The Best Dishwashers Quietly Give Your Plates a Power Wash
Including the model Leanne Ford always uses.
Published Sep 26, 2021 2:30 AM
Raise your hand if you enjoy handwashing dishes. No one? We’re not surprised. If you yearn for that oh-so-helpful kitchen appliance to do the dirty work for you—even if you fear your cooking space is too small to accommodate one—read on.
We tapped three top designers (Leanne Ford, Robert McKinley, and Eddie Maestri of Maestri Studio) to dish on their favorite models, and scoured the web for our favorite quality options. From impressive panel-ready luxury to space-saving countertop designs, there is something for every size and budget. The best dishwashers will look dynamite in your kitchen and ensure you won’t break a sweat scrubbing everyday dishes again.
- Best overall: Bosch 300 Series DLX Dishwasher
- Best value: Frigidaire 24-inch Stainless Steel Built-In Dishwasher
- Best smart: Monogram Smart Fully Integrated Dishwasher
- Best small space: GE Profile 18-inch Stainless Steel Smart Dishwasher
- Best countertop: Black + Decker Compact Countertop Dishwasher
- Best quiet: Gaggenau 400 Series 24-inch Dishwasher
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Types of dishwashers: Most standard dishwashers are slide-in models that connect to your home’s plumbing, but compact, freestanding units with wheels are available, too—portable appliances that can move when you do. These days, however, there are also integrated dishwashers (installed with a custom panel to blend into your cabinetry), drawer dishwashers (which open outward like a drawer instead of a pull-down door), and countertop dishwashers (the name says it all) ideal for close quarters.
Cycles: Dishwashers have a variety of cycle options, offering different degrees of power. Choose a cycle depending on how dirty your dishes are.
- Normal: For day-to-day use with average dirty dishes, select the normal cycle.
- Quick wash: If you’re truly in a hurry (dinner guests will arrive in an hour and somehow every plate, glass, and utensil is dirty), the quick cycle can be your hero. But beware: It uses more water, heat, and energy.
- Heavy-duty/pots and pans: This cycle uses extra water and more heat to scrub hard-to-clean cookware.
- Delayed wash: Select a delay option to time the dishwasher to run when it’s most convenient for you.
- Sanitize: Kills 99.999 percent of bacteria that may be lingering; a sanitizing cycle heats the water temperature to more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Features: Before shopping for a dishwasher, determine what features are most important to you. Would you like adjustable racks to accommodate oversize pots? How much noise can you tolerate? (Anything under 49 decibels will have a relatively quiet cycle.) What kind of convenient smart features will make your life easier? Many modern models have a soil sensor that sends a beam of light through the wash water to measure clarity, thereby determining the temperature, water amount, and time it will take to properly clean any combination of dishes. And don’t forget to look for a model with an Energy Star label, which indicates that it will use less water and energy, lowering your utility bills.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Bosch 300 Series DLX Dishwasher
While he loves a showpiece range, Maestri prefers that all other kitchen appliances be workhorse models that visually disappear. Enter his all-time favorite, and that of many reviewers, too: the panel-ready Bosch 300 Series DLX. Its third rack provides 30 percent more loading capacity, while the half-load option reduces cycle time and water consumption when you only have a small amount of dishes to do. Smart sensors continually scan the progress throughout every cycle, to guarantee squeaky-clean results. Finally, says Maestri, “It’s so quiet that you almost forget it is there.”
A sleek, modern design? Check. Energy Star certified? Check. Ultra-large, 14-place-setting capacity? Check. And a reasonable price tag? Check! Priced under $500, this Frigidaire dishwasher is highly affordable, considering it likely includes many of the features on your wish list. Two we love: DishSense technology, which automatically adjusts the cycle based on the amount of grease and gunk to be banished, and the delay start function, so you can run the dishwasher on your schedule.
Best Smart: Monogram Smart Fully Integrated Dishwasher
Ford is a big fan of custom-paneled appliances in her kitchen designs. “I’d rather not call out the dishwasher and instead let it seamlessly ‘hide’ in the cabinetry,” she says, citing a particular favorite: “I always use Monogram’s panel-ready dishwasher.” Its barely there design allows for the installation of your chosen cabinet front, and its noise level is equally undetectable: just 39 decibels. An adjustable, expansive third rack easily accommodates an entire flatware collection plus outsize utensils, and 90 powerful jets ensure consummate cleanliness.
Best Small Space: GE Profile 18-inch Stainless Steel Smart Dishwasher
Just because you’re short on kitchen space doesn’t mean you can’t fit a quality dishwasher. This GE model has a petite, 18-inch-wide design yet holds up to eight place settings. Its autosense cycle adjusts to the ideal time; the sanitize function kills 99.999 percent of bacteria lingering on dishes; and its piranha hard food disposer—named after the fierce fish for the way it grinds up errant food particles—tackles dirty dishes, wash after wash.
Best Countertop: Black + Decker Compact Countertop Dishwasher
If you can’t sacrifice a cabinet to accommodate a dishwasher, take heart—and a peek at this Black + Decker countertop model. Measuring a mere 21.5 inches wide, it can hold six place settings, and its sleek stainless steel will vibe with any modern or contemporary kitchen. It features seven cycle settings, so you won’t waste water or energy while getting dishes sparkling.
Best Quiet: Gaggenau 400 Series 24-inch Dishwasher
At a hushed 42 decibels, the Gaggenau 400 Series dishwasher won’t interfere with intimate after-dinner conversation. But the sweet near silence is just one reason McKinley selected it for the kitchen of this cool Montauk, New York, rental. “Small but thoughtful elements, such as sleek, integrated touch points and a projected timer that displays the minutes left in the cycle, were key deciding factors,” he says. The machine also boasts the use of zeolite for safer, more efficient washing of your delicate glasses and Grandma’s cherished china; a push-to-open door; and the ability to turn on extra jets if battling particularly greasy, baked-on cookware baddies.
Pro Tips for Buying a Dishwasher
- Take a close look at how the interior is configured. Can you comfortably arrange your wineglasses, a stack of plates, and a casserole dish after a dinner party?
- Be aware of cycle time, which can range from 90 minutes to three hours. Note that there’s no correlation between cycle time and performance.
- Look for a dishwasher under 49 decibels for a relatively quiet cycle. If you’re particularly sensitive to noise, go for one under 44 decibels, which is nearly undetectable to the human ear.
The Last Word
Small kitchen? Tight budget? Very particular about style? There’s a dishwasher out there for just about anyone, so do your hands a favor and find one in our guide!
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews to know that they pass the test IRL.
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