Product Reviews
Take Action

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

How manufacturers make dishwashers so quiet

Manual-clean filters replace noisy self-cleaning filters

Published: February 10, 2014 02:30 PM

Manual-clean dishwasher filter

Shop for a low-cost dishwasher today, and the model you choose will probably have a filter—the component in the bottom of the tub that catches food bits so they won’t adhere to clean dishes. The filter cleans itself. But pay $700 or more, and you’ll have to periodically clean the filter yourself. Why pay more to do extra maintenance? There’s a very good reason.

Self-cleaning filters don’t need your attention because they have a grinder, often called a macerator, which pulverizes the debris into small bits that easily go down the drain. While you might find this convenient, that chopping adds to the noise. And if you haven't bought a dishwasher in the last 10 years or so, you’ll find even the middle range of models are far quieter than what you had before. And some pricier models are so quiet you might need an indicator light to know they’re running.

Besides being quieter, though, there’s another advantage to today’s manual-clean filters. With their newer, more innovative designs, today’s manual-clean filters don’t need cleaning quite as often. Check the owner's manual to see what’s recommended.

But while the newer filters need less attention, you should still inspect them often. Whenever you pull out the bottom rack to remove items, in fact, a quick spot-check is a good habit. Neglect the filter long enough, and you might notice odors from the grungy buildup. You might also notice diminished performance from reduced water flow.

Shopping for a dishwasher? Check out our buying guide before hitting our Ratings of 228 dishwashers, topped by such models as the Kenmore Elite 12793, $1,350, and the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7[5]UC, $730. There’s also a short video, below, about our tough dishwasher tests.

—Ed Perratore

Find Ratings

Dishwashers Ratings

View and compare all Dishwashers ratings.

Dishwasher detergents Ratings

View and compare all Dishwasher detergents ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Appliances News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more