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Your Best Tips for Buying a Dishwasher

It’s one of every homeowner’s worst nightmares: alarming noises coming from an appliance.

Sure, re-doing a kitchen can be fun, but an unexpected purchase to replace an appliance you use on a regular basis is slightly less so. Which is why it’s good to be prepared when the time comes.

Recently on the Hotline, Niknud shared that her dishwasher was about to go kaput, and she turned to the Food52 community for recommendations, saying, “My foggy drinking classes and not-so-clean plates thank you in advance!”

Here are some of the top dishwasher buying tips you all shared:

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Price Point & Features

These are (not surprisingly) very tied together. So while you want to find a dishwasher that is a comfortable price point for your budget, you’ll also want to keep in mind what features are important to you and which ones you can live without.

  • When ktr‘s old dishwasher was in need of repair, the appliance repair technician recommended getting a mid-level dishwasher, explaining: “The cheaper ones don’t work as well and the higher end ones typically are charging for extra features you likely won’t use. That being said, my parents recently purchased a higher-end Samsung dishwasher: “I love that her silverware sits on a top shelf rather than in a basket, and the door opens when the dishes are done. The door opening would be nice because we normally wash dishes at night, open the door in the morning and then have to wait a few hours for them to finish drying. On the other hand, I can see my toddler finding the door open and taking dishes out.”
  • SexyLAMBCHOPx has been happy with her Bosch Ecosense for 6 years now, saying: “It looks good in the kitchen without the control panel being in your face. It cleans everything so well! When I first bought it I had trouble with the configuration of the dish racks and was miserable. I couldn’t fit my pans, dishes, glasses, and flatware like I did in the past because I bought American—American and European seem to have a different configuration with the racks. Called Bosch and without cost, sent me a new insert. Problem solved. It also has an adjustable rack setting to make it higher and lower for pots/pans/serving dishes that are oversized/odd-sized.”
  • Creamtea says, “A bit of splurge is worth it in the long run for extra functionality.” She’s been eyeing a Bosch “for the adjustable middle rack, plus the top rack: looks like it will have room for whisks and other odd-sized utensils.”
Our Test Kitchen Manager's Favorite Things About the Food52 Kitchen
Our Test Kitchen Manager’s Favorite Things About the Food52 Kitchen
by Amanda Sims

Noise Level

If you have an open floor plan, noise level is an especially important consideration. If you’re entertaining guests or trying to watch television, a loud dishwasher could interrupt that, and you might not always want to have to hold off on running it until guests leave or you head to bed.

  • Food52’s Senior Software Engineer Jeremy Beker says, “My wife and I purchased a Bosch a few years ago and could not be happier with its operation. Beyond the obvious keeping dishes clean, the biggest benefit to me is that it is virtually silent. We have an open kitchen and our dining room table is 6 feet from the dishwasher, but we have no qualms about running it when we have guests over. The noise is barely perceptible.”
  • Ktr also shared that an appliance repair technician noted that dishwashers with steel drums tend to be quieter (and dry dishes better, to boot).
  • SexyLAMBCHOPx calls her Bosch Ecosense a game-changer in the noise department, saying, “I had NO idea that a dishwasher could be so quiet!”
Photo by Mark Weinberg

Brand Name

It’s hard to go wrong with any of the top appliance brands, but many of us have favorites that we’re loyal to, and we’re no exception! Co-founder Amanda Hesser swears by her Miele dishwasher, and here in the Food52 Test Kitchen, we’re powered by KitchenAid. Some of your allegiances:

  • ChefJune has had her Jenn-Air dishwasher for 12 years, and says, “it is as efficient and quiet today as when it was installed. I can’t say enough good things about it. Sometimes I still have to go in and check that it’s running because it is so quiet.”
  • Lost_in_NYC shares, “My parents purchased the trio of stainless steel Samsung appliances (range, dishwasher, fridge) during their kitchen remodel 2 years and they couldn’t be happier! The newer versions do have upgrades compared to older models that do take a little getting used to (basket vs. tray for utensils as mentioned by ktr) but my mom loves it, and she’s a dishwasher queen!”
  • QueenSashy is a Bosch fan, explaining: “17 years ago, when we moved into our apartment we bought a Bosch dishwasher. Five years ago, we decided to remodel our kitchen. We bought a high-end Miele and gave the Bosch to our friend. Bosch is still running strong, Miele broke three times….” She does note that Miele appliances have a long warranty and excellent customer service.
  • BerryBaby is a Bosch fan, too: “We had our kitchen updated recently and all new appliances installed. The Bosch is SO quiet and holds an insane amount of dishes! Have had ours for a couple of months and still have to check the red light on the floor to see if it is on! It holds a lot of dishes, I was really surprised, which means you run it less often, that is if you have enough clean dishes to use.”
8 Things to Know Before You Remodel Your Kitchen
8 Things to Know Before You Remodel Your Kitchen
by Amanda Sims

The Final Verdict

In case you’re wondering, Niknud decided to go with a Bosch dishwasher, explaining: “Given the overwhelming consensus here and a bit of research online, it seemed like the perfect combo of reliability and functionality. Splurged and got the 800 model which will (apparently) be so quiet as to require a little red light that shines on the floor when it’s running, so you don’t forget and open it mid-cycle.”

And after taking it for a few test drives, she’s still happy with her decision: “Well, we’ve just finished up our first week with our shiny new dishwasher and I couldn’t be happier. Ok, well, technically I COULD be happier, but not as far as kitchen appliances are concerned. This thing is freaking quiet. Like quiet, quiet. And everything comes out sparkly and clean. And it uses a tiny amount of dishwasher power. Like, one tablespoon of powder. So far, I have been nothing but delighted. I can now watch Outlander without wondering whether I’m hearing clashing broadswords or my plates clanking together. Not that I didn’t appreciate the surround sound effect, but the impact was somewhat less thrilling during the dialogue bits.”

Tell us: What are your best dishwasher buying tips?

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