what to look for in a dishwasher
September 6, 2004 10:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm in the market for a new dishwasher. (The machine kind, not the employee kind, silly.) This is new territory for me. I'm looking to spend $500 or less. What factors should I consider?
posted by kmel to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
I've been very happy with our Bosch. The only features I care about in a dishwasher are capacity/ease-of-loading, quiet, and the ability to squirt water really really hard at things that need to be scrubbed.
posted by majick at 10:33 AM on September 6, 2004

How much it will hold as compared to what sorts of things you need it to hold (will you use it to wash roasting pans and other large items, in which case you need deep racks, or just plates and cups?), energy/water efficiency, will you want a timer feature (so you can run it late at night when the energy/water demands on the grid are low), loudness, accessibility (our dishwasher is VERY annoying to load and unload), cycle features (having a "rinse only" feature, for example, can be useful if you don't produce enough dirty dishes on a daily basis to put it through a whole cycle, the "sani" feature, while misunderstood by many, is useful for washing things which have had raw meat on them), outward appearance (if that matters to you). I suggest you go to an appliance store and look at ones in your price range for comparison - try opening and closing the door and reaching things at the back of the bottom rack, that sort of thing.
posted by biscotti at 10:58 AM on September 6, 2004

accessibility (our dishwasher is VERY annoying to load and unload)

Which make/model is it?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:28 AM on September 6, 2004

It's an older Hotpoint, and the model isn't written on it that I can see (it's the one that comes with the apartment, we don't own it).
posted by biscotti at 11:41 AM on September 6, 2004

I love my Maytag QuietSeries 100 and it was one of the cheaper models. When I got it (about six months ago) it was a Consumer Reports best buy.
posted by sexymofo at 5:49 PM on September 6, 2004

I recently bought that Maytag model as well, and it's been great. It's not super quiet, but you can always spend more money to get a quieter version of it. It does clean very well and I love the layout/capacity of the interior. The top rack's got a deep side in which you can stand up wine glasses, martini glasses, or other tall items.

It's also an Energy Star model, meaning it's very energy efficient.
posted by pitchblende at 10:37 PM on September 6, 2004

Consumer Reports updated their dishwashers section last month, and here's what they have to say:

A great value if you don't need all the bells and whistles: The Amana ADB1200AW ($350) offers excellent washing from a reliable brand, making it a CR Best Buy. It has a clean design with a one-piece door and touchpad controls, but lacks niceties such as adjustable tines and flatware slots. You can get it with a stainless-steel exterior for $450.

For stainless steel at a modest price: Many new models are available with a stainless exterior, so find one you like and see what it costs in stainless. Besides the Amana ADB1200AW (see above), we'd highlight the KitchenAid KUDI01IL[BL], with a stainless exterior and a stainless tub; and the Frigidaire FDB2510L[C], $500 with a stainless-steel exterior that resists smudges and a plastic tub.

For flexible loading at a modest price: The Kenmore (Sears) 1637[2] was among the best on all counts, but it has a long, 135-minute cycle. The Maytag MDB7600AW[W] and GE GSD6900J[WW] were faster but used more energy. The GE is a bit noisier than both.

For excellent performance, a modest price, and low operating costs: Three Kenmore models were among the most frugal with water and energy without compromising wash performance. Besides the Kenmore (Sears) 1637[2], consider two of its brandmates: the Kenmore (Sears) 1638[2] and Kenmore (Sears) 1552[2].

Hope this helps...
posted by Irontom at 7:09 AM on September 7, 2004

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