The Best High-End Dishwashers of 2019By Keith Barry, January 07, 2019, Updated January 24, 2019
When people ask us which dishwasher to buy, our advice is usually pretty simple: Buy one of our top-ranked dishwashers and be done with it. But if you have an upscale kitchen and want a dishwasher that does more than just clean, the sky’s the limit.
Brands like Thermador, Bosch, and Miele sell dishwashers with features that will blow your mind. Some have doors that open automatically at the end of a cycle (which can help with dish drying), while others focus on the aesthetic aspects, like attractive interior lighting or being custom-panel ready. Some of these luxury dishwashers can wash dishes quickly during parties, or clean crystal and china without damaging it.
To see what kind of features you can get with a dishwasher when you have a (much, much) higher budget, we brought some of the most expensive and exclusive dishwashers into our product labs, and put them through the same battery of tests that we use to assess every other dishwasher we test, regardless of what it costs. We also upped the ante a bit by checking to see how easy it was to fit stemware on the upper rack of the dishwasher, as well as how fast each dishwasher washed and dried our test dishes.
Our current favorite is the Bosch Benchmark Series (available at AppliancesConnection for $1,699.00) because of its powerful cleaning and optional built-in water softener and LCD display. To find out how the rest of the luxury dishwashers stacked up, read on. To find out more about a specific product, click on the link to read the full review.
Updated January 24, 2019
Bosch Benchmark Series
Bosch Benchmark SeriesBest Overall
Our favorite high-end dishwasher is SHE89PW55N, which is one of the models in the Bosch Benchmark Series. Available in 24-inch and 18-inch configurations, the other models in this series come in a variety of exterior finishes (including panel-ready), and can be installed to sit flush with cabinetry if you want a truly modern look.
With more features than Bosch's top-rated 500 and 800 Series, the German-made Benchmark dishwashers clean just as well as other Bosch machines (and that's saying a lot). The best part of the Benchmark Series, though, is that some models can run dishwasher cycles at sound levels of 38 dBA, which is comparable to the ambient noise level in a library.
Near-silent operation is not the only feature that sets the Benchmark apart from the pack. A built-in water softener keeps dishes from getting spotty, while integrated interior lighting and available color LCD display make for easier use. If you can afford it, a dishwasher in the Bosch Benchmark will please you both as a dishwasher and as a neat gadget. Read the full review of the Bosch SHE89PW55N dishwasher.
How We Test
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 Cycle, Heavy Cycle, and Normal Cycle) to the test by baking food and beverage stains onto 15-20 dishes that are then loaded into the dishwasher per the manufacturer's loading directions. The stains include milk, spinach, egg, oatmeal, meat, and more. At the end of each cycle, we determine how much stain has been removed from each dish. Ideally, each dish is 100% 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% 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.
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.
Miele EcoFlex Futura Lumen
Miele EcoFlex Futura Lumen
We’ve never encountered a dishwasher like this before. In addition to its impressive cleaning ability and a third rack specially designed to hold hard-to-fit items like ramekins and espresso mugs, the Lumen has even more tricks up its sleeve.
The first is Miele’s Knock2Open feature. If you order the Lumen with a panel that matches your cabinetry, you don’t have to add a handle. Just knock twice on the panel and the door will open, revealing a hidden dishwasher. Also, at the end of the cycle, the door automatically cracks open a few inches to help moist air escape so the dishes dry faster. Last but not least is the QuickIntenseWash cycle, a one hour cycle that cleans just about perfectly, and a heat exchanger that gets dishes dry without wasting energy. While it may cost a lot more than your average dishwasher, the Miele EcoFlex Future Lumen more than makes up for it in performance and convenience. Read the full review of the Miele Futura Lumen EcoFlex G6885SCVi dishwasher.
Miele EcoFlex Futura Crystal
Miele EcoFlex Futura Crystal
Like the Futura Lumen, the Crystal features the one-hour QuickIntenseWash cycle. Our tests show that the QuickIntenseWash cycle cleans just as well as the Normal cycle does, and with a cycle time of about one hour, it will give you an amazingly fast turnaround on your dirty dishes.
While it lacks the Lumen’s Knock2Open and heat exchanger, the Crystal does come with the same auto open feature and third rack as the Lumen. It also has the same glassware cycles, designed to clean delicate stemware and crystal. If the Futura Lumen is a bit too futuristic for you, the EcoFlex Futura Crystal is a great alternative that costs less and still maintains the high standard of cleaning for which Miele is well-known. Read the full review of the Miele EcoFlex Futura Crystal G6665SCVi dishwasher.
Where To Buy$1,699.00 AppliancesConnection Buy
It’s no surprise that Thermador’s dishwashers are great at cleaning. After all, Thermador is owned by the same parent company as Bosch, and their dishwashers are based on the same design that underpins our top-rated Bosch dishwashers.
The Thermador Sapphire is shallow enough to fit flush with cabinetry, but still has the ability to fit baking sheets and other tall items. The tines on the lower rack are cleverly arranged such that you can fold down every other one, widening the gaps between them to fit bowls instead of just plates. Extras include blue interior lighting, a very quiet 42 dBA noise rating, and a 2-year full warranty. Best of all, the Thermador Sapphire has dishwasher cycles that are both effective at cleaning and very short; in fact, the Heavy cycle only clocks in at about 90 minutes. Read the full review of the Thermador Sapphire DWHD650JPR dishwasher.
When a dishwasher isn't the most expensive one in the line-up, it's easy to look at what you're not getting by not laying down some extra cash. For example, while the Topaz has the same third rack and most of the same flexible interior options as the Sapphire, it lacks interior lighting and has a noise rating of 44 dBA (that is, it's a little noisier than the Sapphire). The cycle times are also a bit longer than those of the Sapphire.
On the other hand, what you are getting with the Thermador Topaz is a gorgeous, luxe-brand dishwasher with a ton of useful features that has a cleaning performance comparable to the top-tier Sapphire. Read the full review of the Thermador Topaz DWHD640JPR dishwasher.