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Published Feb. 24, 2022

Dishwashers are a convenient addition to any kitchen, eliminating the need to spend time standing over the sink scrubbing plates, pots, and pans after every meal. Even better, today’s models are eco-friendly and don’t even require pre-rinsing. Water consumption for dishwashers is regulated by the Department of Energy, ensuring that full-sized models use no more than 5 gallons of water per cycle. Faucets in the United States have a standard flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute, meaning you’d have to wash an entire load of dishes by hand in under two minutes to use less water than a single cycle on a standard dishwasher. Having a dishwasher can be a relief, but shopping for one online can be overwhelming.

We’ll break down what to look for when shopping for the best dishwasher for your kitchen and discuss the key considerations to keep in mind as you shop. Read on for tips on choosing the best option, and explore our curated picks for the best dishwashers on the market.

How We Chose the Best Dishwashers

Methodology

While it’s easy to assume that all dishwashers offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Several years of experience covering home goods and appliances as well as extensive product research went into choosing our final curated selection. We reviewed more than 30 dishwashers and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations. 

Noise level: Some dishwashers can operate loudly and act as a disturbance in your home. We opted to only include models that operate at levels of 55 dB or lower. 

Extra features: We gave preference to models with added features like adjustable racks, smart sensors, and timers that allow users to program a cycle in advance. 

Size and type: Since dishwashers come in several standard sizes and can be either built-in or portable, we included a range of options to suit a variety of needs.

The Best Dishwashers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Frigidaire FFCD2413US Dishwasher

FRIGIDAIRE

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Why It Made The Cut: This model from the Frigidaire provides excellent performance, a high capacity, and is Energy Star-certified. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 24 inches W x 25 inches D x 33.5 to 35 inches H
  • Style: Built-in
  • Available Finishes: Stainless steel

Pros:

  • Stainless steel finish
  • Energy Star-rated
  • Delayed start

Cons:

  • Lacks stainless-steel interior

The Frigidaire FFCD2413US is a full-sized model that is designed to fit in the majority of kitchens and can accommodate 14 place settings. It features three spray arms and a self-filtration system, ensuring a perfect clean every time. It’s Energy Star-rated, ensuring it conserves water and only requires 3.5 gallons to run a full cycle. 

A delayed start allows users to set a cycle to run four hours in advance. As an additional feature, the height of this model is adjustable from 33.5 to 35 inches, allowing for it to be installed in kitchens with varying counter heights. One downside is that this model is on the louder side, operating at 55 decibels, meaning it may not be the best choice for smaller homes where it could cause a disturbance. It comes with a stainless-steel finish, providing a high-end look to any kitchen. 

Best Value: hOmeLabs 18-Inch-Wide Built-In Dishwasher

hOmeLabs

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Why It Made The Cut: This dishwasher is compact and affordable but doesn’t sacrifice any features for the price. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 17.7 inches W x 24.4 inches D x 31.4 inches H 
  • Style: Built-in
  • Available Finishes: Stainless steel

Pros:

  • Energy Star-rated
  • Stainless-steel finish
  • Quiet operation
  • Features express mode

Cons:

  • Not full capacity

This built-in dishwasher from hOmeLabs is a compact model with an 18-inch width, meaning it can fit nine place settings in a single cycle. The top rack is adjustable, allowing users to raise or lower it to accommodate awkwardly-shaped dishes. 

Since it’s Energy Star-rated, shoppers can guarantee that this model is eco-friendly and will use less than 3.5 gallons of water per cycle. With a noise level of just 49 decibels, it operates quietly enough that it shouldn’t be a disturbance in your home. For those who prefer to run their dishwashers overnight, however, this model offers a delayed start allowing users to set it to run at a specific time. 

The control panel is cleverly concealed and features an LED display, providing a streamlined aesthetic. Unlike many other affordable dishwashers, this model has a stylish stainless steel finish. As an added bonus, installation is easy since the outlet hose comes pre-installed. 

Most Sustainable: Danby 18-Inch Built-In Dishwasher

Why It Made The Cut: With an Energy Star-rating and an additional Eco cycle option, this dishwasher is perfect for those looking to minimize their water consumption. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 17.69 inches W x 22.81 inches D x 32.5 inches H
  • Style: Built-in
  • Available Finishes: Stainless steel

Pros:

  • Energy Star-rated
  • Adjustable total height
  • Operates quietly

Cons:

  • Not full capacity

This built-in dishwasher from Danby is both affordable and sustainable. It’s Energy Star-compliant, using a maximum of 3.5 gallons of water per cycle, but also offers an additional Eco cycle that’s even more environmentally friendly. The water temperature is adjustable and goes up to 156 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum sanitization. It operates quietly at just 52 decibels, but also offers a delayed start function for those who would prefer to only run a cycle overnight. 

One downside is that this model only has an 18-inch width, so it will be too small to replace a standard-sized dishwasher and only has an eight-place-setting capacity. As an added perk, however, the total height is adjustable from 32.5 to 34.43 inches, allowing for customization based on differing counter heights. This model features a stainless-steel inner tub and the face plate comes in stainless steel, black, or white, allowing shoppers to pick the style that best matches their other appliances. 

Best Double Drawer: Fisher Paykel Fully Integrated Dishwasher

Fisher & Paykel

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Why It Made The Cut: Because its two drawers can operate independently, this model from Fisher Paykel allows users to run two different cycles simultaneously.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 23 inches W x 24 inches D x 35 inches H
  • Style: Built-in
  • Available Finishes: Stainless steel

Pros:

  • Features adjustable racks
  • Allows for cycles to be run independently
  • Energy Star-certified
  • Operates quietly

Cons:

  • Lacks stainless steel interior

Fisher Paykel’s fully-integrated dishwasher has a unique style that features two drawers instead of the standard dishwasher design. Two cycles can also be run simultaneously but independently from one another, allowing users to utilize two different programs. This makes it possible to use a more gentle cycle on delicate glassware and a heavier cycle on pots and pans with caked-on food. The racks are also adjustable, providing for customization based on each user’s needs. 

In addition to its novel design, this model also includes a range of additional features. A child lock disables the control panel so it can’t be opened while a cycle is running. The Extra Dry setting works well on items that typically dry slowly like plastic dishes. This dishwasher also runs quietly at just 44 dB. It’s also Energy Star-certified so while it performs powerfully it’s able to do so while conserving water. 

Best Portable: Farberware Portable Dishwasher

Farberware

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Why It Made The Cut: The Farberware FDW05ASBWHA Portable Dishwasher stands out from other compact models because it features a built-in water tank. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 20.9 inches W x 21.9 inches D x 22.4 inches H
  • Style: Portable
  • Available Finishes: Black, white

Pros:

  • No water hookup needed
  • Five wash cycles
  • Sleek, modern aesthetic

Cons:

  • Limited capacity

Those who don’t have room for a built-in dishwasher don’t have to be resigned to hand washing. There are plenty of portable dishwashers on the market, but many models need to be hooked up to a water source in order to operate. This option from Farberware, however, has a built-in 5-liter water tank, meaning it doesn’t need to be placed beside the sink. There is a water hose included for users who opt to connect it to a faucet. 

Despite its small size, it can still accommodate dishes with a diameter of up to 12 inches if they’re placed at an angle. It features a pull-out dish rack and a small cutlery rack. There are five washing programs: Normal, Rapid, Fruit Wash, Baby Care, and Glass. The touch-screen LED control panel and see-through window make for a sleek, modern aesthetic. 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Dishwasher

With so many dishwashers on the market, choosing the right one for your home requires careful consideration. Keep the following factors in mind while making your purchase.

Dimensions and Capacity

One of the most important factors to consider is the dishwasher’s size. This is particularly crucial if you’re replacing an existing appliance. Luckily, most built-in dishwashers have standard dimensions, with a height of 35 inches, a width of 24 inches, and a depth of 24 inches. Larger dishwashers often retain the same height and depth but have widths of between 30 and 42 inches. Some smaller kitchens, on the other hand, only have space to accommodate a compact dishwasher with a width of 18 inches. Those embarking on a full-kitchen renovation have more flexibility and can opt for cabinetry that accommodates the dishwasher of their choosing. 

Those who don’t have a space for a built-in dishwasher should consider a portable or countertop model, which simply need access to a water source.

Energy Consumption

When dishwashers first hit the market, they consumed large quantities of water, requiring 10 to 15 gallons of water for a single cycle. Today, however, dishwashers are designed to use as little water as possible, with the Department of Energy mandating that full-sized dishwashers can use no more than 5 gallons of water per cycle. Those looking to make the most sustainable choice should consider an Energy Star-rated dishwasher, which uses a maximum of 3.5 gallons of water per cycle, making them extremely efficient in terms of water consumption.

Desired Features

Dishwashers all share a common functionality, but many come with desirable additional features. 

  • Delayed start: Some models allow you to set a timer so that the dishwasher will run at a specific time. 
  • Adjustable racks: Some dishwashers allow users to move the racks as needed to accommodate irregularly shaped items like long-stem wine glasses.
  • Double drawers: A double-drawer dishwasher is a convenient choice for two-person households that typically only produce a small amount of dishes because they are capable of running a mini cycle in a single drawer. They also allow for two different cycles to be run independently. 

FAQs

Q: Is washing dishes by hand better for the environment than using a dishwasher?

While it would be easy to assume that hand-washing dishes is the best choice for conserving water, modern dishwashers actually operate using a small quantity of water for each cycle, making them much more sustainable than washing dishes by hand. 

Q: Do you need to pre-rinse your dishes?

Many people believe that dishes must be rinsed before they’re put in the dishwasher, but the modern appliances that are currently available on the market are efficient enough that this is not necessary. In fact, pre-rinsing your dishes wastes up to 6,000 gallons of water each year, according to Consumer Reports.

Q: Do portable dishwashers need to be connected to a water source?

While many models on the market do need to be connected to a kitchen faucet, some options are available with built-in water reservoirs, allowing users to run a cycle without connecting the dishwasher to a water source while it’s in use.

Final Thoughts

Our recommendations cover a variety of types and styles of dishwashers to best suit your needs. The Frigidaire FFCD2413US Dishwasher is our top pick because of its high capacity and range of additional features. For those on a budget, we recommend the hOmeLabs 18-Inch Wide Built-In Dishwasher, which offers excellent performance at an affordable price.

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