The finest dishwashers we tested in 2012.
Dishwashers have changed a lot in the past decade. They've adapted to work with less water and new phosphate-free detergents, and nearly all models offer wide-open interiors and a sanitizing rinse option.
We tested all the top-selling dishwashers in the US and found that there are some stellar performers out there, in addition to some models you should avoid. While the pricier dishwashers tend to do a better job, there are also some outstanding products that most consumers will find affordable. Here are the best dishwashers for any kitchen and any budget.
Competition has driven large manufacturers to develop dishwashers with plenty of bells and whistles, but at the end of the day a dishwasher has just one purpose: to clean dirty dishes. And when it comes to that, the KUDS30FXSS is the best dishwasher we've ever tested. It scored perfectly on some of our toughest stain tests, and was consistent across all three main cycles. It may not be very efficient or innovative (aside from the sheer cleaning power), but it does its job very well.
The Bosch SHX98M09UC isn't perfect, but it's darn close. It scored well in our performance tests, and is one of the most efficient machines we've ever come across. It's also neatly designed and includes a range of extra features. All told, this is one of the best machines of the year. So what's the catch? In addition to performance that's marginally worse than the KitchenAid, we also weren't thrilled with its price. Finding it for less than $1,400 is a small miracle. For that price, customers should expect perfection.
Best Mid-Range Dishwasher
In addition to its spot-on wash cycles, the KitchenAid KUDS30FXSS is also surprisingly affordable, with an MSRP below $1000. That means it sells for hundreds less than many high-end dishwashers that don't perform as well. Discerning homeowners will appreciate its discreet stainless exterior, which will have no problem blending with upscale appliances.
Asko's D5434XXLS is an excellent choice as well. Though its price sits at the high end of the midrange, it gained accolades for its efficient and effective cleaning. It takes awhile to get dishes spotless, but at least it has a sleek, modern design that you can enjoy at while you're waiting for cycles to finish.
Best Value Dishwasher
If you insist on a stainless exterior for style and a stainless interior for a quieter wash and faster drying time, there's only one option under $500, and that's the Haier DWL2825DSS. It vastly outperformed similar dishwashers we've tested in the same price range, and easily fit 11 place settings on well-designed racks. Yes, the exterior isn't as design-forward as other models we've tested, but it does a good job blending in with other stainless appliances. Though its a major international manufacturer, Haier's full-size appliance range is relatively new to the US market, so don't expect it to be as easy to find as a run-of-the-mill Whirlpool or GE. With that said, no other dishwasher offers so many features for so little money.
Best Dishwasher for the Money
The Whirlpool WDF750SAYM isn't the cheapest dishwasher out there, but it's the least expensive model we found that does a truly acceptable job cleaning dishes. In fact, it outperforms some dishwashers that cost nearly twice as much. In addition to blasting food off of dirty dishes, the WDF750SAYM did an exceptional job conserving water and electricity. Features include a sanitizing rinse, a delay start and a fully-automatic sensor wash. If you're looking at a lesser model, consider holding out for a sale and going for the Gold.
Best Compact or Portable Dishwasher
Just because your kitchen doesn't have a built-in dishwasher doesn't mean you have to hand-wash every plate and spoon. The EdgeStar DWP61ES sits on your countertop and connects to any faucet with a standard aerator, draining into the sink. Though it only fits about four place settings, in our tests it did a better job than many built-ins that cost twice as much. Its performance and design is similar to nearly identical machines from Sunpentown and Koldfront, but the EdgeStar's countdown timer and improved user interface gives it the win.
The Maytag MDC4809PAB is a portable machine, too, but it's as large as any full-sized, built-in dishwasher. The difference is that it's wheeled, and it features a nifty simulated wood countertop that won't match anything in your kitchen. In addition to not requiring a plumber to install, the MDC4809PAB is also highly efficient (yearly operating cost: $30.34) and performs very well even compared to built-in dishwashers in the same price range.