The smart home team at Digital Trends has more than 50 years of combined experience testing appliances and electronics. We’ve formally tested 93 appliances across 50 different brands. Based on our testing and research, our pick for the best dishwasher is the. It’s a decent price, it cleans and dries your dishes without any fuss, and it offers extra perks like top-rack bottle jets.
The GE GDT655SMJES Top Control Dishwasher isn’t the only exceptional model we’ve encountered. We’ve also included our pick for the best cheap dishwasher, the best drying dishwasher, the best cleaning dishwasher, the best dishwasher for large families, and the best dishwasher for hard water.
Best dishwashers at a glance:
- The best dishwasher: GE GDT655SMJES
- The best cheap dishwasher: Bosch Ascenta
- The best drying dishwasher: Thermador DHDW870WFM
- The best cleaning dishwasher: LG QuadWash LDP6797ST
- The best dishwasher for large families: Samsung Chef Collection
- The best dishwasher for hard water: Whirlpool WDTA50SAHZ
Why we picked the GE GDT655SMJES:
One of the best features on the GE GDT655SMJES dishwasher is the bottle jets in the top rack. Instead of the usual tines, there are two jets made for bottles and other tall items; water sloshes around to help get out whatever’s inside. But there are other great features on this dishwasher that put it at the top of our list. It has separate wash zones, so can clean just the top or bottom rack when you don’t have a full load. There’s also a 32-minute express cycle, a steam prewash option, and an NSF-certified, germ-killing sanitization setting.
Its stainless steel interior holds 16 place settings, and the dishwasher runs at an impressive 46 decibels. It’s not the quietest dishwasher on the list, but you still might be glad that there’s an indicator light, so you’ll know it’s running.
The dishwasher is Energy Star certified and should cost around $32 a year to operate, depending on your utility rates. With a range of unique features, including several ways to boost its cleaning and drying power, this is both a powerful and affordable dishwasher.
Why we picked the Bosch Ascenta dishwasher:
In addition to being affordable, the Bosch Ascenta offers advanced leak protection, six different wash cycles, an adjustable middle rack, and a long silverware basket that securely holds flatware in place.
The Bosch Ascent is environmentally friendly, yet it’s still affordable, and it will deliver clean and dry dishes. This dishwasher exceeds Energy Star requirements for water by 69 percent. There’s even a half-load option to reduce the cycle time and water consumption when you’re washing a smaller load of dishes. Plus, it’s one of the quietest dishwashers on the list at 50 decibels, which is quieter than most normal conversation.
It has a sanitize option to reduce bacteria and help your dishes dry faster. And, although it doesn’t have Wi-Fi, it does have a PrecisionWash System with intelligent sensors and accurate spray arms that help eliminate the need for pre-rinsing.
Why we picked the Thermador DHDW870WFM:
Even if your dishwasher cleans your dishes well, you probably won’t be happy with your machine if it produces clean dishes that are still soaking wet when the cycle finishes. This Thermador machine might be expensive, but it is a monster at drying dishes. Your cups and plates come out without a single drop of water on them. How does it dry so well? Thermador’s StarDry with Zeolite technology adds an additional step after the drying cycle. Zeolite produces heat when it comes into contact with moisture, and the dishes come out bone dry.
In addition to being an excellent drying dishwasher, the Thermador Star Sapphire also boasts Star Speed, which means you can wash your dishes in 20 minutes. On top of that, the dishwasher has an attractive interior glow of your choice color when paired with Home Connect. It’s called Star Glow (noticing a trend?).
Check out our full review of the Thermador DHDW870WFM.
Why we picked the LG QuadWash LDP6797ST:
With four cleaning “arms” instead of two, this dishwasher is an impressive performer that is quiet and features adjustable racks.
When we read in the LG guide that we should put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher without rinsing, we said, “Oh, it’s on!” We smeared plates with condiments and let them dry, then put them all in the Quadwash. To our surprise, the dishes came out sparkling clean — even when we ran them into the turbo cycle.
The dishwasher is quiet. So quiet, in fact, that we could barely tell it was running. Tiny indicator lights just below the handle gave us an inkling, but we still accidentally opened it a couple of times. This dishwasher features three racks – one small one for cooking utensils and knives on the top, a middle rack for bowls and glasses, and a bottom rack for larger items. All three racks are adjustable in case your glasses are taller, or you want to wash a large pot on the bottom rack and need more room.
Our LG QuadWash LDP679ST review
Why we picked the Samsung Chef Collection Dishwasher:
While this dishwasher is a bit on the expensive side, it lands on this list for its combination of good looks and premium features.
The Chef Collection dishwasher features a dedicated third rack on the top for utensils and silverware, along with an easily-adjustable middle rack that you can lift to fit large platters on the bottom. The Zone Booster setting allows you to focus the cleaning on a concentrated area on the bottom, which is perfect for those casserole dishes with extra grime.
One neat feature we’ve never seen on a dishwasher before is that the door automatically pops open just slightly when the cycle finishes to allow the steam to escape and dry the dishes. The dishwasher is extremely quiet, but an indicator light that illuminates just below the outer handle tells you when the dishwasher is running.
In addition to all the technology built in, this dishwasher is a beauty, with dark, smudge-proof stainless steel that will look great in any kitchen.
Why we picked the Whirlpool WDTA50SAHZ:
Hard water doesn’t just make it tougher to clean your dishes, it also puts a beating on your dishwasher. Regardless to which dishwasher you choose, if you have hard water, you should still use a water softener to help get your dishes cleaner and to help prevent buildup. But, if you opt for a reliable dishwasher, this can extend the machine’s longevity. Whirlpool dishwashers are known for being tough, and this model is one of our favorites.
The silverware basket is on the dishwasher door, so you have more space for your plates, cups, pots, and pans. And, because it has a TotalCoverage spray arm feature, the spray arms provide excellent coverage and increased water pressure. This dishwasher also works fast, cleaning dishes in one hour. It even has a sensor cycle that can automatically adjust fire based on your load and get your dishes as clean as possible.
Research and buying tips
- What are the best dishwasher brands?
- How does a dishwasher work?
- How long do dishwashers last?
- How wide is a dishwasher?
- When is the best time to buy a dishwasher?
- What’s the difference between using a dishwasher and hand washing?
- Should I pre-rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher?
- How do you properly load a dishwasher?
- Should the silverware handles go up or down in the dishwasher?
- How hot does a dishwasher get?
- How long does a dishwasher take?
- How do I know if my dishwasher needs replaced?
- How does Digital Trends Test dishwashers?
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 6 and 12 years, provided you maintain it properly. Most dishwashers last at least 8 to 10 years on average.
A standard residential dishwasher is 24 inches wide.
There are a few times of 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 3pm). 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 cycles) 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 cycles. 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. Here is a guide on how to properly load silverware.
Dishwashers should reach temperatures of 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.
Of all major appliances, dishwashers are among the easiest to tell when they’re not doing their job. Sopping or food-encrusted dishes mean something’s not right, but it might just be your loading technique. Some dishwashers need rinse aid or they’ll leave everything wet, thanks to their condenser drying mechanisms. Modern detergent actually reacts to the enzymes in food, so if you pre-rinse your dishes, it won’t properly activate. Your owner’s manual has diagrams of how you should position your dishes so that the spray arm can reach everything and keep your dishes and your dishwasher clean. If you’ve done the necessary troubleshooting and your machine still isn’t cleaning or drying, it’s probably time for a new dishwasher.
When we test dishwashers, we use both benchmarks and less objective metrics like design. Of all the appliances we test, dishwashers get the most feedback from the Digital Trends office staff. They get used several times a day by everyone in the office, and they let us know when things aren’t getting clean, when the near-silent operation and small status light have led to them pulling the door open mid-cycle, and so on.
We also use more rigorous tests, based on AHAM’s standards, to ensure our results are repeatable and comparable.