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When the first dishwasher devices were invented in the United States in the late nineteenth century, they were hand-cranked and generally slow and unreliable. But today, the best dishwashers are mechanical, which clean by pumping hot water and detergent into rotating sprayers, have become commonplace. In fact, by 2012, over 75 percent of homes had a dishwasher in them.
In addition to being a modern luxury, dishwashers make sense from a practical standpoint. Not only do you avoid the physical labor and tedious scrubbing of manual dishwashing, but dishwashers actually save water and energy, in addition to your precious time. Plus, they clean plates more thoroughly and sanitarily than hand-washing, with water temperatures that would otherwise be too hot for your skin to withstand.
Let’s face it: nobody likes washing dishes. That’s why we’ve assembled the following list based on a range of budgets and spaces—why not let one of these dishwashers do the job for you?
- Best overall: EdgeStar 18-Inch Energy Star Rated Built-In Dishwasher
- Best space-saving: Danby 18-Inch Built-in Dishwasher
- Best countertop: Farberware Professional Countertop Dishwasher
- Best high-capacity: Fisher Paykel 24-Inch Built-In Fully Integrated Dishwasher
- Best energy efficient: SPT Energy Star 18″ Built-In Dishwasher
How We Picked The Best Dishwashers
In narrowing down our list of best dishwashers to five, we researched over a dozen options. We chose unique products with niche features that would be desirable to users with individual needs, and also included a few middle-of-the-road models for those who simply need a basic, reliable dishwasher that will run effectively for years to come. The main criteria we looked at were ease of installation, energy efficiency, size constraints, quiet operation, reliability, and aesthetic appeal. To make the cut, all of the best dishwashers we chose also had standard features that would be user-friendly and appealing to a wide variety of consumers.
- Ease of Installation: We looked for refrigerators that included all necessary parts for installation with the product. Where we saw refrigerators that made the cut without providing all parts we made a note of it.
- Energy Efficiency: Energy efficiency is important for the environment and your wallet. We looked for models with energy efficiency as a priority in their design.
- Size Constraints: We made sure to select a countertop option for those living in small spaces or rentals, as well as a high-end model that would be more enticing to someone with a lot of kitchen space, or who tends to entertain often.
- Quiet Operation: Some dishwashers are noisier than others and we prioritized models that cut down on decibels.
- Cost: Cost was another factor we took into consideration, selecting a range of models to accommodate budgets from high-end to low-end.
The Best Dishwashers: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: EdgeStar 18-Inch Energy Star Rated Built-In Dishwasher
Why it made the cut: For all-around fantastic performance, this EdgeStar dishwasher comes with all the standard bells and whistles to help get dishes sparkling clean.
- Color: Silver
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Dimensions: 22.44 x 17.63 x 32.5 inches
- Attractive stainless steel design
- Leakage sensor
- Good customer service
- Rinse aid sold separately
- Reports of denting in transit
Washing dishes doesn’t have to be a chore when you’ve got the best dishwasher the EdgeStar 18-Inch at your disposal. This sharp-looking stainless steel unit packs a punch when it comes to dirty dishes, with six wash cycles that allow you to choose between heavy, normal, eco, glass, rapid, and rinse. Depending on the individual load, you can also customize your hot water options between sanitizing, high-temp, and heated dry.
Once the machine starts to run, you can pretty much forget about it, as light indicators on the display indicate wash cycle, and a buzzer sounds when the cycle has come to an end. A leakage sensor also provides added peace of mind by automatically shutting off the water flow when a leak is detected, protecting your home from potential water damage.
Though sold separately, a compartment for rinse aid helps remove spots and prevent unsightly build-ups while helping dry dishes faster and more efficiently. In addition, customers who have had problems with the unit, typically arising during delivery, have reported excellent customer service for any issues that may occur during the dishwasher’s lifespan.
Best space-saving: Danby 18-Inch Built-in Dishwasher
Why it made the cut: We love this compact unit for its ability to fit snugly under countertops in small kitchens without having to sacrifice efficiency and performance.
- Color: Silver
- Material: Stainless steel
- Dimensions: 22.81 x 17.69 x 32.5 inches
- Space-saving design
- Six wash cycles to choose from
- Runs quietly at 52 decibels
- May need to purchase additional hardware to install
- Somewhat pricer than similar models
Save space in tight kitchens with the Danby, the best space-saving dishwasher, which still holds up to eight place settings and one silverware basket despite its compact size. Choose from six wash cycles and four hot water temperature options, in addition to a sanitizing mode that blasts dishes with temperatures of 156 degrees. Hand washing alone simply does not achieve this level of cleanliness!
With a stainless steel tub that’s both rust and corrosion-free, this dishwasher can withstand years of washes. It also won’t overwhelm small spaces with noisy operation—because, at just 52 decibels, it runs quieter than a normal conversation.
However, before purchasing, it’s a good idea to note everything that’s included, as some users have complained that they had to buy additional hardware, including screws, mounting brackets, a hot water hose, and a hose clamp. Others have remarked that it’s somewhat pricey for the size. However, overall, users say this is a decent-looking, well-made, and efficient appliance.
Best countertop: Farberware Professional Countertop Dishwasher
Why it made the cut: You don’t have to let a shortage of kitchen space keep your dishwasher from the heavy lifting with this convenient countertop model that fits tight spaces.
- Color: White
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Dimensions: 21.7 x 19.7 x 17.2 inches
- Compact size for small spaces
- Easy installation
- Six-place setting capacity
- May need an additional adapter to connect to the faucet
- Can’t use the sink while the dishwasher is running
When kitchen space is of the utmost priority, this Farberware is the best countertop dishwasher and can fit almost anywhere. If countertop space is also at a premium, you can even put the dishwasher on a rolling cart and then simply roll it out of the way when not in use. Due to both size and portability, this is the perfect dishwasher for renters and small apartment dwellers not looking to commit to full-sized, built-in units—or even for boats and RVs.
Yet, even with its compact size, the Farberware still boasts an impressive six-place setting capacity, which allows you to wash a variety of dishes up to 10-inches in diameter. Choose from seven different wash cycles, including a speed cycle that cleans dishes in only 45 minutes. It also helpfully includes folding down rack shelves and a cutlery basket for added convenience.
Installation is as simple as hooking the unit up to your kitchen sink, though some users note that the standard included adapter only works with the most common type of faucets. Depending on sink faucet type, you may have a trip to the hardware store in the future to pick up an extra ring adapter. The good news is that once fully connected, users reported no additional issues from this unit.
Best high-capacity: Fisher Paykel 24-Inch Built-In Fully Integrated Dishwasher
Why it made the cut: This dishwasher runs just as efficiently with a full load of dishes or just a few, thanks to the unique design with patented double drawer technology.
- Color: Steel
- Material: Stainless steel
- Dimensions: 23.56 x 22.56 x 34 inches
- Double dish drawers
- Run independent cycles at the same time
- Ultra-quiet performance
- No electronic display
- No leak protection
For the best high-capacity dishwasher that can also function as a compact model, you can’t beat the Fisher Paykel 24-Inch Built-In Fully Integrated Dishwasher. Patented DishDrawer™ technology allows for flexible racking that’s just as easy to open and close as regular kitchen drawers and can be arranged to be tall enough to accommodate even larger plates or long utensils.
But that’s not all. With the ability to use both drawers individually, you can choose to run a half load for small, guilt-free washes and lightning-fast turnaround of your dishes. And because both drawers also operate independently, you can select different wash programs to accommodate a variety of loads simultaneously. That means you can wash everything from fine glass and crystal, to heavily soiled pots and pans, all at the same time.
Unfortunately, the minimalist design does not include an electronic display—however, a light on the outside of each drawer indicates when the cycle is finished. The light is something to watch for, because with an extremely low 44-decibel rating, you’ll barely even be able to hear this unit running!
Best energy-efficient: SPT Energy Star 18″ Built-In Dishwasher
Why it made the cut: With a compact design and Energy Star certification, this SPT dishwasher saves space, energy, and money, making it ideal for just about any kitchen.
- Color: White
- Material: Stainless steel
- Dimensions: 17.6 x 22.6 x 32.4 inches
- Energy Star certified
- Saves money
- Time delay feature
- Side mounting brackets not included
- Possible leaking issues
Both your wallet and the environment will thank you when you choose the SPT Energy Star 18″ Built-In Dishwasher. Being Energy Star certified means that a product meets or exceeds federal guidelines for energy efficiency for year-round energy and money savings. And who can’t get on board with that?
But in addition to energy efficiency, this dishwasher also comes with a Smart Wash time delay feature that allows you to program operations for a later start time, from an hour to 24 hours in the future. At just under 18-inches wide, the unit also takes up minimal space, making it the best energy-efficient dishwasher and an excellent replacement for older appliances such as trash compactors.
As with other models on this list, you should always check manufacturer specifications to see what hardware is included. In this instance, some customers noted that they had to purchase additional side mounting brackets. Others complained of leaking, so those who aren’t as handy may want to consult with a plumber or an electrician before installing.
Things to consider before buying the best dishwasher
Buying a large appliance like a dishwasher can be a daunting endeavor due to the initial investment and several other crucial factors. So before making the investment, you’ll want to make sure to do your due diligence to ensure that you’re buying the right dishwasher for your home. For starters, do you have space to install a built-in dishwasher? As the saying goes, “measure twice and cut once,” which also holds true when purchasing appliances.
If your dishwasher arrives and you don’t have enough space to fit it under your counter, it’s going to be quite the headache to return or exchange it for another unit.
Installation is another huge component. Whether you have the DIY skill to install the dishwasher unit yourself is a big question mark. Sometimes online tutorials can make things look easy, but unless your skills are proven, this is definitely one area you’ll want to thoroughly research before the dishwasher shows up on your front steps. If you need to consult with a carpenter, electrician, or plumber, it’s better to do so in advance.
You’ll want to consider what capacity dishwasher is ideal for your lifestyle. Singles or couples may not need to run their dishwashers as often as large families. If you live alone it may make sense to opt for a smaller or compact model, regardless of the space. Those who entertain or host frequent dinner parties may need a workhorse of a dishwasher, to keep up with multiple loads.
Q: How do dishwashers make life easier?
A dishwasher can help make life easier by eliminating the time and energy it takes to wash dishes and small kitchen appliances like blenders by hand. They can also help relieve this stress by keeping dishes out of the sink and off counters until they’re clean and ready to be put away. Even if you don’t have enough dirty dishes for a full load every night, you’ll still feel more at ease without a mounting pile in the sink.
Q: What basic features should a good dishwasher have?
The most basic features you should look for in a dishwasher include adjustable racks that allow you to reconfigure the dishwasher’s interior, a rinse and hold cycle, designated wash cycles, soil sensors, filters, a stainless steel tub, and heated dry.
Q: Which type of detergent is best for a dishwasher?
The best dishwasher detergents should be affordable and clean dishes thoroughly, leaving no film or residue behind. Most standard detergents come in dissolvable gels or pods, which likewise contain gels or powders. Though some people still prefer power detergents, they tend not to be as readily available in grocery aisles as gels or pods.
Final Thoughts on the Best Dishwashers
With the ability to run half-loads or separate loads simultaneously, our pick for the all-around best dishwasher would have to be the Fisher Paykel 24-Inch Built-In Fully Integrated Dishwasher. But with a hefty price tag, this veritable Cadillac of dishwashers may not be in everyone’s budget—which is why our best overall is still the EdgeStar 18-Inch Energy Star Rated Built-In Dishwasher.
In addition to being energy efficient, we love the EdgeStar for its durable, reliable features and outstanding customer service that sets it apart from the rest. Those looking for a standard dishwasher that will be dependable for years to come need to look no further.