What Dishwasher is the Best?

by Matt Arcuri

To preface, I would say that “best” is a very relative term. Best at what? It’s very rare for something to be the best at EVERYTHING all at once. Do you want the quietest dishwasher? The highest-quality dishwasher? The most cycles and/or a specific cycle selection? The list of available options goes on.

See what I mean? With that out of the way, let’s dive into a few characteristics of a great dishwasher, at a few different price points that will excite every customer, no matter their budget or desires.

Let’s start with the crème de la crème of the dishwashers currently available. After much anticipation, Sub-Zero and Wolf have released their own dishwasher, which they have been working on for some time to ensure it’s just right. On this dishwasher, the fit and finish are second to none, and it has every cycle and option that you could hope for. Its volume clocks in at right around 40 decibels (which is a faint whisper), and it has an optional water softener for about $100 more, which is extremely reasonable compared to the price on similar models. It always comes panel-ready, and it has two different handle styles, which, for a slight upcharge, can be fitted to a stainless panel. The life expectancy of this model is rated at 20 years, while the life expectancy of all the competitive models is approximately 10 years. Last, but not least, it comes with a full FIVE-YEAR WARRANTY, whereas most other dishwashers have only a one-year warranty. That Sub-Zero and Wolf stand by their product for such a long period of time demonstrates their confidence in their product, which as a consumer, should put your mind at ease.

Another fantastic option is Thermador’s Star Sapphire dishwasher. Aside from its near-silent operation, standard water softener, and two-year warranty, it has one special feature that no one else currently offers, which truly sets it apart: Star Speed.

It works like this. With a little bit of foresight, you can activate the cycle 30 minutes prior to beginning it, which allows you to run five consecutive 20-minute hot water wash cycles. Read that again. That truly is incredible and unheard of before in anything available for the residential market. Like the Cove/Sub-Zero/Wolf model, this dishwasher allows you to host dinner parties or holiday gatherings with ease. Almost every rack folds down, and each rack is on silky smooth ball bearings with an impressive number of wine glass stem holders. Its internal lighting, which can change colors depending on your mood, is an additional nice touch.

If you don’t want to spend upwards of $2,000 to wash your dishes, FEAR NOT! You can still get a premium dishwasher that currently happens to be the most popular brand in this segment. If bang for your buck is what you’re after, Bosch is where you want to be. I recommend their 800 series: It provides many of the same features as its big brother Thermador, but at just about one-third of the cost. It possesses a third rack, 42 decibels of quiet operation, a leak-protective base, and now, ZEOLITE! For some time, the biggest complaint with Bosch was its lack of ability to dry plastics (although it is extraordinary in every other scenario), but that is no longer a concern. To make it simple, Zeolite rocks are contained in a reservoir under the unit, and a fan activates during the drying process that pulls all the excess moisture down to the rocks, which then absorb it all. Once completed, they dry themselves and can indefinitely repeat this process. Voilà!

Last, but certainly not least, for those who want to spend closer to the $600 to $700 range, I am a big fan of KitchenAid. They have many different models, ranging from entry level to very nice. In the drying and washing style of one of its basic models, this is a true American-style dishwasher. It contains an exposed heating element down in the base, which is responsible for heating up the water as well as drying the dishes. You will lose the third rack featured in other models, and the decibels go up closer to 50, but it’s still relatively quiet and washes the dishes quite well.

These are just a few of the great options in dishwashers available right now that hit all of the primary bases. As stated, however, “best” is relative. The dishwashers discussed here are the best in their respective categories. Depending on your needs and budget, one of these models will make you thrilled with your purchase!