GE Cafe CDWT980VSS$1,699.00
Average power for above-average price? No thanks.
Before you do any research on this machine, take a look at the price: you’d be lucky to find it for $1,400. Whether you have that sort of money lying around or not, it's worth noting that we found that the quality of the GE Cafe CDWT980VSS does not match its price. Yes, there's a sweet automatic detergent dispenser, but there's also a reason as to why you don't commonly see these: even slight misuse could lead to a costly, time-consuming repair.
Honestly, GE, you’re a legendary brand, but just because you can claim Thomas Edison as one of your own doesn’t mean you can charge this much for a run-of-the-mill dishwasher with one special feature of dubious awesomeness. You've made some great products, really. And we’ve given some solid grades to your other products, but this one doesn’t hit the mark—at least not for the asking price.
Design & Usability
Because of its simplicity, the CDWT980VSS is easy to use—save for the fixed filter, which is a pain to clean out.
We liked the CDWT980VSS’s design, as minimalistic as it is. There’s not much that stands out, but that’s sort of how we like it. It has a stainless steel finish that's surprisingly resistant to fingerprints. The inside wash tub is also stainless, and is complemented by a sturdy set of dish racks, plus a similarly sturdy and spacious cutlery basket. The flimsy, single plastic wash arm, on the other hand, was very much the opposite of sturdy. We expected more from a dishwasher this pricey.
For $1,600, we were hoping for some neat bonuses—not a massage chair, but something to give us more bang for our buck.
There are four main cycles—China, Auto, Normal, and Deep Clean. While these four cycles are enough to satisfy most dishwashing needs, the lack of a quick cycle is a bit annoying and hurt this machine in our scoring. Supplemental wash options include a Steam rinse, Heated Dry, and an Added Heat feature. Each of these options can be manually added onto a chosen wash cycle. There’s also a delay option (2, 4, or 8 hours), but that’s it—no sanitize rinse (the Deep Clean automatically sanitizes), no extra wash, no timer, no rinse-only. For a mid-range machine this wouldn’t be as unusual, but a mid-range machine the CDWT980VSS is not. As far as noise, it gave off a pretty standard volume. There's a quiet ding at the end of each cycle, and the stainless interior does a pretty solid job of suppressing noise.
The lack of a quick wash is disappointing, but the Normal and Deep Cleans functions were nevertheless very impressive.
The Deep Clean cycle took over two hours to finish—more than twice the length of the Normal—and was exponentially less efficient in terms of electricity and water consumption. Surprisingly, the vast difference in efficiency and speed did not translate to their respective wash performances. While the Deep Clean was a slightly better cycle overall, we’d recommend using the Normal wash most of the time, due to its superior speed and efficiency. Most of our tests came back pretty darn close to perfect, but unfortunately none of the stains (except tea) scored perfectly across both passes.
This is a solid mid-range machine that any middle class consumer will appreciate. Oh, what’s that? It costs how much? $1,600?! Give me my money back.
The CDWT980VSS performed pretty well, but for such an expensive machine we were expecting more... like a quick cycle... or better energy efficiency... or anything else, really.