Here at Reviewed, we've spent thousands of hours studying, testing, and writing about dishwashers. Who doesn't love an appliance that saves you from having to roll up your sleeves and spend valuable time scrubbing the burnt-on edges of a delicious casserole dinner?
If you're looking to buy a dishwasher, but not eager to take on the chore of towel-drying every plate and plastic container at the end of a cycle, we have you covered. We've pulled together a list of dishwashers that earned top marks in our drying tests, as well as being great performers overall.
At no surprise to our lab staff, the best drying dishwasher on the market is the Bosch SHPM88Z75N (available at Appliances Connection) , because of its efficient and ingenious drying technology that delivers bone dry dishes, glasses, and Tupperware.
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When it comes to drying dishes, Bosch has the market cornered, thanks to its trademark CrystalDry technology, which uses zeolite crystals to completely dry all of your dishes, and does so efficiently.
This major selling point of the SHPM88Z75N—and the one you care about if you’re reading this guide—guarantees that even the plastic food storage containers, which always seem to need a couple of passes with a dish towel before you can put them away, will be entirely dry.
Overall, the SHPM88Z75N is everything we've come to expect from the Bosch dishwasher brand—quiet, efficient, and stylish. This dishwasher does an amazing job removing some 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.
Another 800 Series dishwasher from Bosch, the SGX78B55UC/13 also uses CrystalDry as its drying technology. 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, featuring strong cleaning power within relatively short cycle times.
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.
Evident in its price tag, the luxury Miele G 5266 dishwasher boasts an innovative drying technology called AutoOpen Drying, where the dishwasher’s door will pop open automatically at the completion of a wash cycle. This allows condensation drying to take place, where the cool room air interacts with the hot dishes.
The Miele G 5266 also offers a Sensor dry feature and an Extra Dry option that uses elevated water temperatures and an extended drying period to ensure that all glasses and plastic ware is completely dry.
When it comes to overall performance, the Miele G 5266 is one of the best dishwashers to ever come through our testing labs. If you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed in this investment.
The Samsung DW80R9950UT dishwasher has it all, from customizable Bespoke panels to its AutoRelease Door drying feature. The latter means that the dishwasher’s door opens automatically for the final few minutes of a wash cycle to allow fresh air to circulate within and dry dishes. Inside the washing compartment, an internal fan activates to help the process.
The Samsung DW80R9950UT’s cleaning performance is top-notch. During testing, the Normal, Quick, and Heavy cycles were all able to remove more than 97% of our test food stains and did so rather quickly.
Given that the Dual Convection Ultra Dry feature is one of the GE Café CDT875M5NS5's flagship features, we're happy with the results it put forth in our testing labs.
Café really goes all-in on making sure the CDT875M5NS5 gets dishes dry enough to go straight from the dishwasher to your cupboard—it’s even able to get plastics mostly dry, and we didn't see any water pooling on top of our reusable containers.
The top-selling Bosch SHEM3AY52N, part of Bosch's 100 Series line of dishwashers, gives you all the cleaning performance you want with a budget-friendly price tag.
When it comes to drying dishes at the end of a wash cycle, this Bosch dishwasher uses a closed, condensation drying process called PureDry instead of a heating element, and gets a load from dirty to 100% dry on both the Normal and Quick cycles, in about an hour.
When it comes to overall performance, the SHEM3AY52N offers the Normal and Heavy cycles, which do a great job at getting rid of really tough food stains. This dishwasher doesn't have a true third rack, but it does have a small utility rack that sits atop the second rack, and is large enough to fit ladles, short glassware, or more cutlery.
While there are elements of the LG LDFN4542S dishwasher that we don’t love—like its shallow third-rack and its underwhelming cleaning power—its Dynamic Dry technology isn’t one of them.
Installed in all models of LG dishwashers manufactured from late 2020 on, Dynamic Dry uses steam to blast dishes and spike the interior temperature of the washing compartment to create drier dishes with fewer spots.
Reviewed former and present appliance testing team is responsible for running major dishwashers through their paces in our Cambridge labs, including Dave Ellerby, Jon Chan, Kyle Hamilton, Julia MacDougall, Beckett Dubay, and Michael Elderbee. You can feel confident that when we recommend a product, we're giving it our Reviewed stamp of approval, which means two things: firstly, this appliance performs well, and secondly, this appliance is easy to use.
Although we test each dishwasher in our labs and look pointedly at stain removal, redeposit, cycle time and special features, in this survey we especially focus on a dishwasher’s ability to effectively dry dishes. Whether it's accomplished with rinse aid, a built-in heater, or a built-in fan, customers expect their dishes to be dry after a wash cycle, as well as clean. We penalize the dishwasher every time a dish doesn’t come out dry, whether it's sopping wet or just covered in a few water droplets.
Extra features can really add the finishing touch to a dishwasher that does a great job cleaning dishes. We look at the various cycles, cycle options, and dishwasher specs and assess both how useful the features are, and how easy it is to actually use those features.
What You Should Know Before Buying A Dishwasher
Why Won't My Dishes Get Dry?
If you ever used a dishwasher growing up, chances are that you remember each dish coming out sparkling clean, dry, and warm to the touch. Now, as an adult, confronted with water droplets on your nice plates and standing water in your Tupperware containers, it probably seems like a betrayal of your dishwasher memories of the past.
There are lots of different techniques dishwashers employ to get your dishes dry. Many dishwashers used to include an exposed heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher. At the end of a dishwasher cycle, the dishwasher would automatically turn on the heating element, which would heat up the inside of the dishwasher and cause the leftover water to evaporate away.
Now, though, in an effort to make dishwashers more energy efficient (and more easily able to meet Energy Star requirements), many manufacturers have done away with the heating element.
If you do see a drying option on your dishwasher's control panel, but it doesn't explicitly say that heating is involved, it's probably a ventilation fan that will help get rid of condensation inside the dishwasher after a cycle is over. If your dishwasher has a "heated dry" option, then your dishwasher has a heating element.
However, there are tradeoffs for heated drying—slightly higher energy bills and the possibility of melted Tupperware if it gets too close to the heating element. That brings me to the second reason why your dishes might not be getting as dry as you would have hoped.
Why Doesn't My Plasticware Dry?
Dishwashers have a harder time drying plastics (such as Tupperware, sports bottles, baby bottles, etc.) because plastics are harder to dry in general.
Plastics do not retain heat the same way ceramic, metal, and glass do, so while residual heat from the warm water of the dishwasher cycle can make normal dishes warm enough that they can evaporate away any remaining water droplets, plastics do not share that ability.
Additionally, most plastics are light enough that they can be tossed around by the water jets, so even though you placed your Tupperware containers upside down on the upper rack, there's still a good chance that it will end up right side up, with water at the bottom.
How Do I Get Drier Dishes?
Other than buying one of the dishwashers on this list, you can use rinse aid, which will make it easier for your dishwasher to dry all of your dishes.
Despite its name, rinse aid has very little to do with rinsing and everything to do with drying. Rinse aid's hydrophobic properties make it more difficult for water to collect and stay on your dishes; most water slides off, leaving the dishes water- and water-spot-free.
You can easily buy rinse aid in any grocery store or online.
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.
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.
Leigh Harrington has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor for myriad print and digital publications. At USA TODAY and Reviewed, she focuses on coverage about home trends, home improvement, large and small appliances, and gardening.
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.