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When a dishwasher enters Consumer Reports’ labs, we put it through at least 28 hours’ worth of tough trials. More than 60 current dishwasher models have gone through the gantlet, and we test new ones regularly.
Our experts assess how well each model can dry plastic, which is a tough task for modern, energy-efficient dishwashers. A panel of judges also listens to an entire cycle to identify “any annoying noises,” as CR’s head of dishwasher testing Larry Ciufo puts it. Those could include the sound of the detergent door thwacking against the tub, or the churn of a loud drain pump.
And of course, we test each model’s cleaning prowess. Our testers apply a consistent portion of starchy goop to 10 white ceramic plates. (The recipe is a secret, but cocoa and ketchup are involved.) Then they bake each plate until it’s crusty, load the plates into the dishwasher without prerinsing, and run the default cleaning cycle. Afterward, our imaging software precisely analyzes how much gunk is left over on each plate.
We also incorporate feedback from the tens of thousands of Consumer Reports members who take our annual dishwasher survey. This data helps us predict which brands may be the most reliable, and which ones tend to make their owners the happiest.
In our ratings, you’ll find dozens of dishwashers from a host of brands, including major names like Bosch, Whirlpool, GE, LG, Samsung, and Frigidaire, boutique labels like Fisher & Paykel, store brands including Ikea and Insignia, and newcomers like Thor and Kucht.
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So which dishwashers clean up in our tests?
CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of a half-dozen standard-sized (24-inch-wide) dishwashers that earned some of the top marks in CR’s tests and surveys. The top of our rankings are utterly dominated by one manufacturer—and unfortunately, its dishwashers can be tough to find right now because of supply issues. But we’ve highlighted a handful of strong performers from other brands that you could consider instead.
You can also comb through our full dishwasher ratings for even more options: In the middle of our rankings, there’s a glut of decent machines with similar overall scores, but each has different strengths and weaknesses. You can pick and choose based on what matters the most to you. See our dishwasher buying guide for more guidance.
6 Top-Rated Dishwashers
CR’s take: Dishwashers built by BSH, the parent company behind Bosch and Thermador, occupy the top 21 spots in CR’s ratings. These are the only brands whose dishwashers earn an Overall Score of Excellent and a recommendation from CR. That includes all the models in the basic Ascenta line and 100 Series. They can’t hold as many dishes as higher-end Bosch models, and they’re a bit louder as well. But they’re a fantastic value, and the Ascenta SHX3AR75UC in particular earns CR’s Best Buy status. Like every Bosch and Thermador dishwasher we’ve tested, the Ascenta is a top-notch cleaner, and it received an Excellent rating for predicted reliability, as well as owner satisfaction.
CR’s take: As you spend more on a Bosch dishwasher, the models get progressively quieter and the extra features start to add up. In the 300 Series (and up), you’ll get a third rack at the top of the tub, which can hold utensils, ramekins, kitchen tools like spatulas and whisks, and other small items. The 300 Series SHEM63W55N has a front-facing control panel and a stainless finish. But other variants are available with hidden controls, as well as different finishes and handle styles. You can pick whichever one suits your tastes, and expect essentially identical performance.
CR’s take: The Bosch 800 Series is one of the quietest dishwashers we’ve tested, earning an Excellent rating in our noise trial. It also adds a souped-up drying system called CrystalDry, which contributes to its Excellent rating on our drying test. While the lower-end Bosch models we covered above are great at drying if you open the dishwasher door promptly at the end of a cycle, the 800 Series leaves your dishes moisture-free, even if you leave the door shut for an extended period. (Like when you’re asleep, at work, or just really comfortable on the couch.) You could also consider a higher-end model from BSH, like one from the Bosch Benchmark line or from Thermador. They can include useful features like an extra-deep third rack or interior lights.
CR’s take: According to our member survey, Kenmore’s expected reliability and owner satisfaction earn only Good ratings (a few ticks down from Bosch). But the Kenmore 14573 is a top performer in our lab. It earns an Excellent rating in both our washing and drying tests, and has our highest rating of any non-Bosch dishwasher. It’s a steel-tub model, with a third rack so that you can load more items per cycle. It also has a heated-dry setting, so you can expect dry dishes even if you can’t empty the racks (or at least open the door) promptly when the cycle ends. The main challenge will be finding a store that sells it: Kenmore has traditionally been sold through Sears, but that retailer only has a couple dozen locations left in the U.S. Costco carries it, but you’ll need a membership.
CR’s take: The basic, two-rack, plastic-tub Ikea Essentiell offers excellent washing performance for a reasonable price, and its 5-year warranty coverage is tops in the industry. Ikea dishwashers have received a Very Good rating for predicted reliability and a Good rating for owner satisfaction, based on responses to our member surveys collected over the past few years. Note that Ikea dishwashers are made by at least two different manufacturers. The Essentiell is manufactured by Electrolux, and looks similar to some Frigidaire models. (Electrolux is Frigidaire’s parent company.) In our most recent surveys, Frigidaire dishwashers received a Good rating for predicted reliability and a Poor rating for owner satisfaction. Also, buying an Ikea appliance might not be practical if you don’t live near an Ikea store.
CR’s take: This Thor Kitchen dishwasher earns strong ratings on most of our tests, and packs in a bunch of upscale features, including a third rack, a stainless steel tub, and a bar-style handle. What we don’t know is whether it’ll prove to be a reliable appliance, because we haven’t yet collected enough feedback from our members about Thor Kitchen to make a statistically valid prediction. Based on the design of the racks and other parts, this Thor model looks a lot like the Kucht K650D and higher-priced Bertazzoni DW24XT, both of which earn similar ratings on our tests—they may all be built by the same manufacturer.
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