How to Choose the Best Dishwasher
This kitchen workhorse generally performs admirably in the cleaning department, but heavy use can shorten its life span. What to do when it needs replacing? (Skip to the advice posts.)
Most conventional built-in dishwashers do their job just fine. The differentiating factors in the various brands come down to such questions as: How quiet is the operation? What are the energy-saving options (such as shortened cycles, half loads, condensation drying, and water-flow control)? Are the controls neatly concealed? Is the unit Energy Star-rated (that is, more energy-efficient than the minimum federal standard)?
With all these considerations in mind, we offer our top picks for front-loading dishwashers. We rate Bosch dishwashers highly for their quietness and quality; the latest models have a larger tub with increased loading capacity, rack enhancements, and improved energy efficiency. The Miele brand is beloved for its superior cleaning performance and quietness, and dishwashers made by the Swedish company ASKO are praised for their energy efficiency, cleaning performance, and fingerprint-resistant stainless fronts.
While most dishwashers have a stainless-steel face, a few manufacturers offer other finishes. And then there’s the opportunity to customize the door panel. The English company Aga, for example, which makes a dishwasher to complement its traditional cast-iron cookers, also sells the Aga Dishwasher Panel Kit, so you can install a contoured enameled-steel Aga panel on the front of your regular old dishwasher. The best part: The panel comes in the traditional Aga colors of black, blue, red, white, or cream.
We also offer more than buying advice, including tips on how to load and clean it. We also look at the higher-end single and double-drawer systems as well. And if you’re remodeling and your budget will allow it, you might even consider splurging on two machines, if you have the space. For those who entertain a lot or have a big family, it can be worth it to double your cleaning power.