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Best Dishwashers for $500 or Less

These CR-tested models skimp on price but not on performance

A partially opened dishwasher

It's getting tougher to find a reliable dishwasher that delivers top-notch cleaning if your budget is $500 or less. 

Dishwashers in this price range tend to come with basic features and have plastic tubs, which don't resist stains as well as stainless steel tubs do. Another element to consider? Consumer Reports' tests have found that these dishwashers are relatively noisy.

"But if strong cleaning performance is what you’re after, you can still find a dishwasher that might be right for you," says Larry Ciufo, who oversees CR's dishwasher tests.

MORE ON DISHWASHERS

The models featured below all come in under $500, and most earn an Excellent rating in our washing test, which tells you how well each model cleans a full load of glasses and very dirty dishes.

Most also score Excellent in our drying test, an evaluation of how well a model dries plastic containers. Why plastic? It's harder to dry than ceramic and glass because it doesn't retain heat, which helps the drying process. And water that remains on plastic doesn't evaporate as easily. 

Equally important, most of these dishwashers are from brands that rate Very Good or Excellent in predicted brand reliability, according to our survey of CR members.

Another plus? Even these budget models are energy-efficient.

Lab Tested for Your Home

We spend 28 hours evaluating each dishwasher in our lab. Our testers load each model with 10 place settings of white ceramic dishes with baked-on food, then run it on the normal cycle or its equivalent.

When the cycle is complete, we use a photo-imaging machine to determine precisely how clean each dish is. We also test how well each machine dries plastics, judge noise levels, and record cycle time and energy and water use.

Our dishwasher ratings include more than 100 models from over 20 brands. Models from Amana, Frigidaire, GE, LG, and Whirlpool are there, and so are Beko, Blomberg, and Bosch. We buy and test dishwashers from KitchenAid, Miele, Thermador, Viking, and other high-end brands to find out whether the priciest dishwashers are the best dishwashers. Before you check the ratings or shop, take a look at our dishwasher buying guide.

CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of four inexpensive dishwashers that earn a Very Good or Excellent in our washing test. Note that prices can change, of course, and models with a stainless finish are typically more expensive than white or bisque dishwashers.  

4 Impressive Dishwashers for $500 or Less

Top Picks

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