The Real Dirt on Dishwashers - NBC4 Washington

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The Real Dirt on Dishwashers

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    Consumer Reporter Erika Gonzalez goes behind-the-scenes at the Consumer Reports testing labs to get the real dirt on dishwashers (Published Thursday, March 12, 2015)

    Consumer Reports has a dedicated team that rates dishwashers to help you make the best decision possible on your big appliance purchases. It recently rated these four machines, and here’s what its testers had to say:

    Kenmore Elite 12793, $1,200

    Overall score: 85 out of 100

    Besides top-notch performance, this Kenmore offers an industry first: A motorized spray arm that, among claims, reverses direction should a utensil fall through the racks, blocking the arm's rotation. The model's other pluses include a stainless-steel interior. Flexibility options include an adjustable upper rack and tines. (Unlike other models we've seen, the rack can be adjusted using only one hand.) Some controls are hidden, and you'll need to clean the filter manually. A normal cycle takes 145 minutes and used about 5 gallons of water in our tests. Caveats: The model was only mediocre at drying plastic items, and there's no time-remaining display.

    Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7[5]UC, $700

    Overall score: 81 out of 100

    This Bosch conventional dishwasher delivers top performance for a very competitive price. It aced our wash test, which uses a full load of very dirty items, and was very good for drying plastic items. It was also among the quietest models during fill, wash and drain and was especially energy-efficient. Bosch is also among the more reliable dishwasher brands. For flexibility, it has delayed start, ample flatware slots, an adjustable upper rack and adjustable tines. All controls are hidden, the interior is a mix of stainless and plastic, and you'll need to clean the filter manually--which you might prefer over the noise of a self-cleaning filter. A normal cycle took 95 minutes and used almost 6 gallons of water in our tests. On the minus side, this model doesn't display remaining cycle time.

    GE GDF540HMFES, $600

    Overall score: 77 out of 100

    This well-priced GE conventional dishwasher, called a "hybrid," sports a stainless-steel inner door to help drying, but you can get even better overall performance for the same money or little more. It did great in our wash test, which uses a full load of very dirty items, and was very energy-efficient. As claimed, it was excellent for drying. It was also fairly quiet. For flexibility, it has delayed start, an adjustable upper rack and ample flatware slots in two baskets that can be situated in the door. No controls are hidden, the interior is a mix of stainless and plastic, and you'll need to clean the filter manually, which you might prefer over the noise of a self-cleaning filter. A normal cycle took 155 minutes and used about 5 gallons of water in our tests. On the minus side, it lacks time-remaining display and adjustable tines.

    Whirlpool WDT720PADM, $460

    Overall score: 75 out of 100.

    If you only run your dishwasher while you sleep, you'll find lots to like in this low-priced Whirlpool, which had superb washing, drying and efficiency. Other pluses include a soil sensor, hidden controls and a time-remaining display. Whirlpool is also among the more reliable dishwasher brands. For flexibility, there's delayed start, ample flatware slots and adjustable tines. You'll need to clean the filter manually, though you might prefer that over the noise of a self-cleaning filter. A normal cycle took 155 minutes and used about 5 gallons of water in our tests.

    Click here for a full list of Consumer Reports’ updated dishwasher ratings.