Updated: November 2017

Dishwasher Reviews:

Dishwashers are now more quiet than ever and definitely more water efficient with energy saving cycles. With the stainless steel models popping up all over, it's like having a luxury appliance in your kitchen. They still do the same old job of cleaning your dishes no matter how they look or sound. If you want the best of the best, then the Bosch SHX98M09UC ($1500) is top rated. For about half that much you can get the Kenmore Elite which performs nearly as well in all aspects. The stainless steel tub practically eliminates any kind of staining, although experts claim plastic interiors are just as effective at drying dishes. Dishwashers are now using less water than previous models and their overall energy use has dropped by almost 32%. Energy Star models are the ones to go with - expect that the cost of electricity to run the dishwasher over 1 year will be about $70-$75. Another feature that has changed quite a bit in a dishwashers are the cycle times. Efficiency has brought cycle times to almost 3 hours. We recently replaced an older Whirlpool with a brand new Kenmore Pro dishwasher that is really quiet. Our old dishwasher was too noisy, so the quieter Kenmore is a real blessing given how close our family room is to the kitchen area.

What features are important when considering a dishwasher? Cleaning dishes is not that big a factor - even the cheaper models clean just as well as the priciest models available. You will have to figure out if you need an 18 inch or 24 inch dishwasher - just measure the opening in your kitchen. A big feature that homeowners look for are quiet dishwashers - who wants a bunch of noise when you are trying to watch television. Bosch has some of the quietest dishwashers on the market as well as the manufacturer Asko. Adjustable racks and baskets are a key to efficient loading and washing. Our new Kenmore Pro dishwasher is easy to load and simple to adjust when trying to fit in large pots or pans. Some top racks in dishwashers are now removable so you can put in extra large items. The racks should roll in and out of the unit smoothly and the controls should be easy to adjust or set. Stainless steel dishwashers are more expensive than the traditional white models - we went with a stainless dishwasher because it matched our other appliances. The controls are hidden on the Kenmore Pro - that is they are on the inside when you close the door. A small light on the outside tells us when the dishwasher is on running (on) and when the cycle is completely finished. There are some double drawer dishwashers on the market - one from Maytag and the others from Fishel & Paykel. For the most part experts say to avoid these styles since they are more repair prone. Portable dishwashers work great in smaller condos or apartments where space is a premium. Some models actually fit right on your countertop - like the Danby. You can buy dishwashers in home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot and at large retailers like Sears or even Best Buy. We found some quality dishwasher reviews online at Amazon.com with dozens of owner comments posted. The feedback is invaluable when you are trying to make a decision. Perhaps the best testing was done by Consumer Reports (August 2009) with over 45 models in their study. CR tested for washing, energy use, easy of use, noise, cycle time, and for features like adjustable top racks, cycle time display, flatware slots, stainless steel tub, and self cleaning filters. The report is thorough and very well done with prices, top brands, best value buys, and information on which brands require the least or most repairs. You can browse their top selling dishwashers online here.

Best Dishwasher:

Bosch dishwashers are consistently rated near the top in all reviews, but in terms of value it's hard to see spending $1000+ when you can get something very similar for $700 or less. The high end models from Miele or Asko don't necessarily wash your dishes any better. RECOMMENDED - The Whirlpool : GU2475XTVY is a 24 inch fully integrated dishwasher that features 6 automatic cycles and it's stainless steel. There are 5 spray levels, it's Energy Star qualified, and it also has an automatic filtering system along with a hard food disposal. Owners say the unit is very quiet and the controls are easy to figure out. Dishwasher ratings show that the Whirlpool models perform very well and are near the bottom when it comes to repairs or problems.

Portable Dishwasher:

Portable, or countertop dishwashers, are commonplace in apartments or small dwellings where space is a premium. Some are so compact you would hardly notice or even think it's a dishwasher. For those of you that are single or live by yourselves, a portable dishwasher can be a nice solution instead of leaving dirty dishes to pile up. The #1 selling Sunpentown SD-9241SS 18" Portable Dishwasher - Stainless Steel is priced at $500 and will quick connect to any kitchen tap. You get features like time delay so you can program the start time when you go to sleep or off to work. There are 6 wash programs - light, rinse, speeds, normal, heavy, and all in one. The adjustable upper basket is convenient and it is energy star rated. Several owner reviews mention that the unit is 'better than expected' and that it is 'quiet'. The other models we found from Haier and Edgestar did even worse when it came to customer opinions so we will leave those off the list for now. Countertop dishwashers are small and convenient, but they are not designed to be a workhouse appliance that is used everyday.

Drawer Dishwasher:

This is a relatively new invention and consumers are slowly taking to these units. They come in single and double drawer styles. The Fisher & Paykel Dish Drawer is the #1 seller in this class and it is unlike other dishwashers you've seen. Each drawer holds 6 place settings and you have the ability to wash each drawer with it's own setting at different times. Another feature is the pre dissolving of the dish soap as it is dispersed onto the dishes. With a pricetag of about $1500 the Fisher & Paykel Dish Drawer definitely is a high end machine and is probably too expensive for the average family. The dishwasher is ultra quiet and may eventually revolutionize the way we load dishwashers, but for now it remains a specialty buy. Sears is an excellent home appliance department store with drawer style dishwashers to choose from. One caveat - Fisher & Paykel is the worst and their dishwashers are more repair prone than any other brand in surveys (see below). We found another model that resembles the F&P, the Maytag : MDD8000AWS which at almost $1300 is also quite expensive and so far there is not enough feedback on this model to determine if it has the same issues as the Fisher & Paykel. Oddly enough, both these brands rate at the bottom in terms of overall repair issues.We say stay away from the drawer dishwashers until experts and consumers have good things to say about them.

Dishwasher Repair:

If your dishwasher breaks down and there is no warranty for it, you will need to consider fixing it yourself or hiring someone. You can try to get repair instructions at RepairClinic.com or Fixitnow.com. When repairs are beyond the scope of the average homeowner, consider contacting your local appliance store for help. You may get some troubleshooting tips over the phone and at least determine where the problem is. In a recent report by a consumer magazine (2009) we found that the brands with the least amount of repairs are Bosch, Whirlpool, Hotpoint, and Miele. Those with the most repairs are Fisher and Paykel and Maytag. Experts say that repairing an older dishwasher is probably not that great of an idea if the cost is over $100. You are better off buying a new one and get the long term savings in less water used and lower electric bills. An Energy Star qualified dishwasher can save you almost $400 if you own it for roughly 10 years.