With its top-notch washing and efficient and quiet operation, the Kenmore Elite 12793, $1,350, was Consumer Reports’ reigning dishwasher champ for more than a year. Now a new model, the KitchenAid KDTM354DSS, $1,200, has claimed the top spot because of its shorter cycle time and a new self-cleaning feature that does away with the noisy grinding commom to most self-cleaning machines.
To reduce noise, all but the least expensive dishwashers have been trending toward manual-clean filters, which need occasional cleaning since they don’t have the macerator (essentially a grinder) found in dishwashers with self-cleaning filters. The KitchenAid KDTM354DSS, however, has a self-cleaning, ultrafine filter that removes food particles throughout the cycle without all that grinding. Still, the KitchenAid was a bit less quiet than the Kenmore Elite 12793, which has a manual-clean filter.
But what helped the KitchenAid KDTM354DSS squeak by the Kenmore was its 125-minute normal cycle. You might not think 2 hours and 5 minutes is short for a dishwasher cycle. We sure don’t. But the KitchenAid’s time still beat the Kenmore’s by 20 minutes. Also in the KitchenAid‘s plus column is superior drying of plastic items, typically the hardest to thoroughly dry. Otherwise the two dishwashers were mostly a match and we still appreciate the Kenmore’s motorized spray arm that reverses direction if blocked by something inside.
Not everyone can spend upwards of $1,000 on a dishwasher. Our dishwasher Ratings of almost 190 models include more than 40 recommend dishwashers, including the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7UC, a CR Best Buy at $730. That model’s normal cycle is a half-hour shorter than the KitchenAid’s. But the best dishwashers have more than speed to recommend them. See our dishwasher buying guide before you start shopping.
—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)