How To Choose a Dishwasher
The top performers in our review are the GE Profile PDT750SSFSS, the Gold Award winner; LG Studio LSDF9962ST, the Silver Award winner; and Electrolux IQ-Touch EI24ID50QS, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a machine to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 dishwashers.
While they're not absolute essentials, dishwashers are convenient and they save you valuable time and effort in the kitchen. Instead of washing and drying each item individually, you simply spend a small amount of time loading and unloading, while the dishwasher does the bulk of the work for you. Choosing the right model and keeping it well maintained also ensures that your kitchenware is hygienically clean. Lastly, studies show that using a dishwasher, contrary to popular belief, actually saves water and energy, providing you opt for an energy-efficient model and use it properly. Lowered water and energy consumption helps to lower your home's carbon footprint and allows you to run a greener home. Even if you're not overly concerned about lessening your environmental impact, choosing an energy-efficient dishwasher is still a good investment, as it helps you save money by reducing the cost of your utility bills because of your lessened use of water and power.
There's a range of models to choose from, including tabletop, freestanding and integrated, and you also need to decide on which interior you prefer. Other key considerations include the efficiency, load flexibility and user-friendly features. Remember to consider the type and quality of the warranty and customer support. The best dishwashers feature adjustable racks, multiple arms, energy-saving features and multiple cycle options, providing a high degree of versatility and user control.
To cut down on energy use in your kitchen even more, you can complement your dishwasher with energy-efficient induction cooktops, side-by-side refrigerators and washing machines. These special appliances allow you to improve the overall efficiency and versatility of your kitchen, while reducing your energy consumption. To further save and go even greener, you can select from a range of small smart appliances, including microwaves, slow cookers and coffee makers.
How It All Works
With so many options out there, having a full understanding of the key considerations in our dishwasher reviews enables you to make an informed purchasing decision and get the dishwasher that best suits your needs and lifestyle.
One of the vital considerations is how energy efficient the dishwasher is. That concept refers to how much water and energy the appliance consumes. For consumers who want to save money and do their bit to help save the planet, the best dishwashers are those that are ENERGY STAR qualified. While older models may consume vast amounts of energy and use excessive amounts of water, good quality modern models do not. In fact, the study conducted by the Energy Saving Trust shows that, on average, an energy-efficient dishwasher set on an eco-cycle uses only a third of the water you use when washing up in a sink. It also consumes less energy, as you are heating a comparatively small amount of water when running a dishwasher than when you must heat a full tank of water to manually wash up. When making your decision, be sure to look at the estimated yearly running costs too, as this gives you a good idea of how much the machine will cost and save you every year.
Cleaning options have a significant impact on how well-suited a particular dishwasher is to your kitchen. The more cycles to choose from, the greater control you have over your appliance. Models with specific wash zones provide a targeted area for heavily soiled kitchenware with a cycle designed to remove tough debris particles. Some dishwashers have a small-load option or a top-rack only setting, allowing you to run a shorter cycle that targets the top rack when you need to wash a small load.
Dishwashers that meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards ensure your pots and pans are hygienically clean, providing you keep the appliance in good working order. An eco-friendly wash cycle provides an economic option that uses less water and less energy, as does a quick cycle, which is suitable for thoroughly cleaning lightly soiled loads. If you have a lot of fine dinnerware, such as bone china, a dishwasher with a delicate cycle is a must. Choosing a model with a steam cycle is a good option for heavily soiled items. The presence of a rinse-only cycle allows you to lightly rinse dishes if you don't plan on running a full cycle immediately.
Drying choices include the use of a heating element, which dries items quickly but consumes more power. An air-dry option allows dishes to dry naturally, which lowers energy consumption. Fan drying works in tandem with heat and air-dry cycles to speed up the drying process and, when used with a heated dry option, shortens the cycles, lowering power usage.
In our dishwasher reviews, load flexibility refers to the ease of use and flexibility of each model. The number of place settings is a key consideration, as it essentially determines how frequently you run your dishwasher and, if you have a large family, a small place setting capacity may not provide enough space to load a full quota of dinnerware and kitchenware after a single meal. Some full-sized dishwashers hold up to 16 place settings, whereas slimline dishwashers, tabletop or apartment-sized dishwashers can hold as few as four. The majority of dishwashers in our review have two racks, but some have a third rack, primarily for silverware and cutlery, freeing up more space on other racks to help you to make the most of the available interior space. Adjustable racks and folding tines make the dishwasher much more flexible and versatile, as you can essentially alter the position of the racks and tines to accommodate large, bulky or odd-shaped items.
Sound Level & Design
The design and dimensions of a dishwasher should have a major influence on your purchasing decision. How much noise it makes during a cycle is particularly important if you want to run it overnight when energy tariffs are typically cheaper. The quietest dishwashers peak at 40 decibels, while the noisiest reach 50. The more spray arms a dishwasher has, the more cleaning potential it has, as more spray arms means better water and detergent coverage. Our top-rated dishwashers have three arms, while other noteworthy models in the lineup have two. All dishwashers have filters. However, choosing one with a self-cleaning model reduces the amount of maintenance the appliance requires.
The type of interior is an important consideration, as it impacts how noisy the appliance is during a cycle, the inner temperature and the strength of the interior. Models with a stainless-steel tub are a better choice than plastic, as they can withstand higher temperatures without the risk of warping, and they retain heat better, making them more energy efficient. Additionally, where noise is a factor, stainless-steel models are quieter.
Dishwashers have either a recessed handle or a bar-style handle. Bar handles offer easy access, but they stick out, which isn't ideal where space is at a premium. Recessed handles aren't quite as convenient but they don't stick out, making them a better option for small kitchens and, because they don't have a protruding bar, they provide a cleaner, sleeker appearance.
Overall size plays a key role in your purchasing decision. You need to accurately measure the available space, taking into account height, width and depth to ensure you choose a model that fits neatly into the allotted space.
While the color or finish of the dishwasher isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, if you want an appliance that complements the rest of your appliances and the style of your kitchen, it's something that you can consider. Options in our top-rated dishwasher lineup include black, white, slate and brushed or bright stainless steel.
Warranty & Support
When you make a large purchase like a dishwasher, it's important you understand the warranty and support terms. While new appliances should require very little repair and maintenance, there's always the chance that something will go wrong. While some models have a standard warranty that covers everything, many have different warranties on different elements, including a labor warranty that covers labor costs during its lifetime, a part warranty, a rack and electronic warranty, and a tub and door liner warranty. Whether the warranty is a general one or covers individual parts and components, the longer it lasts, the better.
Good customer support is crucial as, if something goes wrong, you will need help troubleshooting or product-related advice. This means the manufacturer should be your first port of call. While you can contact many manufacturers via phone and email, others also offer a live-chat service.
How You Pay
While the dishwasher itself is a one-off purchase, there are a number of ongoing running costs, and it's vital to take these into account. Among the most obvious is the yearly energy cost, which should be a key influencer in your decision-making process. The lower the average yearly running cost the better, as it means you'll pay less and lower your energy consumption levels.
Dishwashing detergent is a crucial ongoing cost. Prices, quality and effectiveness all vary widely. Unless you purchase detergent with rinse aid already in it, you'll need to buy this separately to ensure your items are rinsed properly and don't have a dull finish.
To get scale- and film-free kitchenware from your dishwasher, you need dishwasher salt. This particular type of crystalline sodium chloride softens water and boosts the efficiency of a dishwasher's built-in water softener to prevent limescale buildup on your washed items. It also helps to provide a streak-free finish on your items without watermarks or spotting.
Outside of the warranty, you may also incur maintenance and repair costs. You can potentially reduce these costs by making sure the appliance is insured.
Which Type Is Right for You?
Dishwashers, like all other kitchen appliances, take up valuable space. Full-size, freestanding and built in dishwasher models are large and bulky, even if you opt for a slimline model. However, if your kitchen is particularly small and the under-counter space is at a premium, you can still find a dishwasher that meets your needs. Apartment-sized dishwashers and tabletop dishwashers make a great choice in these circumstances. Obviously, they have considerably less capacity, some with only space for four place settings, but they make a good choice for single people and small families.
A small dishwasher still provides all the benefits of large models, including energy efficiency, lower utility bills and saving you valuable time. Full-sized dishwashers have a larger capacity and work well in larger kitchens with enough under-counter space. For homes with a utility room, it's possible to move appliances, such as tumble dryers and washing machines, to make way for a dishwasher in the kitchen.
Choosing the Right Detergent
Choosing the right dishwashing detergent and using it correctly plays a significant role in how well your dishwasher performs. Firstly, make sure you choose a detergent designed specifically for automatic dishwashers. Don't be tempted to use standard washing liquid or laundry detergent, as performance will suffer, items won't be as clean and you can damage your machine and your dinnerware. You can also flood your kitchen by using anything other than automatic dishwasher detergent.
You can choose from liquid, powder, gel capsules or tablet detergents. Some offer antibacterial properties, while others are a two-in-one variety with detergent and rinse aid, so you need only buy the one product. For the best results, whichever detergent you opt for, store it in a dark, dry place. If it gets damp, it won't clean as effectively and can damage your items.
Follow the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure you use the correct amount of detergent. Soft water and lower temperatures generally require more detergent, while hard water and high temperatures clean effectively with less detergent. However, if you're running an eco-friendly cycle, less detergent is necessary. If you use too much, you'll damage your kitchenware. Glass items are particularly sensitive and can become etched with a permanently cloudy appearance.
How to Keep Them Clean
Dishwashers come into contact with a lot of food residue, and not all the particles disappear every time. These machines also collect grease and soap scum, so knowing how to clean a dishwasher is crucial. If you don't stick to a regular cleaning schedule, you'll notice an unpleasant odor in the dishwasher and even on items that have been run through a cycle. Therefore, to prevent a bacteria-laden buildup and a dishwasher odor, you need to clean the appliance regularly. If you don't, eventually the machine will stop performing as effectively and, particularly when washing at low temperatures, your dishes may harbor bacteria after cleaning. Even if your machine has a self-cleaning filter, you still need to clean the machine.
Firstly, disconnect the dishwasher at the wall outlet for safety. Make sure it's empty and remove the bottom rack. Take out the filter and follow the cleaning instructions in the user manual. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe over the interior, making sure you get right into all the corners and crevices. Check the drain and remove any debris, as buildup can result in a serious blockage and damage the machine. You should also replace the racks and filter. Then, add a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container to the top rack and run a complete hot cycle. This process removes odors, bacteria, and food particles. To remove stains and lingering odors, sprinkle a cup of baking soda across the bottom of the machine and run a short hot cycle.
Remember to clean the door seal, the handle and the exterior, as debris and bacteria collect here too. Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth and warm soapy water. Regular cleaning and maintenance is an effective way of limiting limescale buildup which, if left untreated, damages the dishwasher and decreases performance and efficiency. Keeping your dishwasher topped up with salt helps too, particularly if you choose a product designed to fight limescale.
Dishwashers: How to Correctly Load
Correctly loading a dishwasher is not as easy as simply chucking everything in and switching it on. Instead, to get the best results from your dishwasher, you have to load everything properly. You need to position all the items so that the sprayer arms can effectively spray water and detergent all over. You should make use of the silverware basket, and be sure to position your cutlery with the handles pointing down. Small items, such as cups and glasses, do best on the top rack apart from cutlery and utensils. For best results, everything should be face-down on the racks, as this allows the water spray to get right inside without water and debris collecting inside. If you have foldable tines and adjustable racks, you can alter the interior layout to make way for pots and pans of varying sizes.
How to Optimize Efficiency
There are a variety of ways to optimize the efficiency of your dishwasher, which is vital if you want to save money and reduce the carbon footprint of your home. Firstly, you should clean it regularly. Even the best dishwashers suffer from poor performance if you don't keep them clean. You should also keep it free of limescale, as limescale reduces efficiency and performance, and damages the machine.
You should only run your dishwasher when it's full. This limits the number of cycles you run and therefore the amount of water and energy you use. You should also avoid using a half-load setting when possible, as this still uses more than half the water and energy of a full load, so you're better to wait until the dishwasher is full, then use a whole cycle. Unless your dishes are particularly heavily soiled, you should use an eco-friendly setting when possible, as it uses less water and runs at a lower temperature, so uses less power. To save money, if you have a cheaper nighttime tariff for your energy, select a model that has a delayed start, and set it to come on during the night.
What's Safe to Wash?
Regular kitchenware and dinnerware are usually safe to load in your dishwasher. When you purchase new items for your home, check the packaging to make sure they are dishwasher safe. If in doubt about existing items, where possible, contact the manufacturer for verification. Many good-quality nonstick pans are dishwasher-safe, but older models and some lower-budget pans are not, so it's best to double-check. Otherwise, you risk losing the nonstick finish.
Hard plastics are often dishwasher-safe. However, this doesn't apply to every hard plastic item, and softer plastic items are generally not safe. If in doubt, leave them out because plastic can warp and melt at high temperatures. Standard glassware, pots and pans, cutlery, and utensils are generally fine to place in the dishwasher and will come out sparkling, fresh and hygienic, providing you clean the dishwasher regularly and load the items appropriately.
What Should You Never Put In?
One crucial point is to make sure that anything you put in a dishwasher is actually dishwasher safe. If it isn't, the item can warp, crack or receive other types of damage. It's usually best to avoid putting anything hand-painted inside a dishwasher as, even on a delicate cycle, you run the risk of removing the finish or paintwork. Similarly, you should wash anything with a delicate glaze by hand, unless it explicitly states the item is dishwasher safe.
If you have cast-iron pans or skillets, you should wash them by hand, as they require care and seasoning and, if scratched or etched, they quickly develop rust. While you can clean knives in the dishwasher, it's important to note that sharp edges dull much faster in a dishwasher than when you clean them by hand.
Crystal should never be placed in the dishwasher. Apart from the risk of etching and clouding if you wash with too much detergent, fine crystal can easily crack at high temperatures. Food particles and high-pressure water spray can cause chips.
You should avoid placing copper pans in a dishwasher. If the detergent and high-pressure spraying arm remove the finish or scratch the copper, it can oxidize, ruining the appearance and changing the color. Gold- and silver-plated items have a similar reaction, and silverware becomes irrevocably tarnished.
To avoid a clogged dishwasher and damage to the machine, never put anything with labels or adhesives inside. An example would be a jar with a label still on it. The labels and adhesive residue form a sticky mass that lodges in the drain or the filter, resulting in a blockage.
Dishwashers: What We Tested, What We Found
To help you find the best dishwasher for the price and to provide a fair comparison, all the models we tested were under $1,500 across a variety of brands. When compiling our dishwasher reviews, we looked at a range of factors, including all the influential factors that make up ease of use and energy efficiency. These key elements allow you to compare models to make an informed purchasing decision.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Energy Efficiency: Saving Your Money & Saving the Planet
Dishwashers are a useful but big investment. However, the more energy-efficient the model is, the less it costs to run, and the more money you save. So, providing you keep it in good working order and optimize its efficiency, it could save you hundreds of dollars over its lifetime, eventually saving you more than the original cost of the dishwasher.
All of the models from the range we tested, apart from one, are ENERGY STAR qualified. All have an estimated yearly running cost of between $27 and $33, so there's only a small difference in cost, based on average use and with an electric water heater. However, exact costs will vary depending on your usage, the type of energy you use and the cost of energy in your area. The majority of the products in our lineup also have eco-friendly cycles that help you to further reduce yearly running costs.
We also looked at the length of time it takes for each of the dishwashers to complete a full normal wash and dry cycle. Longer run times can result in higher energy costs on hot cycles, but can provide better results that consume less energy at lower temperatures. Our tested machines have run cycles ranging from 76 minutes to 130 minutes.
Cleaning Options: How Versatile Are the Dishwashers?
Our reviews include a range of cleaning options, as these impact the efficiency, versatility and performance of the dishwashers. The 10 top-rated dishwashers in our lineup have between six and nine cycles to choose from, with each of our top three having seven cycles. Of the top three, only our gold-rated dishwasher offers targeted wash zones. Each of the three offer top rack-only cycles, and eight of our 10 top-rated dishwashers are NSF-certified.
The GE Profile PDT750SSFSS, the LG Studio LSDF9962ST and the Electrolux IQ-Touch EI24ID50QS all feature eco-friendly wash cycles to help you reduce your energy consumption, as do the rest of our top 10 and many of the remaining 20. Variable sprayer arm pressure can be found in most dishwashers we tested. This means that depending on the cycle you set, the sprayer arm automatically adjusts its pressure. For example, if you choose a delicate cycle that you can find on many of our 10 top-rated dishwashers, the sprayer arm adjusts and uses only a gentle pressure; whereas if you use the heavily soiled cycle, the sprayer pressure increases. This ensures you get an effective clean without damaging the items. We found quick cycles and rinse-only options on the majority of the dishwashers in the lineup, but steam washing and fan drying are less common.
Load Flexibility: How Easy Is the Machine to Use?
We looked at a range of features to determine how flexible the dishwashers are and how easy they are to use. Load flexibility factors include the place setting capacity, the number of racks, whether the racks are adjustable and whether the dishwasher has foldable tines. Place settings across the range we tested go from 10 to 16, so each caters to medium and large gatherings. The larger the capacity, the more you can fit in, and the less often you need to run the dishwasher, which reduces the amount of energy you use. Only a handful of the products we tested have three racks. Folding tines are commonplace, appearing a majority, and most units also have adjustable racks.
Sound Level & Design
One of the key considerations we looked at when rating design was the peak noise level, which varies between 40 and 50 decibels. Generally, the quieter the better, particularly if you want to run the appliance overnight. Self-cleaning filters appear in many of the top 10 dishwashers in our review, while others have manual filters. Most of our top dishwashers have stainless-steel tubs to provide an efficient, durable interior that holds heat well.
Warranty & Support
Our reviews included the available warranty and the type of customer support available, as these elements play key roles in your purchasing decision. All the units in our review offer phone or email support, while many also offer live-chat support.
Surprisingly, our top-rated dishwasher only offers one-year warranties for labor, parts, rack and electronics, and tub and door liner. Every dishwasher in the lineup carries a one-year labor warranty to cover the cost of labor on any repairs or maintenance work carried out. A handful have two-year parts warranties. Coverage varies greatly for racks and electronics, and tubs and doors so if you are worried about future maintenance it is worth noting which ones have more.
What Else Is Important When Choosing a Dishwasher?
There are a few other noteworthy elements to consider when choosing a dishwasher to make sure you get the best possible model to meet your needs. Features that improve the convenience of the appliance and safety precautions should all be taken into account before you finalize your purchase.
Maximizing Efficiency with a Soil Sensor
A soil sensor allows the dishwasher to establish whether the load is clean or whether it needs further washing. These devices can be useful and increase efficiency. A soil sensor uses an infrared signal to establish whether the water is clean or contains particles, and the dishwasher adjusts washing time accordingly. So, if your dishes are still dirty, the machine extends the wash cycle.
The integration of a soil sensor helps prevent the need for re-washing items with a second full cycle. Without one, the dishwasher simply runs through a fixed cycle. However, if you don't clean your dishwasher regularly, the soil sensor may use more energy in the long run, as it will continually sense particle-laden water and run longer cycles.
For homes with children, a dishwasher with safety features is paramount. Choosing a model that features a child lock is a smart option, as it prevents the door being opened or the settings being changed while the dishwasher is running a cycle. Hidden controls act as another safety feature. Models like the GE Profile have the control panel hidden away on the top of the door so it isn't visible or accessible when the dishwasher is closed.
Do You Need a Hard-Food Disposer?
While a hard-food disposal feature isn't essential, it saves time and effort and can increase the efficiency and lifespan of your dishwasher. So you don't have to rinse dishes and remove any hard particles before you load your dishwasher, a model with a hard-food disposer grinds up large, hard particles and flushes them down the drain. This feature helps keep your dishwasher cleaner, prevent dishwasher clogs and stop hard particles being left behind or sticking to your dishes.
Delayed start isn't a vital function, but it is useful, particularly if you want to run your dishwasher during the night to save money. Dishwashers with delayed-start functions allow you to choose your cycle and the time you want it to begin. Some models only let you program six hours ahead, while others, such as the Electrolux IQ-Touch, have a maximum delayed start of 24 hours.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
From our testing of different dishwasher models, our top picks are the GE Profile PDT750SSFSS, LG Studio LSDF9962ST and Electrolux IQ-Touch EI24ID50QS. Overall, we found these models to be the best dishwashers for energy efficiency, operating costs, flexibility and versatility. The three models all have low to moderate cycle times, although the gold-ranked dishwasher runs a full normal cycle in only 100 minutes. However, it costs slightly more to run at an estimated $33 per year, slightly more per year than the other top two.
The GE Profile surpasses the other models when it comes to cleaning options, offering the full range of features we tested for, including targeted wash zones, air-drying and a heated dry option, which is rare. However, all three models performed well in this category, offering NSF certification, multiple cycle choices, including eco-friendly settings, variable spray pressure, delicate cycles and rinse-only. The KitchenAid KDFE104DSS also performed particularly well in this category.
Our top three each achieved a score of 95 percent or higher for ease of use, thanks to their range of features. However, in this category, the Electrolux IQ Touch received a score of 100 percent because of its longer delayed start times and fuller range of features, including touch-sensitive controls.
With so many separate elements to take into consideration, choosing the right dishwasher requires careful thought and research. To find out more about all the products in our lineup and to make your decision easy, be sure to read the full reviews. We also offer other articles for even more information.
GE Profile PDT750SSFSS – Ranked #1 out of 10
With multiple wash cycles and a high degree of user control, the energy-efficient GE Profile PDT750SSFSS is versatile and relatively inexpensive, given the features it offers. This dishwasher received our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award as the dishwasher that offers an extensive range of user-friendly features and a solid design.
This GE dishwasher is ENERGY STAR certified and has an estimated running cost of just $33 per year. It has one of the lowest normal cycle times of all the dishwashers we reviewed, at just 110 minutes, significantly increasing its efficiency and helping you save money. The eco-friendly cycle uses just 2 gallons of water. Using the power-dry setting, the dishwasher will switch off the heating element and dry your items with a fan instead. This intuitive appliance from GE features a soil sensor that uses the least amount of energy and water to clean the load entirely.
To effectively clean tall items like bottles and hi-ball glasses, 4 of the 102 cleaning jets are dedicated to tall items and are found beneath the top rack. The previously mentioned soil sensor activates during the auto sense cycle and assesses whether the water is particle-laden, in which case the machine automatically adjusts its cycle time.
When assessing ease of use, taking into account capacity, versatility, convenience features and degree of user control, we awarded the GE Profile an impressive score of 95 percent in our best dishwasher lineup. Holding up to 16 place settings, this dishwasher offers adjustable rack heights and folding tines. A delayed-start timer enables you to set your dishwasher to switch on up to 12 hours in advance. It also features a hard-food disposer, hidden controls and a child lock.
Although the GE Profile PDT750SSFSS offers only a one-year warranty for all parts and labor, it has some outstanding features, including energy efficiency, multiple wash zones and seven wash cycles. Versatile in design, with a large capacity and user-friendly features, this energy efficient dishwasher is a worthy recipient of our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award. For more in-depth information about this product, read our GE Profile PDT750SSFSS review.
LG Studio – Ranked #2 out of 10
The large-capacity LG Studio LSDF9962ST is the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner in our lineup, being an energy-efficient, low-noise model with a variety of features. Multiple wash options and an extensive range of features help this model receive a well-deserved third place in our best dishwasher lineup.
With one of the lowest estimated yearly running costs of all the dishwashers we reviewed, the LG Studio completes a standard wash cycle in 131 minutes and offers a range of energy-efficient options. These include an eco-wash cycle and a low-energy dry option, which uses a fan and the heating element to dry the load quickly. One downside is that some wash options, such as a quick wash, can work in conjunction with specific cycles, which somewhat limits versatility and user control. You do, however, have an extensive range of wash options to choose from, including sanitary, half-load and extra rinse. Additionally, there are seven wash cycles, including steam power, dual steam and rinse only.
You can set this LG dishwasher up to 19 hours in advance to take advantage of lower off-peak energy costs. The presence of a hard-food disposer reduces the need for pre-washing and helps to lower the risk of a blockage occurring. Three racks provide ample room for a variety of pots and pans, and it has a capacity for 14 place settings, so it's suitable for large families. The top rack is height-adjustable, and the tines on all three racks fold to make room for large items. For more in-depth information about this product, read our LG Studio review.
Electrolux IQ-Touch – Ranked #3 out of 10
Scoring 8.92 overall, the Electrolux IQ-Touch EI24ID50QS finished in third place to become our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner. It offers an impressive range of features, including reasonably low running costs and a high degree of flexibility and versatility.
Although this dishwasher has a slightly high estimated yearly running cost of $31, it's still reasonably low and has one of the shortest full cycle times in our lineup at just 113 minutes. The eco-friendly wash cycle helps to further improve energy efficiency, as does the air dry option. With a delayed-start setting of up to 24 hours, this Electrolux dishwasher enables you to program a cycle to start whenever you choose. You can make further savings by running the dishwasher overnight when energy is less expensive.
Featuring nine wash cycles and multiple wash options, this model has variable spray pressure, catering to a broad range of items and levels of soiling. The stemware wash is designed to offer gentle but effective cleaning for delicate items such as crystal and fine china. Wash zones provide targeted cleaning for heavily soiled items. However, this dishwasher lacks a hard-food disposer and a steam wash cycle, so heavily soiled items are likely to require pre-washing to remove tough particles. It does feature a soil sensor that automatically adjusts the wash time based on the cleanliness of the water, cleaning your dishes using the least amount of power and water possible.
To improve ease of use and cleaning performance, this model has three spray arms, three adjustable racks and folding tines. While 12 place settings is comparatively low across our dishwasher reviews, it's still reasonably generous and can accommodate large families. It has a child lock and hidden controls for safety and is National Sanitation Foundation certified, so your dishes will be hygienically clean.
The Electrolux IQ-Touch comes complete with a one-year labor and parts warranty. It also has a five-year racks and electronic warranty, and a lifetime tub and door liner warranty.
One of the easiest to use models in our 10 top-rated dishwasher lineup, this Electrolux model offers good value, with low running costs and a high degree of energy efficiency. However, it lacks a hard-food disposer, a self-cleaning filter and a steam wash cycle. For more in-depth information about this product, read our Electrolux IQ-Touch review.
Bosch 800 Series – Ranked #4 out of 10
The Bosch 800 Series SHX68T55UC is energy efficient, and we gave it an overall score of 8.9. While it offers multiple features, there are a few notable ones lacking, such as a child lock.
Certified by ENERGY STAR, this Bosch dishwasher costs, on average, just $27 per year, giving it the joint lowest estimated yearly cost. The time it takes to complete a normal wash cycle is 135 minutes, which is slightly above average when compared to the other products in our lineup. However, you can reduce cycle time and running costs by utilizing the eco wash setting, the half-load, the quick cycle or the delayed-start function, which you can set up to 24 hours in advance.
Although this dishwasher only has six wash cycles, to improve versatility, it includes five wash options to pair with the cycles. These include a delicate wash for items that require gentle care and a sanitary wash for an extra hygienic clean. There's also a heavy wash cycle for heavily soiled items. This model includes a hard-food disposer but it lacks a steam wash cycle, so particularly heavily soiled items or dishes with baked-on particles may still require pre-cleaning.
The auto wash setting works with the soil sensor to adjust the washing time according to the cleanliness of the water. It helps conserve energy by only using the amount of water and power required to achieve a full clean.
This dishwasher has three adjustable racks but only two sprayer arms. The Bosch 800 Series comes with a solid warranty, offering one-year parts and labor, five years of racks and electronics coverage, and a lifetime warranty for the tub and door liner.
Ranking seventh in our dishwasher reviews, this Bosch model is relatively easy to use and has a range of wash options and cycles. However, while it is particularly energy efficient and has space for 15 place settings, it doesn't have a steam wash, a child lock or a self-cleaning filter. For more in-depth information about this product, read our Bosch 800 Series review.
KitchenAid KDFE104DSS – Ranked #5 out of 10
The KitchenAid KDFE104DSS compares well to many in our lineup and earned a fifth place ranking. This dishwasher received a respectable 85 percent ease of use score, even though it lacks a few notable convenience features and isn't National Sanitation Foundation certified.
This KitchenAid is at the top end of the products in our dishwasher review for estimated running costs and complete cycle times. While it is energy efficient, it's not the most economical option, costing around $31 per year and taking 150 minutes to complete a normal cycle. It makes use of the ProWash cycle, which replaces the eco-wash cycle, using a soil sensor to assess when dishes are clean to conserve water and energy.
Six wash cycles and five wash options offer a reasonable amount of versatility. It includes express, light, normal, ProWash, rinse only and tough cycles. However, it lacks a hard-food disposer, so the appliance cannot grind up large particles, which can result in blockages unless you pre-clean heavily soiled items before you add them to the load.
With 14 place settings, this model has a large capacity, which you can optimize by adjusting the racks and folding down the tines to fit large or oddly shaped items. It runs quietly, at 46 decibels but with the maximum delayed start only four hours in advance, it is of limited use if you want to wash a load off-peak overnight.
Using a soil sensor to conserve water and effectively clean your dishes, the KitchenAid KDFE104DSS is reasonably energy efficient. Although it lacks a hard-food disposer and a steam wash, it still provides a wide variety of wash options and gives a high degree of user control with adjustable racks and tines. For more in-depth information about this product, read our KitchenAid KDFE104DSS review.
Samsung DW80F800 – Ranked #6 out of 10
The sixth place for our top-rated dishwashers went to the Samsung DW80F800 model. While it has longer run times than many of the other dishwashers, it has a low yearly running cost and a variety of convenient features. The array of powerful jets negate the need for pre-washing tough items. The jets are one of the outstanding features that make this Samsung dishwasher deserving of a place in our top 10.
Despite offering a large capacity of 15 place settings, the Samsung still maintains a low estimated running cost of just $29 per year. It conserves water and energy by running longer cycles and recycling the water. You can make further savings by using the eco-wash setting.
Six wash cycles and four wash options offer adequate wash customization; however, many of the other models in our top-rated dishwasher lineup have many more. Notable absent wash settings include steam wash, rinse only, energy-conserving fan and air-dry options.
This Samsung dishwasher offers a full range of convenience features. These include two adjustable racks with folding tines, up to a 24-hour delayed start, a self-cleaning filter, hidden touch-sensitive controls and a child lock. This dishwasher has a StormWash setting that uses powerful rotating jets to remove tough particles, making soaking and pre-washing unnecessary. When used in conjunction with the heavy-soil setting and the hard-food disposer, the disposer grinds up any large particles the jet removes and flushes them away, limiting the risk of a blockage.
Overall, we gave the Samsung DW80F800 a total of 8.8 out of 10 and a 90 percent ease of use score. Despite not offering the high number of cycles and options you'd expect from a model of this quality, this Samsung still shines. Its powerful jets and targeted wash zones, along with an extensive list of features, results in a powerful, versatile machine. For more in-depth information about this product, read our Samsung DW80F800 review.
Bosch 800 Plus Series – Ranked #7 out of 10
The third rack and quiet operation stand out with the Bosch 800 Plus Series SHX7PT55UC. The rack system is versatile and useful for the modern home. You can fit 15 place settings, and that third rack on top is great for spatulas, measuring cups and other items that can take up too much room in the prime real estate below. There are lots of ways to rearrange the racks, too, for your specific cleaning tasks. All three racks can be placed at different height levels and include fold-down tines for awkwardly shaped items.
You get a lot of cleaning options with this unit due to all of the wash cycles – heavy, auto, delicate, glass, normal, express and rinse. Curious children may inadvertently end up trying all of those cycles because this is one of the dishwashers that lacks a child lock or control lock. That only matters for specific households, though.
The Bosch 800 Plus Series SHX7PT55UC makes very little noise – about 42 dB. That is only about as much as background sound at an office, which will be a welcome change for anyone used to the noisier dishwashers of the past. Since normal conversation registers about 60 dB, you can easily have one in the same room when this dishwasher is mid-cycle.
Even though the cycle time can be as long as 135 minutes, which is a little long when compared to the frontrunners, it is still very efficient in important ways. This dishwasher tied for our lowest estimated yearly cost to operate at only $27, which makes it easy to justify the initial investment.
The warranty is very strong with this dishwasher so you can buy with confidence. Some parts are covered for five years and the tub and door liner are backed for a lifetime. For more in-depth information about this product, read our Bosch 800 Plus Series SHX7PT55UC review.
Bosch 500 Series – Ranked #8 out of 10
Another great option from Bosch is the SHX65T55UC from the 500 series. With this machine, you can customize your wash cycle to accommodate each load. Cycles include heavy, auto, normal, express and rinse, which is pretty standard, but you can further customize with delay, half-load, delicate, sanitize and extra shine.
The sanitize option on this dishwasher is great for peace of mind and is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, so you can be confident that any of the germs present on dishes will be gone at the end of the cycle. A half-load option is another great feature available on this unit. With the vast capacity – up to 15 place settings – you may not want to wait until you have a full load every time. You can run it guilt-free, half-full of dishes, without wasting water and energy.
This unit excels in terms of energy use in other ways, too. It costs $27 a year to operate – that ties it for the lowest yearly operating cost of dishwashers in our review. The lower that number is, the easier it is to justify the initial investment, so this unit is made to save you time, energy and money. The one way the dishwasher is lacking for energy savings is in its drying options. You can save some energy by air-drying, and some dishwashers also have a fan-dry option which speeds up the drying process without a major investment of energy. This washer just has the heated dry option, the one that uses the most energy of them all.
This dishwasher only generates the same amount of sound as a quiet office, so you will barely know it is running. If you forget, you can rely on the InfoLight feature, which shines a red beam onto your floor when the washer is running.
This unit is backed by a strong warranty. The tub and door liner are backed for a lifetime, and all parts and labor are covered for one year. For more in-depth information about this product, read our Bosch 500 Series SHX65T55UC review.
Bosch Ascenta Series – Ranked #9 out of 10
The Ascenta Series SHX3AR75UC is a little smaller and a little louder than other Bosch dishwashers in our comparison but is still impressive when compared to many machines on the market, and the price is relatively economical, especially when you consider its low estimated yearly operating cost. While other Bosch dishwashers cost about $27 per year to run, this Ascenta is a little higher at $30. Again, though, it has a lower price tag so you may value that initial savings more.
Even though it is smaller than some of the other Bosch units we compared, it can still fit 14 place settings in a single load, which is plenty for many households. There are dishwashers with more cycle options, but the Ascenta has a decent selection, with six cycles and two additional options. The six wash cycles include heavy wash, auto wash, normal wash, delicate wash, express wash and half load. The two wash options that can be added to those cycles are delay start and sanitize. Some people may miss the rinse-only option that has become common on a modern dishwasher.
There are two racks with this unit rather than the three that come with some Bosch models, but there is still some nice versatility. You can adjust the position of the upper rack, and both racks come with flip tines that can be positioned to accommodate certain items better.
All Bosch machines are designed to be quieter than older-generation dishwashers, but this one is not quite as impressive with an output of 50 dB. That's about the same amount of sound as a car running at a low speed, so it is nowhere near as loud as the dishwashers you may remember from childhood.
This unit does not have as many drying options as some of the competition, which can lead to energy savings. It also does not offer child locking, so if you have a curious one in your household this may not be the best bet. Most of the basic features are there, though, and Bosch stands behind its dishwashers with a strong guarantee. For more in-depth information about this product, read our Bosch Ascenta Series SHX3AR75UC review.
Kenmore 13693 – Ranked #10 out of 10
The Kenmore 13693 rounds out our top 10 with a set of powerful features. This dishwasher has a soil sensor feature that is designed to tailor your wash to how dirty your dishes are. If they are less soiled, the Kenmore will use less water and time to clean them than it would normally. If there are some really caked-on messes, it will use more water and time to conquer them. The PowerWave Spray Arm feature is designed to hit dishes from every angle instead of just one or two.
All the drying options stand out, too. You can choose air dry, fan dry or heated dry. There is even a TurboHeat Dry for a shorter dry time. A fan in the door actually draws hot air and moisture out of the dishwasher. All of the different drying options can lead to energy and time savings.
This dishwasher is small when compared to some in our lineup, but it fits 12 place settings and that can be enough for many families. The estimated yearly operating cost is also a little less impressive when compared to other units, but it will still be much better than dishwashers of previous generations. It should cost about $32 a year.
Kenmore 13693 cycles tend to be longer by comparison but not dramatically so, and the selection of cycles is really quite nice. You can choose from normal, heavy duty, light, high temperature, pre-soak, gentle and quick cycles. There are also wash zones so you can position the extra-baked-on stuff to get special attention from the sprayers.
Conveniences like a child lock, status light, hidden-touch-sensitive controls and the option to delay start for up to 24 hours all are impressive extras. The warranty could be stronger, though. Everything is covered for only a year. Some competing products offer five years of coverage and even lifetime guarantees for specific parts. For more in-depth information about this product, read our Kenmore 13693 review.