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Jul 24, 2012 09:46 AM

Help me choose a new dishwasher

My KitchenAid (Architect series, I think), what I thought was a workhorse, has developed problems--broken hinge (guessing a problem not w/ the DW but perhaps the installation five years ago) and, suddenly, much worse, dishes on the top rack are not getting clean. Before this, I loved it, its 3 racks, its quiet operation, and excellent cleaning. I had loved my previous KA and simply replaced it w/the newer version when we had to redo again post-Katrina.

But, now, rather than pay for an expensive repair and after reading a lot of negative reviews of KA, I'm considering making a change. I'd like to spend in the neighborhood of $1500 (less if I could find something I liked. : )

I use it every day, often twice, and when I'm entertaining, it gets run 3, sometimes 4X. I want quiet and excellent cleaning, a few options for different kinds of jobs. I want to be able to put inexpensive glassware in, but will continue to wash fine stemware and china by hand. I love having a third cutlery rack (which I've gotten used to using for draining lettuce, herbs, etc. when the DW isn't in use.)

I've read a lot of what's here on CH. I've looked online at Miele and Viking and seen some possibilities. I've ruled out Bosch. I could possibly be talked into a KA again. Wonder if anyone has a machine that fits these criteria--or nearly does--that you really love.

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  1. I high end Kenmore from Sears would be a good value and great performer at a lot less cost.

    Asko, Bosch, Miele all seem to have a lot of great models to choose from. What brands are available local to you?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sid Post

      Well, I can get (or order) any of these brands.

      Do you recommend any particular model?

    2. If you want a good quality dishwasher not made by the Whirlpool company, try Bosch. I would not get a Miele unless you are totally sure you can get reliable service.
      One more hint on dishwashers. Several years ago a government mandate removed phosphates from dishwasher detergents and the cleanliness suffered greatly. However you can still buy Cascade with phosphates as it is still made for the restaurant industry. Or, you can buy biochemical phosphates (made for homeopathic medicine) and use 3 pills per load. That's what we do. Try it. You will see a big difference. Also, always keep the rinse aid topped off.

      1. I see you have ruled out Bosch. Too bad as they are very good quality machines. Personally, I would buy a Whirlpool or KA (made by Whirlpool). They use higher quality parts. I would not buy a Viking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Enigma3

          Agree about Bosch. The Bosch we bought in January was the best dw we ever had.

        2. Just curious, NCW, but why did you rule out Bosch? I don't have a lot of experience with good brands (I'm a renter, and most apartments have had cheap models), but the owner of the house where I now live put in a Bosch dishwasher this year and so far it seems to do a great job.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Strange--I thought I had posted in response to Enigma3 about that. I did write a response, but I guess it's somewhere out in the ether . . .

            At any rate, re Bosch: I know three people who have Bosch DWs in their kitchens and all dislike them--one complains a lot about the racks, but it's my neighbor's machine that has almost never worked in all the years (nine or ten) that we've been neighbors that has scared me off Bosch. They're constantly having it repaired. It's not working now, and they say they've given up on it and are washing by hand. (Why they haven't replaced it, I don't know. Their oven has also been not working for a couple of years. Different priorities, obviously, lol.)
            So I know that's anecdotal, but since the only people I know personally who own Bosches don't love them, that's made an impression.

            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              SIL asked a friend in the business what to get and he said ASKO. She's had it a decade and still loves it.

              1. re: mcf

                I'll second the rec for ASKO. We bought a "Viking" dishwasher to match our stove in 2005, and it is actually made by ASKO (just with the Viking paint job and nameplate). It has been trouble-free all this time without a single repair, and we typically use it every day.

          2. Quiet, brilliant washing quality, separate cutlery tray, a huge variety of programmable wash options, gentle enough to run Riedel stemware safely and strong enough to remove the haze on our cheap stemware left behind by our previous KA jet engine, did I mention nearly silent and no service calls over a year has been our Miele La Perla model dishwasher. We use the Miele dissolvable tabs, their rinse aid and their water softening salt dialed into reflect the mineral content reported by our local water utility and the results are far superior to what our KA did that we wished we had made the changeover years ago. Local service is readily available and we used them for our installation but haven't needed them for any reason since.

            6 Replies
            1. re: ThanksVille

              The La Perla has apparently been discontinued, but there are a couple of other models that look very nice and are priced between $1000-1500. I have a question about the detergents, etc.: do the Mieles require Miele products? Are water softening agents necessary if one's water is "hard"?

              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                Sorry to be so slow in responding. I don't believe Miele has a corner on great detergent, rinse aid or softening salt; however, I do know they do pretty thorough testing and tweaking of the consumables they put their label on because the 'fit' between hardware and consumable is critical to successful outcomes. I'm not sure if the Miele products cost triple a wash load over the costjoe specials but I am certain our dishes come out perfect and our stemware has never been more brilliant clean, free from spot, streaks, etched films, etc. since we got the Miele and started out with trial samples of all their products. Our water here is not particularly 'hard' but we researched our utility company's mineral content (available online to anyone) then dialed inthe setup program to reflect that rate and it meters out an appropriate amount of salts into the wash and rinse flow. With these results no reason to change from the Miele products. By the way, we have used the Miele conditioner treatment about every three months to clean and lubricate gaskets, etc. as a sort of preventive maintenance treatment. Snake oil? Who knows but the interior is impeccable, SS brilliant when the LED lights illuminate the interior and there has never been any hint of an odor. I pull the filter screen out weekly and wash it in the sink using an old toothbrush to clean the reverse side....takes all of 30 seconds. Again, can't see any reason to change

                1. re: ThanksVille

                  Thanks--that is very helpful.
                  I saw Mieles all the time when I was in Germany and Austria, even had one a place we rented, and they were impressive.

                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                    I have a "top of the line" Miele dishwasher and it is both the most expensive and aggravating dishwasher that I've ever owned.

                    All dishes must be thoroughly pre-rinsed as there is no built-in food grinder. In my old KA, I never rinsed any dishes including roasting pans and everything came out spotless. Here if you leave one piece of cilantro on a cutting board it ends up on the inside of your coffee cup at the end of the cycle.

                    But my biggest gripe is that it will not dry the dishes.

                    Despite numerous service calls from the Miele repairman, using Miele product$ in the machine, and trying every suggestion mentioned on online resources such as Gardenweb, there is no way to get the dishes to come out dry at the end of the cycle, (with the exception of plates). Everything else comes out SOAKED, especially plastic. It takes at least two kitchen towels to dry a full load. Consequently, everyone in the house hates unloading it and avoids that chore to the extent possible.

                    I also hate the Miele stainless steel finish. Every fingerprint or drop of water shows, unlike my prior Kitchenaid stainless appliances. I also have four Miele wall ovens, but that's another story.

                    1. re: MrsPatmore

                      Hello, MrsPatmore!
                      I am sorry to hear about the problems with your frustrating!

                      The last time our Miele needed service, our beloved serviceman asked if the dishes were coming out dry enough. Actually, I have had no concerns about this issue, but he said that he could and would enter some data into the dishwasher and update that feature to improve the drying power. We have an '06 Optima about which we have few complaints.

                      Although I do not notice a difference, all of our dishes -- yes, always with the exception of some plastic items -- come out dry. At the end of the cycle, I do crack the door open to let the dishes cool; this helps with the drying as well.

                      Perhaps the water in your machine is not hot enough? Perhaps something is not draining completely? I would persist and ask your serviceman about your concerns.

                      Regarding your stainless steel exterior, there are several effective products on the market to clean the stainless finish. I find the stainless more of a problem on the fridge, but I do agree with you that these stainless appliances are not maintenance free.

                      1. re: liu

                        Wow! Liu, thank you for this information. The repairman told us there was nothing he could do, "all Miele dishwashers will not dry dishes." (And yes, we did check the temperature of our water heater at his suggestion). I'm going to call customer service tomorrow to get to the bottom of it. If there is an adjustment to be made, the repairman should have known that. BTW, this repairman has been here at least six times (for we have eight Miele appliances) and each time, I've been told that I just have to "learn to live with it." If that is not true, I'm going to be some kind of hot! Those service calls were not cheap!

                        I'll report back with the results of my further investigation. In the meanwhile, thank you for taking the time to respond. Regarding the stainless steel, I've tried a few "stainless cleaner" products that didn't seem to work any better than Windex or 409. Is there a brand that you recommend? Thanks so much for your comments!