Best Dishwashers of 2018

Angela Parkinson ·
Home & Appliance Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We've been comparing dishwashers since 2010, spending over 400 hours analyzing customer reviews and specifications. The brand we recommend for most households is KitchenAid. The KitchenAid brand stands out for its convenient features, such as quiet operation, soil sensors and self-cleaning filters. The latest models even have extras like windows and lighted interiors so you can peek inside.

Best Overall
KitchenAid
The best-reviewed dishwasher brand on the market offers something for every household, with advanced features that make your daily cleanup routine fast and easy.
View on Home Depot
Best Value
GE
The GE selection is broad enough to include some of the top-rated machines on the market, but they also have some very economical options.
View on Sears
$584.99@Sears
Best Value
GE
Most Innovative
Samsung
The Samsung brand offers new ideas for getting your dishes clean, such as automatic-opening doors that take advantage of air drying and walls of water (instead of central rotating arms) for efficiency.
View on Sears
Best Overall
KitchenAid is a respected name in appliances, especially when it comes to dishwashers. A close look at the most popular sites that review dishwashers yields more positive reviews of KitchenAid units than any other brand.
We selected a KitchenAid dishwasher as our top product three out of the last seven years. That ties with Bosch for the most No. 1 Top Ten Reviews rankings. Bosch also ranks high on the dishwasher review sites, but KitchenAid dominates with a lot of great features and options for all types of homes. We found KitchenAid prices to be generally more expensive than most other brands we considered, but you get a lot of value for the price. These machines also offer a lot of good features that are designed to make it so you do not have to rewash after the wash cycle. There are nine wash arms designed to reach the dishes in every corner of the wash tub and targeted jets in whose path you can position dishes with the most stubborn food residue.
Pros
  • This brand gets numerous positive reviews.
  • Strong cleaning capability means less rewashing.
  • Nine wash arms cover more territory than the one or two on your old machine.
Cons
  • The prices are generally high.
  • Extras like the front window on some models are nice but unnecessary.
  • This brand does not offer as many models as others in our comparison.
$1249.00Home Depot
Read the full review
Best Value
General Electric (GE) is a familiar name for household products, with a vast selection of dishwashers across a broad price range. We like that this brand offers quite a few on the lower end of the spectrum, including several under $300.
That is rare among the brands we considered. . Most other brands have just a handful of budget units — and starting at a higher price (around $500) than the GE options. GE dishwasher reviews are mixed, but you should be able to find a unit with the features that matter to you for a price you can afford. Some GE models that fall in the middle-to-upper price range are ranked high in terms of customer reviews and professional review sites. Top Ten Reviews ranked a GE unit at No. 1 two out of the seven years we have been comparing dishwashers, though that was one of the higher-priced models.
Pros
  • There are many models to choose from.
  • The lower-priced GE models cost less than lower-priced models from other brands.
  • Unlike many brands, GE offers portable models.
Cons
  • Other brands get better ratings on review sites.
  • GE does not get as many positive customer reviews as other brands.
  • Most GE models are very basic.
$584.99Sears
Read the full review
Most Innovative
Samsung designers create dishwashers that break the mold of traditional units. For instance, instead of rotating arms in the middle of the appliance, some models are equipped with sprayers along the bottom that form walls of water to clean dishes.
This brand also offers some units that open their own doors at the end of a cycle to take advantage of air drying for dishes that don't respond well to the heated drying feature. Many models require very little maintenance because of hard-food disposers that break down particles of food. Digital sensors on some Samsung dishwashers will shut down the unit in the event of a leak. Sleek touch controls also elevate the Samsung appliances from competitors. Samsung does not offer a wide variety of dishwashers. They also run a little expensive when compared with other brands. If you want the best in dishwashing innovation, though, a Samsung is the place to get it.
Pros
  • The hard-food disposer on many models means less maintenance.
  • The automatic-release door allows dishes to dry efficiently.
  • The digital leak sensor is designed to prevent potentially extensive and expensive damage.
Cons
  • Samsung selection is comparatively small.
  • Samsung's most economical options are still relatively expensive.
  • Other brands rank better with customers and professional reviewers.
See Special OfferSears
Read the full review
Best Portable Options
There are few portable models available from any manufacturer that we included in our comparison, but Frigidaire offers a couple of options.
Portable dishwashers are widely regarded as having inferior cleaning power, but if you don't have the right hookups for a built-in model, a portable can give you some cleaning assistance. You attach the hoses and roll it into a spot by the sink and let it do a lot of the dishes for you. Frigidaire had more positive reviews than the other brands we compared for portable dishwashers, and more color options. There were brands with more portable models than Frigidaire, they just weren't in our roundup of the best brands. Even if your kitchen doesn't have space for a built-in dishwasher, coordinating the look of your appliances can be a nice way to have a more pulled-together look.
Pros
  • Frigidaire offers more than one color so your portable dishwasher can match other appliances.
Cons
  • There are brands that offer more models of portable dishwashers.
$431.03Sears
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Most Energy Efficient
Miele is a dishwasher brand that boasts a long list of efficient models. A search of the U.S. Department of Energy website shows that it has more Energy Star-certified models than any other brand in our comparison.
In fact, it had the most Energy Star-certified models of any brand listed on the DOE site. Dishwashers earn the Energy Star label when they are 12% more efficient than non-certified models. Miele has a lot of Energy Star dishwashers, but their units tend to cost more than other brands, too. They can save you money in water and power costs over the life of the machine, though.
Pros
  • Miele offers a broad range of efficient models that can save you money in energy costs.
Cons
  • Miele machines tend to be pricier than other brands we considered.
US$999.00Miele
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Most Customizable Interior
Beyond the two regular racks in the Bosch 800 Series’ dishwashers, there is a flexible third rack with sides that fold down.
Thanks to this feature, it can hold a 30 percent larger load of dishes – up to 16 place settings. Further, you can move the racks between three slots, for a total of nine rack configurations. That way you can wash all sizes of serving platters, beverage containers, cooking tools, wine glasses, pot lids and other awkwardly shaped items. The trademarked EasyGlide system means the racks slide in and out smoothly as you load and unload the dishwasher.
Pros
  • The Bosch 800 Series has a wide range of dish rack positions.
Cons
  • This is a relatively high-end brand, so it’s more expensive than others.
US$899.00Home Depot
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

Top Ten Reviews has been researching and comparing dishwashers since 2010. We have invested more than 400 hours during that time, learning about features and trends and determining what makes a good dishwasher. We have studied YouTube videos and product manuals. We have spoken with customer service representatives and other product experts. We have visited home improvement stores to get a closer look at features and capabilities that could reduce the time you spend cleaning up after meals every day.

How We Researched?

We've spent hours reading and comparing product reviews by customers and professional reviewers. We looked at the top review sites to determine which brands most often produce the top-ranking units. We looked back at our own rankings over many years of researching dishwashers to see which brands consistently produced the best appliances.

How Much Does a 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.

Dishwasher Facts & Fallacies

Some people are convinced there’s no need for a dishwasher and believe washing dishes by hand gets them equally as clean. However, that is not the case, according to the online and print magazine, Real Simple.

“To kill most of the bacteria on a dirty dish, water must reach a scalding 140 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Kelly Reynolds, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, the magazine reports. “That temperature is easily reached in a dishwasher, but in a sink, it’s nearly impossible. Hot-water heaters are typically set at 120 degrees to prevent burns, and most people can’t stand to keep their hands in a stream of water that hot for more than a few minutes. So, when it comes to washing dishes, high-tech beats low.”

Other people think dishwashers are bad for the environment, but that’s not the case, either. The online publication Homes to Love notes that you can actually save water and energy using a dishwasher. “Research in 2008 showed that, based on households studied in Britain, Sweden, Germany and Italy, households with dishwashers used about half as much water and about a quarter less energy than those without.”

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.

Will Installing a New Dishwasher Help Me Sell My House?

In many instances, the answer is yes, according to Utah real estate agent Brandon Nielson of Equity Real Estate. Nielson says many buying decisions are influenced by things like the age and condition of all the kitchen appliances, how they look together, and kitchen’s overall ambience.

A home can still sell without a new dishwasher, but if you are spending money to upgrade other appliances, adding a new dishwasher – especially if all the appliances match – can be quite helpful, he says.

“A lot of time, people get a new oven and cooktop, but they neglect the dishwasher. It could have a negative impact because it looks old and a possible buyer might question the functionality of it, whether it will leak,” he said.

Each home is unique and potential buyers are not necessarily keen on a particular home just because it has new things in it. Nielson said buyers gauge how a house feels when they walk in, especially if they get a sense that it has been well cared for, he said. However, having an appealing kitchen is a huge selling point. “The kitchen is the No. 1 factor,” he said. “That’s where everyone spends their time.”

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.

Key Features to Look for When Buying a Dishwasher


Energy Efficiency

Any of the newer models are likely going to beat your old machine for efficiency, but make sure your new dishwasher is Energy Star qualified. Check the manufacturer’s information for the estimated annual operating cost.

Pricing
Higher-priced brand dishwashers offer more efficiency and advanced features. Judging by the best-selling dishwashers on sites like Home Depot and Lowe's, most folks are buying machines that cost about $500. Many other review sites picked Bosch and KitchenAid machines more than any other brands. Their top picks average about $900. Since this is a long-term investment, spending more money on a dishwasher can make sense, depending on your individual circumstances.

Cleaning Options
Make sure you have the cycle selection that you need for your most likely cleaning scenarios. Many machines offer small-load options to let you clean fewer dishes without wasting water, for instance.


Load Flexibility

You need to know that your dishwasher will have the capacity required for your household, so pay attention to how many place settings it can handle. Capacity is usually measured in place settings, which means one dinner plate, one dessert plate, a dessert spoon, a soup plate, a soup spoon, a glass, a tea cup, a tea cup saucer, a teaspoon, a knife and a fork.


Sound Level & Design

One common complaint with older models is the noise they make. If that is an issue for you, check the decibel level. Most manufacturers make that easy to find. Look for units with stainless steel interiors, since that can reduce noise as well as add durability.

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