What is the best dishwasher available (other than Bosch)?

Folks: (warning: boring domestic question!)

I want to buy a dishwasher. I want it to be quiet and to wash dishes as well as the (sort-of-noisy) Whirlpool that I bought in 1996 (the Whirlpool, with triple-level sprayers, could blast melted cheese off baking dishes). I bought the top-of-the-line Bosch about five years ago and it proved to be a service nightmare (see March 2008 posting; even after lots of service it still doesn’t wash very well), so I don’t want to go down that road again.

Consumer Reports top-rates a Kenmore Elite 12783 dishwasher but it isn’t clear who makes it. Could it be a dreaded Bosch (this posting says it might be)? They also like a KitchenAid model KDFE454CSS and say that it is very quiet, but other KitchenAids, which are just as quiet or quieter according to the KitchenAid Web site, are rated as vastly noisier. This is going into a pretty small apartment and the dishwasher needs to run during parties and not interfere with conversation.

Consumer Reports steered me very badly wrong with the Bosch so I’m not sure if I should give them too much credit, though I would expect them to be able to read a sound pressure level meter in the same room as a dishwasher. CR was the source for the beloved Whirlpool years ago and they correctly point out that Viking dishwashers are crap.

38 Comments

  1. Carl Lumma

    April 28, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

  2. philg

    April 28, 2013 @ 10:38 pm

    2

    Carl: I rented a house with the Fisher Paykel drawer system. We used the drawer as a drying rack for dishes that were hand-washed, since the Fisher Paykel was not capable of doing any cleaning. Consumer Reports gives the drawer dishwashers much lower ratings than the better standard dishwashers (e.g., a $350 Frigidaire washed two racks of dishes better than a $1300 F&P or $1550 KitchenAid washed one).

  3. Mike

    April 28, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

    3

    I’ve done about 10 years of kitchen remodeling. You got a bad Bosch. They are generally pretty reliable. As to quiet operation, you have Bosch/Thermador, Asko, and Miele. The Miele’s are a premium but hold up well. Asko’s are supposed to be a little more maintenance intensive, but U.S. distribution happens from here in Dallas so parts are never a problem here. At one time Asko make Viking’s dishwasher, don’t know if that is still the case.

    Carl: Fisher Paykel are 100% service calls after installation. I’ve never put one in that worked.

    With my money the order would be: Miele, Bosch, Asko, KitchenAid, GE. I happen to think they are all good, by the way.

    Nothing will clean as well as your old Whirlpool. Energystar ratings and water usage restrictions will prevent that.

  4. Ethan

    April 28, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

  5. EvilKiru

    April 29, 2013 @ 12:27 am

    5

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5242413_tell-made-kenmore-appliance-sears.html and http://www.appliance411.com/purchase/sears.shtml have listings of how to determine who made your Kenmore appliance, which requires access to the model and serial number plate. Bosch is nowhere to be found on either list.

  6. EvilKiru

    April 29, 2013 @ 12:29 am

    6

    On the other hand, those lists don’t seem to cover the Kenmore Elite brand.

  7. yvrapx

    April 29, 2013 @ 12:30 am

    7

    We have a an Asko, it cleans well and is very quiet. I think they are a few $$$
    Bosch is hit and miss for sure and have heard Samsung are decent.

  8. jay c

    April 29, 2013 @ 2:51 am

    8

    My aunt had a Miele at her house and it was a nice dishwasher. You could put completely dirty dishes in the thing, not rinsed off at all, and they would come out spotless. It was also very quiet. We have an Asko at work. It is pretty good for washing coffee mugs, and it looks cool.

  9. KB

    April 29, 2013 @ 3:39 am

    9

    I would look at Miele. I also had a Bosch that I was really unhappy with. I now have an Asko that cleans very well and hasn’t broken down in 7 years. But from reading reviews of their customer service I would think twice about buying from them in the US.

  10. Tiago

    April 29, 2013 @ 4:22 am

    10

    Stay away from any Maytag crap. Also, you’d be surprised to find out that many manufacturers in the US now sell the warranty service to companies like A&E Factory Service (check their reviews!), whose business interest is not performing any service. Free market at work! [As a sidenote, I found that almost all white goods sold by Sears or subsidiaries have warranties serviced by A&E Factory Service.]

  11. Steve Hoffman

    April 29, 2013 @ 5:56 am

    11

    We have a delightful Miele dishwasher in our rental house in LA. We’ve been using it almost daily for six months now and it is the best dishwasher I’ve ever used. It is absolutely silent. It is installed in the kitchen center island and I sit at the dining table behind it and only hear the faintest gurgle, even in an otherwise silent house. Not sure the exact model, but it has the usual two racks plus a third upper tray for silverware. Most likely the “Miele Crystal G 5225 SC” — http://bit.ly/153vV7W — The house was built in 2008 so i imagine that’s the age of the dishwasher.

  12. strowger

    April 29, 2013 @ 6:52 am

    12

    We got the cheapest Miele – which was still about $800 – 2 years ago.

    It is very quiet and feels well-built.

    It cleans plates well. It does not remove burned-on cheese (etc) from baking dishes, but:

    It has a stronger/hotter mode, which I never use.

    I use only half a tablet each time, of the cheapest dishwasher tablets I can find.

    I am pretty careless about loading it.

    I have had to clean the sprays out a couple of times (maybe twice a year).

    It seems to dry things OK. I never use any rinse aid.

  13. L. Jackson

    April 29, 2013 @ 7:05 am

  14. tekumse

    April 29, 2013 @ 7:46 am

    14

    Completely anecdotal but our brand spanking new KitchenAid burned it’s heater about a month after it was out of warranty. In an old place we had a ~350 Home Depot GE that did a spectacular job year after year.

  15. Chuck

    April 29, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    15

    I’ve had few problems with my Miele over the last 8 years (aside from a moldy smell when I don’t run it with the water heater.) Very quiet and cleans well since a normal cycle is almost 2 hours. Downside for some is that Mieles don’t have food grinders.

  16. Chip M.

    April 29, 2013 @ 8:10 am

    16

    Go with GE. I recently read Jack Welch’s bio and am sold on their Six Sigma approach…that’s a goal of ~3 defect per million products created. Unlike many corporate goals, they back it up with statistics and fire and hire based on meeting it.

  17. sam

    April 29, 2013 @ 8:17 am

    17

    The best dishwasher is one to which you add some trisodium phosphate to the detergent. It’s unbelievable how much better they work with it.

  18. Barry Campbell

    April 29, 2013 @ 9:15 am

    18

    We bought a Bosch several years ago and it was a horrible, horrible mistake… I feel your pain.

    We replaced it with a Kenmore from Sears (OEMed by Whirlpool, I am 90% sure.) It is noisier and much less Eurostylish, but it actually washes the damn dishes. It was also a fraction of the price of the Bosch.

  19. Gina

    April 29, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    19

    I bought a bosch around 2003. It was a service nightmare for me too (but cleaned very well and was very quiet). The house I am in came with a bosch. I’ve had it for about two years now and it has had no problems at all, is very quiet and cleans well.

    So it does seem to be hit or miss with that brand.

  20. James Grenier

    April 29, 2013 @ 9:54 am

    20

    Bosch and Siemens top the Which Best Buys tables (UK equivalent to Consumer Reports). Top two models un the UK are:
    Bosch – SMI53E05GB
    Siemens – SN26T296GB

    Based on personal experience, I’d stay away from mid-range Neff and AEG dishwashers as the ones I’ve had can’t cope with porridge pots or saucepans without pre-soaking.

    A friend has one of those two drawer models that she swears by. However, all her dirty dishes and pans are pre-cleaned by her two dogs.

  21. Ben

    April 29, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    21

    I bought a Kenmore in my last home based on CR. It was definitely a Whirlpool and decently quiet. I didn’t think my in-law’s Bosch was any quieter and they always complained about having to rinse or the dishes wouldn’t clean well. They had a few service calls on it and have had to replace it before my Kenmore. I bought a Whirlpool Gold in my new home and I’m pleased with the volume. I think quieter ratings go to washers with no grinder.

  22. Brian Gulino

    April 29, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    22

    What a great thread. I continually marvel at the expertise found here.

    I had some success investing in some sound insulation instead of a quieter dishwasher.

    http://www.soundisolationcompany.com

    sells sound isolation products that work. I would isolate the dishwasher, seal it, and add some of their insulation. Their salesman are quite knowledegable.

    Much of the sound absorbing technology comes from the aviation industry, where you already have some connections.

  23. steve

    April 29, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

    23

    Just jettisoned a fancy two drawer dishwasher and purchased a new Kitchenaid W10476359A. Biggest requirements were 1.] short cycle time and 2.] easy to clean food trap.

    The Kitchenaid has a 1 hour wash cycle [works just fine] and the unit has it’s own disposal, so all the excess food debris gets chopped up.

    $660. from the local discount appliance place.

  24. philg

    April 29, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

    24

    Steve: How noisy/quiet is the KitchenAid? Does it interfere with normal conversation in the kitchen?

  25. Robert

    April 29, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    25

    Use to have a Thermador (made by Bosch I believe). Not very good. Recently got a Miele. Love it so far. Feels very high quality German engineering. Quiet, cleans well. Best feature is the 3rd level cutlery tray. The thing can efficiently fit lots of dishes.

  26. Zapiens

    April 29, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

    26

    We had good experience with an inexpensive GE Profile unit. The only problem was the caster brackets breaking off, but these are very cheap to replace.

    (Perhaps my standards are low? It was not silent, but it was quiet enough to have a quiet conversation in the kitchen.)

  27. Jim Cassells

    April 29, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

    27

    Try the GE GDT550. 48 DB so whisper quiet and has a new wash action where the lower and middle arm operate for 90 seconds and then the middle and top wands go for 90 seconds. Generates 65% more wash action. Also, has lower or upper basket cycle and the upper basket can be raised or lowered. Plus a Tom of other features.

  28. Mike Duffy

    April 29, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

    28

    I would highly recommend a Miele for quiet. Sometimes I don’t even know it’s running. We have two, and both work very well for us.

  29. kosinski

    April 30, 2013 @ 12:59 am

    29

    Miele – quiet, effective and the cutlery draw is unbeatable – you get what you pay for etc

  30. Marshall

    April 30, 2013 @ 8:01 am

    30

    I hate to ask the obvious but why not buy another Whirlpool? We looked at all of the ‘elite’ dishwashers and have had great success with Dacor models. About 5 years ago we remodeled and needed a dishwasher with the cabinet-front option and decided on a Whirlpool – an outstanding choice. My only regret is I can never tell when it’s running and thus open it during the wash cycle…

  31. Scott

    April 30, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    31

    Phil, All,

    Just went through the same process – GE Profile “board” died – $400 to replace. Actually considered because it worked great for 8 years – no complaints, but did not make sense. Did the internet shuffle – found out to my amazement that there is nothing made today that is any good! This is tongue in cheek – guess that the every disgruntled person speaks louder than 100 (+/- orders of magnitude) satisfied customers. “Euro” models are solid and clean well but don’t dry for the most part – energy requirements? Anyway, son was not happy with his Bosch – smaller and wet dishes – so looked elsewhere.

    Came down to the old standby’s – GE, Whirlpool, Kenmore and Kitchenaid – which can be pretty interchangeable from year to year as I think GE and Whirlpool make the other two. Anyway – went with the high end KA – got a stupid low deal – ‘managers special” at BB. Installed it yesterday – can barely hear it washing – and it washes dishes!

    Bottom line – they are all pretty good these days. Not made as solid, lots of electronics, switches, bells and whistle to break. Agree that Consumers Union is not what it used to be – seems to be some bad advice BUT they are focused on performance of new equipment. A couple of years, tired pumps, blocked screens and nozzles can make a lot of difference.

    Best.

  32. Boris

    April 30, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

    32

    I have Miele for about 8 years now without any problems. It is reasonably quiet and does the job well. In particular, it reliably washes dirty stuff without any pre-rinsing or nonsense like that.

  33. bambam

    April 30, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

    33

    Miele was Steve Jobs favorite brand so you would be buying Apple of dishwashers.

    LG, Samsung also make dishwasher and they are sold in BestBuy and Sears.

    LG, KitchenAid, Samsung, Whirlpool are some of the manufactures
    who make Kenmore and Kenmore Elite. You have to ask
    the sales people at sears. most of look exactly like the OEM branded product.

    Toshiba make the best refrigerators but they are only
    available outside the US.

  34. Dishwasher guy

    April 30, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

    34

    I have a Bosch that sucks too. Go with the Asko. My parents have owned two of them: the first lasted 15+ years (they sold the house) and the next is going on five years. Both very quiet and no problems.

  35. jim

    April 30, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

    35

    We’ve had a Fisher-Paykel drawer model for the last 5 years. We’ve never experienced unclean dishes. Ours works beautifully and is quiet as a mouse.

    Perhaps the one you used was clogged somewhere…usually the soap dispenser…or the house lacked sufficient water pressure (it makes a difference).

  36. Robert Pinder

    May 5, 2013 @ 2:23 am

    36

    We purchased a new Bosch several years ago and it was by far the most expensive of the three previous machines we have owned. Be forewarned that It is, by a HUGE factor, less effective than any of the others. The dishes must be washed by hand first! Because of its electronic controls the user has no idea which cycle it is in nor where in any given cycle it might be. Lastly, the “sanitize” feature is not optional and rarely does the machine sanitize the load. If it’s any consolation, it is the quietest of all our previous dishwashers.

  37. Scott

    May 6, 2013 @ 2:46 am

    37

    We had a miele in our previous house and I was quite happy with it. Quiet, effective, and the separate cutlery tray on the top was nice, since it didn’t take up space on the lower rack. I understand that the ‘cutlery tray’ patent has run out and that there are at least two other manufacturers offering that option now, but back in 2006 Miele was the only option for the ‘cutlery tray’ on top. Currently we’re “dishwasher free”, but I’m weighing my options as we’re contemplating a remodel in the current house. I’d love to buy the same model again, but I’m considering less expensive options as well.

  38. Don Davis

    May 6, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    38

    We’re happy with our 1.5-year-old Kenmore Elite.
    No failures yet. Easy to use, does its job, a bit noisy,
    but not obnoxious.

    I have a dishwasher success-story to offer: I’m 6′
    tall, so I had my contractor install our DW 14″ higher
    than normal, so that the bottom rack is at knee height,
    and the top rack is just below belt height. This setup
    is much more comfortable for me to use, but isn’t
    inconvenient for my normal-height wife & kids. The
    only downside is that my contractor had to build the
    cabinet that holds the DW. We have a microwave
    oven on top of the counter above the DW.

    I wish I could take credit for thinking of this raised-DW
    idea, but I first saw it a dozen years ago, in a house
    that some friends were renting. I fell in love with the
    idea on sight, and I’m still in love with it now.

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