The Best Dishwashers for People Who Hate Doing Dishes

We don’t like to do dishes any more than you do. That’s why we recommend one of these top-cleaning machines to do the dirty work.

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June 23, 2021

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Photo by: Lowe's/Bosch


Why wash dishes when a machine can do it for you? A good dishwasher will not only leave your dishes spotless, it’ll do it more efficiently than you can by hand. And even though it may go against your mother’s advice, trust us, you don’t have to rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. It’s not necessary and it’s a waste of energy. Yes, even plates with yolk smears, glasses with lipstick smudges, and casseroles encrusted with cheese will come out pristine. Plus, you no longer have to worry that a dishwasher will make a racket if your kitchen is also your family room. The latest models are so quiet you can’t even tell they’re running.

What to Consider When It Comes to Dishwashers

  • The majority of dishwashers fit into a 24-inch wide space under the countertop. However, it’s always prudent to measure both the width of your space and the height of your countertops. There are some 18-inch wide models available for smaller kitchens.
  • Stainless steel is the most popular finish. Look for fingerprint- or smudge-resistant stainless, especially if you have kids in the house. If you have an older kitchen with white or black appliances, you can find dishwashers to coordinate with your color scheme.
  • Dishwasher cavities are made of either stainless steel or plastic. We recommend opting for stainless steel because it’s more durable.
  • Models are loaded with anywhere from 4 to 14 cycle options. As prices go up, so will the amount of settings, but, chances are, you won’t use many, so don’t be swayed a big number. Look for ones with cycles you think you’ll actually use. See below for a list of cycles we think are helpful.
  • All dishwashers come with Energy Guide labels detailing how much electricity they use and approximately how much they will cost you per year to run. The most energy efficient carry the EnergyStar label.
  • Sound levels are measured by decibel (dBA) levels. The lower the dBA the quieter the machine. If you can’t find the rating, check for it on the manufacturer’s website. Any model that’s 44dBA or lower is considered quiet.
  • Racks that move up and down can make room for oversized items like pots or pitchers. Check the width between the tines to see if your dinner plates will fit between them. If you have chunky dishes, you may want to bring one with you and test them in the store. Even models at moderate prices now come with a third flat rack on top to hold flatware and tools; they free up space on the lower racks for more dishes.

Photo by: Lowe's/Bosch


Dishwasher Cycles and Features To Look For

  • Auto or Normal: By using a senor to detect particles in the rinse water this feature figures out when your dishes are clean. It then adjusts the time and water usage, reducing your electric bill.
  • Rinse: When you don’t have a full load but don’t want to leave dirty, smelly dishes in the machine overnight or longer, this feature gives them a quick rinse.
  • Extra Dry: This feature addresses one of people’s big complaints, that items, particularly plastic containers, don’t come out dry. It can also help eliminate spotting on glasses.
  • Express: If you’ve forgotten to run the machine and it’s almost dinner time, this setting will come in handy. On most machines from start to finish, it takes one hour. Dishes may not come out as dry, though.
  • China or Delicate: You’ll use this setting to give glassware or porcelain tender loving care.
  • Half Load: By only washing items in either the top or bottom rack, a half load cycle reduces water usage and saves energy. It’s great for those times when you don’t have a full load or need to rinse glassware before company comes.
  • Sanitize: By using hotter water in the wash and rinse cycles, this cycle will kill virtually all bacteria. When someone in the family is sick, it can give you peace of mind. You might want to use it for kids’ teething rings and toys.
  • Delay Start: Choose this setting to run the machine during off-peak energy hours or in the middle of the night when no one will be showering.

Top-notch cleaning is the number one reason you want a dishwasher. You’ll find this model hits the sweet spot between great performance, helpful features, and a reasonable price. It has a stainless-steel tub and a third rack for cutlery and small tools like whisks and ladles. Among its cycles, there’s one that washes and dries in just one hour and another that sanitizes. Its Auto setting will get your dishes clean and dry in just over 2 hours. At 44 dBs the Bosch 300 is so quiet that it projects a beam of light on the floor to let you know it’s running.

When you’re washing long-stemmed wineglasses or an oversized pitcher, you can adjust the middle rack to a lower position to accommodate them. The controls are out of sight on the top of the door and the handle is hidden in a pocket, giving this model a clean upscale look. Something to consider: Bosch is that the rack tines that separate plates are close together. Most dinnerware will easily fit between them, but if your plates are extra thick, you may have to alternate them between tines. It’s also available in white or in a version that can be installed with a front to match your cabinets.

Buy It

As you would expect at this price, this machine gives you stellar cleaning performance (even on the one-hour setting), plus a lot of extras. For starters, it can handle the dishwashing chores you hate the most. No more chipping glassware on the faucet or scrubbing pots and pan. For its ability to get fine crystal sparkling while keeping it from knocking around, Riedel, the fine glassware company recommends this model. However, it also has the oomph to tackle the grease and gunk on cookware.

At the end of a cycle, this Miele automatically cracks open the door a bit to release steam, enhance drying, and cut down on electricity usage. It not only washes your dishes, it dispenses the detergent too. Load it with a Miele PowerDisk and it automatically adds the correct amount of dishwashing powder for the next 20 washes. It even displays a reminder when it’s time to pop in a new disc. You do have the option of using your own detergent.

With its stainless-steel finish, hidden controls, and sleek handle, this is a classy-looking machine. Because Miele knows you want the appliance itself to stay spiffy, the stainless is smudge and scratch proof. You’ll find a third rack inside for silverware and utensils and all of the racks are adjustable to make room for oversized vases, bowls, and platters as well as champagne flutes and Burgundy wine glasses. At 41 dBAs, it’s exceptionally quiet.

You can connect this machine via Wi-Fi to an app on your phone so you can turn it on or check the status remotely as well as order more Power Disks.

Buy It

You don’t have to spend a bundle to have a dishwasher to lighten your load. Although this model is no frills, reviewers rave about its prowess at getting dishes clean. And isn’t that the main reason you’re buying a dishwasher? It has fewer cycles than some machines, but the ones you get are super useful including a one-hour express setting as well as a sanitizing one that’s been certified by NSF, which means an outside agency has verified that it will actually kill germs. At 55 dBAs you’ll be able to hear it when it’s running, but it shouldn’t interfere with homework or after-dinner conversation.

This Whirlpool is finished in stainless steel, but the controls are on the front, so although the machine is not as sleek looking as pricier models, the controls are easy to access. As the tub is plastic, it may not last as long as a stainless steel one. Inside there’s no third rack for cutlery but the utensil holder can be positioned on the door to give you extra space on the lower rack to pack in dirty dishes.

Buy It

If one of the reasons you haven’t installed a dishwasher is a fear that it will be noisy, or you want to replace the one you have because it makes a racket, this 39dBA model is one of the quietest you can buy. It also has an excellent reputation for getting dishes clean and has a heated dry system to eliminate the need to towel off the tops of mugs or plastic storage containers. The cycle you’ll probably use the most, dubbed ProWash, measures soil levels and adapts the wash time and water temperature accordingly so it won’t run any longer or use any more water than necessary. The KitchenAid also has a sanitizing rinse but there’s no express or gentle settings.

The tub is stainless steel and there’s a third rack for tableware, spatulas, and other small items. As there’s plenty of spacing between the tines, you should have no trouble arranging chunky rustic plates between them. The KA is available in shiny or black stainless steel, both of which are stain-resistant so they won’t require polishing to keep looking good. With its easy-to-grab towel bar handle, this model has professional style that will instantly upgrade your kitchen.

Buy It

This is one of the roomiest models around, making it ideal if you have a large family or entertain often. Not only can it hold a lot, the rack configuration makes it easy to fit in plates of all sizes as well as oversized bowls and platters. You won’t find yourself with a few extra pieces or a clunky serving piece to hand wash. The GE also solves the problem of cleaning vases, water bottles, and empty mayonnaise jars. In the upper rack, jets spray water directly into these hard-to-clean items to make sure they come out spotless. GE also promises that its drying system will get everything, including plastics dry, so you can put everything away straight from the dishwasher.

Among this dishwasher’s cycles are an NSF-certified sanitizing one and a quick one-hour wash. It has a stainless-steel tube and a third rack. With a 46dBA rating it’s fairly quiet when it’s running. When it comes to the exterior finish, you have a lot of choices; this model comes in stainless steel, black, white, slate, and black slate. You can buy a Wi-Fil adapter that will allow you to use an app to control and monitor your dishwasher from the yard or the car.

Buy It

Just because you live in an apartment or have a tiny kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t have a dishwasher. This model is only 18-inches wide so takes up less space than standard models. While it will wash fewer dishes, it does have a sensor cycle to deliver the same great performance as a full-size dishwasher in just over two hours. You will find it is a bit noisy at 50dBA, so while it won’t wake anyone up, you may hear it while you’re having your after-dinner tea at the kitchen table.

The controls are on the front of the door which makes them very easy to access. The tub is made of stainless steel and the exterior is available in stainless steel, black, and white.

Buy It

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