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A modern kitchen

Best Dishwashers Under $500

These CR-tested dishwashers, which skimp on price but not performance, get the job done without a lot of fuss

The appliance aisle can be a challenging environment if your budget is less than $500 and you want a range, washer, or dryer that’s excellent at its job. But when it comes to dishwashers, you have a few more worthy options. The models featured here come in under this price and still aced the critical dishwasher tests in CR’s labs.

Although these budget picks are not top performers, they received an Excellent score at cleaning a full load of glasses and very dirty dishes scraped of leftover food but not rinsed. (Here’s why we recommend that you don’t rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.) Plastic items are among the most difficult to dry, but these dishwashers did an excellent job with them.

They are energy efficient when heating the water (using 4 to 5 gallons of water to wash a load), washing, and drying.

Remember, given the less-than-$500 price, the features on these dishwashers are basic—adjustable racks, soil sensors, and stainless steel tubs are not a given with these models. Wash times are generally long, and the machines are noisier than most models that score higher overall in our tests.

But if strong cleaning performance is what you’re after, these might be models to consider.

Have an opinion on how to load a dishwasher? Here’s what CR’s experts have to say.

How We Test Dishwashers

We test dishwashers year-round, spending 28 hours evaluating each dishwasher and identifying its features. 

Our testers load each dishwasher with 10 place settings of white-ceramic dishes with baked-on food, then run the load on the normal cycle (or its equivalent). When the cycle is complete, they use a photo-imaging machine to determine precisely how clean each dish is.

More on Dishwashers

In addition, a computer tracks the time it takes to run the load and measures water and energy use. 

“Dishwashers have a harder time drying than cleaning,” says Larry Ciufo, the engineer who oversees CR’s dishwasher tests. “Water gets trapped in recessed areas of dishes and glasses, and it doesn’t evaporate.” So we place plastic sippy cups on the top rack and run them through our test cycle.

Why plastic? It’s a more difficult challenge for the machine. Plastic doesn’t retain heat, like glass and ceramic do, so the water doesn’t evaporate as readily. The best dishwashers in our tests can dry plastic, and the worst will have you reaching for a dish towel after every load.

We also test for noise. Manufacturers average decibel readings over a dishwasher’s full cycle. But CR found that an average doesn’t capture how annoyingly loud a dishwasher can get at certain points in the cycle, such as when the food grinder kicks in. “We have a panel of judges who listen to each dishwasher, through its entire cycle,” says Ciufo, noting that some models take more than 3 hours to complete a cycle. 

A Dish Load of Brands

CR’s dishwasher ratings include more than 180 models from more than 30 brands. You’ll see familiar names such as Amana, Frigidaire, GE, Kenmore, LG, Maytag, Samsung, and Whirlpool. Ikea is there, too—and no, you don’t have to assemble the dishwasher yourself. And our experts review the three B’s—Beko, Bosch, and Blomberg.   

Manufacturers in the high-end price range include Asko, Bertazzoni, Bosch, Dacor, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, GE Profile, Jenn-Air, Kenmore Elite, KitchenAid, Miele, Scholtes, Smeg, Thermador, and Viking.

We work to keep up with brands that you’ll see in stores and online. That’s why we tested models from Equator, Fagor, Kucht, Summit, and Thor Kitchen.

Keep reading for the detailed test results for the best dishwashers under $500.

More choices. Check out our full dishwasher ratings and recommendations. Use the ratings filter to narrow your options by brand, price, overall score, and features. Click the Features & Specs tab to compare models. Plus find brand reliability information, too. 

And check our dishwashers buying guide for more information.

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.

Kenmore 13223 
Price: $460
Overall score: 78
Ranking: 50 (out of 184)
CR’s take: This Kenmore scored Excellent at cleaning, drying, and energy use. It takes more than 2 hours, 40 minutes to run a load, and even if you’re not in a rush, you’ll notice, because the machine is relatively noisy. This model used 4 gallons of water to clean a full load in our tests. The interior is stainless, which is unusual for a budget model. (Stainless tubs resist stains better than plastic ones.) There’s a soil sensor, which improves cleaning and efficiency by adjusting the cycle’s time and water use to the load’s soil level. You’ll need to clean the filter by hand regularly to avoid funky odors, but that takes only a few minutes. 

Kenmore 13473 
Price: $400
Overall score: 76
Ranking: 67
CR’s take: Here’s another model from Kenmore that aced cleaning, drying, and our energy-use tests. It also uses 4 gallons of water. It’s relatively noisy and also takes 2 hours, 40 minutes to do its job. The interior is plastic, and there’s a manual-clean filter. Not all models in this price range have a soil sensor, but this Kenmore does. You might like the clean look of the hidden controls, with a time-remaining display on the door. 

Whirlpool WDT720PADM
Price: $400
Overall score: 75
Ranking: 75
CR’s take: The quietest model of these four, this dishwasher excels at cleaning, drying, and energy efficiency. It uses just over 5 gallons of water. There’s a soil sensor, and it has hidden controls for a sleek look, with a time-remaining display on the front of the door. The tub is plastic, and the filter must be cleaned by hand. It takes 2 hours, 35 minutes to run a load.

Ikea Renlig IUD7555DS [288921]
Overall score: 66
Ranking: 121
CR’s take: Wash time is an impressive 115 minutes, and a soil sensor improves cleaning and efficiency. Cleaning, drying, and energy efficiency are superb. This machine used 5 gallons of water to clean our test load but is relatively noisy, and it has a plastic interior and manual-clean filter, which are typical in this price range.

Dishwashers in Our Ratings.
Current Dishwasher Ratings