No one likes doing dishes. It’s a messy, time-consuming chore. That’s where Dishwashers come in. They can make your cutlery and dinnerware sparkling clean while also using less water than washing by hand. It’s true they can be pricey and difficult to install, but it’ll prove to be worth the trouble in the future.
Here we’ll look at all the different types of dishwashers, offer some suggestions for what to look for when buying a new one, and then a list of the best dishwashers for 2021.
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Built-in, Compact, or Portable Dishwashers?
There are three types of dishwashers: built-in, compact, and portable. When you think of a dishwasher you’re probably thinking of a built-in unit. That’s the most common style and the one you find in most homes. There are also compact and portable dishwashers, which are meant for kitchens with certain design or installation constraints.
1. Built-in Dishwashers
Built-in dishwashers are designed to sit comfortably in a base cabinet cavity. They can also serve as a cabinet compartment. The standard size is 24 inches wide by about 34 inches tall. Some built-in dishwashers are just 18 inches wide, making them a good choice for smaller kitchens and apartments, but they can’t fit as many dishes.
Built-ins have a water inlet that draws water directly from your home’s plumbing; usually, this will be the kitchen sink supply valve. They also need to be attached to a drain system to remove all the food and grease that gets removed during the cleaning cycle. Because they’re a bit bigger and require more installation than other dishwasher types, built-ins tend to cost a bit more.
2. Compact/Countertop Dishwashers
Unlike built-in units, compact dishwashers get their water supply directly from the kitchen faucet instead of a water inlet. That means you can’t use the faucet while the machine is running. Most people work around the issue by setting a routine for when the dishwasher needs to be run.
Compact dishwashers are designed to sit on countertops, so they’re much smaller than built-ins and can’t fit as many dishes. Most compact models can only fit about half the amount you can fit in a full-size.
Because compact dishwashers draw water directly from the sink, they use a connector; however, it’s designed for conventional kitchen faucet. If your faucet has an irregular aerator, you may have to improvise with store-bought adapter(s).
3. Portable Dishwashers
A portable dishwasher is just what it sounds like: portable. It has wheels that allow you to roll the machine around from room to room, or to store it in a closet when you don’t need it. Because it’s roughly the same size as a built-in model, it can fit more or less the same amount of dishes.
Since they hook up directly to a faucet, you don’t need to worry about any complicated installation procedures. But you may need to plan your routine like you’d do with a countertop dishwasher.
A portable dishwasher increases the amount of total cabinet space in your kitchen because you don’t have to reserve a cabinet space for the dishwasher. That said, while the machine is in use it’s going to take up a decent amount of floor space. Keep that in mind when deciding between a 24- or 18-inch model.
How To Choose The Perfect Dishwasher
To find the best dishwasher for your home, you need to first get a sense of what’s available. There are lots of different features and specifications, but some are more important than others.
1. Noise Level
Cleaning cycles last a lot longer than they used to. Where they once took up to an hour to fully scour and remove food residue, they now take two hours or longer. This is mainly due to efficiency standards imposed on manufacturers, who are now required to make dishwashers that use less water and less energy than they used to.
So while it’s better for the environment (and your energy bills), a longer cycle means a longer period of time where you’ll have to tolerate the noise coming out of the dishwasher.
It can be an annoying sound, especially if it’s close to a living room or den where you have a TV or sound system running. To compensate, companies have gone out of their way to design quieter machines. The loudest dishwashers can get as high as 65 dB— a little louder than normal conversations— and the quietest can be as low as 40 dB— the noise level of a quiet library.
The noise level is always advertised. If it’s in your budget you should look for and get the quietest model possible.
The importance of exterior material depends on the type of dishwasher. Because portable and compact dishwashers are meant to be moved around a lot, they’re likely to receive more wear and tear. Stainless steel finishes help protect against dents, corrosion, and look nicer than plastic alternatives, but they cost a bit more.
The interior materials help decide how quickly and efficiently dishes dry, as well as how much noise is suppressed. Every dishwasher has a heating element to help dry out the content after a cleaning cycle. If the tub walls are made from a heat-conductive material, like stainless steel, the drying process will be faster and more efficient. Also, the thicker the walls, the more sound they can buffer. But, like anything, those extras will cost you.
The two most common tub materials are plastic and stainless steel. Plastic is cheaper, lighter, and works well with stains and spots. In exchange, it doesn’t hold heat very well and doesn’t dry quite as quickly.
Stainless steel is more expensive, but it’s remarkably durable, anti-tarnishing, and excellent at retaining heat. It’s also better at noise insulation, making it the ideal choice for large dishwashers (or anyone who has some cash to spend).
3. Holding Capacity
Capacity determines how many dishes and utensils you can fit in your dishwasher. But how capacity is measured can be a bit confusing.
Manufacturers measure capacities by “place settings.” One place setting includes a short or tall cup, a saucer, a dinner plate, a bread and butter plate, a fruit bowl, a single straight-side ice tea glass, a dinner fork, a salad fork, a knife, and two teaspoons.
A regular 24-inch dishwasher can usually fit from 12 to 16 settings. Meanwhile, 18-inch units can usually fit around nine place settings, and compact/countertop models can handle about six.
The design of the rack and its tines (the little sticks that jut out of the racks) also impacts the overall experience. For example, folding tines offer a bit more flexibility for fitting oddly shaped items, and wheels make removing the racks a bit easier. Some things require you to handle the dishwasher in person to appreciate, so it’s a good idea to check out a model in person if you can.
4. Cycles and Extra Features
Most of the time you’ll be running your dishwasher on the basic Normal cycle. That covers the vast majority of dishwashing needs. But there are other cycle options and features that can prove useful.
The Normal washing pattern is designed for utensils and tableware that are relatively soiled, whereas the Heavy mode is for loads that are heavy with stains and food remains. The latter takes longer to finish and uses more water and energy than the former. You should also use Heavy on pots and pans.
The Rinse cycle is for lightly soiled tableware with soft residue. It lets you pre-rinse dishes and utensils for a later wash. This process reduces the amount of water used and consumes less electricity, as most of the other washing stages are omitted.
Apart from the standard washing modes, newer models also have several washing patterns with water cycles specially designed for specific messes or cookware. These mainly just change the amount of heat, water, or time used to finish a cycle.
Reviews of the Best Dishwashers 2021
Our list presents a number of units from Bosch, Frigidaire, and SPT. Let’s have a look at them.
- Bosch 300 series SHXM63WS5N - Best dishwasher in 2021 so far
- Frigidaire FGCD2444SA Quick Clean- Best built-in dishwasher
- SPT SD-9241SS Energy StarDishwasher - Best portable dishwasher
- Bosch Benchmark Series SHE89PW75N- Best quiet dishwasher
- EdgeStar DWP62SV Countertop Dishwasher - Best countertop dishwasher
Here are our list of the Best Dishwashers 2021:
1. Bosch 300 series SHXM63WS5N Fully Integrated Dishwasher – Best Dishwasher in 2021
The Bosch 300 series has everything a good dishwasher should have: solid performance and a design that’s held up over the years. The SHXM63WS5N, in particular, is a built-in 24-inch dishwasher with multiple specialized cycles and cleaning options, and a tall stainless steel tub and exterior.
Stainless steel tub
Full size (16 place settings)
The 300 series is not the top-tier series from Bosch; there’s also the 500 and 800 series, which are more expensive and have some improved specs and technology.
But we like the 300 series because it’s cleverly balanced between cost, design, and performance. It’s not so complicated that it will confuse anyone, but it’s not so meager that it underperforms either. And, maybe most importantly, it lasts.
The Bosch SHXM63WS5N is a standard 24-inch unit so it’s suitable for most standard-size cabinets.
With two regular racks and an added third rack for silverware, the SHXM63WS5N can fit 16 place settings. The tines and racks are also customizable so they can fit bigger pots and pans if needed.
The dishwasher has a self-latching door and a sleek bar handle. Both are made of stainless steel to minimize the amount of cleaning and maintenance needed. The tub is stainless steel, which assists with drying and noise suppression.
The noise during a typical cycle averages about 45 decibels, which is about as quiet as a whispered conversation.
The Bosch SHXM63WS5N provides five washing cycles: 1 Hour, Auto, Power Scrub Plus, Regular, Rinse & Hold.
The Regular (or normal) wash cycle is the most commonly used. It’s a good go-to cycle for a full load of normally soiled dishes.
The 1 Hour cycle uses less water than the main Normal cycle and completes in just an hour. It’s a suitable option for light and slightly smudged loads of kitchenware.
The Power Scrub is for table and cookware that are hard to clean, with hardened food remains and protein stains. It uses a lot more water and energy to complete.
The Rinse & Hold cycle is meant to ward off smells of dirty dishes if you were to keep them in there for the day. The cycle consumes very little water or energy and it doesn’t rinse so much that it might affect later cycles.
The Auto cycle uses smart sensors that can detect the volume of any load, taking out all the confusion of trying to choose the right cycle. It automatically calculates the weight and number of items placed in the dishwasher, then adjusts the amount of heat, water, and time needed to fully clean the dishes.
The Bosch SHXM63WS5N also has an LED display and an operation indicator. Located in between the top controls, the display shows information relevant to the cycles and a clock with the remaining time on the chosen cycle. The operation indicator projects a red light onto the floor to show the machine is currently in use.
There are four washing options available, including Delay, which allows you to delay the start time to within 24 hours; and a Half Load option, which reduces water intake for lighter loads. There’s also a Sanitize and Extra Dry mode.
The Bosch SHXM63WS5N is quiet, powerful, and reasonably priced for such a capable dishwasher. In other words, it offers excellent values that shouldn’t be missed.
The dishwasher is Energy Star certified and covered by a 1-year limited warranty.Check Latest Price On Amazon
2. Frigidaire FGCD2444SA Built-In Dishwasher– Best Built-in Model
For a more affordable, built-in alternative that’s just as capable, the Frigidaire FGCD2444SA is a great choice.
Full size (14 place settings)
Time delay only within six hours
It is a 24-inch dishwasher with front controls, a streamlined scoop handle, stainless steel exterior, and a greystone polymer tub that can fit up to 14 place settings.
It’s an affordable machine, so you should expect decent performance: adequate for most people, but not exactly an all-star when it comes to the toughest stains.
By balancing the machine around a specific price, the FGCD2444SA is able to reel in homeowners who have a limited budget but are still willing to invest in a dishwasher.
The front of the unit is stainless steel— the most popular and elegant finish you can find. The tub, however, is made of polymer. In terms of heat and sound insulation, plastic is inferior to stainless steel.
At 54 decibels, this Frigidaire certainly makes some noise, but it’s still about as quiet as background music or a normal conversation. Most people probably won’t be bothered by the noise coming from this machine.
The FGCD2444SA also has plenty of wash cycles and cleaning options. Other than the typical Normal mode for go-to cleaning, it has a Heavy cycle for kitchenware with hardened, tough residue; a Rinse Only mode for pre-rinsing; and a 34-minute Quick cycle for lightly soiled wares. It has an Upper Rack cycle focusing only on small loads placed on the upper rack.
In total, there are five wash cycles and three assisting wash options. If you’d like, you can totally dismiss Heat Dry during any of the cycles and keep Air Dry as the main method. (It takes longer but saves more energy.)
It also has a Sanitize Rinse option (NSF certified), which blasts the heat high enough to kill germs. Sanitize Rinse can be used for cleaning pet bowls or dishes that have been left out for a while.
The Frigidaire FGCD2444SA is a fairly well-balanced dishwasher. It’s built and designed to fulfill typical dishwashing demands with simplicity and effectiveness.
The dishwasher is Energy Star and NSF certified, and covered by a 1-year limited warranty.Check Latest Price On Amazon
3. SPT SD-9241SS Portable Dishwasher – Best Portable Dishwasher
The SPT SD-9241SS is a tried and true option if you need a portable dishwasher that can be quickly set up or stored away.
Stainless steel tub
Adjustable upper rack
No added option
It is an 18-inch free-standing portable dishwasher with front controls, wheels, and a pocket handle. It can only fit eight place settings, but that should be expected from dishwashers of this size.
Despite the low cost, this SPT dishwasher has a stainless steel exterior finish, as well as a stainless steel interior tub, both of which set the dishwasher apart from other compact portable models.
Stainless steel looks a lot nicer than plastic alternatives. It also protects against dents, scratches, damaging agents, and assists with drying and cleaning in the interior.
The thick metal walls also help dampen noise. At 55 decibels give or take, it’s not the quietest machine out there but it’s acceptable from such a compact, affordable dishwasher.
The SPT SD-9241SShas six cleaning cycles: All-in-1, Heavy, Normal, Light, Rinse, and Speed.
All-in-1 is similar to the auto wash cycles from other brands, just under a different name. It uses sensors to detect how much cleaning needs to be done, and it’s a good option for any type of load.
Heavy, Normal, and Rinse are pretty much the same as in other dishwashers. Light and Speed are very similar to each other. The Speed cycle excludes one rinsing step in order to save water and energy, and reduce the overall duration to around 60 minutes.
The dishwasher comes with an adapter that is compatible with both 15/16” male (outside) and 55/64” female (inside) aerator connections. For the inside threaded faucets, both rubber washers must be installed. Only one washer is needed for the outside threaded. Also, keep in mind that the temperature of the input (faucet) water DOES affect how long it takes to complete a cycle.
Apart from the major features, the model offers few other conveniences: a 24-hour Delay option and a digital display showing time remaining on a cycle and other relevant info.
The SPT SD-9241SS is a solid portable dishwasher. It’s one of the most favored models in the category and can be expected to handle most cleaning needs with ease.Check Latest Price On Amazon
4. Bosch Benchmark Series SHE89PW75N Integrated Dishwasher – Best Quiet Model
If you’re simply looking for a quiet dishwasher, the Bosch Benchmark Series SHE89PW75N is among the quietest we’ve seen. It’s quite pricey but it has an elegant design, great specs, and is from a brand with a great reputation.
Stainless steel interior
Full size (15 place settings)
Able to fit 15 place settings, this Bosch is among the higher capacity dishwashers available. It has one of the lowest noise ratings we’ve seen at 38 decibels, which is slightly louder than a whisper.
As a 24-inch built-in dishwasher with front controls, an LCD display, a pocket handle, and a stainless steel finish, it suggests both high-tech and high-quality.
The stainless steel tub buffers noise while also aiding in the drying and heating process. It’s also a lot easier to clean than the plastic alternatives you find among cheaper dishwashers.
The SHE89PW75N comes with an adjustable third rack with foldable tines, providing more flexibility for fitting cutlery, silverware, and small dishes.
There’s also an option to delay the start time for as long as 24 hours, a leak prevention mechanism, and a self-latching door. Little mechanical details like these help improve the usability of the machine.
This dishwasher has seven wash cycles including Heavy, Auto, Normal, Speed60, Rinse, and the two new cycles: Glass and Express. Heavy, Auto, Normal, Speed, and Rinse have been discussed already, so we will concentrate on the other two.
As the name suggests, Glass is for delicate glasses and plates. It reduces the wash temperature to protect delicate items while cutting back on the amount of energy used. The Express mode takes about 30 minutes and is meant for slightly dirty tableware that needs to be cleaned and reused on the same occasion.
Along with the cycles, there are six wash options, allowing for more precision and power. The ExtraScrub option, for example, pushes more heat and pressure on the lower rack, whereas the Half Load mode cuts down on water consumption for smaller, more frequent loads.
Finally, the dishwasher has a water softener, which is nice if your tap water is heavy in mineral content. It requires a supply of softening salt to filter the water before it’s pumped into the tub.
The Bosch SHE89PW75N is a silent and crafty sidekick that can handle any job. Because it hasn’t been around long, there aren’t a whole lot of user reviews yet, but Bosch’s reputation for service and reliability makes up for that.
The model is Energy Star certified and is covered with a 1-year limited warranty.Check Latest Price On Amazon
5. EdgeStar DWP62SV Countertop Dishwasher – Best Countertop Model
For the kitchen with little cabinet space and/or floor space, a well-rounded countertop dishwasher like this EdgeStar DWP62SV should help out big time.
Stainless steel tub
No customizable option
It measures only 17.25 inches high, 21.7 inches wide, and 19.7 inches deep so it sits neatly on the kitchen counter. It’s about as small as a normal-sized microwave. Still, its six place settings are quite enough if you’re living with fewer than three people.
EdgeStar builds the inside of the DWP62SV with stainless steel. It supports drying and conceals noise better than plastic. In this case, the dishwasher peaks at 52.3 dB. But, stainless steel usually costs you more.
The outside is also made of stainless steel. Because the machine is usually seated in the open, its robust frame and the highly resistant finish play important roles in preventing damage.
There are seven wash cycles in total: Heavy, Normal, Light, Glass, Baby Care, Speed, and Rinse. Apart from Baby Care, the rest are similar to those of other models. The Baby Care cycle, according to the manual, is for baby bottles and lightly soiled delicate crystal or china.
You can also apply its delay-start function for up to 24 hours. Information about program number, duration of cycles, delay timer, etc. is displayed on a small LED monitor. There's no customization for the wash patterns.
Countertop dishwashers use the kitchen tap for water intake. That means the faucet will be occupied for one to two hours every time you use the machine. Programing the dishwasher to run when you’re not home is one way to avoid the hassle of not being able to use your sink.
The connector is only compatible with a standard-sized spout that has a standard aerator, both 15/16 inch male and 55/64 inch female threaded. So if your faucet has an unusual design, you may have to try store-bought adapter(s).
The EdgeStar DWP62SV will more than suffice if you’re in a place with little space. The model packs everything you could ask for from a compact and functional countertop dishwasher.
The dishwasher is Energy Star certified and covered by a 1-year limited warranty.Check Latest Price On Amazon
Top-rated Best Dishwashers Comparison Chart
|Model||Style||Noise-level||Capacity (Place settings)||Certification|
|Bosch 300 SHXM63WS5N||Built-in||45||16||Energy Star|
|Frigidaire FGCD2444SA||Built-in||54||14||Energy Star,NSF|
|SPT SD-9241SS||Portable||55||8||Energy Star|
|Bosch Benchmark SHE89PW75N||Built-in||38||15||Energy Star|
|EdgeStar DWP62SV||Countertop||52||6||Energy Star|
Best Dishwasher Brands
There are quite a number of good dishwasher brands. Some of them specialize in budget picks; others aim for higher markets. Those below are the best out of their respective price ranges.
Bosch is a Europe-based, multinational engineering and electronics company. With more than 50 years of experience, the Bosch name is recognized and loved by many loyal customers. Its multiple successful dishwashers are found in the higher-price range. The company was also the first to introduce a fully automatic dishwasher in 1999.
Having produced the first Europe electric dishwasher ever, the brand has been in the industry since 1929. Mainly intended to supply the high-end domain, Miele dishwashers are top-tier both in craftsmanship and innovation. That means premium products with large price tags.
As an active, medium-priced branch of Electrolux, most Frigidaire dishwashers are built to satisfy not the luxurious but the common needs. The brand offers well-balanced machines, with both affordability and capability. They are not always the best, but they can get the job done.
Despite the fact that SPT is a relatively young and affordable brand. Its portable and countertop dishwasher lines have been reaping success. Most of the users’ reports have been positive, which is not something often seen with dishwashers, and so have the sale figures.
Similar to Frigidaire, Whirlpool concentrates on the middle sector of the cost scale. Its products are fairly affordable and stable in performance. However, in recent years, there has been a drop in consumers’ opinion towards the company’s dishwashers, judging by the general responses.
A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen. Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it. Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.