000 gallons of water per household each year. The GE Profile PDT750SSFSS, $1,100, has water jets designed for bottles. It’s a top performer. But the side without the jets washed bottles almost as well in a similarly equipped model. We also tested the Storm Wash feature on the Samsung DW80F 800UWS, $800, which sprays extra water on heavily soiled items. It worked well, though a poor ranking in our reliability surveys helped keep that model out of our picks.
Our advice for after-party messes: Choose the $1,200 Kenmore Elite 12783, which washes impressively and has a jet-spray “turbo zone” that worked well. Or opt for the Kenmore Elite 12793, which has a motorized spray arm that keeps moving—and spraying—if something blocks its path.
For full Ratings and recommendations of scores of dishwashers see our dishwasher buying guide.