Published on By Elizabeth Sheer
Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA Review
(From $404.00 Best)
A standard dishwasher with solid performance, the Maytag Jetclean Plus sports an unusual tiered top rack that affords greater flexibility in loading, particularly tall items. There are five wash cycles (including china/crystal and heavy duty), a steam sanitizer, hard food disposer, and child lock.
Given the price point, this budget model deserves praise for its cleaning ability, say Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA reviews. At the company site users write that dishes, glasses, and flatware shine after the cycle is finished regardless how soiled they were at the outset, an assessment confirmed by comments posted elsewhere. Users also commend its quiet operation despite a rated decibel level that's slightly higher than others we researched. Several also rave about the effectiveness of the steam-sanitize option.
On the downside, a few Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA reviews at sites such as AJ Madison contend that tea and coffee stains and dry or sticky food remains don't get washed away completely. Some users also balk at the long cycle -- upwards of three hours with the sanitize and heated dry options -- and contend that the rack layout isn't particularly efficient. A sample of grievances: stemware doesn't fit in the upper rack, not enough space on the bottom rack for two rows of dinner plates, the silverware basket is a space hog. Still, users favorably compare this model to whatever it replaced.
The Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA (starting at $404, AJ Madison) is equipped with several appealing features. The top rack is tiered, with the middle section raised, to open up space for taller items in the bottom rack. (Some users point out this setup has the effect of limiting clearance on the top rack.) There are five wash cycles, including china/crystal and heavy-duty; a sanitizing rinse; heat and no-heat dry options; and a hard-food chopper that minimizes the need to prerinse. Delay-start options include 2, 4, and 8 hours. The tall tub holds up to 12 place settings and when running, the decibel level hits 57dBA. This model earns Energy Star certification and comes in white, bisque, black, and stainless steel.
Although a few reviews mention service calls were needed within the first year, users don't seem concerned about durability. They do seem pleased to have chosen a dishwasher whose performance meets expectations.
Where to buy
Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY Review
(From $445.00 Best)
The Whirlpool Gold WTD710PAY piles on the features, including upper and lower fold-down tines, adjustable upper rack, and controls mounted on the top edge of the door. Consumers appreciate the six cycles and many options, such as the soil sensor and eco-wash cycle, and, more critically, the impressive results.
The combination of strong performance and features often associated with higher-end dishwashers win over consumers, according to Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY reviews. At Appliance Connection users express pleasant surprise at its quiet operation, saying you can barely hear it running. Reviews are effusive about the end results, as well. Posts at Home Depot, for example, report thorough cleaning even without prerinsing and no spotting even with hard water. The spacious and flexible interior, with fold-down tines on both racks, an adjustable upper rack, and a silverware basket that fits in any of several locations garner heaps of praise in reviews, with users happily noting they can load in more items than was possible with older models.
Behind all the applause, however, we also detected bit of sniping. Placing the basket in the door or clipping it on the front of the lower rack may open up space for dishware, but doing so has its downsides. Some users assert the basket is hard to load when in the door and silverware doesn't get a complete cleaning. Additionally, some Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY reviews at the company site and at Sears say the basket can't accommodate larger utensils, larger flatware patterns don't fit the slots in the basket covers, and small pieces of flatware fall through the bottom holes. We also found a handful of reports about inadequate cleaning (mostly of baked-on food stuffs) and operational breakdowns. As is common with energy-efficient dishwashers in the budget segment, insufficient drying is a frequent but not deal-breaking critique.
The Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY (starting at $445, Amazon) is richly appointed. The tall tub can hold up to 15 full place settings, the top rack slides out completely and can be moved up or down and it has an extra minishelf for a second row of mugs. There are six wash cycles, including a sensor cycle that adjusts the settings based on soil level and load size and an energy-efficient overnight cycle for heavily soiled loads, as well as a half (top rack) wash and a sanitizing rinse. Users can choose between a heated or non-heated drying cycle and delay the start for four hours. The electronic controls are mounted along the top edge of the door. This model comes with an Energy Star and noise level is rated at 55 dBA. It's available in white, white ice (with a stainless-steel handle), black, black ice, and stainless steel; prices vary by finish.
Despite a malfunction here and there and low-level grousing about the utensil basket, the array of features and solid performance make the Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY a true value buy.
Where to buy
GE GDF520PGD Review
(From $359.00 Good)
A real find at the low end of the price range for anyone needing to load the equivalent of up to 16 full place settings, the GE GDF520PGD comes with three spray arms, a steam prewash, and four wash cycles. It does the job well, but grumbles about the silverware basket crop up in user reviews.
GE GDF520PGD reviews are generally upbeat about this inexpensive dishwasher. Users mostly approve of the cleaning action, noting that it quietly and efficiently washes away food residues. The steam prewash, which keeps prerinsing at the sink to a bare minimum, is a particularly welcome feature, according to reviews at Sears. Many like the capacious interior and the option of placing the silverware basket in the door or the lower rack.
That said, the positive commentary is slightly offset by a variety of critiques. Some GE GDF520PGD reviews at Home Depot, for example, grumble about a very long start-to-finish cycle and dishes and glassware that are still wet even after the heated-dry. Some reviewers also say the rack layout is inefficient, making it hard to load bowls and pots. Mounting the silverware basket on the rack interferes with the soap dispenser, the critics continue, and when placed in the door, the silverware isn't exposed to enough water for thorough cleaning.
Unlike other dishwashers in its class, the GE GDF520PGD (starting at $359, AJ Madison) boasts three spray/wash arms (the third is located above the upper rack) and dedicated silverware jets. There are four wash cycles in addition to a steam prewash, sanitize, and temperature-boost options; users can also choose heated or no-heat dry. A sensor monitors the goings-on and adjusts water and temperature levels accordingly. It features a hard-food disposer and a 2/4/8-hour delay start. Maximum capacity in this tall tub dishwasher is 16 place settings. It earns an Energy Star and a noise rating of 54 dBA. Available finishes are white, bisque, black, and stainless steel.
Not awesome, perhaps, but definitely worth the price. The GE GDF520PGD does what it's meant to do.
Where to buy
Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC Review
(From $490.00 Good)
Perched right at the edge of the Cheapism range, this model from Bosch stands out for its quiet and efficient operation. The Ascenta features four wash cycles and two options, including a half-load wash, a delay start up to nine hours, and a child lock. Users like its cleaning performance but chafe at the rack layout.
If quiet efficiency is what you seek in a dishwasher, Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC reviews proclaim this is the model for you. Reviews posted at several sites crow about the near silent operation of this budget-priced appliance while marketing materials stress its energy-saving technology. The Ascenta SHE3AR56UC (starting at $490, Amazon) is no slouch when it comes to cleaning performance, either -- most users say it cleans well, even with hard water, but recommend a good prerinsing (there is no hard-food disposer). Predictably, a few find residue to grumble about.
What's notable, however, is that Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC reviews at sites such as Lowe's and Home Depot discuss cleaning and energy efficiency almost as an aside; they're far chattier about the rack layout. Quite a few reviews rail against the slanted tines that they insist accommodate only flat plates -- one suggests this is because Europeans don't eat cereal -- and in a very restricted arrangement, adding that tall stemware doesn't fit in the top rack. A good number of reviewers also grumble that the drying cycle (no-heat is the only option) leaves the contents far too wet and the long cycle time (in the three-hour range) is far too long.
The 50 dBA decibel rating is the Bosch Ascenta's standout feature, but other elements also hold appeal. In addition to the usual wash cycles, this model can run a half load (on the upper rack) and an auto cycle with so-called EcoSense, which measures how soiled the dishes are and uses only as much energy and water as necessary, increasing energy efficiency. There is also a high-temperature sanitize options. Specifications say the tall stainless-steel tub can accommodate up to 14 place settings but some users say it seems less roomy than comparable American-brand dishwashers. One reviewer appreciatively highlights a detergent dispenser that slides rather than the usual latch arrangement and others point to the fold-down tines on the top rack. Users can also move or remove the silverware basket. Start time can be delayed 3, 6, or 9 hours. This model is available in black, white, and stainless steel, but the latter is priced above the Cheapism cutoff.
Quirks aside -- including a price at the very top of the budget range -- the Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC claims a second-tier finish on the strength of near silent and energy-saving performance.
Frigidaire FBD2400K Review
(From $233.00 Think Twice)
Cheap, basic, and old school with its mechanical dials, this Frigidaire model offers only two wash cycles (normal and light) and one wash arm plus a collapsible center tower to spray the water. Some users appreciate the simplicity but others say it's noisy, fails to clean adequately, and needs repairs.
What some users like about this very inexpensive dishwasher, according to Frigidaire FBD2400K reviews, are the simplicity and decent performance. What they don't like is the noise and unreliability and the crummy cleaning job. Reviews at AJ Madison reflect this divide: one of the four reviews says the price is right, as is the end result; three posts bemoan the finished product, saying dishes don't get clean unless they're washed beforehand, and a couple report problems with build quality. Similar appraisals show up in reviews posted elsewhere, including Abt. Again, some users express satisfaction with the dishwasher's abilities and design, saying the no-frills features are just what's needed, dishes et al emerge clean, and the machine is easy to load. Others retort that it's loud, awkward to load, rinses rather than washes, vibrates, and breaks down.
Unlike other budget dishwashers we researched, the Frigidaire FBD2400K (starting at $233, Amazon) is truly bare bones. It has mechanical dial controls instead of electronic touchpads or buttons and only two wash cycles, regular and light, compared with the minimum four on the others. There are two temperature settings, a heat/no heat dry, a hard food disposer, and room for up to 12 place settings. It lacks a sanitize option, high-temperature wash, and an Energy Star. Rather than wash arms, the Frigidaire FBD2400K features a lower wash arm and a collapsible tower that rises up through the center of the bottom rack for the wash cycles. The noise rating is 62dBA, several notches above our top picks. This model is available in white and black.
The Frigidaire FBD2400K is about as basic a dishwasher as you'll find these days, and the price is certainly eye-catching. But if you can stretch the budget by a few dollars more than half this model's going price, you can get an appliance with more and better functionality.
Shoppers on a budget looking for a cheap dishwasher that leaves dishes clean and shiny without making much noise or running up the utility bill will find several good options for less than $500. The key players in the low-priced segment of the market are household names: Whirlpool, GE, Frigidaire, Maytag, Kenmore, and Amana. (Bosch, Samsung, and KitchenAid make a limited appearance but mostly show up outside the Cheapism zone.) These manufacturers all offer an array of cheap dishwasher models, some distinguished by a specific bundle of features and some only by their finish: white, black, bisque, or stainless steel. (As with most appliances, stainless steel commands a markup of about $100.)
Cheap Dishwashers Buying Guide
We identified four models that that don't skimp on features or performance, thus qualifying as best cheap dishwashers. The Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY (starting at $445) is a hit with consumers for its array of wash cycles and settings, flexible design, and high-level performance. Also sitting on the top rung is the Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA (starting at $404), with fewer frills but similar commendations for clean results. The second-best cheap dishwashers include the GE GDF520PGD (starting at $359), which boasts three spray arms and a steam prewash and generally satisfies users, and the Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC (starting at $490), which comes with some griping about the rack layout but acclaim for very quiet and energy-efficient operation. One budget model that fails to impress is the super-cheap, basic Frigidaire FBD2400K (starting at $233), a non-starter that gets zapped for poor build quality and noisy operation.
The standard built-in dishwasher is a front-loader that measures 24 inches across. (Anyone strapped for space will need to hunt around for alternatives -- there are only a handful of 18-inch models out there.) The best of the cheap dishwashers feature four or more wash cycles that each suit different soil levels, often boast a sanitize option and hard-food disposer (goodbye prerinse), are designed with a tall tub and racks that maximize interior space, include a delay-start, and sport an Energy Star label. Ultra high-end dishwashers bearing brand names such as Miele and Thermador can hit stratospheric price points -- $2,000 is no exaggeration -- and come loaded with even more features -- 19 wash cycles (including cheese/starch and plastics), for example, or a beam of light projected onto the floor that indicates how far the cycle has progressed.
But frugal shoppers needn't fret about missing out. As the marketing information experts at J.D. Power & Associates explain, anyone who uses the same basic settings all the time (and that's most of us) won't derive any benefit from the snazzy stuff, so there's no sense paying for it.
Perhaps more importantly, the best cheap dishwashers perform just fine. Although complaints about food residue on dishes, spots on flatware, and milky film on glasses crop up in reviews of nearly every budget model, the vast majority of purchasers are thoroughly pleased with the best of the current crop. They rave about the sparkle and shine, the convenience, and the relative quiet.
Two issues, however, irk even those who give a thumbs-up to the appliance's cleaning prowess: The very long cycle, nearly three hours from start to finish when using a "normal" or "heavy" setting along with sanitizing and dry options (this is about double the cycle time required by older models) and the likelihood that the tub's contents remain wet even after going through a heated dry. (Manufacturers recommend using a rinse aid to facilitate drying and spot-free results but consumers report this tactic often falls short.) Reports of both performance weaknesses pervade the cheap dishwasher category and are largely attributable to the resource-conserving goals and requirements of the Energy Star program.
A couple of other matters are worth keeping in mind. Unless you plan to install the dishwasher yourself, note that the cost of professional installation can add several hundred dollars to the price of a dishwasher, depending where you buy it and where you live. Also, dishwashers don't automatically come with the fittings necessary for installation, so be sure to check whether this is part of the package or requires a separate purchase.
Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY Review
# Cycles 6
Noise Level 55 dBA
# Place Settings 15
Rack Flexibility Upper and lower fold-down tines/ adjustable top rack/AnyWare basket
Soil Sensor Yes
|445||6||55 dBA||15||Upper and lower fold-down tines/ adjustable top rack/AnyWare basket||Yes|
Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA Review
# Cycles 5
Noise Level 57 dBA
# Place Settings 12
Rack Flexibility Tiered upper rack
Soil Sensor No
|404||5||57 dBA||12||Tiered upper rack||No|
GE GDF520PGD Review
# Cycles 4
Noise Level 54 dBA
# Place Settings 16
Rack Flexibility Basket in door or rack
Soil Sensor Yes
|359||4||54 dBA||16||Basket in door or rack||Yes|
Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC Review
# Cycles 4
Noise Level 50 dBA
# Place Settings 14
Rack Flexibility Removable basket
Soil Sensor Yes
|490||4||50 dBA||14||Removable basket||Yes|
The unsurprising revelation in dishwasher reviews is that washing/cleaning excellence is consumers' top priority. Many are thrilled that prerinsing is usually no longer necessary (scrape off the scraps before loading, though), which saves time and water. Performance expectations also include quiet, trouble-free operation. Our research found that the best budget models deliver, for the most part, on all three counts.
Dishwasher Cleaning Performance.The four top picks earn mostly commendations in dishwasher reviews for cleaning ability. A small number of dissenting comments are littered throughout, expressing disappointment with leftover tea and coffee stains, oily residues, crusty remnants, and otherwise uneven results. A relatively larger proportion of negative assessments attaches to the very entry-level Frigidaire FBD2400K (starting at $233).
Sparkling clean dishes, glasses, and cutlery is the consensus opinion of the Whirlpool Gold Top Control WDT710PAY (starting at $445). Although a handful of dishwasher reviewers demur, claiming the appliance fails the thoroughness test, the vast majority of posts at Sears proclaim the Whirlpool Gold cleans anything you throw at it, including notoriously sticky eggs and cheese. Similar appraisals of the Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA (starting at $404) show up at AJ Madison, where reviews attest to its cleaning chops even as a few note the occasional failure to clean off every last baked-on crumb.
Two other models in the budget category also pass muster with users. Dishwasher reviews at sites such as Abt generally laud the cleaning action -- even with dried-on food -- of the GE GDF520PGD (starting at $359) which is helped along by the unusual inclusion (among low-price offerings) of a third spray arm. Users grouse, however, that utensils don't get fully clean when the cutlery basket sits on the door and caution that the soap dispenser may not open properly when, in an alternative location, it sits on the front of the lower rack. Experience with the Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC (starting at $490) is positive overall. We found strong support for cleaning performance in most dishwasher reviews, but some at Amazon stress the need to scrape carefully and prerinse thoroughly to ensure acceptable results.
Failure to follow those practices prior to loading the Frigidaire FBD2400K guarantees disappointing results, according to comments posted at AJ Madison and Abt. One user writes that unless dishes are washed first they come out the same way they went in -- an observation seconded by some others -- although a few report clean results. This is the only model we researched with a tower wash system (rises up through the center of the tub during the wash cycle) rather than a second spray arm mounted under the top rack (and occasionally a third that would sit at the very top of the machine).
Dishwashers Noise.Next on the list of user concerns is the noise level. Reviews indicate that users assign high priority to quiet operation, hardly a surprise given the open floor plan in many homes or the kitchen's location close by dens, living rooms, and sometimes even bedrooms. Noise level partly depends on the quality of the insulation packed around the machine when it's installed, but also on its engineering. Fortunately, many manufacturers have been adding features such as sound-absorbing washtubs, vibration absorbers, and low-noise pumps to minimize the din. Their efforts are paying off: Dishwasher reviews indicate that many people who have recently replaced older models are surprised by the quietness of the new appliances.
Indeed, our top four picks win kudos on this score. Although a few dishwasher reviews grouse that the model of choice proved to be louder than expected, most describe them as extremely quiet; some users even tell of putting ear to door to make sure it's actually running. Bosch dishwashers, in particular, are known for an almost complete absence of noise, and this is the performance attribute that garners the most glowing commentary in reviews of the Ascenta SHE3AR56UC.
Decibel levels for the best budget models range from a very low 50dBA on the Bosch Ascenta up to 57dBA on the Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA. The Frigidaire FBD2400K, on the other hand, is roundly dinged in several dishwasher reviews for its 62dBA roar. One post at H.H. Gregg tells of recycling the insulation blanket from the previous dishwasher to help dampen the racket.
Dishwasher Cycles and Warranty
Dishwasher Cycles and Settings.Budget models boast enough dishwasher cycles to suit most needs, although "normal" (or "auto" on some brands) works for most households most of the time. The best of the cheapest models feature at least four dishwasher cycles, usually some combination of rinse only, quick/short, light, normal, heavy/pots & pans. Occasionally a low-priced dishwasher sports a cycle or two that has filtered down from the higher-end segment: china/crystal, energy saver, or top rack only, to name but a few. To that the GE adds a steam prewash, the Whirlpool features an overnight setting, and the Maytag offers rinse-and-hold. By contrast, the most basic and cheapest model we researched, the Frigidaire FBD2400K, offers only normal and light dishwasher cycles.
Increasingly shoppers are finding other practical settings on comparatively cheap models. For example, a sanitize setting that raises the water temperature to 160 degrees to rinse away bacteria shows up on the Whirlpool Gold WDT710PAY, GE GDF520PGD, Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA, and Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC. Additionally, the Whirlpool, Bosch, and GE models are equipped with sensors that calibrate the appropriate water and temperature levels based on soil level, with the aim of conserving resources when possible. All the models we researched, but for the mechanical-dial Frigidaire, provide a delay-start up to several hours.
The best budget dishwashers have at least two spray/wash arms, one below the bottom rack and one below the top rack. The GE GDF520PGD boasts a third arm that sits at the very top of the tub. As noted above, the Frigidaire forgoes the double/triple spray-arm design in favor of a collapsible center-mounted wash tower and one arm under the lower rack.
Many low-cost dishwashers come with heated dry and/or air dry settings. The former relies on an electric element at the bottom of the unit to heat the air, while the latter uses hot air left from the wash cycle. A heated-dry option is available on the Whirlpool, GE, and Maytag models. Note, however, that reviewers are mostly down on the ability of modern dishwashers to yield up a dry load regardless which dry setting you chose and how much rinse aid is used. A word to the wise budget shopper: Don't toss away that dishtowel just yet.
Dishwasher Warranty and Durability.The usual warranty for dishwashers in the budget range is one year; according to the National Association of Homebuilders, the expected lifespan is nine years. We read quite a number of reviews written by consumers who were finally replacing a dishwasher that had lasted far longer. Whether any of the dishwashers on our list will reach comparable lifespans is impossible to predict; most reviews are written within six months of purchase.
Still, we came across a few minor trouble spots. Several reviews of all the models we researched tell of requiring service calls for one reason or another even before the warranty had expired. A small minority of reports posted at Best Buy about the Bosch Ascenta mention malfunctions such as leaks, bad circuit boards, and cycles that simply stopped working. At Amazon several owners of the Whirlpool Gold WDT710PAY refer to little dots of rust on the stainless steel version and a heating element that burned through the bottom of the tub.
The Maytag Jetclean Plus is cited at Home Depot for a leaky seal around the door and electronic and other components that give out prematurely. Heat is directed at the GE GDF520PGD in reviews at Sears for deficiencies like control board failure and a soap dispenser that fails to open.
Comparatively more problems cluster around the Frigidaire FBD2400K. Reviews at Abt and Sears note mishaps such as a clogged soap dispenser (after using powdered detergent), a pump that gave out, and leaks that ruined the floor under the appliance.
Dishwasher Design and Capacity
Dishwasher Layout.Everyone has a preferred way to load the dishwasher, and the design of its interior has a lot to do with user satisfaction. The critical parameter, of course, is sufficient rack space for dishes, platters, and bowls; cups and glasses (including those with stems); silverware and cooking utensils; and, for some users, pots and pans. What that really means is the functionality of the space. And that, in turn, largely depends on the dishwasher design: the arrangement of tines, the position of the upper rack, and the location of the cutlery basket.
All the models we researched feature tall tubs, which have capacity for more, and ostensibly larger and/or oddly shaped, items. Specifications for the tall tub dishwasher design vary by model. The GE GDF520PGD can hold up to 16 place settings, the Whirlpool Gold WDT710PAY can accommodate up to 15, and the Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC claims up to 14. Both the Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA and Frigidaire FBD2400K can each take up to 12 full place settings.
Specifications are one thing, however, and kitchen reality another. In reviews at Lowe's consumers grumble about the racks on the Bosch Ascenta, saying the slanted tines and overall layout requires lots of forethought when loading and is not amenable to nonstandard dishware; the bottom rack, huffs one reviewer, is suitable only for plates. The rack design on the GE GDF520PGD likewise draws the ire of some users whose posts at Sears say the unusual tine arrangement means pots and pans don't fit. A tiered top rack on the Maytag Jetclean Plus may ensure space for tall items on the bottom but some users complain there's no headroom for taller stemware.
The Whirlpool Gold skirts many complaints about dishwasher design with what might be considered upmarket features. The top rack is removable (ditto on the GE) and can be raised or lowered, as well; additionally, the top rack sports fold-down tines (which also appear in the lower rack) and a minishelf for stacking two rows of mugs. We came across a few comments in user reviews about getting used to the layout but barely a whisper about inefficient dishwasher design. A mid-tier dishwasher we glanced at, the KitchenAid KUDS30IXWH (starting at $674) also comes with an upper rack that can be raised or lowered to accommodate the contents.
Flatware baskets come in various shapes and sizes and sometimes can be moved from place to place. Users are fussy about these baskets, commenting in reviews about the size of the holes at the bottom, the basket's placement in the machine, and on some models, basket covers that are meant to separate the utensils for better cleaning. Marketing for the Whirlpool Gold touts the flexible and space-saving virtues of the "AnyWare" basket -- it sits in the door or bottom rack or on the front of the rack. Some users clearly welcome this dishwasher design feature, but others assert that placing the basket anywhere but in the rack makes loading the utensils awkward and keeps them from getting really clean. And despite dedicated silverware jets on the GE GDF520PGD, similar complaints are lodged against the basket, which also sits either in the door or lower rack.
Energy-Efficient Dishwashers, Filters, and Safety
Energy-Efficient Dishwashers.If you ever needed a justification for turning on a dishwasher, here's one: An energy-efficient dishwasher uses less human energy and less water than hand washing. (Just be sure the appliance is fully loaded before starting it up.) The latter is far easier to calculate than the former, but never mind.
All the dishwashers on our list except for the Frigidaire FBD2400K carry the Energy Star label. Energy Star-qualified dishwashers meet or exceed standards for water and electricity consumption set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. The Energy Star web site notes that energy-efficient models save consumers an average of $40 on utility bills compared with dishwashers built before 1994. The type of soil sensors found on the Whirlpool Gold WDT710PAY, GE GEF520PGD, and Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC add to the savings. Ditto for other eco-related features, such as the overnight and eco-wash cycles on the Whirlpool Gold and the air-dry option on our top picks. The Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC claims to exceed Energy Star requirements for water usage by 69 percent and other proprietary technology aims to cut energy usage by up to 20 percent.
Dishwasher Filters.Scraping and rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher is supposed to be a thing of the past. If you plan on skipping this chore (but for big chunks of food), make sure the dishwasher comes equipped with a stainless steel food disposer to keep food from cycling back onto the dishes or clogging the pipes. The GE GDF520PGD and Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA satisfy this requirement.
A self-cleaning filter frees users from having to check and clean it, while a manual filter requires periodic cleaning. Perhaps counter-intuitively, many expensive European brands come with manual filters because they help reduce noise. Most cheap dishwashers, including those on our list, have self-cleaning filters.