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best dishwashers

The Best Dishwashers in 2021

Author: Joanna Davis

Home & Kitchen Expert

In tests of dishwashers showed the efficiency of these devices. For consumers, the work in the kitchen becomes correspondingly convenient.

There is no need to wash the numerous dishes and cutlery yourself, but simply put everything in the dishwasher. This not only reduces the effort, but is also demonstrably more economical.

Danby 18 Inch Built in Dishwasher DDW1804EBSS

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SD-9254W: Energy Star 18″ Built-In Dishwasher w/Heated Drying

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Frequently Asked Questions: Dishwashers

What is a dishwasher?

A dishwasher is a device used to clean dishes and cutlery by machine. This is done by using hot water, detergents and often compressed air. The surfactants dissolved in the water of the agent used, in combination with the heat, ensure that the residues on the cutlery and crockery are removed.

The dishwashers in the test are suitable for use at home, but there are also devices that are used in the catering industry or in other areas such as metalworking.

Typically, however, people use the term “dishwasher” synonymously with “dishwasher”. That is why the test of dishwashers also focuses on the devices for normal households. Here, dishwashers are switched on almost daily to clean the dishes that accumulate.

For this purpose, telescopic systems are available to pull out and sort the plates, bowls, glasses and cups into. A cutlery basket is also part of the standard equipment of a dishwasher. This is where all the cutlery is stored. In some cases, there are also special baskets or other containers for large cutlery.

How does a dishwasher work?

The dishwashers from the test are designed to reliably clean the dishes inside and leave no traces. The main function is supported by the principle of Sinner’s circle. This combines the factors of mechanical force, heat, time and chemical substances to thoroughly clean the dishes.

Inside the dishwasher, the spray arms move to distribute the water well. The nozzles on the bottom and other sides of the machine also spray the items with hot water. During the cleaning process, the dirt gradually detaches from the dishes and cutlery. The temperature can be adjusted to the respective sensitivity of the dishes using the cleaning program.

The surfactants and enzymes in the rinsing solution ensure that fat, protein and starch are completely removed until all residues have disappeared. The water jet pressure in combination with the volume flow also helps in this process. For optimal function, many dishwashers from the test are equipped with additional programs.

These make it possible to set the rinsing function individually. When cleaning normally soiled dishes, several programs are usually run. The cleaning function starts with a pre-rinse cycle in which cold water sprays the dishes.

The detergent is only added in the following main rinse cycle. This is added to the dosing chamber in powder form, as tabs or as a gel before switching on. During the main rinse cycle, the temperature in the dishwasher is between 30 and 70 degrees, depending on the program.

Then it’s the turn of the rinse cycle, which heats the water up to 85 degrees. This removes all residues and prevents water spots. The increased heat shortens the drying process that follows. Only when the drying process is complete can you open the dishwasher and remove everything after the dishes have cooled.

For the desired effect in cleaning, you need a high-quality detergent and often a rinse aid. In some cases, a regenerating salt may also be required. The detergent in the form of dishwashing tabs or powder is placed in the dosage compartment, which is located in the door flap of the machine.

The lid of this container opens only after the pre-rinse, when the main rinse cycle starts. In this way, the detergent unfolds its effect at exactly the right time.

Advantages of Dishwashers

In the test of dishwashers showed the efficiency of these devices. For consumers, the work in the kitchen becomes correspondingly convenient. There is no need to wash the numerous dishes and cutlery yourself, but simply put everything in the dishwasher.

This not only reduces the effort, but is also demonstrably more economical. In a normal dishwashing cycle, the machine uses only about half the water needed for hand washing. In terms of electricity consumption, the average savings potential is still 28%.

The innovative dishwasher test winners in particular are highly efficient and can be adapted precisely to current requirements with the help of numerous programs. The attractive appearance of modern dishwashers is also an important argument.

Thanks to the new flexibility of kitchen appliances, these dishwashers can be integrated into any environment. Some of them are installed as built-in appliances, while others stand in the kitchen as floor-standing units.

The interior design of the modern dishwashers from the test also offers great flexibility. Here you can find height-adjustable and pull-out elements that facilitate sorting. The foldable parts provide enough space, depending on whether you want to stack small cups or secure tall glasses.

Following the big celebration with the family, a large dishwasher is indispensable. It also shows what it can do in everyday life, even if you only have to turn the machine on every second or third day here, depending on how many dishes you need and how large the volume is.

So the advantages of the dishwasher are clear. You save a lot of effort and also the time spent in the kitchen is reduced. Nevertheless, you benefit from top cleanliness.

Even if the machine is not yet fully loaded, it already looks neat shortly after the meal. Because when everything has been put into the dishwasher, there are no more dirty dishes standing around.

The programs of modern dishwasher test winners even allow special cleaning of baby dishes. In addition, some devices are equipped with a disinfection function. This removes any germs that may be present from the dishwasher itself, as well as from the baby bottles and other dishes. Compared to kitchen towels, dishwashers prove to be much more hygienic.

You don’t always want to turn on the dishwasher right after a meal. Here the start time preselection can help. Although the noise level of modern appliances is low, with a maximum dB value of 55, sometimes you wish you weren’t disturbed. In this case, program the start time for the next morning or another more convenient time.

Thus, it is no problem to use the dishwasher from the test even in an open kitchen, where every noise is perceived in the living room next door.

In addition to dishwashers for home use, there are also models available for the catering industry. However, these often have a different design.

The requirements in the catering business are different from those of consumers. Therefore, the professional dishwashers can hardly be compared with the commercially available devices for private households.

Types of Dishwashers

There are several types of dishwashers in the test. Firstly, the dishwashers can be classified based on their dimensions. For the rather small household with one or two people, a small model is sufficient. This may be a tabletop dishwasher, which requires particularly little space and can hold up to six place settings.

For quite small kitchens with little floor space, the narrow dishwashers come into question, which are only 45 cm wide. Often, this is a dishwasher for built-in or under-counter installation. There is room for a maximum of ten place settings in such a dishwasher.

The standard dishwashers from the comparative test have a width of 60 cm and can hold up to twelve or 15 place settings, depending on the interior fittings. In these appliances, you can find dishwashers with extras that, for example, run extremely quietly or have additional programs.

There are also reliable dishwasher test winners for higher demands in everyday households. These have a similarly large volume as the standard appliances, but they offer special gentle programs for precious glasses and have an additional condensation drying feature that eliminates streaks and water spots.

In addition to dividing the dishwasher into different size categories and looking at the functions, you should find out whether it is a built-in dishwasher, an under-counter model or a floor-standing unit. These construction types will be described here in a little more detail to make the purchase decision easier.

The built-in dishwasher is hardly recognizable at first glance, because it is equipped with a front element of the kitchen unit. The furniture door either completely hides the technology, when the control panel is located at the top of the flap, or you can only see the controls at the top of the front.

This is where the difference between the fully integrated and the partially integrated dishwasher from the test becomes apparent. The models for installation are available not only in the standard width of 60 cm, but also as a narrower design with a width of 45 cm.

The advantages of built-in dishwashers:

  • Visual unity in the kitchen,
  • small space requirement,
  • perfect adaptation to the surroundings, so that nothing protrudes,
  • also suitable for installation in the tall cabinet.

The disadvantages of the built-in dishwasher:

  • Limited choice of models due to predetermined size,
  • installation requires a certain effort,
  • after installation is not possible to change the position.

The under-counter dishwasher is installed directly under the countertop. Here, too, there is direct integration into the kitchen. The difference in the under-mount dishwashers to the built-in appliances is often seen in the cover plate. This is not even present in some under-mount appliances, so you definitely need a finish on the top.

This makes it easy to combine the under-counter dishwasher with the existing countertop. However, if several kitchen cabinets are combined and there is no continuous top, you need a special cover for this type of dishwasher. It may also be necessary to add a skirting board after the fact, so that the overall look is right.

Unlike the built-in model, the under-counter model usually does not have a front panel installed, so the dishwasher stands out more from the kitchen front with its white or chrome front.

The advantages of the under-counter dishwasher:

  • Space-saving solution,
  • easy to install,
  • exact finish with the kitchen front.

The disadvantages of the under-counter model:

  • Not a perfect unit with the kitchen design,
  • can be combined only with a cover plate,
  • few installation options available.

The dishwasher as a floor model can be placed independently from other kitchen cabinets and from the countertop. It is covered on all sides, and its top can be used as a shelf, if necessary. All you need for the operation of such a free-standing dishwasher is a suitable water supply and drain, as well as a power outlet.

This makes it particularly flexible when it comes to installation. In some cases, manufacturers offer dishwashers that can be converted from a floor-standing model into a built-in or under-counter appliance by removing the cover plate.

The advantages of the floor-standing dishwasher:

  • Flexible to set up,
  • no assembly necessary,
  • the upper side is loadable and thus extends the storage possibilities,
  • Transport and replacement of the device are unproblematic.

The disadvantages of the floor-standing unit:

  • Interruption of the kitchen front disturbs the visual unity,
  • no precise adaptation to the environment possible.

How are dishwashers tested?

The test of the dishwashers was about checking the individual product data and important features. Since some devices are significantly larger and more modern than others, a direct comparison is difficult to make.

That is why it is not possible to present a test winner of dishwashers, but the respective conditions must always be taken into account. This is also very important when choosing a dishwasher. Ultimately, users want a device that makes their work easier.

However, this only works if the result is also right. At the same time, current dishwashers score points for their economy in terms of electricity and water consumption. When deciding which model to choose, however, your personal situation should also come into play.

How many people live in the household and how often is the dishwasher actually needed? It may be that you want special functions to make it easier to operate. Or the dishwasher should be particularly quiet in operation because there is no partition wall between the kitchen and dining area. All of these things need to be taken into account when making a purchase decision.

The list of criteria helps you to find your way through the variety of dishwashers and not to forget any important aspects.


Most of the dishwashers in the test have a width of 60 cm, but models with a width of 45 cm are also available for smaller kitchens. Logically, the wider appliances offer more volume, so that correspondingly more place settings can be cleaned in them. A narrow dishwasher, on the other hand, is not enough to hold all the dishes after a large party.

Basically, for a household with four people, you need a dishwasher that has room for nine to ten place settings. A smaller dishwasher would be in constant use if you eat at home regularly. However, for those who eat out often, a smaller built-in or freestanding dishwasher will suffice.

The height of the dishwasher is especially important for built-in and under-counter units. It is measured from the floor to the top edge. When measuring the kitchen itself, you measure to the bottom of the countertop.

In general, the height of standard dishwashers is 89 or 93 cm. Smaller formats are also available for installation in a tall cabinet.

Layout with cutlery basket

You should definitely take a look at the inside of the dishwasher to see if you can cope with the layout. There are two telescopic pullouts as standard. The lower one is used for plates of various sizes, while the upper drawer has room for cups, mugs and glasses. In addition, there is a cutlery basket, which, depending on the equipment of the dishwasher, can also be replaced by a cutlery drawer.

Typically, the cutlery basket is located in the lower area, while the cutlery drawer is often further up. Both systems for the cutlery are designed to ensure that all items are well rinsed and cleaned. The cutlery drawer makes sorting into the machine a little more cumbersome, but makes it easier to put away later.

Energy efficiency

Based on the energy efficiency class of the dishwashers from the test, it becomes clear which devices are particularly economical. First of all, it is about the power consumption. The new dishwasher test winners often have the EEK A+++ and thus consume particularly little energy.

However, standard dishwashers with energy efficiency classes A+ and A++ also impress with quite favorable consumption values. The top models consume less than 200 kWh per year.

If you follow the manufacturer’s tips, you can make good use of the savings potential. However, if you switch on your dishwasher when it’s only half full, you’ll ruin these efforts. Ultimately, you have to be careful not to be too thoughtless when it comes to energy and water consumption.

Incidentally, energy efficiency also has an impact on drying properties.

Water consumption

The annual water consumption of the test winners of the dishwashers is around 2.5m³. Depending on which washing program is selected, only 7 liters or up to 18 liters are consumed per cycle.

The difference shows how much you can save. So you can influence your water consumption yourself.

Drying efficiency

Following the cycle of the dishwasher, the drying process begins. Several functions are available here. In the top models, economy functions support the drying process, which reduces power consumption.

Nevertheless, there is no need to dry the dishes separately when they are removed from the dishwasher and sorted into the cupboards. You can tell how effective this drying function actually is by its drying efficiency rating.

The drying efficiency class marking can be found on the EU energy label, just like the EEK. For the top values, the marking A is used, for poorer drying efficiency, the classification goes up to G. Those who choose a high drying efficiency class should know that it only works properly if you do not open the dishwasher after the cycle, but leave it closed for another 30 minutes or so.

In the case of appliances with a drying efficiency class of A, the dishes are then absolutely dry, clean and streak-free.


In a closed kitchen, the operating noise plays a less relevant role, but in a kitchen with a passage to the dining area or directly into the living room, the noise should be as quiet as possible. In the case of the high-class dishwashers from the test, the noise levels are a maximum of 40 dB.

That’s not much louder than a whisper. In contrast, the standard units produce a louder noise, which can be 50 dB or more.

A look at the product data shows what the maximum noise level is during operation. If the values stay below 45 dB, it is still a tolerable noise. With the louder dishwashers, however, it becomes unpleasant.

Especially if you often have guests over, it’s better to postpone dishwashing to a later time so that no one feels disturbed.


The Aqua-Stop in the dishwasher ensures that the water supply is blocked in the event of a defect. It is therefore a kind of fuse that prevents flooding. Standard dishwashers now also have such an Aqua-Stop. However, if you opt for a cheaper and older model, you should take the precaution of checking whether the protective element is actually integrated.

Rinsing programs

The dishwashers in the test have several programs that are set before each wash cycle depending on the type of dishes and the degree of soiling. The time required can also be decisive when selecting a program. As standard, an economy program is available in addition to the classic rinse program.

This washes the dishes at a maximum of 50 degrees and thus has a lower energy consumption than the normal program. In general, the economy program should be sufficient to remove everyday soiling, if it is not already too firmly adhered.

For more difficult residues and for insensitive parts, modern dishwashers have an automatic program. This uses sensors to determine the degree of soiling and sets the program independently.

Some of the dishwashers in the test have a special steam function and are equipped with high-pressure nozzles. This allows the parts to be cleaned hygienically, so that germs don’t stand a chance. Furthermore, intensive cleaning is available on some models.

There is also, for example, a fine program for beautiful glasses or an active program for cooking pots. For only minor soiling, there is also a flash or short program that lasts only a quarter of an hour or a maximum of 20 minutes.


The test winners of the dishwashers have extras that are useful or rather considered gimmicks depending on the situation. One of the useful special functions is the load detection. This determines how many dishes are in the dishwasher and adjusts the water supply accordingly.

This regulation ensures that not too much water is used. The success of this extra is therefore reflected in the subsequent water bill. In some cases, this function even detects how many dishes are in the upper and lower baskets. This separate control optimizes load detection.

For particularly fast drying of the dishes, some manufacturers have created their own systems. Here we speak of zeolite and EDS, among others. These innovative processes reduce the moisture content inside the dishwasher. During the following rinse cycle, the system releases the moisture again.

This process reduces the heat so that the dishes are protected. At the same time, lower temperatures are required for the drying phase, which has a positive effect on energy consumption. Functions such as “extra economical” also allow the temperature to be reduced, thus supporting the dishwasher’s frugality.

The important extras also include extra-quiet operation. This is often selected for the night program when you don’t want to disturb the children or neighbors who are already asleep. This extra-quiet program reduces the water spray pressure, which is responsible for the operating noise.

Furthermore, the users of the current test winners of dishwashers have a few other practical extras at their disposal, such as a timer for activating the device, combined with a remaining run indicator.

What should I look for when buying a dishwasher?

Finding an efficient dishwasher raises many questions. This is due to the diversity of these devices. It is necessary to consider various aspects and not to forget about important details.

In the beginning, there is the appropriate size of the dishwasher. The device must fit into the kitchen, which is especially important if it is a built-in dishwasher. Here, a close look at the dimensions is necessary. The size of the device also says something about its capacity.

Depending on how big the family is, you need a little more capacity or a smaller dishwasher will do. So, on the one hand, you need to take into account the possibilities in the kitchen, and on the other hand, know the needs for your own household.

In a narrow apartment, a dishwasher with a width of 45 cm is in demand, but will it fit enough dishes? If you have a lot of space in the kitchen, you have more options, but here you have to be guided by the dimensions of the kitchen itself.

Often, a dishwasher is bought together with the fitted kitchen. In this case, the kitchen expert will make sure that everything fits together perfectly. However, if it is a floor-mounted unit, there is not always direct advice and you have to measure yourself whether the dishwasher will fit in the gap.

How many dishes are done per day and how big are the frequently used items? This is also something you should know when looking for a dishwasher. Some of the baskets can be adjusted in height so that slightly larger plates or pots can fit in the dishwasher. Even with long-stemmed glasses there may be problems when putting them in.

So, choosing a dishwasher from the test requires some preparation. You need to consider what your own requirements are, and should also take into account the consumption figures.

After all, the new dishwasher should not become a cost trap, but should consume little electricity and water. A glance at the energy label is generally enough here. Most dishwashers have at least the energy efficiency class A+.

If you opt for a more expensive appliance with EEK A++ or A+++, the extra cost may have paid for itself after just a few months, depending on how often the appliance is used.

Dishwasher Accessories

The dishwashers from the test comparison become particularly convenient and hygienic household appliances with the appropriate accessories. If necessary, you can use an additional cutlery drawer or special holders for glasses. In the accessories for dishwashers you can also find replacement baskets for cutlery or other elements that upgrade the interior.

However, these components must fit perfectly, so that there are no problems with the operation of the baskets and other pullouts. Additional baskets allow you to perfectly use the interior space, and also provide a clear order.

For the built-in dishwashers is also available the necessary mounting accessories. These are screws and nuts for fixing in the kitchen cabinet, spacers and similar small material. In order for the dishwasher to be ideally adapted to the built-in kitchen, you also need the appropriate front elements, as well as the appropriate handle.

In general, the hoses and connectors are included with the dishwashers, but sometimes it is necessary to replace these elements. When choosing replacement hoses, it is necessary to take into account the compatibility with the existing hose system. When it comes to repair parts for the dishwasher itself, it is even more important to pay attention to their suitability.

The appliance number can be used to determine whether, for example, the new Aqua-Stop or the replacement pull-out fits the dishwasher. Such parts can be obtained either from a specialist dealer or directly from the manufacturer. The most important spare parts are the elements with increased wear, i.e. the seals and the lime valve.

A dishwasher works properly only if the right detergent is used. Information on this is often available directly from the manufacturer of the dishwasher test winner. However, one’s own preferences also play a role in the selection of the cleaning product.

Thus, many consumers reach for the pre-dosed tabs, which have a very good effect. Others tend to opt for the powder, which can be dosed as required and is less harmful to the environment.

You can find out whether you need to think about changing the detergent by looking at the dishes you have just cleaned. If there are light-colored traces on the glasses or if the silverware is tarnishing, you can achieve a better result by choosing dishwashing tabs with other active ingredients and forego polishing.

Sometimes, however, the less-than-optimal result has another cause and you simply need to set a different program on the dishwasher.

Environmentally friendly detergents are on the rise in dishwasher accessories. These eco-dishwashing detergents are used in exactly the same way as the classic cleaners.

However, dishwasher tests and also dishwasher detergent studies show that powders often work more efficiently than tabs. When using powders, however, you also need a rinse aid and, depending on the existing water hardness, a regenerating salt.

There are also special agents for dishwasher care. These are unsuitable for normal operation and may only be used for an “empty run”. Dishwasher cleaners are responsible for perfectly cleaning the inside of the appliance, so that no germs can linger in it.

They remove all grease residues and any dirt, so that even the strainer and spray arms become clean. In the new dishwashers from the test, there is even an extra rinse cycle for this self-cleaning. With other models, you simply set the standard program for this.

In a broader sense, the utensils for manual washing can also be counted as accessories for the dishwasher. Right next to the sink, you’ll find hand dishwashing detergent, a dishcloth, a dishwashing brush and possibly a dishwashing sponge.

Depending on the degree of soiling of the pots and depending on the coating of the pans, steel wool is occasionally used to remove particularly difficult residues.

Dishwasher Alternatives

The only alternative to the classic dishwasher from the test available to consumers is manual dishwashing. The tabletop dishwashers also belong to the dishwasher category and are therefore not a real alternative. Those who have little space in their kitchen and also do not cook a lot will have no problem doing without the dishwasher.

Washing dishes by hand is also not particularly time-consuming in a small household. Meanwhile, you do use more energy and water compared to the dishwasher when you clean the dishes in the sink, but sometimes you have no other choice.

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Last product update on 2022-06-30 | Source: Amazon Affiliate