A great dishwasher does not necessarily mean the most expensive. My favorite affordable luxury brands, Bosch, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Air, have great dishwashers. Every brand produces multiple models, although Miele is considered a luxury appliance brand, they also make dishwashers under $900.
In this post, I will discuss the best dishwasher brands in the appliance industry given their features, service history, and prices.
To simplify, I will discuss the most popular dishwasher for each brand. Before we do that, let’s first define a quality dishwasher.
What makes an “ideal dishwasher”?
Stainless Steel Interior
All high-end dishwashers today have a stainless steel interior. A stainless interior is preferable to a plastic interior because it is more sanitary.
Dishwasher noise levels are measured by decibel (DB). As a guideline, any dishwasher under 50 dBa is considered “quiet." Any dishwasher sold today is going to be quieter than a dishwasher sold 5 years ago. I am often asked which brand is the quietest.
Unfortunately, in the US there is no way to measure DB ratings across brands, meaning that a 46dBa KitchenAid dishwasher could sound different than a 46 dBa Bosch dishwasher. KitchenAid, Bosch, and Miele all publish DB ratings under 40. I think anything under 46 will be more than adequate.
Adjustable Upper Rack
Some high-end dishwashers have an adjustable upper rack. The benefit of having an adjustable upper rack is it can accommodate various dish sizes. For example, if you need to put plates on the lower and upper rack, keep the upper rack at its lowest setting to fit the height of plates on the higher rack. If you need to put a large pasta pot on the bottom rack, you can raise the height of the upper rack to fit the big pot on the bottom.
Third Level Cutlery Rack
I really like this feature (and I wish I had it). Many of the high-end dishwashers have a third rack on the top to hold cutlery so that you can fit more plates, pots, and pans in the bottom by removing the traditional cutlery basket. I really like that many brands today also give you the cutlery basket as an option for extra cutlery storage.
European vs. American Dishwashers
Although the features listed above are present on both the European and American dishwashers, there are still some differences in the installation requirements and the drying system.
European-style dishwashers will sit flush in a 24’’ cabinet, which is really important when you want to put a custom-panel on the front of your dishwasher to match your cabinetry. American-style dishwashers will stick out 1/2’’ beyond a 24’’ cabinet (which looks fine with a stainless, black, or white front but not a custom panel).
Before I talk about drying, any dishwasher sold today requires rinse-aid, otherwise, the dishes will not dry. The brand Finish makes a product called "Jet-Dry" that works great. European-style dishwashers use condensation to dry the dishes, a very energy efficient method.
The water in the final rinse is very hot and will stick to the relatively cooler stainless sides of the dishwasher to dry the dishes. American-style dishwashers use a heating coil at the bottom of the dishwasher, which heats the air in the dishwasher to dry the dishes.
Miele has the best drying system. The port at the bottom of the dishwasher lets air into the side. The warming air is attracted to the colder side and dissipates to water.
American style dishwashers used to have grinders for soft food disposal, but have since switched to filters, for more quietness like the Europeans.
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All these dishwashers include:
- Stainless steel interior
- Filter at the bottom (Quiet)
- Adjustable Racks
- Third Cutlery Rack
Asko - (European Style) - D5636XXLHS/PH - $1,549
Asko is a Swedish company known for manufacturing compact laundry and quiet dishwashers. Asko dishwashers are made in Slovakia. They are known for being very water efficient. Asko dishwashers have graphite racks instead of nylon coated and metal wash arms instead of plastic which adds to the high quality of these dishwashers.
- 46 dBA
- Hidden controls, bar handle to match Wolf/Sub Zero appliances
- What makesAsko different?
- More solid graphite racking and metal wash arms
- Fan assisted drying system
- Third level cutlery rack is in the middle of the upper and lower rack instead of at the top (top of the line only)
Bosch - (European Style) - SHXN87PW55N - $1,099
Bosch is a brand owned by the BSH Corporation. Many of Bosch’s top-of-the-line dishwashers are made in Germany, however many of their products, including some dishwashers are made in North Carolina. BSH also owns premium sister brands Thermador and Gaggenau with similar high-end dishwasher features. Bosch offers the most models and price points of any brand. Bosch makes 55 different dishwasher skus. In 2016 I rated this model #1 for the best features for your dollar.
- 40 dBa
- Stainless steel front with bar handle
- Adjustable top rack to hold deeper items: ladles, spatulas
- Splittablecutlery basket on the bottom to optimize flexibility
What makes Bosch different?
- Sealed tub underneath the dishwasher will contain water in the event of a leak
- A top performer in our service history
- Bosch offers over 55 models at various prices from $499
KitchenAid (American Style) - KDTE254ESS - $899 after rebates
KitchenAid is a brand owned by the Whirlpool Corporation, one of the largest appliance companies in the world. Jenn-Air is another high-end appliance brand owned by Whirlpool and is known as a sister brand (KitchenAid and Jenn-Air are the same dishwashers ). Whirlpool is the largest appliance company in the world and based in Michigan.
- 39 dBA
- Satin-glide upper and lower racks
- Luxury-glide racking on top rack (all models), bottom rack with luxury-glide rack (on select high-end models)
What makes KitchenAid different?
- Jenn-Air, a premium appliance brand, is a sister brand to KitchenAid with very similar dishwashers.
- Although older KitchenAid dishwashers had a hard food disposer on the bottom of the tub, the new models have a filter at the bottom.
- ThisKitchenAid dishwasher design was introduced in 201
Miele (European Style) - G4227SCUSS - $899 after rebates
Miele is one of the largest family-owned appliance companies in the world. Miele products are all made in Germany and Miele is known as one of the most quality conscious appliance brands. As a result, they have a great reputation for reliability. In the past, you had to spend over $1,000 for a Miele dishwasher.
(prices range from $899 - $2,499 depending on features)
- 46 dBA
- 3rd cutlery tray
- Clean air drying system filters air through the port at the bottom of the dishwasher to dry the dishes in addition to condensation drying
- Doublewaterproof system shuts off water supply if dishwasher detects a problem
What makes Miele different?
- Most vertically integrated company, products and parts are designed and assembled in Germany
- Fan assisted and unique drying system helps traditional European condensation method of drying
- Very gentle cycle for delicate glassware
- Their dishwashers are some of the quietest in the industry
- The top performer in our service department history
Which is the best dishwasher brand?
All of these dishwashers are very good. You really can’t go wrong. Since there are many good brands you want to find one that best fits your needs and lifestyle.
Asko still makes a good dishwasher. I tend to sell a lot of these to customers looking to match existing Wolf or Sub-Zero handles. They are sold at a high price relative to their competitors and many models are louder than their competition. However, I really like the metal racks and wash arms instead of plastic. Their service record has also improved under their new owner.
Bosch is probably the most popular dishwasher brand sold at Yale. They are widely sold because they have the most models in a wide variety of prices. They have the most features for the money in any premium dishwasher.
In particular, I really like how you can see the remaining time without having to get the controls on the front. Bosch also has a good reputation through our service department as being a reliable and well-supported brand.
The new KitchenAid dishwasher has some of the best racking in the industry. I really like that KitchenAid added an upper glide rack to their less expensive models and a lower glide rack which is unique to high-end KitchenAid models.
Miele makes the most reliable dishwasher and is a top industry performer in cleaning/quietness. There is a perception that Miele dishwashers are very expensive (their high-end models are pricier than most affordable luxury models). You can still get a great dishwasher at their entry level price of $899. Miele dishwashers are the lowest serviced product in the industry.
Looking for more information on dishwashers? Get our free Dishwasher Buying Guide with features, specs and detailed profiles of all the brands. Well over 210,000 people have read a Yale Guide.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on September 2nd, 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Jessica Petrino is an Appliance Sales Consultant at Yale Appliance + Lighting. Jessica is a graduate of Brandeis University where she studied Economics and Philosophy. In her spare time she enjoys skiing, golfing, and traveling.
Read more about Jessica here.
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