After a couple of decades of fine tuning, almost all conventional built-in dishwashers perform admirably in the cleaning department. The differentiating factors come down to questions such as: How quiet is the operation? What are the energy-saving options (such as shortened cycles, half-load options, condensation drying, and water-flow control)? Are the heating coils and controls concealed? Is the unit Energy Star-rated (which means it's 41 percent more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard)?
We've sifted through the options, consulted rating guides, and come up with our Top 10 picks for front-loading dishwashers; most are stainless-steel faced, but several of the models are also available in other finishes as well as custom-panel ready. For alternatives, see our earlier post on Dishwasher Drawers.
N.B.: Please weigh in with your experiences with these or other dishwashers.
Above: Highly rated Bosch dishwashers are known for their quietness and quality. The Integra 800 Series Dishwasher (SHX68P05SS) comes with the most advanced features and the sleekest profile (controls are hidden). It is also the highest-priced Bosch (with the exception of the 800-plus model) at $1,214.10 from Abt. The Integra 300 Series Dishwasher (SHX43P15UC) offers the same concealed features with four wash cycles for $757.80 at AJ Madison. I've had great experiences with Bosch dishwashers in my own kitchen remodels.
Above: The current Consumer Reports top-rated washer is the Bosch Evolution 500 (#SHE55M1UC), which offers high performance at a more reasonable price if you are willing to give up a wash cycle (5 instead of 6), concealed controls, and extras like the basket inserts. Available in white, black and stainless finishes; $854.10 in stainless at Abt.
Above: For Bosch quality and quietness at a more affordable price, consider the Ascenta Evolution 300 Series Energy Star Dishwasher (#SHE4AP), available in white, black (for $449), or stainless with black controls ($539) at Abt. The Bosch website offers a feature that lets you compare up to four dishwashers side-by-side.
Above: In the past few years, the Swedish appliance company ASKO has turned around its dismal repair reputation. The company's recent models have been praised for their energy efficiency, cleaning performance, and "Touchproof" fingerprint resistant stainless fronts. The XXL boasts "extreme loading capacity" with four racks and seven baskets. The Asko D5233XXLHS Fully Integrated Dishwasher with a stainless front and a towel bar handle is $1,299 at AJ Madison. If you prefer a fully flat profile, the Asko D5122aXXL Dishwasher with a stainless front offers a flush covered grip handle; $1,049 at AJ Madison.
Above: The Miele Inspira Series Dishwasher (#G2141SS) is known for its superior cleaning performance and quietness. I installed this dishwasher in my San Francisco kitchen and have been pleased with the results. While the control pad is not concealed, it is flush and does not have a protruding handle; $1,199 with a stainless steel front at Abt.
Above: The GE Profile PDWT480RSS Dishwasher receives high marks for its steam-cleaning function and ease of loading. A highlighted feature is the "SmartDispense" technology, which enables you to fill the detergent compartment for a month's worth of cleaning. Like many American-designed dishwashers, it has a hard food disposer, and the heating element is exposed; $878.85 for the stainless version at AJ Madison.
Above L: The Kenmore Pro Stainless Steel UltraWash HE 1317 gets high marks all around; $1,444.99. Above R: The lower-priced Kenmore #1374 Dishwasher also gets high ratings. The controls are visible, but several of the primary features are the same (available in white, black, bisque, and stainless with black control board); $628.99.
Above: The KitchenAid Architect Series II KUDE70CV offers great features, quiet performance, and is the current runner-up of Consumer Reports top-rated dishwashers. While the control console is visible, we think it is one of the least obtrusive on the market. $1,079.10 at AJ Madison.
Above L: Aga offers a dishwasher to complement its traditional English cast-iron kitchen cookers. Although we can't vouch for its performance, we love the look and the fact that it's available in the traditional Aga colors (brick, black, blue, white, and cream). The Aga Fully Integrated 6-Cycle Dishwasher features three racks, including a culinary tool rack, and a four-blade food disposer; $2,369 at A.J. Madison. Above R: For those who love the Aga look but don't like the price tag, consider the Aga Dishwasher Panel Kit. For $499, you can install the Aga panel on the front of most integrated dishwashers. Available at A.J. Madison.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on January 26, 2011.