The best dishwasher
By Liam McCabe
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After putting more than 100 hours of research into 210 models over three years, we’ve learned that most dishwashers are good cleaners. But getting one that’s quiet, reliable, and easy to load is also worth paying a little more. That’s why we think the new Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N is the best dishwasher for most people right now.
How we picked
Dating back to 2014, we’ve investigated 210 dishwasher models. To find the best, we considered only models with the must-have features that experts told us to look for:
- Nylon-coated racks
- A soil sensor. Also known as a turbidity sensor, it tells your dishwasher to extend or end the cycle depending on how much gunk is floating in the wash water.
- A stainless steel tub
We also prioritized dishwashers with these features:
- Flexible racking. We looked for height-adjustable racks, folding tines, and a third rack for utensils and cooking tools.
- Quiet operation (ideally less than 45 decibels)
- A good reputation for reliability and customer service
Some features or performance metrics seem important—like capacity, energy efficiency, or cleaning performance—but are actually so similar from model to model that they’re not worth fussing over. We also didn’t pay much attention to drying style: both heat-dry and condensation models have their advantages, and we have recommendations for both types.
Our pick: Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N
We think the new Bosch 300 Series SHEM63W55N is the best dishwasher for most people. Its racks are more spacious and easier to load with all shapes and sizes of dishes than other models at this price. Bosch makes some of the most reliable dishwashers, and the customer service is more helpful than average. Operating at 44 dB, it’s so quiet that most people will barely be able to hear it running. The one-hour wash-and-dry option is unique at this price. It also has an extra-dry option, which is supposed to help dry plastic, a common shortcoming of condenser-dry dishwashers.
The racks are the 300 Series’s biggest advantage over its competitors. They’re larger, more adjustable, and easier to load than the others, thanks largely to the V-shaped third rack tucked at the top of the tub. It also has a handy height-adjustment feature on the middle rack that can create space for taller items.
The KitchenAid KDTM354ESS is another great dishwasher that’s better at drying plastic than our main pick. Some people also think it’s better at neatly holding cereal bowls. And at 44 dB, the KDTM354ESS is the same volume as our main pick. However, it might be less reliable than the Bosch 300 series. Its racks aren’t quite as versatile, either, and it’s missing the third rack entirely.
The KDTM354ESS has a heat-dry option, which is its most obvious difference from our main pick. If you have a lot of plastic dishes and want them to be bone-dry right at the end of a cycle, the heat-dry option (labeled as ProDry on the control panel) can do that. On the downside, it uses more energy than just letting moisture evaporate and drip off the dishes.
Budget pick: Maytag MDB4949SD
The Maytag MDB4949SD is a basic but effective dishwasher that costs a lot less than our other picks. It has no third rack, runs noticeably louder, and may leave more leafy debris on your dishes. But it’s usually the cheapest dishwasher with all the basic, must-have specs, including a stainless steel tub for relatively low noise and faster drying, nylon-coated racks for gentle handling, and a soil sensor to ensure that cycles run until they’re finished. However, unlike our main pick, the Maytag MDB4949SD has no third rack or a height-adjustable upper rack.
Upgrade pick: Miele Classic Plus G4976SC
If you’re willing to pay more for an extra-durable dishwasher from a premium brand, check out the Miele Classic Plus G4976SC. Miele dishwashers are known to last about twice as long as typical dishwashers. The G4976SC in particular is the most affordable Miele model with a stainless finish, a third rack, and a short-cycle option. It also has an adjustable middle rack, a few sets of folding tines, and a short-cycle option. It runs at 46 dB, slightly louder than our top pick but still quiet enough that it’ll be hard to hear it from one room away. It’s a condenser-dry model, though it actually draws in cold air from outside the dishwasher to speed the process. However, some people find that the racks struggle with some American-style dishes, and it’s expensive compared to our top pick.
An also-great 18-inch dishwasher: Bosch 300 Series SPE53U55UC
We scoped out about 20 compact dishwashers and think that the Bosch 300 Series SPE53U55UC is the best bet if you need an 18-inch dishwasher. It’s a lot like a narrower version of our main pick, just without the third rack. It does have the great nine-position adjustable upper rack, and some folding tines, which makes it more flexible than most compact dishwashers. Overall, it holds about half as much as a full-size model can, and uses a bit less water and energy. It’s a condenser-dry model with a filter. We expect the cleaning performance to be just as effective as the standard, wider version.
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