With one of the best dishwashers, you can save yourself the hassle of washing up. Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a big brunch or your daily dinner, the best dishwasher brands will add some shine to your crockery, pots and pans and save you time scrubbing. Rather than you digging through piles of dishwasher reviews to hunt down the best dishwasher of 2021, we’ve rounded up those dishwasher models that come out on top, thanks to their snazzy features, spacious insides and clever cycles.
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When you’re choosing one of the best dishwashers, one of the basic things you’ll want to look out for is adjustable racks. Bigger households will be best off with at least three racks and a bigger capacity to fit all their dishes, while a smaller capacity with fewer racks should be more than enough for people living alone or with one or two other people. Cycles are one of the most important aspects of a top dishwasher too, and that includes eco settings, intensive or quiet cycles and quick cycles for those days where you need clean dishes pronto.
A good warranty is also a mark of one of the best dishwashers and handily, you’ll often get up to a 10-year warranty with some of the best dishwasher brands like LG and Maytag. As for higher-end features, if you’re looking for a snazzy appliance, keep an eye out for dishwashers with fingerprint-proof finishes, sensors that can work out the best cycle based upon your dirty dishes or filters that will help to purge any lumpy leftovers lingering around your pots and pans.
If you’re particularly tight on space in your kitchen but you still want to avoid the washing up, check out our guide to the best countertop dishwashers too.
1. KitchenAid KDPE234GPS: Best dishwasher overall
Washing cycles are long, taking between 2-3 hours, however, the useful Express Wash efficiently cleans in just one hour. The advanced heat/dry feature enables enhanced drying. So you can unload and put away quickly, without towel drying any damp spots.
Our best overall choice for dishwasher provides great cleaning results and convenience at a reasonable price. While similar brands can cost $1,000 or more, the KitchenAid KDPE234GPS dishwasher is very reasonably priced.
Set in a sturdy stainless steel tub, its generous space has ample room to load up to 14 place settings. With flexible loading options, the third level rack provides 35% extra space which is handy!
It has a number of practical features that are highly-rated. The ProWash determines the ideal cycle for the soil level, and makes real-time adjustments to guarantee better cleaning results. And the 8-hour delay start enables you to preset the dishwasher to run while you’re at work or at night.
The overall design is sleek, and has a quality finish. It also has a PrintShield surface, meaning no more unsightly fingerprints or smudge marks. Perfect for families with young children!
While it may not have the advanced features of other models, the KitchenAid KDPE234GPS dishwasher packs a powerful punch for getting dishes and glassware sparkling, for a reasonable price.
- Read our KitchenAid KDPE234GPS review
2. Maytag MDB7959SKZ: Best dishwasher for skipping on rinsing
If you hate rinsing your dishes before you put them into the dishwasher, then the Maytag MDB7959SKZ will be the answer to your problems, with a Dual Power filtration system designed to disintegrate any food scraps and flush them out of the fresh water designed to clean your machine.
This machine also has a PowerBlast cycle for those times when you need a little extra power, with high-powered jets to get rid of any stubborn residue on your dishes. There’s also a quick cycle for whenever you need to get your kitchenware clean in a flash, which will be handy if you’ve got a mountain of dishes piled up.
The Maytag MDB7959SKZ is swish in terms of design, with top controls that neaten up the look of the front of the machine. It also has a fingerprint-resistant exterior, to avoid any mucky marks ruining the polished exterior.
- Read our Maytag MDB7959SKZ review.
3. Whirlpool WDF520PADM: Best budget dishwasher
If you’re after an inexpensive dishwasher that still does the job, Whirlpool WDF520PADM dishwasher is an excellent choice. The added bonus is that you can find it on the market for under $500, making it great value for money.
Although it is ‘no-fuss’, it has practical features for cleaning dishes and glassware to a high standard. The AccuSense soil sensor determines how dirty dishes are and adjusts the normal cycle as needed. And if you only have lightly-soiled items, the one-hour wash cycle is designed to clean items in half the time. Also convenient for saving you time and water consumption.
A minor drawback is that it doesn’t have a third top rack. However, the in-door silverware basket can be attached to the door, freeing up more space on the bottom rack. This may not be high-spec to do heavy-duty cleaning in a hurry, but it is ideal for a basic yet efficient dishwasher.
- Read our Whirlpool WDF520PADM review
4. Samsung DW80R9950US: Best quiet dishwasher
The Samsung DW80R9950US goes a long way to make your life easier, with its ultra-quiet running and smart features, such as sending you a notification via an app when your cycle is done. It’s also excellent for anyone who wants to squeeze an extra item in, with its adjustable third rack opening up a lot of extra space.
This dishwasher is so quiet that man reviewers had to check if it was actually on. That means that you can kick back and watch your favorite TV show without being disturbed. Inside the dishwasher, there’s also a sliding arm spray bar so that you can tackle those stain-prone pots and pans. There’s no doubt this model would also look great in your kitchen, and benefits from a fingerprint-resistant exterior.
- Read our Samsung DW80R9950US review.
5. LG LDF5545SS: Best dishwasher for hard to reach areas
The LG LDF5545SS is a dishwasher designed to get into all the corners and give the toughest to wash dishes a thorough clean. It can fit up to 15 place settings, making it perfect for family use, and has an extensive range of cycles to choose from too. It also benefits from LG’s technology when it comes to these cycles, with the NFC Tag On feature meaning that you can download new ones for your machine.
The QuadWash technology of this machine is its main draw, which features two additional spray arms in order to create a sweeping, bi-directional movement to enhance the cleaning process. This machine also has a sensor built in to cater to the dirtiness of your dishes, so you don’t have to worry yourself with programs if you don’t want to. This machine also has an excellent warranty, as all LG models tend to.
- Read our LG LDF5545SS review.
6. Miele Classic Plus G 4228 SCU AM: Best dishwasher for lots of place settings
The Miele Classic Plus G 4228 SCU AM is large enough to wash 16 place settings, meaning it’s ideal for efficiently dealing with any mess left behind after entertaining, or large families with plenty of kitchenware to refresh. It also has a high-temperature SaniWash for when you want to go to town on germs and bacteria. Then there’s the AutoSensor technology, which assesses the amount of soiling on dishes and adjusts the water temperature and consumption accordingly. That means it can save you a fair amount of energy, and likely bring your energy bills down.
Another handy feature of this machine is that it has advanced drying technology, designed to remove moisture from dishes so that you can get them back into your cupboards faster. There are some drawbacks to this model, however, including its high cost and short warranty.
- Read our Miele Classic Plus G 4228 SCU AM review.
7. GE PDT145SGLWW: Best dishwasher for small spaces
If you don’t have enough space for a 24-inch dishwasher, the GE PDT145SGLWW dishwasher is small yet packs a powerful punch. Its wide range of features includes the practical AutoSense that adjusts the right temperature to the soil level. The Sanitize option significantly reduces bacteria and enhances drying, while the hard food disposer prevents any long-term clogging of the washing arms.
Set in a quality, stainless steel tub, it is durable and looks attractive. Although it only has two racks, the folding tines provides sufficient space for couples or smaller households. If you do require more loading space or have large families, this is probably not ideal.
For a dishwasher of this size, it's not the cheapest. But it doesn’t compromise on quality and performance, which is reflected in the price. For its top cleaning results, practicality, and not to mention space convenience, these make it a worthwhile investment.
- Read our GE PDT145SGLWW review
8. Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N: Best dishwasher for quiet operation
If you have a lot of place settings to wash and need an efficient model to get the job done, then the Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N might be the reliable choice you’re looking for. With a robust design and very quiet running (at just 44dBA), this dishwasher should slot nicely into your kitchen, and serve you well for many years to come.
If you prefer your home appliances on the simpler side, then the Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N dishwasher will likely appeal to you, as it has a small yet capable number of cycles compared to other more complex models. That includes an ExtraShine option for items you really want to prioritize, alongside staple cycles such as a 1 Hour wash.
For a sturdy family choice, you can’t go far wrong with the Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N, especially in terms of safety. This model has features both for deterring children and for shutting down the machine in the case of a leak, which is great for those looking for a little extra peace of mind.
- Read our Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N review
9. LG LDFN4542D: Best dishwasher for thorough cleaning
The first thing you’ll notice about the LG LDFN4542D dishwasher is its sleek, glossy exterior, with its all-around sophisticated design making it well suited to any modern kitchen. Handily, it also has a fingerprint-resistant sheen, so that even any mucky handprints won’t get in the way of owning a beautiful home appliance. Combine that with the nine washing cycles available, from Delicate to Express settings, and it’s clear to see how this dishwasher will go far in making your life easier.
What’s more, the LG LDFN4542D is bound to blend in nicely with your home thanks to its quiet running, operating at just 48 dBA. You can fit up to 15 place settings in one wash, and there’s a Control Lock for keeping inquisitive children from disrupting your plates getting clean. There’s not much in the way of dazzling features with the LG LDFN4542D, but if you want a solidly performing quiet machine with lots of wash cycles, then this is a stylish option to go for.
- Read our LG LDFN4542D review.
10. Frigidaire Gallery FGID2466QF: Best dishwasher for bespoke cycles
The Frigidaire Gallery FGID2466QF is a tried and tested favorite of many, with a wide range of washing and drying cycles to take advantage of. It’s a powerful dishwasher perfect for larger homes, with 14 place settings able to be washed at any one time. If you have precise tastes when it comes to getting your dishes sparkling, then there’s also the chance to set your preferred temperature with this machine and save your preferences for next time, which is handy.
There’s also advanced technology within this machine to get the best washing performance possible with the ‘DishSense’ program, an AI feature that detects just how dirty your dishes are and adjusts the cycle accordingly. You can also get your dishes done in just 34 minutes with the QuickWash cycle, perfect for anyone in a rush.
If you’re a forward thinker, then you’ll also love the ‘24 Hour Delay’ function on this machine, which allows you to get home just in time to unload your fresh dishes without worrying about any musty smells. However, this machine isn’t the most efficient in the rankings, nor the quietest, and doesn’t boast the sort of smart home technology that certain enthusiasts might be looking for.
- Read our Frigidaire Gallery FGID2466QF review
As well as the best dishwashers, we also review and rate the best side-by-side refrigerators and French door refrigerators. If you're looking for laundry appliances, check out our guides to the best front load washers and best dryers.
How much does a good dishwasher cost?
Dishwashers range dramatically in price – from a small countertop unit that costs $200 to a built-in unit that costs more than $2,000. The average price of the best-selling dishwashers on Lowe's and Home Depot is right around $500. At the upper end of the price range you get features like lighted interiors and windows, so you can see your dishes as they wash. The higher you go in price, the more customization you get. You can pay to have the dishwasher's exterior match your cabinetry exactly. That can be worth the extra investment, especially if you are doing major renovations anyway. Most buyers are staying in a much lower price range, though.
What do you get when you buy an expensive dishwasher?
Buying a top-rated dishwasher, no matter the price, should ensure you have sparkling clean dishes. But if you’re prepared to spend more money on your appliance, then you can expect some other seriously impressive features as part of your purchase too.
In terms of the process of washing, higher-end models usually have a more extensive range of cycles to choose from. At the maximum, there are models with 10 cycles, which cater to many different types of dishes. That includes delicate cycles, for fine china and crystal, and others for bakeware. Then there are cycles defined by speed: Normal, Turbo, and Express for example.
Seriously high-tech models also have sensors to gauge how large and how dirty your load is, and cater the wash and the amount of detergent to get the cleanest kitchenware possible. New advances include additional spray arms to ensure the maximum space within your machine gets thoroughly cleaned. Expensive models also tend to have an emphasis on quiet running, as quiet as 39 decibels, so you won’t have any bothersome background noise from your appliance if you’re relaxing in your house.
If aesthetics are important to you then a high-end dishwasher is also more likely to look great within your home. They usually have stainless steel tubs and fingerprint-resistant exteriors to prevent unsightly marks, and you can get them covered with custom-made front panels if you fancy it.
Which are the best dishwashers for drying?
It’s essential for whichever dishwasher you choose to have good drying capabilities so that the last stage of your process is complete when you go to retrieve your kitchenware. Models such as the Miele Classic Plus G 4428 SCU AM have a heavy emphasis on their drying features. The design of the machine aims to eradicate any moisture from your dishes, so that they’re ready for your cupboards straight away.
The KitchenAid KDPE234GPS dishwasher is also designed with optimal drying in mind, with high temperatures used to end cycles. It’s also aided by the stainless steel exterior, which can keep the heat circulating within the appliance. These are all extremely handy features to look out for when you’re shopping around for your dishwasher, so that you can get dry dishes with ease.
When to buy a new dishwasher
When your trusty dishwasher starts making funny sounds as it chugs along, the question confronting you becomes, “Should I get this fixed or buy a new one?”
Cathie Ericson, writing for Realtor.com in 2018, outlines five questions to ask yourself before deciding whether to repair or replace any appliance. A key consideration is how old the device is.
In the article, Ericson quotes Tim Adkisson, director of product engineering for Sears Home Services, who says, “Appliances aren’t made to last forever, and a general rule of thumb is that if your appliance has reached the ripe old age of 7 or more, it’s probably time for a replacement.”
Ericson says you need to think about other factors as well, using a washing machine as an example. “First, consider how often it is used—a single person’s washing machine will typically last much longer than a family’s because, well, never-ending kid laundry,” she says. In addition, it’s important to consider how well the appliance has been maintained and how involved and costly repairs might be. You'll also want to assess whether a new appliance would save money.
How do I clean my dishwasher?
It’s common for the inside of a dishwasher to become covered in hardened mineral deposits – typically calcium. You also might smell a foul odor and notice that mold is growing inside. When this happens, your first impulse might be to reach for a tough, dry scouring powder and start scrubbing away.
Advice from home experts? Don’t do it.
Harsh cleaning agents can harm your dishwasher’s interior, and there are safer and easier ways to maintain a clean, fresh-smelling dishwasher.
Home expert Bob Vila recommends you clean your dishwasher every two months to “add years of service to the machine that tackles your least favorite chore.” After you put on rubber gloves, remove the bottom dish rack and clear away any wet, disgusting debris that could block the drain area on the bottom of the washer. You then replace the rack, put 1 cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the upper rack, and run your dishwasher on a hot water cycle. After that, Vila suggests spreading a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the machine and running a cold cycle.
If there’s mildew or mold inside, you can place a bowl of bleach on the bottom and run another cycle – but avoid doing this if there’s any stainless steel in your dishwasher, Vila says. Instead, just run another vinegar cycle, and that should address the problem.
Should you open the dishwasher while it runs?
Who hasn't come across a forgotten coffee mug and popped it into the dishwasher while it was running? As long as the wash cycle was in the early stages, no problem, right? Maybe for the dishes, but some consumers worry about breathing the chemicals in the steam that emerges from the machine.
However, there is little to fear, according to one expert.
Brad Woods, former assistant chair for the Department of Engineering at Wright State University, answered a question on the topic on Quora, asked by a pregnant woman. He said most dishwashing cleansers are relatively harmless surfactants and enzymes. More troubling are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can evaporate when the machine's water temperature hits 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Some dishwashing detergents contain VOCs, and they can potentially interact with human body tissues and chemistry.
"However, the amounts are so small, they're unlikely to be a health hazard," Woods said. Ultimately, there isn’t too much risk, as long as you don’t stand in the steam and inhale large amounts of it. In fact, most of what you smell are fragrances added to the detergent, not solvents.
Most likely, there are more VOCs in common household items such as paint, paint remover, brake cleaner, glue, nail polish, and new carpeting and new furniture. As a precaution, he recommends airing out your home regularly.
Is it safe to install a dishwasher next to an oven?
It’s probably best to avoid installing your oven and dishwasher next to each other, according to one expert. Mark Farver, an avionics/embedded systems engineer, addressed this question on Quora and urged caution for anyone installing a dishwasher in the United States.
In the U.S., most dishwashers are built to be surrounded by cabinets. “They do not have an outer case, but are generally just the inner tub area with some insulation and parts bolted on,” Farver says. “For cost reasons, the tub and many of the parts are going to be plastic and the heat radiating off an oven is going to degrade, melt or even set fire to the plastic or insulation blanket.”
In addition, a dishwasher by itself cannot hold up the countertop above it because the dishwasher requires support on either side. “A cabinet is required on both sides of the dishwasher and the countertop ‘bridges’ over the dishwasher which is just slid into the opening and loosely held with screws.”
Should you rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?
The answer is no, at least if your dishwasher was manufactured in the last five years. TODAY Home, the online publication showing features from the Today Show, looked at this household chore in 2018 and found that pre-rinsing dishes actually counteracts your efforts to get them thoroughly clean.
"Believe it or not, it’s actually more beneficial to not rinse your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher,” Morgan Brashear, Cascade scientist with Procter & Gamble, told TODAY Home.
Modern dishwashers have sensors that determine how long a cycle should run and how hot the water should be, Brashear said. The water that flows over dishes during the dishwasher’s prewash cycle clears away things like crumbs and condiments. If you rinse dishes ahead of time – even if you add one that wasn’t pre-rinsed – it can mislead the dishwasher’s sensors, and the machine will run a shorter cycle. As such, your dishes will be less clean than you probably would like.
The best thing to do is simply scrape off big pieces of food before you load the dishwasher, and according to Brashear, you should use a detergent designed to break down food. Then just push the buttons and let the dishwasher do its job.
Dishwashers: You can clean more than you think in them
We all know you can clean dishes, silverware and glassware in a dishwasher, but have you considered all the other ways this machine can make your life easier? For example, you can put many of your kids’ messy, germy, saliva-covered toys on the top rack to sanitize them, according to an article on Real Simple Magazine’s website.
Real Simple also suggests cleaning such things as ceramic cabinet knobs, tools with plastic or metal handles, and household items like fan grills. Further, you can wash switch plates and vent plates if they are made of plastic, aluminum or steel as well as light fixture covers that aren’t enamel, painted in any way or antique. In addition, dishwashers do a good job cleaning sporting equipment like shin guards, knee pads and mouth guards. The publication also suggests running potatoes through the rinse cycle on the dishwasher’s top rack.
Some of the magazine’s recommendations may seem a bit unsavory, depending on your standards. For example, it suggests you use your dishwasher to clean plastic hairbrushes and combs (after removing all hair) and footwear like flip-flops and rainboots with the liners removed.
How to load your dishwasher for the best results
Like any appliance, a dishwasher works best if you use it correctly. It’s financially and energy smart to run only full loads, although some dishwashers now have a half-load cycle.
According to a 2015 LifeHacker article, you should fill your dishwasher starting at the bottom, arranging larger, more durable items there and taking care to put the dirtiest dishes in the center. This is because the water circulating system is in the bottom middle of the machine. Tall items like baking sheets should go in the back so they don’t block circulating water from getting to other dishes or cookware.
More delicate items, such as drinking glasses, should go on the top rack. Glass items should not touch since they can break if the water flow makes them clank together. In addition, you should put anything that is heat-sensitive on the top rack, since that’s farthest from the drying source in the bottom of the dishwasher. Knives, forks and spoons go in the cutlery holder with the handles down so the parts that touch food – and your mouth – get thoroughly clean.
In addition, don’t overfill the machine. Doing so can prevent the water and dishwasher detergent from circulating properly, and your dishes will not get as clean as they could.
Can I put liquid dish soap in my dishwasher?
If you run out of dishwasher detergent, please don’t squirt in regular liquid soap “just this once” to get the dishes clean.
“The main issue is that dish soap creates suds and dishwasher detergent does not,” according to the online publication Spoon University. Using liquid soap in your dishwasher can cause sudsy foam to overflow onto your kitchen floors, depending on how much you put in. If you use it frequently, regular dish soap will also create scum, and the dishwasher may develop drainage problems such as clogged filters and damaged pipes.
If you do make this mistake, HomeQuicks.com writes that you should quickly turn off the machine and get the dishes and cutlery out. Using a bucket or any big container, scoop out the water inside the dishwasher and pour it down the sink – you can switch to smaller containers as the water level gets lower. Towels come in handy when soaking up whatever is left. It also helps if you wipe the inside of the machine with towels and wipe off the soap dispenser with a cloth to clear away as much of the liquid soap as possible.
Vinegar is great at cutting down on suds, so pour a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of dishwasher, throw a handful of salt on top of that, and run the dishwasher for four or five minutes. Then open the machine to look for suds – if you see any, pour in another cup of vinegar. Repeat this process until you don’t see suds.
After that, HomeQuicks.com suggests giving your dishwasher a regular cleaning by putting Tang Orange Drink in the soap dispenser and running a full cycle. You can then put a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run another full cycle to clear away the citrusy smell. At this point, your dishwasher should be free of any liquid soap residue, and the dishes you took out originally can be washed – using the proper dishwasher detergent this time.