The best dishwashers are meant to make your dish cleaning duties easier, not harder. A dishwasher uses less water than traditional handwashing and saves you the time time and hassle of washing by hand. Plus, you can use a dishwasher for more than just dishes: it can help sanitize baby toys, clean the oven, refresh sports gear and much more.
If your dishwasher is just not operating like it used to, leaving plates with greasy residue or it can't seem to get plastics dry, or if you're tired of ending your day with a lengthy clean up session that took longer than your meal, it may be time to consider a new dishwasher.
A dishwasher is certainly an investment, and the right one should be made to last. Whether you're all about matching your appliances to a certain brand or comparing the features that each manufacturer is known for to find the right fit for your needs, we've evaluated the top makes to fit all budgets.
Looking for a compact 18" dishwasher or to customize your kitchen? We've also notated if the particular dishwasher is available in a slimline design. Seeking a panel-ready model to match your kitchen cabinets? We've broken down the various configurations that each dishwasher offers because adding a dishwasher is never a one-size-fits-all approach.
Looking to upgrade all your appliances? Check out our best washing machines guide for the best models to simplify your laundry routine.
Note, due to the pandemic, many dishwashers have experienced high demand and decreased production. Your favorite model could be on back-order, but never fear, we promise it's worth the wait.
Best dishwashers 2021
If there was an MVP of dishwashers, the Bosch 800 Series would take home the title for its superior cleaning power, drying technology, and stylish design..
The Bosch 800 Series is available in a range of configurations, including front and hidden panel controls, varying handles, wifi-connectivity, and third rack styling. This collection introduces CrystalDry technology, which transforms moisture into heat to get dishes, including plastics, 60% drier.
Bosch is also the Gold Standard when it comes to flexibility and configurations, and the fold-down tines give the 800 Series added customizability when arranging glasses, cookware, and dishes.
The Bosch 800 Series offers six cleaning cycles: Heavy, Auto, Eco, Normal, and Express. You also have the ability to select a 1-24-hour Delay, plus Half Load, Extra Shine, Delicate, and Sanitize offer further options.
What we like about it
A normal load takes between 130 and 135 minutes, but the Speed60 for quick cycles still leaves an impressive clean.
It's whisper quiet. The 800 series ranges between 40 and 42dBA, making it one of the quietest on the market. You'll barely notice the dishwasher is operating, save for a red light that projects onto the floor to indicate a cycle is running
The 800 Series is Bosch's one of the most premium offerings. We also really like the Bosch 500 Series, which uses Auto Air Dry, where the door automatically pops open at the end of a cycle to ventilate as opposed to Crystal Dry, or the more budget-friendly Bosch 300 series. Another key design difference: the 800 series has touch controls for a sleeker, more intuitive look, while the 500 series uses buttons. All series offer the same amazing cleaning performance, but you'll notice the biggest changes in terms of features, controls, and drying options between each model.
If a third rack hasn't revolutionized the way you pack your dishwasher just yet, KitchenAid offers one of the largest third racks for safely securing cups and mugs. This particular KitchenAid is installed in my parents' kitchen (where matching to existing KitchenAid originally was the main motivation in choosing this model), but it's also one of The Home Depot's top sellers for the following reasons.
The KitchenAid sticks out for its large third rack, the FreeFlex, with a deep, angled design that fits 6" glasses, mugs and bowls.
From a performance perspective, the dishwasher uses an Advanced Clean Water Wash System that uses microfiltration to continuously remove food particles during the wash and rinse cycles and circulates clean water to dishes in all three racks. This allows dirty cookware and delicate glassware to be washed together in the same load. The ProWash option uses sensors to measure soil levels throughout the cycle and adapts wash time and water temperature as needed depending on how dirty your dishes are.
What we like about it
There are a number of characteristics that have made KitchenAid stand out. The fingerprint shield is especially helpful for keeping your dishwasher's stainless steel exterior looking streak-free. The FreeFlex 3rd Rack easily houses mugs and cups, leaving room for more dishes on the bottom tiers, and is one of the largest in the industry.
It's extremely quiet, in fact, I can't even tell when it's running. I really have to listen for it.
After several months of use, plastic dries pretty well, but it could be better. Though, we typically skip out on the extended heated dry, since a cycle already takes over two hours and to reduce energy. It's also hard to load any large bowls or tall cups on the left side of the second shelf, where the third shelf dips, even though the second rack is height adjustable.
KitchenAid offers its dishwashers in handle or pocket bar configurations as well as top and front control. Higher models introduce more advanced features like fan-enabled pro-dry, interior lighting, and stainless steel accents.
If you're open to a splurge, and interested in the most cutting edge technology, you can't go wrong with a Miele appliance, especially a dishwasher from the G7000 series. They're built to last, and panel-ready options make it easy to seamlessly integrate into your kitchen design. The G7000 Series 24 Inch Smart Built-In Dishwasher is extremely quiet, loaded with convenient (and smart) features
The G7000 series introduces the AutoDos system with PowerDisk that always dispenses the optimal amount of detergent for your cycle. This enables you to run a cycle anytime, without having to remember if soap is loaded, and works in tandem with what Miele dubbs WifiConne@t, where you can monitor, start and control your dishwasher plus track PowerDisk fill level through a mobile app.
You'll also find maximum flexibility when it comes to loading your dishwasher, with the 3D Multi-Flex tray, where the the height, width, and depth of the tray are adjustable to suit any type of load and generously-sized upper and lower baskets with special loading zones, and a FlexCare cup rack with pimpled surface and silicone elements for wine glasses.
At the end of a cycle, the door gently pops open AutoAir to allow dishes to dry.
Why we like it
We're pretty impressed with the ease of not having to remember to add detergent, prompting a "where has this been all of our lives" moment. Families who want don't want to run the dishwasher simultaneously with a shower or laundry will like the ability to use the mobile app to set or schedule it when you desire.
Plus, it also offers a really great quick-wash cycle, the QuickIntenseWash program that offers top cleaning and drying performance on normally soiled dishes in just 58 minutes.
As far as eco-friendly options, Miele offers tons of water-conserving features that use as little as 1.6 gallons of water like EcoPower technology which adapts based on the load to use less water, and displays estimated water and electricity consumption when you select a program and half-load options.
Miele dishwashers are typically available as built-under dishwashers, which easily install into an existing kitchen, and can be fully integrated, which conceals the dishwasher behind your matching cabinetry. The G7000 is available in a range of combinations and ranges in price between $1,499 and $2,999. We liked this mid-range option as it includes Miele's latest Auto Dos technology and wifi.
Mieles are meant to last, but perhaps our biggest drawback is not just anyone can service them, and they're only available through certified dealers, which can be difficult to buy or repair if you're not in a major metro area.
Either have a house full of Samsung appliances, or looking for features without crossing over the $1,000 threshold? Samsung's Stormwash appears to hit all the features we want in a dishwasher.
Samsung's exclusive StormWash uses rotating spray jets that clean at every angle for tough-to-reach spots, with the intention that you don't have to pre-wash. Though for optimal performance, you likely will want to.
It also utilizes an Auto-Release door open, where at the end of the cycle, the door will pop open just so to boost air flow for better drying.
You'll find six wash cycles and six settings including delay start, half-wash, sanitize, and high temperature washing. A normal wash cycle takes just short of three hours.
What we like
Samsung has managed to include highly sought after features like finger print resistance, third racks, auto-releasing doors, and stainless steel tubs that are found in pricier models into this mid-range design.
It's also attractively designed, with three stainless steel color options, and a few door handle options as well.
Bells and whistles aside, some complaints have emerged from owners who thought their middle and third racks weren't coming out as clean, and hardier stuck on messes still needed to be scraped off. Of course, this can be remedied by making sure dishes are free of food particles before popping them in the dishwasher.
If you're looking for a dishwasher on a budget, Frigidaire offers a reliable, few-frills option with this stainless steel dishwasher under $500.
It has three key wash cycles, which are really all you need: heavy, light, and normal, with the option to choose between a high heat dry or to skip to save energy. The delay start lets you begin the cycle when its convenient for you, since it is a little louder, and you may want to run it when you're out of the house, or at least the room.
What we like
The price, and the fact that Frigidaire is a reputable household name.
It cleans well, too, with a 5-level wash system and three spray arms to reach into the depths of the dryer.
At $500, there's always a compromise. That being said, this model has a plastic tub, which is not as durable and can't handle high temperatures like stainless steel. It's also the loudest on our list, at 60dBA, which is akin to a conversation or background music, so it's definitely noticeable while operating. But most of the critical reviews go back to that it doesn't dry all that well.
Tiny kitchen with no dishwasher hookup? No worries! Consider a portable (re: compact) dishwasher from Faberware that sits on your countertop and doesn't require a hook up to a water source. It's the perfect pick for city-dwellers, rentals, RVs, kitchenettes and for single households.
This little countertop hero features five cycles for getting the job done: Normal, Rapid, Fruit Wash, Baby Care (steam), and Glass. Toggle on Air Refresh to help with drying. A full cycle takes under 40 minutes. It also comes with a fruit basket and strainer to quickly and easily rinse produce.
What we like
If your home or rental is not quite outfitted with a dishwasher, chances are, you're already low on counter space, so if a dishwasher is going to take up valuable counter real estate, it shouldn't be an eyesore. The Farberware is, dare we say, cute. Plus, it doesn't require a hook up to a water source as it has a built in 5-liter tank, but you can also hook it up to the faucet.
A countertop dishwasher does have its limitations, i.e. its not great for large loads or oversized dishware.
If you do decide to hook up to your sink, you may need to purchase an adapter to fit the spout.
How to choose a dishwasher
Dishwashers are a major investment purchase that you’ll plan on keeping for many years. They’re typically sold in a range of finishes, or configurations that are slightly different in terms of style, and different series that cover a range of features and budget.
Design and appearance
Before we get into the performance details of choosing a dishwasher, first let's consider how it will look in your home.
First, you’ll consider your control options. These are available at the top or on the front of the dishwasher door. Hidden buttons are at the top of the door, and only accessible when the door is open. It creates a sleek appearance and could prevent small children from accidentally turning on a cycle, while front controls are easily accessible, and you don't have to open the door to change settings.
Next, let’s talk handles, with a range of door opening styles to suit your style. Bar handles, pocket handles, recessed handle, scoop handle, panel ready options are among the options you'll find.
Finally, today’s most popular finish is stainless steel. Some of today’s models even feature new tech that repels fingerprints, like KitchenAid. Many of the higher-end models are also available in what is called “Panel-Ready” or “Integrated” formats where you can add your own custom cabinetry to essentially hide your dishwasher from view, and to make it fit in right alongside your cabinets. Black and white are also common, especially among more budget designs.
Stainless steel vs plastic tub?
A key indicator in price that you'll see refers to the interior of the tub, which will either be stainless steel or a plastic tub. Stainless steel is preferred for its ability to resist corrosion, withstand high temperatures, retain heat, and is overall more durable, while plastic is cheaper. You may pay more upfront for a dishwasher with a stainless steel tub, but it will outlast any plastic model.
If it has been several years since you've last purchased a dishwasher, today's models are quieter than ever. Noise level is measured by decibel. Of note, the difference between 60dBA and 50 dBA is actually twice as loud. Most dishwashers will have a decibel range of 46 to 60 dBA, but the quietest ones can silently churn along at as low as 40dBA. However, the quieter the machine, the more expensive your dishwasher will probably be. Miele and Bosch have reputations for designing whisper-quiet designs.
Special features are available like a third top rack, automatic door open, wifi-connectivity, interior LED lighting, extended drying options, compact 18" offerings, and more.
Settling a common misconception: all dishwashers are energy efficient. In fact, they use less water than washing by hand. All the models on our list are Energy Star Rated.
Do you want it to match your other appliances?
This all comes down to personal preference, but some aim to match manufacturer brands to their refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher.
Installing a dishwasher
As a major appliance, installing a dishwasher is not as simple as setting up a new coffee maker or toaster oven. If it's your first dishwasher, while it may not require a plumber, you will want to make sure you have the necessary installation equipment and water hook up. Some major retailers like The Home Depot or Lowe's will offer installation assistance for a seamless experience for an additional fee, and will even haul away your old appliances.
Caring for your dishwasher
Your dishwasher is a workhorse but needs some TLC. Rinse your dishes beforehand to keep the filter as clean as can be. And don't forget to give it a wash every so often too – you can find out how with our guide on how to clean a dishwasher.
A descaling product will stop it from getting blocked and ensure it is working efficiently. Remove limescale build-up every few months – more if you are in a hard water area like Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, or Arizona. LA and Chicago are also known for hard water.