Stainless steel has been a constant in appliance design for decades. It adds a touch of class to any home appliance and an aura of luxury to even the most humble of kitchens. However, using stainless steel to sheath an appliance isn't all about aesthetics. When used on the inside of a dishwasher, the material has been proven to muffle the sound of a load of dishes being washed, as the material acts as a more potent baffle than plastic. The blissful quiet of a stainless steel dishwasher does, however, come with a premium price tag attached to it.
At Reviewed, we’ve tested hundreds of dishwashers, including ones with steel interiors. Out of all them, we like the Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N(available at Best Buy for $1,399.99) because of its awesome cleaning power, sleek looks, and quiet operation.
Here are the best stainless steel dishwashers we tested ranked, in order:
Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N (2019)
Bosch 800 Series SGX78B55UC/13
Bosch 500 Series SHPM65Z55N (2019)
Bosch 300 Series SHSM63W55N (2017)
Vinotemp Brama BR-DWSH01-S
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How We Tested Stainless Steel Dishwashers
What You Should Know Before Buying Stainless Steel Dishwashers
The Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N (2019) is everything we've come to expect from Bosch—quiet, efficient, and stylish. Its stainless steel interior does a great job attenuating noise: With a sound rating of 40 dBA, it's one of the quietest dishwashers that's ever come through our labs. This dishwasher did an amazing job removing some of our more difficult stains, like burnt-on cheese and spinach; however, as is the case with most dishwashers, the spinach that got blasted off of our test dishes was occasionally redeposited onto other dishes.
The major selling point of the SHPM88Z75N is its CrystalDry feature. Using zeolite crystals, this dishwasher completely dries all of your dishes—even the plasticware that always seems to need a couple of passes with a dish towel before you can put it away. If your primary method of storing food is with plastic food storage containers, the SHPM88Z75N will save you a lot of extra time and effort when it comes to getting your dishes clean and dry.
The best thing about the Beko DUT25401X is that it pairs an excellent, energy-efficient performance with an incredibly low price tag, giving you, the consumer, a pretty powerful bang for your buck.
During our testing of its Normal cycle and Quick cycle, the DUT25401X hit slightly above average and slightly below average, respectively, with its stain removal prowess, but when it came to this dishwasher’s Heavy cycle, it knocked out food stains like Ali in the ring, with a near perfect score. It also dries dishes like a champ at the end of the Normal cycle, with every plate and glass coming out bone dry.
When it comes to energy and water efficiency, the DUT25401X uses far less of each than average, across its three cycles. In fact, Energy Star gives it its official certification and rates it one of its Most Efficient 2021 models.
From a usability standpoint, we love the upper rack of the Beko DUT25401X, which features different tines for multiple dishes and offers an angled height adjustment. There are also two height-adjustable shelves/wine racks and a mini third rack, which is attached.
Unfortunately, the control panel leaves us wanting more and takes some effort to push down and make your desired cycle selections.
Useful upper rack
Energy and water efficient
Hard-to-push control panel
How We Tested Stainless Steel Dishwashers
Hi there! We're Reviewed's appliance testing team. Between us, we've spent many years testing major appliances including washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and robot vacuum cleaners. We've also used them like normal people would in the course of their daily lives, which means that we have a great sense for what appliances are bargains at their price points, and which appliances have really useful extra features (as opposed to the kitchen-sink approach to features).
Testing dishwashers is a dirty job, and we're happy to do it. We assess each dishwasher on the three major parts of the dishwasher experience — Performance, Features, and Usability.
Stain Removal — We put the three major cycles on a dishwasher (Quick, Heavy, and Normal) to the test by baking food and beverage stains—milk, spinach, egg, oatmeal, meat, and more—onto 15 to 20 dishes that are then loaded into the dishwasher per the manufacturer's loading directions. At the end of each cycle, we determine how much stain has been removed from each dish. Ideally, each dish is 100 percent clean, but that level of cleaning perfection can be harder to achieve in real life.
Redeposit — Redeposit is the term for when, during the course of a dishwasher cycle, water jets remove bits of food from one dish, only to accidentally get it stuck on a second dish. Any dishwasher that shows little to no evidence of redeposit is a winner in our book.
Number of Dirty Dishes — After a dishwasher cycle has finished, we count the number of dishes that are not 100 percent clean; if your dishwasher can't clean most of your dishes the first time, it's not doing its job correctly.
Cycle Time — Dishwasher cycles can run the gamut from 30 minutes to four hours. Shorter cycle times are much more convenient, especially when it comes to large dinner parties, where you may need to reuse dishes from dinner when it's time for dessert.
Drying — Whether it's accomplished with rinse aid, a built-in heater, or a built-in fan, customers expect their dishes to be dry as well as clean. We penalize the dishwasher every time a dish comes out wet, whether it's sopping wet or just covered in a few water droplets.
The Tests—Features and Usability
While all of the features in the world can't make a bad dishwasher better, they can really add the finishing touch to a dishwasher that does a killer cleaning job. We look at the various cycles, cycle options, and dishwasher specs and assess both a) how useful the features are, and b) how easy it is to actually use those features.
For example, a third rack that primarily holds cutlery can often be a game-changer when it comes to freeing up valuable real estate in the bottom rack. However, if the third rack is rickety, doesn't slide smoothly, or prevents the dishwasher from actually cleaning the cutlery, we would penalize the dishwasher, rather than reward it just for having a third rack. The whole point of a dishwasher is to save you from having to spend time scrubbing every dirty dish by hand; if a particular feature isn't going to make the process of using a dishwasher better or easier, then we don't want it.
The best dishwashers have short cycles, superior stain removal and drying power, and features that make the experience of using a dishwasher a painless one.
What You Should Know Before Buying Stainless Steel Dishwashers
Is Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe?
This is the #1 most-asked question we get about dishwashers and while the wording makes the question somewhat ambiguous, the answer is “yes.”
If you’re asking if objects made out of stainless steel are dishwasher safe, then yes: Experts agree that it’s OK to wash stainless steel items in your dishwasher. This includes all your stainless steel straws and flatware.
If you’re asking if stainless steel dishwashers themselves are safe, the answer is also yes. Stainless steel interiors have quickly become the standard in the industry. Just about every modern, full-size dishwasher has a stainless steel interior.
Is A Stainless Steel Dishwasher Tub Better?
In a lot of ways, yes. Stainless steel is an effective sound baffle, harder to gunk up, and easier to wipe down. Stainless steel interiors are likely the reason so many user reviews online gush over how quiet their new dishwasher is compared to their older one.
The only real downside of stainless steel is that, when damaged, it can rust. Fortunately, due to the design of dishwashers, there’s just not a ton of opportunity to damage their interiors. You mainly interact with the racks, which are nylon, and those generally keep all your sharpest, most dangerous dishes well away from the sides of the machine.
How Do You Get Rust Off A Stainless Steel Dishwasher?
Despite its name, stainless steel can, in fact, rust. Stainless steel contains chromium, which, when exposed to oxygen, forms a protective layer of chromium oxide that can keep rust at bay. This layer can be damaged in all sorts of ways, from particularly abrasive cleaners to high salinity. Once this protective layer of chromium oxide is damaged or removed, stainless steel can rust.
If you’re looking to clean a stainless steel dishwasher, there’s really no trick to it. While there are lots of specialty products out there you can use to clean your dishwasher, we recommend sticking to warm water and baking soda.
If the rust keeps reappearing, you may want to treat that area with a silicon coating or a stainless steel sealant. That should re-establish its protective coating and stop further rusting.
Do Any Dishwashers Have Stainless Steel Racks?
Yes, but it’s an increasingly rare feature. Almost every modern dishwasher uses nylon for their racks, even stainless steel dishwashers. While stainless steel is a great material for certain uses, nylon coating is less likely to peel or warp, and it won’t rust.
Stainless steel racks used to be slightly more common in the past as a premium feature, but over the past 10 years they’ve been almost completely phased out.
Other Stainless Steel Dishwashers We Tested
If you're looking for a model with strong cleaning power, the ability to dry dishes every time, and ADA accessibility features, the Bosch 800 Series SGX78B55UC/13 is one of the best options available. We found it scrubs out stains with the best of them, within relatively short cycle times. It also improves upon Bosch's already excellent CrystalDry technology, and in our testing it was able to get every dish perfectly dry on every cycle.
When it comes to features, the SGX78B55UC/13 comes fully loaded, with a third rack, adjustable upper rack, and foldable tines in its lower rack, in addition to Bosch's suite of smart features. What's more is this model is ADA-compliant, which means it has enhanced accessibility features—it's also a bit smaller physically, so keep that in mind if your cabinetry is designed for a standard-sized dishwasher. Overall, this is an excellent dishwasher and we're happy to see the SGX78B55UC/13 bring all these Series benefits to the table without sacrificing any performance over the other 800 series models.
The Samsung DW80R9950UT dishwasher has it all. With a third rack deep enough to hold ladles and whisks (in addition to all of your silverware), adjustable tines that will make fitting even the most awkwardly-shaped dishes a breeze, a futuristic-looking control panel, and a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel finish, this dishwasher has enough features to please even the pickiest of dishwasher users.
Even better, the Samsung DW80R9950UT talks and talk and walks the walk: Its cleaning performance is top-notch. The Normal, Quick, and Heavy cycles were all able to remove more than 97% of our test food stains. The Heavy cycle clocks in at about 2.5 hours, so you won't have to do too much waiting around; some Heavy cycles on other dishwashers take as long as four hours to finish. This dishwasher also has minimal spinach redeposit and near-perfect dish drying. For a user-friendly dishwasher with an outstanding cleaning performance, you can't go wrong with the Samsung DW80R9950UT.
From design to performance, this all-new dishwasher is all about fluidity and grace. Perhaps most importantly, it's equipped with KitchenAid’s Clean Water Wash technology, which continually removes food particles from the wash water. That means the KitchenAid KDTM354DSS helps clean dishes to actually stay clean by not spraying food removed from one dish onto another dish. Even with this new feature, it's still one of the more efficient dishwashers we've ever tested, with respect to both water and electricity usage.
With a solid cleaning performance, heating drying, and additional spray jets for really tough stains, the KDTM354DSS is a workhorse that can get the job done right the first time.
Great cleaning ability
Lots of extra features
Poorer cleaning in the back of the upper rack
Based on our reviews of other Bosch dishwashers, it’s not surprising that we also love the Bosch 500 series SHPM65Z55N dishwasher. While it’s still on the pricier end of what you might want to pay for a dishwasher, you’re getting a lot of bang for your bucket. With Its quiet operation (44 dBA), adjustable tines, and third rack, you’ll be able to wash many different sizes and types of dishes without worrying about loud noises disrupting your conversation during a dishwasher cycle.
The dishwasher cycles are a bit on the longer side (the Quick cycle clocks in at about an hour), but the cleaning results are worth it. This dishwasher removed nearly all of the stains from our test dishes during the Heavy cycle, which is a rare feat. Additionally, the Auto Air function, which opens the dishwasher door after a cycle has ended to expedite dish drying, is pretty effective; almost every test dish in the Normal and Quick cycles came out bone dry. If you want a Bosch dishwasher but don’t have the budget for a dishwasher in the Bosch 800 series, the Bosch 500 series SHPM65Z55N is a great option.
The Bosch 300 Series continues to offer the same sleek look, quiet operation, and incredible cleaning prowess that Bosch is known for. We tested the Bosch SHSM63W55N and the Bosch SHXM63WS5N, both of which removed nearly 100 percent of the stains on the Heavy cycle, an amazing feat which happens rarely in our test labs.
On top of that, this dishwasher also has a third rack, foldable tines, an adjustable upper rack, solid drying, and an optional water softener. This dishwasher is worth every cent.
It has a 15-minute Quick cycle—one of the fastest Quick cycles we’ve ever tested—for fast turn over, and a Sanitize cycle for baby bottles and gross plastic toys. While it doesn’t have features like bottle jets or a third rack, it does offer high-powered cleaning capabilities. It is also good for families.
Problems exhibited by the HUI6220XCUS are minor: unintuitive press-and-hold controls and a cutlery basket that attracts food redeposit. Still, at its price it’s hard to score a better value deal.
The KitchenAid KDTM404KPS is a dishwasher that is tailor-made for big families. It can hold up to 16 place settings, about two more than average. Part of the reason it can hold so many plates is because of the unique third rack, which has a deep divot that can hold small bowls, cups, and mugs. The third rack even has rotating spray jets to ensure everything gets clean up there.
Good stain removal is not just limited to the third rack. Our testing showed that the Normal and Tough cycle did an excellent job removing stains. The only major downsides we found were that the Express cycle is slow compared to the competition.
The Brama BR-DWSH01-S is the first dishwasher released by Vinotemp, a company much beloved by wine aficionados for its wine storage and cooling solutions. This dishwasher is packed with high-end features, including a sturdy third rack, adjustable tines on every rack, an additional high-powered wash jet for tough stains, and an air exchange system that helps to combat bacteria growth.
This Brama did a great job of removing most stains, but, like most dishwashers we test, stumbled when it came to our most difficult stain, pureed spinach. Spinach redeposit ended up on many of our test dishes. However, for most dirty dishes, this dishwasher should be up to the task of getting them clean. For a high-end dishwasher that doesn’t have a high-end price tag, look no further than the Vinotemp Brama BR-DWSH01-S dishwasher.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.