Whirlpool WDF520PADM dishwasher review

A simple yet efficient dishwasher, the Whirlpool WDF520PADM dishwasher is half the price of other models and gets the job well done.

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher Review
(Image: © Whirlpool)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

If you're looking for a basic dishwasher that performs well without costing a fortune, the Whirlpool 24" Tall Tub Built-In Dishwasher does the job. It's efficient, user-friendly, quiet and value for money.


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    1 hour wash cycle

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    Soil sensor determines how dirty dishes are and adjusts cycle as needed

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    Silverware basket to increase space


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    No half-rack wash option

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    Doesn't have third rack

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    Not fingerprint-resistant

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The Whirlpool WDF520PADM is a reasonably priced yet efficient dishwasher with front, electronic buttons that have control lock capability. It's one of the best dishwashers (opens in new tab) we reviewed. It has a spacious lower rack for plates or glasses, and the in-door silverware basket creates more capacity for up to 14 place settings. It has four cycles: Heavy, Normal, 1-Hour Wash and Soak & Clean.

The one-hour cycle can clean a lightly soiled load in half the time, making it more energy efficient. It also includes a sensor cycle memory that remembers your last cycle, and the soil sensor determines how dirty the dishes are and adjusts the Normal cycle when needed. The sanitize feature eliminates bacteria and enables quicker drying, while efficiently operating at a quiet 55 dBA noise level.

It is useful to note that you may need to purchase a dishwasher install kit that includes power cord and all water line requirements.

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher: Features

Considering it has less advanced features, the Whirlpool WDF520PADM dishwasher does include some impressive settings. Its headline feature is the AccuSense soil sensor that determines how dirty dishes are and adjusts the normal cycle as needed. This ensures optimum performance and makes sure dishes and glassware come out sparkling clean.

The one-hour wash cycle designed to clean lightly soiled items in half the time, is also convenient for saving you time and water consumption. And the heated dry feature gives you the choice between heated dry or energy saver (no heat) dry option.

For a more impressive set of features check out the KitchenAid KDPE234GPS. (opens in new tab)

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher: Specs

Dimensions (WHD): 24 x 34.5 x 24.5-inches
Control location: Front
Noise rating: 55dBA
Racks: 2
Cycles: 4
Holds: 14 place settings
Energy Star rated: – Tier I
Warranty: 2-year warranty

While it doesn't come with a third, top rack, the in-door silverware basket can be attached to the door, freeing up more space on the lower rack.

With a 55dBA noise level, the dishwasher is fairly quiet, meaning that you can still have conversations without any unnerving noise.

For an affordable price, the Whirlpool WDF520PADM dishwasher has all the adequate, no-fuss features that you would need.

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher: Design

The Whirlpool WDF520PADM dishwasher is sturdy and has a contemporary style. Constructed from a heavy-duty plastic tub, it is lightweight and provides long-lasting durability. Easy to install and maintain, the pocket handle ensures a better grip and less likely to break.

While the front touch control buttons may not look as sleek as the discreet, hidden top panel, they are straightforward to use. Bear in mind the stainless steel finish does not have a smudge resistant surface, and seems to attract fingerprints and water trails, however it cleans easily.

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher: Performance

For a basic dishwasher with less advanced features, this performs remarkably well. Dishes and glasses come out clean with minimal or non-existent hard-water residue or streaks.

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher:

(Image credit: Best Buy)

Along with the Normal and Heavy cycles, the soil sensor is a handy feature for detecting how dirty your dishes are, adjusting the cycle as needed. On the downside, cycle times are longer – a normal wash cycle can take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. However, if you're in a hurry or only have lightly soiled items, the one-hour cycle is just as effective. This also saves on water consumption and power.

Having the silverware holder fitted onto the door makes loading the dishes simple, freeing up more space on the bottom rack which leaves plenty of room for pots and pans.

With the heat dry options, dishes come out dry, although it is recommended to use the Rinse Aid function for a completely thorough dry. Some reviewers have stated that items are still a little damp.

More suited to light-duty washing chores, this dishwasher is efficient, fairly quiet, and performs just as well as a high-end dishwasher.

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher: User reviews

The vast majority were impressed with how well it performed, leaving dishes clean with no hard water marks. One user even mentioned they had one aluminium pan with a stubborn, black burn stain they could never wash off. But after one wash in this dishwasher, it was completely gone and looked new.

Customers mentioned the ease of set-up, functionality and low noise level. More importantly, they highly rated the ample space to load plenty of dishes or large pots at the bottom. The silverware holder on the door was particularly popular, with users finding it very flexible, able to hold all sizes of utensils. A common drawback was that utensils did not dry completely and were still a little damp. However, someone suggested using the Air Dry setting to resolve this. Another issue mentioned was that the door doesn't drop all the way down, unless the bottom row is filled with dishes. While it's worth bearing these in mind, at such a reasonable price, they are relatively minor issues.

Overall, performance, convenience and excellent value for money proved to be key selling points.

Should you buy the Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher?

If you need an affordable, no-fuss dishwasher without all the bells and whistles, the Whirlpool WDF520PADM dishwasher is a great choice. Even with just two loading racks, the silverware holder on the door gives you plenty of space for larger items on the bottom rack.

We were impressed by its cleaning performance, and streak-free glassware. While it does have longer running cycle times, the one-hour cycle is perfect for those lightly-soiled items. It is also one of the quieter models at 55dBA, meaning that you won't hear much noise when it's running.

For large families or households who need to wash a load in a hurry, this dishwasher probably won't be so practical. However, we chose this model for its quality performance, efficiency and impressive features for a reasonable price.

As well as dishwashers, we also review and rate the best side-by-side refrigerators (opens in new tab) and French door refrigerators (opens in new tab). If you're looking for laundry appliances, check out our guides to the best front load washers (opens in new tab) and best dryers (opens in new tab).

Cynthia Lawrence

Cynthia Lawrence is a freelance lifestyle and interiors journalist, writing for national publications and websites. Obsessed with homes and garden content, she spends her time writing about interiors inspiration, savvy solutions, buying guides, and exciting product reviews. In more recent months she has written about dishwashers and other home appliances for Top Ten Reviews.