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The best dishwashers of 2018.

Best Dishwashers of 2018

CR rounds up the current standouts among the more than 130 models in our ratings

Manufacturers continue to add dishwasher features such as extra racks and WiFi connectivity. But as you stand at your sink before a stack of dirty dishes, a dishwasher that performs its primary job—getting dishes spotless—remains the top priority. 

The engineers at Consumer Reports keep that in mind, of course, during our tests. But we also keep an eye on consumer behavior. “Data we’ve seen shows that most consumers still prerinse their dishes before loading the dishwasher,” says Larry Ciufo, who oversees CR’s dishwasher tests.

Thing is, prerinsing your dishes is a waste. When you do, the soil sensor determines that the dishes aren’t so dirty. As a result, the machine uses less water and runs a shorter cycle, which can leave food stuck on your plates. (Find out why dirt gets your dishes really clean.)

“That’s why we’ve made our cleaning tests tougher by coating plates with baked-on food instead of food that’s somewhat easily rinsed off,” Ciufo says. 

How We Test Dishwashers
We spend 28 hours in the lab evaluating each dishwasher and identifying its features. Our testers load each model with 10 place settings of white ceramic dishes with that baked-on food, then run the load 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.

To make it easier for you to pick the best dishwasher for your budget, we now incorporate lab test results, predicted reliability, and owner satisfaction into a single Overall Score. That means everything you need to make your buying decision is all in one place in the dishwasher ratings chart.

Each of the 130-plus models in our dishwasher ratings has this new all-in-one rating. Here we feature four high-scoring dishwashers, at a variety of prices, that earned an Excellent in our cleaning tests.

See our dishwasher buying guide and full dishwasher ratings and recommendations for more details and options. 

1
Best Dishwasher for Under $500
Whirlpool WDF520PADM

Whirlpool WDF520PADM

CR’s take: Whirlpool stood out as one of the most reliable dishwasher brands in CR’s latest member survey, earning an Excellent rating for predicted reliability. That means that of the 20 brands in our ratings, Whirlpool is among the least likely to break within the first five years.

The Whirlpool WDF520PADM is similar to the Whirlpool WDF540PADM, $550, that we tested, so we expect it to perform similarly. Drying rated an Excellent, meaning this dishwasher can dry even plastic, which is more difficult to dry than glass and ceramic. That’s because plastic doesn’t retain heat, which contributes to the drying process, so water doesn’t evaporate as easily.

While not all models in this price range have a soil sensor, this Whirlpool does. It adjusts the cycle’s time and water use to the load’s soil level, improving efficiency. However, the dishwasher’s interior is plastic, which doesn’t resist stains as well as stainless. And like most dishwashers we tested, this Whirlpool has a filter that you need to clean regularly to prevent odors. See “Why Your Dishwasher Filter Makes a Difference” for details.

This dishwasher is available in white, black, and stainless. 

    2
    Best Dishwasher for Under $700
    Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR75UC

    Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR75UC

    CR’s take: Bosch also stands out as one of the most reliable dishwasher brands in our survey, and Bosch also rated an Excellent for owner satisfaction—one of only three brands in our survey that earned this distinction.

    The normal wash time for the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR75UC clocks in at 95 minutes, more than an hour faster than other models we tested in this price range.

    The controls are on the top edge of the door and hidden when the door is closed. A stainless interior resists stains better than plastic, and the Bosch’s interior is mostly stainless, with a plastic bottom. There’s a soil sensor and an adjustable upper rack, but you’ll have to clean the filter by hand. 

    This dishwasher is available in stainless.

      3
      Best Dishwasher for $800 or Less
      Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N

      Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N

      CR’s take: The Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N rated a Very Good in our Noise tests, meaning you’ll hear the dishwasher from about 2 feet away, not from across the room.

      Manufacturers state a dishwasher’s noise level in decibels, averaging the noise over the dishwasher’s full cycle. “But an average doesn’t capture the reality of the loudest sounds, which is what you remember most,” CR’s Ciufo says. “Instead, our panel of judges listen to each dishwasher through its entire cycle, even if it takes several hours, and note any loud or annoying noises and sounds.” Our noise rating takes this into account.

      This dishwasher has a recessed handle; with the bar handle gone, this Bosch will blend in with kitchen appliances from other brands. There’s an adjustable upper rack that moves up or down to accommodate large and odd-sized items, and a manual-clean filter. A third-level rack allows you to spread out spatulas, whisks, and other hard-to-clean items, so you don’t have to cram them into the utensil baskets.

      This Bosch is available in stainless, white, and black.

        4
        Best Dishwasher for $900 or More
        Kenmore Elite 14793

        Kenmore Elite 14793

        CR’s take: Kenmore garnered a Very Good rating for predicted reliability, which tells you that while it’s not as reliable as Bosch, Thermador, and Whirlpool, according to our member survey, it is more reliable than 13 other brands.

        The controls on the Kenmore Elite 14793 are hidden on the top edge of the door for a look that’s understated and stylish. The interior is stainless and features an adjustable upper rack, and a self-cleaning filter.

        Despite the price, this dishwasher earned only a Good in our drying tests—but this is also true for a majority of dishwashers in this price range. To boost drying performance, read about the top reasons your dishwasher isn’t drying.

        In this price range you’ll see models from Bosch, KitchenAid, Miele, Viking, and more. Be sure to check their reliability and owner satisfaction before swiping your credit card. Viking, for example, is among the least reliable in our ratings, and owners were not very satisfied. The dishwasher ratings tell the full story.

        This Kenmore is available in stainless, white, and black.

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          Kimberly Janeway

          For years I've covered the increasing water and energy efficiency of washers and what it means to consumers, along with innovations in a variety of products, and whether manufacturers deliver on their promises. What I'm really trying to do is to help consumers, and consumers help me by posting comments and posing questions. So thanks!