The ADT521PGFWS could not quite finish off any of the stains we threw at it, and always left trace amounts behind on even some of the lightest stains (tea, in particular). There were also visible instances of redeposit on both the Normal and Heavy cycles.
The Heavy cycle’s performance stood out in two ways. First, it did very well with our heavy stains, completely removing the burnt sugar and baked-on lasagna stains while scoring an average of 98.92% on burnt cheese. The downside is that this cycle actually did worse than the Normal cycle on dried, baked-on meat, only removing 98.28% of stains and leaving large, visible chunks behind.
The Normal cycle clocked in at a brisk 91 minutes, which is great. Unfortunately, since Heated Dry is not enabled by default, this cycle time does not factor in the extra 30 minutes it would take if you want to use the heating element to dry your dishes. Same deal with the Heavy cycle’s 2 hour, 26 minute duration—it's sped up by the absence of Heated Dry.
The Artistry dishwasher is only available in black or white, which could make it tough to match some buyers’ kitchens. Still, the entire line (dishwasher, fridge, oven, and microwave) costs less than $2,500, making it ideal for a fresh build or a complete kitchen overhaul.
The front of the ADT521PGFWS features a vintage GE logo, which fully spells out "General Electric." A thick, stainless steel handlebar juts out, and the control panel uses responsive mechanical buttons.
The interior is identical to the GE GDF510PSDSS dishwasher, which performs similarly to this machine. There’s enough space to fit ten place settings and a serving setting, and a long cutlery basket is strategically positioned on the front of the lower rack, leaving more room for dishes.
Unfortunately, a dull plastic interior cheapens the look of the tub and does a poor job with sound insulation. Also, none of the tines on either of the racks can be folded down, nor can the height of the upper rack be adjusted. This lack of flexibility might be a deal breaker for buyers that need more room.
It’s got Steam, at least.
When it comes to features, the ADT521PGFWS has just a little more than the bare minimum to cover most users’ dishwashing needs. There are only four wash cycles to choose from: AutoSense, Heavy, Normal, and Light. Note the conspicuous absence of a Quick cycle.
The extra wash options on offer are a little more diverse, but there’s nothing here to blow you away. Two wash temperature settings (including a Sanitize option), a Delay that can be set for 2, 4, or 8 hours, Heated Dry, and Steam are the only ways to customize your wash.
The ADT521PGFWS consumes a bit more water than the average dishwasher, which leads to a higher annual utility cost. The Normal cycle in other machines usually consumes between 3 and 4 gallons of water per run, but the ADT521PGFWS’s Normal cycle uses 4.31 gallons. The Heavy cycle doesn’t do any better, gulping 6.92 gallons each run.
Electricity usage is also slightly above normal, with Normal drawing 0.67 kWh and Heavy drawing 1.09 kWh. The combined water and energy consumption leads to an estimated annual cost of $31.06, which is about $2 above the cost for the average dishwasher.
There’s enough space inside the ADT521PGFWS to fit ten of our standardized place settings and a serving setting. The cutlery basket is placed in front of the lower rack, leaving plenty of room for other items on the rest of the rack. Unfortunately, there are no adjustable parts on either of the racks—no folding tines, no cup shelves, no stemware clips, and no height adjustment. This could make it tough to load tall or oddly-shaped items.
Decent cleaning, marred by redeposit
Even though it managed to remove the majority of our test stains, the ADT521PGFWS was not as thorough as we would’ve liked. There would always be small but visible amounts of food left over, and there were some problems with redeposit—which is when food stains get washed off of one item and stuck to another during the wash. We test for this using baked-on spinach because the green stains are easy to spot and hard for dishwashers to filter out.
When we ran the Normal and Heavy cycles, we noticed they both had a tendency to leave bits of dried meat behind on the dishes. In fact, the Heavy cycle scored consistently lower with this particular stain compared to Normal.
This dishwasher did have one saving grace, though. We use burnt cheese, burnt sugar, and a baked-on lasagna recipe with a variety of ingredients to test a dishwasher’s toughest cycle. The ADT521PGFWS’s Heavy cycle handled these stains without much trouble.
We estimate that this dishwasher will cost you $31.06 each year in water and electricity, which is a few dollars more than most other machines. While other dishwashers’ Normal cycles only use between 3 and 4 gallons of hot water, the ADT521PGFWS uses 4.31 gallons. As the most frequently-used cycle, that extra water consumption might add up over the years.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Okay, if you're going retro
As a budget dishwasher, the ADT521PGFWS offers a little more than an economy appliance. After all, how often do we see Steam on a budget machine? The Artistry line is also a tempting choice for buyers who want that vintage look in their kitchen. Upgrading your kitchen to a retro look for less than $2,500 is great value, provided that's the look you want.
Compared to other dishwashers, though, the ADT521PGFWS lags far behind. For about the same amount of money, you can get the high-performing Whirlpool WDT710PAYH. And if you can do without any fancy extras, the Amana ADB1100AWB is only $299.
Meet the tester
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.
Checking our work.
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.Shoot us an email