Dishwashers take all the toil and elbow grease out of the post-dinner experience, saving your hands from abrasive detergents, sponges, and hot water. Just load up the plates and cutlery, select a wash cycle, and carry on with your evening.
The smart-home team at Digital Trends has tested roughly 100 appliances across 50 different brands. Based on our testing and research, our pick for the best dishwasher is the Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N. It offers a lot in the way of performance at an affordable price, and it has an unprecedented level of rack control.
The Bosch 300 Series isn't the only exceptional model we've encountered, though. We've also included our pick for the best cheap dishwasher, the best drying dishwasher, the best cleaning dishwasher, and the best dishwasher for hard water.
Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N
The best overall
- Stainless-steel design
- Operates quietly
- Competitive price
- Five wash cycles
Why you should buy it: You're looking for the absolute best dishwasher on the market.
Who it's for: Those that want their dishwasher loaded with all kinds of customizable cleaning options.
Why we chose the Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N:
Outside of the attractive profile and stainless-steel design, the Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N is quieter than a lot of the competition and has adjustable racks that make it easy to fit even the oddest-shaped pots and pans. The dishwasher has three racks with 16 place settings and powerful jets that remove cooked-on food. There's a filter near the bottom of the machine that can be washed out when the cycle is done, preventing buildup and protecting your dishwasher from that all-too-familiar wet-food stink.
There are five different wash options to choose from, including AutoWash and a one-hour wash cycle. At only 44 decibels, the Bosch 300 series can keep your dishes sparkling clean without generating a ton of noise. With the sub-$1,000 price, it offers top-tier performance at a mid-tier price.
The best cheap dishwasher
- Sleek design
- Smart cleaning options
- Extremely affordable
- Not as many cleaning features as higher-priced models
Why you should buy it: You want a great dishwasher but are shopping on a budget.
Who it's for: Cash-strapped buyers that need a solid dishwasher from a trusted manufacturer.
Why we chose the Whirlpool WDT710PAHZ:
This sleek Whirlpool model impresses at first glance with its hidden electronic buttons and 13-place-setting capacity -- it’s a dishwasher that will look beautiful in any kitchen, with plenty of room for taking care of larger loads. There’s also welcome smart tech inside, including two sensors that can judge the temperature, load size, and how dirty the dishes are to pick the best washing settings for you.
Of course, if you prefer to manually choose your settings, you also get a number of options, including a short one-hour wash mode, a heavy cycle for extra dirt, and a high temp to make sure that glassware and other dishes get the best cleaning possible. When it comes to drying, there are additional modes for extended dry and added heat, too. At 51dBA, it’s also quiet enough to avoid annoyance if you’re running it while at home.
But perhaps the most impressive thing about the Whirlpool WDT710PAHZ is how affordable it is. All these features come at a low price that’s ideal for those who want to save money.
The best drying dishwasher
- Smooth exterior
- Large 16-place-setting interior
- Incredible drying technology
Why you should buy it: You're tired of leftover water on your cups and silverware.
Who it's for: Those that want a solid dishwasher that handles drying just as effectively as washing.
Why we chose the Bosch SHPM88Z75N:
If you hate needing to dry dishes after you take them out of the dishwasher, there are smart dishwashers with features made to help out. This Bosch model is an excellent example. If it’s been a while since you upgraded your dishwasher, you may have never seen a model like this before. The hidden electronic controls allow for a smooth, industrial exterior, and a hidden light shines on the floor to let you know when the dishwasher is active. It also sports a particularly large 16-place-setting interior, with a third rack that’s specifically designed to hold cereal bowls and awkward utensils.
During its cycle, the Bosch SHPM88Z75N uses sensors that check progress to see how well dishes are being cleaned, and you can add cleaning options with modes for sanitizing, washing a half load, and more. But the best part is when the washing cycle is over — CrystalDry technology uses just the right amount of heat (up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit) to make sure all those pesky water drops vanish.
GE Profile PDT775SYNFS
The best dishwasher for hard water
- Built to tackle hard-water issues
- Excellent drying cycle
- Included leak sensor
Why you should buy it: You're looking for a dishwasher that can tackle the mineral buildup from your town or well's water.
Who it's for: Those in need of a dishwasher from a reliable brand that will go the extra mile.
Why we chose the GE Profile PDT775SYNFS:
If you live in an area with hard water, you probably already know the mineral traces in hard water can precipitate out and bond with the metal in your pipes and tanks, which can eventually cause some problems. When your dishwasher uses hard water, you may be wondering what to do to prevent that kind of buildup inside the washer — or on your own dishes. While hard water additives can help, picking a dishwasher like this GE model may also be a good idea.
The dishwasher includes four dedicated bottle jets, a food disposer for dealing with food particles, options for steam pre-cleaning for especially tough jobs, and extra wash modes. However, it's the short 60-minute cycle option that can help deal with hard water fast so it causes fewer problems. Combine that with the twin-turbo dry boost for extra-fast drying before the water can stain dishes as much, and you can reduce the problems hard water causes.
If the GE Profile PDT775SYNFS does start encountering problems, it includes a leak sensor to alert you to any potential problems. Full app controls are also available.
The best dishwasher for smart features
- QuadWash tackles cleaning from multiple angles
- Impressive drying capabilities
- Great smart features
- Height-adjustable third rack
- On the expensive side
- Doesn't support Siri or SmartThings
Why you should buy it: You want your dishwasher to be outfitted with the most cutting-edge smart features.
Who it's for: Families that want to control their dishwasher with a companion app or through a compatible voice assistant.
Why we chose the LG LDP6810SS:
LG's home-appliance footprint continues to grow with the formidable LDP6810SS, a triple-rack dishwasher with plenty of performance features and excellent smart add-ons.
Tired of pooled water at the bottom of your coffee mugs? The LDP6810SS's TrueSteam tech promises up to 60% less water leftover on your plates, bowls, cups, and silverware. Partnered with the machine's QuadWash system that blasts water and suds from a number of different angles, along with the height-adjustable top rack, there's no doubting the supreme clean that the LDP6810SS will deliver.
You can even download the LG SmartThinQ app to start and stop cleaning cycles, monitor the current load, and receive notifications when the wash is done. The LDP6810SS is even compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to fire up the dishwasher using voice commands.
The best narrow dishwasher
- Ideal for small kitchens
- Quiet operation
- Won't fit as many dishes as a regular washer
- Lacks advanced cleaning features
Why you should buy it: You want a powerful and reliable dishwasher that doesn't require a ton of space.
Who it's for: Those who are starved for kitchen real estate but still want an excellent dishwasher.
Why we chose the Whirlpool WDF518SAHM:
Not all of us are blessed with the showroom kitchens we see at our favorite brick-and-mortar retail establishments. For those contending with galley-style cooking and storage, the Whirlpool WDF518SAHM is a champion product for the cause.
Built for quiet operation, the WDF518SAHM won't exceed 50 decibels, making it ideal for cramped apartments where a bedroom may be on the other side of the kitchen wall.
At 18 inches wide, it's clear that the WDF518SAHM won't accommodate the same amount of dishes as a traditional dishwasher, but it features three get-the-job-done cleaning cycles, including a High Temperature mode for cutting through the toughest grime, as well as a height-adjustable top rack.
Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer Reports data points to Bosch, Miele, Thermador, and Whirlpool as some of the most reliable dishwasher brands.
A dishwasher works by heating up water, opening up the detergent dispenser so the detergent can disperse onto the dishes, shooting hot water through spray arms to clean the dishes, draining out the dirty water, spraying more hot water through the spray arms to rinse the dishes, draining out the water again, and then heating the chamber to dry the dishes.
A dishwasher should last between six and 12 years, provided you maintain it properly. Most dishwashers last at least eight to 10 years on average.
A standard residential dishwasher is 24 inches wide.
There are a few times of the year when you can find a really good deal on a dishwasher, such as holiday sales (Memorial Day, Black Friday, etc.). You can also get a good deal when manufacturers come out with new models or at the end of the month. If you’re buying online, research indicates you can sometimes get better deals on Thursdays and in the afternoon around 3 p.m. You can find out more information on the best times to buy appliances here.
Hand-washing does not sanitize your dishes as well as using a dishwasher. The heat of the dishwasher, the dishwasher’s detergent, and the cycles (clean, rinse, and dry) sanitize your dishes better than hand-washing your dishes with dish soap, a sponge, and water.
Not necessarily. Pre-rinsing dishes typically isn’t necessary since modern dishwashers are designed to sense food particles and dishwashing detergents are designed to attach to food particles. Pre-rinsing also wastes water. As long as you have a modern dishwasher and you keep your dishwasher clean, you don't need to pre-clean your dishes. This doesn't mean you should place casserole dishes in your dishwasher that still have half of a meal left in them, but you don't have to clean your dishes entirely before placing them in the dishwasher, either.
First off, never overload your dishwasher. This can cause performance issues over time, and this will also result in dishes that aren’t clean. Avoid placing more than one plate in a slot, and never place items on top of each other. Load cups, glasses, mugs, small bowls, and dishwasher-safe plastic on the top rack. Load plates and large items on the bottom rack. If you have an excess amount of dishes, run the cups and plates in one cycle. Then, do a separate cycle of pots and pans on the bottom rack, and place your large service utensils (spatulas and serving spoons that are too large to fit in the silverware bin) on the top rack. Don’t place a stockpot on top of a bowl to save time, as you’ll regret it later when your dishes are still dirty and your dishwasher stops draining properly. Check out our guide on how to load your dishwasher.
You should put the knife blades down so you don’t cut yourself, but to promote the cleanest silverware, you should put some silverware handles facing up and some facing down so the silverware doesn’t clump together. This will get your silverware as clean and sanitary as possible.
Dishwashers should reach temperatures between 130 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the brand, model, and the specific cycle.
It depends on the cycle and the individual dishwasher. Some dishwashers work in as little as 20 minutes, while others take longer than 90 minutes.
Many dishwashers have internal filters to help catch larger bits of food when draining. These filters can get dirty and clogged over time, which makes it harder for the dishwasher to work. Built-up food particles can also create bad odors no matter how often you clean the rest of the appliance. In general, it’s a good idea to thoroughly inspect and clean the filter every several months to make sure it’s operating properly. Consulting your appliance’s owner’s manual for specific details is also prudent, especially if your unit is still under warranty.
It doesn’t take a genius to know when a dishwasher is not doing its job; dishes still soaking wet or encrusted with food are two obvious signs that your dishwasher might not be working optimally. But before blaming the dishwasher, try a few troubleshooting suggestions. The way you load your dishwasher can affect how well it functions. Your owner’s manual has diagrams of how you should position things so that the spray arm can reach all the dishes and get them (and your dishwasher) clean. Keep the spray arm’s location in mind while loading, and try a few test cycles to see whether that helps. Some dishwashers also require a rinse aid or they’ll leave everything wet thanks to their condenser drying mechanisms. Lastly, some modern detergent reacts to the enzymes in food, so if you pre-rinse every plate and pot, the detergent won’t properly activate, leaving you with unclean dishes. Once you’ve done the necessary troubleshooting and your machine still isn’t cleaning or drying properly, it might be time for a new dishwasher.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you open your dishwasher to an array of plates, cups, and utensils that are still caked in food or some other residue. Fortunately, this is a fairly common dishwasher issue that can be fixed by clearing excess gunk from your machine's strain screen, door gasket, or spray arms. All dishwashers are prone to hiccups now and then, which is why we put together this list of the most common dishwasher problems and how to solve them.
We use a variety of metrics to test dishwashers. Since the Digital Trends team runs the dishwasher several times a day, it’s the appliance we’re always most excited to get our hands on — and there’s no shortage of feedback from our staff, so you know you’re getting the whole story here. They take note when things aren’t clean or something goes wrong mid-cycle. Our staff especially pays attention to the user interface, since they prefer to set it and forget it. Any strange status lights or silent cycles pique their curiosity and demand a closer look to ensure the dishes won’t remain dirty.
We also use more rigorous testing procedures based on AHAM’s standards to ensure our results are repeatable and comparable. Any dishwasher that lands on our “best of” list is certainly one we highly recommend.
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