Dishwasher Buying Guide
Join the Clean Plate Club

In Consumer Reports’ tests we ask more of a dishwasher than you probably ever will. We fully load a dishwasher with 10 place settings, and some are slathered with baked-on foods. Then they’re washed using the normal cycle, or one that’s equivalent. We record cycle time, judge how noisy each machine is, and assess how well the plastics dried.  

Tougher rules have slashed the amount of energy and water dishwashers can use and still get the federal government’s Energy Star seal. Dishwashers that qualify for the Energy Star designation may earn you a rebate from your utility company. Below, get a load of your dishwasher options.

Name Your Price

Aside from how they perform in our tests, dishwashers differ in type, features, and, of course, cost. On the lower end, dishwashers are $250 to $400. Midpriced models cost $600 to $900, and high-end models can be well over $1,000. 

Dishwashers Under $500
Although they aren’t the top performers in our tests, you can still get a dishwasher that’s water-efficient and excellent at cleaning. So what’s the catch? The features are basic, and wash times are long for most. And the machines may be noisier than pricier dishwashers. 

Dishwashers for $600 to $900 
You can get a quieter machine, superb cleaning, and convenient features that might make it worth spending a bit more, such as adjustable racks and flexible flatware slots, along with a stainless tub, which tends to resist stains better than plastic. A soil sensor can improve cleaning and water efficiency by adjusting the cycle time and amount of wash water to the load’s soil level.

Dishwashers for $1,000 or More 
The styling changes, and the dishwashers are fully loaded. You no longer have to choose between useful features. Innovative features—such as special wash zones for heavily soiled items, and WiFi connectivity—are added. Major manufacturers in this price range include Asko, Bosch, Kenmore Elite, KitchenAid, Miele, and Thermador. You’ll see these brands in our dishwasher ratings, along with higher-end models from Bertazzoni, Dacor, Electrolux, GE Profile, and Smeg. 

Dishwasher Drawers
For new construction or a complete kitchen renovation, you might consider dishwasher drawers. They typically include two small, stacked drawers that you can use simultaneously or separately. But they’re expensive, and models we tested haven’t performed as well overall as most conventional dishwashers. Capacity is relatively small, limiting how much you can wash at once. 

Before You Shop

See “5 Things to Know When Replacing a Dishwasher,” and consider the following tips: 

Note the Dimensions
The width and depth of every conventional dishwasher is intended for a cavity measuring 24x24 inches. Fitting in your new dishwasher could be a challenge if you’ve tiled the floor or redone your counters, changing the height of the cavity. Before deciding on a new dishwasher, measure your space and ask the retailer for the full height range (and don’t forget to account for adjustment of the leveling feet).

Clean Dishes Are the Priority 
All the dishwashers in our ratings clean well enough for you to skip the prerinse before loading. Prerinsing does not mean your dishes come out cleaner. That’s because most dishwashers costing $500 or more have a sensor that determines how thorough a wash is needed. At the initial rinse cycle, the sensor checks how dirty the water is to determine the right amount of time and water needed to get everything clean. New models without a sensor use the same amount of water whether you’re washing a lightly or heavily soiled load. 

Check the Controls
Some dishwashers include interactive touch controls, but the usual touchpads are fine if they’re clearly marked. If controls are invisible when the dishwasher door is closed, look for cycle-time and other visible displays. Many with hidden controls display a light or other indicator to tell you the dishwasher is running, a plus for extra-quiet models. 

Interactive Video Buying Guide

Watch our interactive video below. You can skip to chapters about types, performance, style, features, and tips.

Find the Best Features

When shopping, look for features that can save you time, money, and effort.

Brands

A premium brand, Asko makes dishwashers that are distributed by the Sub-Zero and Wolf distributor/dealer network.
This European brand makes dishwashers in the higher end of the market. One of its claims is that its dishwashers are among the quietest.
This brand is sold mostly at big-box stores, independent appliance stores, and other national retailers for $300 to $800; the company also makes the Frigidaire Gallery and Frigidaire Professional lines. Frigidaire is owned by Electrolux.
This company is the second-biggest dishwasher brand and has four lines: GE, GE Profile, GE Café, and GE Monogram. Prices range from about $300 for a basic GE model to $1,400 for a GE Monogram product. The GE Café line offers professional-style models at lower prices than the GE Monogram series.
Kenmore, the largest dishwasher brand in this country, has three lines: Kenmore, Kenmore Elite, and Kenmore Pro. Prices range from approximately $300 for a basic Kenmore model to $1,600 for the double-drawer dishwasher.
This high-end brand positions itself as a maker of dishwashers loaded with features geared toward homeowners with gourmet kitchens. It's sold through independent dealers.
A Whirlpool-owned brand, Maytag makes dishwashers in the midpriced range.
This European brand, like Asko, makes dishwashers that generally excel in energy efficiency but come at a premium cost.

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