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Nov 12, 2013 10:36 AM

Recommendations for a basic dishwasher

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to buy my first dishwasher & need help figuring out which brand & model to choose. Unfortunately, we're on a tight budget, so we can't spend more than $600. We don't need a lot of bells & whistles. We're only two people. We just want a reliable dishwasher that will clean dishes effectively & doesn't need constant repairs. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. My research is about 3 years old, but at the time, for the price range you indicate, I'd suggest a bottom of the line Bosch or a Whirlpool. They seem to rate high in terms of cleaning and reliability.

    And, note as to reliability, you will find anecdotes on this Site and others from owners of every conceivable make & model with horror stories of mechanical failures, etc. But, Consumer Reports which compiles data from its subscribers consistently rates both highly for reliability -- at least as of 3 years ago. You should of course 2x check the current ratings.

    As to my own experience, we were looking to spend slightly more than you because there were a few bells & whistles that we cared about ($750 tops). I narrowed my choices to Bosch or KitchenAid (higher end label made by WP), and ultimately bought the KA. We've had the KA for 3 years now and my only complaint is that I find the configuration of the dish racks somewhat inconvenient, but this seems to be endemic to all DWs. You may want to take some of your dinner plates with you to the store to be sure they will fit.


      I'm not at home right now so can't check but I got one of these Ikea ones with the tall tub. LOVE it.

      1. Kitchen Aid Get stainless steel interior, and one with just two or so cycles.. they are durable, reliable and quiet I love mine.

        1. For some years now, I think it's been the case that dishwashers are more or less the same in terms of capability and reliability, and the chief, firm difference is how much noise they make. One distinction is that certain brands use a grinder-type of thing, sort of like a mini-garbage disposal, and those tend to make more noise. Others (I think the Bosch is one) are quieter by using no grinder but instead asking you to change out and clean a filter basket. Then again, there are sound insulation differences.

          About repairs: I'm in the camp that says there are really only about three makers who slap this or that brand name on multiple machines (Kenmore, Maytag, etc.).

          When I researched this same issue some years ago, I ended up getting a Kenmore from Sears (it is, I think, the same as a Maytag), and I followed Consumer Reports' advice: shell out for the extended warranty. Their testing led them to depart from their usual advice, which is that extended warranties are really a waste of money in most cases. They said that, in the case of dishwashers, they are actually worth it.

          To descend even further into banal detail: my Kenmore had a five-year extended warranty. Sure enough, about 6 months before expiration, it needed its pump replaced. That would have been a repair of about $500, but cost me nothing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Bada Bing

            Kenmores are typically made by Whirlpool/ KA, which also makes Maytag. I used to be in the camp of buying Kenmore appliances (we've currently got a Kenmore fridge & washing machine), but we've had problems in more recent years with delivery/installation from Sears, so I've pretty much given up on Kenmore. In particular, before buying my KA 3 years ago, I'd actually purchased a high-end Bosch floor model from Sears but when the delivery people arrived, not only were they missing a component needed for the installation (evidently something ordinarily included by the manufacturer in the box with the DW but lost because this had been a floor model), but it was going to take weeks for them to order the replacement part to install it. I ended up canceling that order. And, a few years before that, we had problems with the installation of a clothes dryer purchased from Sears.

            1. re: masha

              Locations vary, I guess. The local service guy for Sears is impeccable.

              1. re: Bada Bing

                Sears outsources installation to independent contractors, and I assume that is true for service too. (Knock on wood, we've not needed any service at all on our Kenmore refrigerator or washer, both of which are 8 years old.) It may just be that I've had bad luck but after the last experience with the Bosch DW that I ultimately canceled was so hellacious (there's more than my brief description upthread), I just will not deal with Sears any more.

          2. I recommend Bosch or Bosch made Kenmore Elite.

            Top rated by JD Power and Consumer Reports.

            Dishwashers with filters do ask you to clean filter every once in a while. Modern dishwasher detergent with enzymes break down most food stuck to the filter My Miele dishwasher tells me to clean filter every 3 to 6 months and I find a bit of lettuce, a grain or two of rice, and a little slime. Takes about 30 seconds to clean under kitchen faucet.

            Dishwashers with grinders not only make more noise but consume more energy and require grinder replacement at some point. Several appliance salesman I talked to said I should clean dishes of debris to promote long grinder life. The motor for grinders in modern dishwashers are much smaller to meet Energy Star standards.