Dishwasher designs continue to improve as manufacturers offer an ever-growing selection of dependable energy-efficient machines at every price point. Review dishwasher features and buying tips before purchasing a new model for your kitchen.

By Rebecca Carhart and Ann Wilson
June 08, 2015
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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Whether standing idle or in operation, dishwashers serve a kitchen well. They rinse, clean, and dry plates and glasses, but also provide a handy cache for stashing dirty dishes and cookware when food prep or a party is underway.

Interior capacity (calculated by the number of place settings that fit inside) is tied to model size and doesn't increase with higher prices. Standard dishwashers measure 24 inches wide and accommodate between 12 and 15 place settings; compact models measure 18 inches wide and hold eight or nine place settings. Both sizes are available as built-in units or as portable versions (including convertible models that also work as built-ins). Portable dishwashers can be positioned wherever there's extra space and rolled to connect with a faucet when needed. Dishwasher drawers measure 24 inches wide and are sold singly or as a pair of independently operating dishwashers, with each drawer handling six or seven place settings. Countertop dishwashers, measuring 17 inches high, are designed to slide beneath upper cabinets, attach to a faucet, and clean six place settings.

Available in bisque, black, white, silver, and stainless-steel finishes, basic-to-best dishwasher categories deliver attractive options that advance contemporary to classic decorating styles.

In fact, when it comes to dishwashers, higher prices don't necessarily signify increased value for your dollar; even basic models are equipped with energy-efficient systems and desirable cleaning and loading options. Here's a look at what small-to-large budgets will buy.

Standard Dishwashers

Standard dishwashers, priced between $300 and $600, are generally Energy Star-qualified 24-inch built-ins equipped with plastic tubs. Most have a tall tub, which maximizes interior space, and supply three to seven wash cycles. Dishwashers at the higher end of this range sport adjustable racks and tiered organizational systems, including stemware holders, removable tines, and flatware slots. Some feature sound-reduction packages, delay-start operations, and hidden controls, as well as self-cleaning filters and sanitation cycles. Countertop dishwashers are available for between $200 and $250.

Our Pick for Countertop Dishwasher: hOmeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher

Courtesy of Amazon.
Courtesy of Amazon.

This compact dishwasher  is a best-seller on Amazon for a reason. The portable appliance has six wash cycle settings, including heavy, normal, eco-friendly, glass, speed, and rinse. It also has an easy-to-use control panel along with a dish rack and silverware basket to help keep everything organized. What’s more, the compact size makes it a perfect option for anyone living in a small space. “This thing works fantastic!” said one buyer. “For my first run I put it to the test with a casserole dish and some other things that had baked food on it. Baked on spaghetti sauce was gone without a trace.”

Our Pick for Standard Dishwasher: Whirlpool Front Control Built-in Tall Tub Dishwasher

Courtesy of Home Depot.
Courtesy of Home Depot.

With more than 7,800 reviews, this Whirlpool standard dishwasher is one of the most popular options at Home Depot. The roomy dishwasher is big enough to hold up to 14 place settings, and it has a silverware basket that conveniently fits on the door. It also has a sanitizing option that eliminates 99 percent of all food-soil bacteria, and its triple filtration system helps you use less water and energy. “For the price of this dishwasher you can't beat it,” said one consumer. “It is quiet. It looks great with the stainless-steel finish. The dishes are clean and sanitized and look great coming out.”

Midrange Dishwashers

Midrange dishwashers, costing between $600 and $800, provide all of the above plus additional cleaning processes and model options. In this price range, you'll also find 18-inch and 24-inch portable dishwashers and 18-inch built-in dishwashers. Dishwashers in this range boast extra rinse and washing cycles, steam prewash and cleaning functions, and intuitive sensors that adjust water usage based on load type. Some machines have stainless-steel tubs, valued for their stain and odor resistance, and base lights that illuminate the floor to indicate the machine is running. Single dishwasher drawers pop up in this category, with starting prices around $650.

Our Pick for Mid-Range Dishwasher: Frigidaire FGID2466QB Dishwasher

Courtesy of Walmart.
Courtesy of Walmart.

This sleek under-counter dishwasher by Frigidaire is incredibly quiet, so it won’t disrupt your household as it works to clean your dishes. It has seven different wash cycles and an Energy Star certification. More than 500 Walmart customers have given it their seal of approval, with one saying, “This has a sleek design, lots of features and options for washes, which I love. It is so quiet! I hardly know it's running. Dishes come out really clean. I couldn't be more pleased!”

Luxury Dishwashers

Top-of-the-line dishwashers, ranging in price from $800 to $2,000, take it up a notch by expanding on the conveniences found on basic and better machines. "Best" dishwashers offer up to 16 wash cycles, including power-scrub cycles that remove baked-on grime with concentrated sprays of steam, triple filtration systems, quieter motors, and hard-food disposers, which grind up food bits so they'll wash down the drain. Cabinet-panel-ready dishwashers and double dishwasher drawer units come into play at the higher end of this range.

Our Pick for Top-of-the-Line Dishwasher: GE Profile 42 dBA Built-in Dishwasher

Courtesy of Wayfair.

It doesn’t get much better than this GE Profile dishwasher. The innovative appliance features four dedicated jets that deep-cleans every dish, including hard-to-clean items like water bottles and pitchers. The stainless-steel option is Energy Star compliant and large enough to hold 16 place settings. It also includes customizable zone settings, so you can wash a small load of dishes without wasting water or energy.

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