By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
How often do you run the dishwasher only to open it up and remove a food-encrusted plate or bowl? If you find yourself spending so much time doing a "prewash" before loading the machine that you might as well just wash everything yourself, maybe it's time for a replacement. With high-end dishwashers passing the thousand-dollar mark, though, many people would sooner stand at the sink than head to the store. A cheaper machine may not come with all the bells and whistles, but Cheapism.com has found four dishwashers under $500 that are relatively quiet, efficient, and effective.
Related: Our cheap cookware buying guideOur Buying Guide for Cheap Dishwashers
The Whirlpool Gold WDT710PAY (starting at $445) can hold up to 15 place settings and overall wows users with its washing capabilities. It boasts a number of high-end features such as a sensor cycle, which automatically adjusts the settings depending on the number of dishes loaded and how dirty they are. Users generally applaud the layout of the machine: The movable silverware basket can be mounted on the door, the upper rack can be adjusted or removed, and tines on both levels can be folded down when necessary to create more room. This dishwasher emits an average of 55 decibels, well below the level of a typical conversation (about 60 dBA).
The Maytag Jetclean Plus MDB4709PA (starting at $404) uses a tiered upper rack to allow tall items to fit easily. The dishwasher holds up to 12 place settings and offers users five wash cycles, from china/crystal to heavy duty. Owners swear by the cleaning power of this machine, as well as the steam sanitizer and hard-food disposer. At 57 dBA, it's the loudest option on this list, but reviewers still say it runs quietly.
Related: Best inexpensive refrigerators
The Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR56UC (starting at $490) produces just 50 decibels, making it the quietest machine listed here. User reviews say it cleans well, although dishes must be scraped before going in the dishwasher because there is no hard-food disposer. The racks aren't especially flexible, but the unit can hold 14 place settings and has a moveable silverware basket.
The GE GDF520PGD (starting at $359) features a steam-prewash option and a hard-food disposer, which removes any need to prerinse dishes in the sink. This dishwasher also has dedicated silverware jets and uses three wash arms (more than usual for the low-price range) to clean the 16 place settings worth of dishes it can hold. Generally reviews are positive and highlight the cleaning action and low noise output (54 dBA).
All four dishwashers are Energy Star qualified, which means they run much more efficiently than older models. According to the federal government's Energy Star website, a qualified machine also requires less than half the energy of hand washing and drastically cuts down on water usage.
With a standard size of 24 inches and a choice of finishes, these recommended models should fit well in any kitchen. Just be prepared to pay about $100 extra for sought-after stainless steel.
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