Plastic everywhere

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The stainless steel door being the only exception, everything about the FGBD2438PF, both inside and out, looks decidedly entry-level. Dull plastic is everywhere: the black control panel capping the door, the entire interior, and the plain-looking cutlery basket. There is one thing that does stand out, though. The wash arm at the bottom of the tub is a blue, spinning rectangle. Definitely something different, but it's surrounded by otherwise boring design.

Our main usability gripes are the FGBD2438PF‘s unresponsive controls and inflexible racks. The buttons on the control panel require a fair amount of pressure to engage. They also don’t click or make any sound: the only feedback you get is a dim green indicator light above each button. The racks have no adjustability except for a row of fold-out bowl tines on the top rack. Additionally, the cutlery basket has no slots for keeping silverware separated. We were able to fit 11 standardized place settings and a serving setting inside the FGBD2438PF, but you’re out of luck if you ever have to fit anything tall or oddly-shaped.

Nothing fancy, nothing surprising

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The FGBD2438PF is equipped with only a small handful of cycles and wash options. For cycles, you get Normal, Heavy, Top Rack, and Rinse Only, which do exactly what their names suggest. There is a distinct lack of a fast cycle option for washing items in a pinch, but the Normal cycle turns out to be rather quick. The extra wash options include Sanitize and Hi Temp Wash. By default, all cycles go through a heated drying phase at the end, but you can use Air Dry to override it if you want to save money and time. Finally, there’s a control lock feature and a delay feature, which can be set for two, four, or six hours.

It does one important thing well.

The best thing about the FGBD2438PF is its impressive Normal cycle. This is the cycle that is expected to see the most use, and it cleaned like a champ during our tests. Minor but visible instances of redeposit—when a dish is washed clean but then gets soiled again by food particles sprayed from another dish—kept this cycle from receiving perfect scores. The FGBD2438PF’s Normal cycle only took 97 minutes, which is pretty fast for an everyday cycle. While most people would probably run a cycle like this overnight after dinner, it is quick enough that we could see it being used for lighter jobs that need fast results.

The Heavy cycle fell flat, with performance scores that weren’t much better than the Normal cycle. On the FGBD2438PF, when the Heavy cycle is selected, both the High Temp Wash and Sanitize options are automatically engaged, and you can’t disengage them. The end result is a cycle that takes over three hours and uses a large amount of water and electricity. This would be perfectly reasonable if it means we get an amazing clean, but the cycle did poorly with the burnt cheese and burnt sugar tests. Additionally, it still had the minor redeposit issue from before.

The Heavy cycle uses more than twice as much water and energy as the Normal cycle, but the results aren’t much better. This isn't as bad as it sounds, since the Normal cycle does such an amazing job that there is very little room for improvement. Both of these cycles, though, are pretty bad at efficiency. Our estimated yearly cost for running the FGBD2438PF is $37.35, which is about $6 above average.

For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.

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Master of the everyday load

A famous martial artist once said that he doesn’t fear the man who has practiced 10,000 different kicks, but he’s wary of the man who practiced the same kick 10,000 times. The FGBD2438PF isn’t equipped for a variety of washes, but it has mastered the art of the everyday load. This machine is simple to use and simply gets the job done with very few extra perks or fancy options. The price is right, too: this dishwasher isn’t as entry-level as the Amana ADB1100AWB, which is only $300, but it delivers a better cleaning performance and a couple more customization options. If you’re looking for a step above bare-bones without breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with the FGBD2438PF.
The Frigidaire Gallery FGBD2438PF did not win us over with its looks or features. What really impressed us was its performance. Compared to other machines in its price range, this dishwasher’s Normal cycle gave a faster, stronger clean while using more water and energy. The other cycles weren’t as noteworthy, but when it comes to regular, everyday loads, this machine is a master.

Normal cycle is the only thing it's good at.

The Normal cycle on the FGBD2438PF was nearly perfect. Most of the stains were removed, and the whole cycle only took 97 minutes. The only negative was redeposit: glasses and plates that had their original stains washed off, but got coated with tiny specks of spinach. Still, this was a very strong performance, and it is more than capable of handling everyday loads.

The Heavy cycle was far less impressive. By default, the Sanitize and Hi Temp Wash options are engaged when the Heavy cycle is chosen. This leads to a cycle that takes 3 hours and 3 minutes to run, while also draining twice as much water and electricity as the Normal cycle. The results were not worth it: they were only slightly better than the near-perfection of the Normal cycle, which did not leave much room for improvement to begin with. On top of that, large amounts of burnt cheese and burnt sugar were left behind, while the minor redeposit issue from the Normal cycle persisted in the Heavy.

The Heavy cycle is double the cost, but not double the fun.

Part of the secret to why the FGBD2438PF’s Normal cycle is so strong might be the large amounts of water and electricity it consumes. The Normal used 4.77 gallons of water, where most dishwasher’s Normal cycles would only take between 3 and 4 gallons. It also burned 0.73 kWh of electricity, which added up to a total cycle cost of 14 cents per run.

The Heavy cycle took 9.68 gallons of water and 1.51 kWh of electricity, with a total cost of 29 cents per run. It essentially costs twice as many resources to run the Heavy compared to the Normal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform twice as well. We estimate a utility cost of $37.35 to run the FGBD2438PF for a year.

Good capacity, but very few moving parts

We were able to fit 11 standardized place settings and a serving setting inside the FGBD2438PF. There wasn’t much we could adjust, though. The only movable parts were a row of fold-out bowl tines on the top rack. There is also no height adjustment for the top rack, so you’ll be stuck washing tall items by hand.

Meet the testers

Johnny Yu

Johnny Yu

Staff Writer

@ReviewedHome

Johnny Yu writes news, features, and reviews for Reviewed.com. He graduated from U-Mass Boston with a Bachelor's in Social Psychology and spends much of his free time expanding his gaming horizons. Sometimes, he does his laundry at work.

See all of Johnny Yu's reviews
Johnny Yu

Johnny Yu

Staff Writer

@ReviewedHome

Johnny Yu writes news, features, and reviews for Reviewed.com. He graduated from U-Mass Boston with a Bachelor's in Social Psychology and spends much of his free time expanding his gaming horizons. Sometimes, he does his laundry at work.

See all of Johnny Yu's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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