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The stainless steel door is familiar to anyone who’s ever felt stainless steel, and the curved handle fits well with the sleek appearance. We liked the absence of a brand logo—a design element that manufacturers sometimes take too far in the pursuit of branding (see: Fagor LFA-65 IT X).

Front Closed Photo

The front of the GE GLDT696TSS.

Stainless steel—inside and out. The ’s design is such that it’s easy to look over, but that may be something consumers are looking for. Some people don’t like calling attention to their kitchen appliances.

The interface is replete with curious design choices. We appreciated its placement at the top of the door, but something about the font choice (fittingly called “stock signs”), the bright green indicator light, and the Select button seems… odd. Once again, it’s not poorly designed or impractical—the time display and status indicator are nifty—it’s just kind of strange.

Controls 1 Photo

The left control panel of the GLDT696TSS.

Controls 2 Photo

The right control panel of the GLDT696TSS.

The interior of the is made of stainless steel, producing a highly reflective look that’s complemented by the metallic lower wash arm.

Front Open Photo

The front of the GLDT696TSS with door open.

The top rack is shorter in length than its bottom counterpart. While it was surprisingly flexible when loading dishware, its small size made for another curious design element. Even so, the tines and spindles are all sturdy and well positioned.

Top Rack Photo

The top rack of the GLDT696TSS.

The tines in the bottom rack are oddly spaced, and there’s an obnoxious protrusion from the rear face of the rack that inhibited loading flexibility, especially for large dishware. This was frustrating because it’s so obviously unnecessary. However, the is fairly high-capacity, so these odd layout choices didn’t have a tremendous impact on design and usability scores.

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Bottom Rack Photo

The bottom rack of the GLDT696TSS.

The cutlery basket is fairly wide and can fit plenty of utensils. The collapsible lids are infused with holes for fitting individual utensils in place, which helps to face silverware toward the spray arms. However, we’re fans of flexibility, and this basket—by virtue of its size—is rather limited on that front.

Cutlery Basket Photo

The GLDT696TSS cutlery basket.

The Speed cycle soaked up a decent amount of power for a quick wash (0.60 kWh), but it was justified by the performance. The two other main cycles—Normal and Heavy—consumed 0.61 and 0.92 kWh, respectively. None of the extra wash cycles exceeded this amount (which equates to 6 to 9 cents per wash), helping to place the alongside other energy efficient dishwashers.

This “not-good-not-bad” theme tends to come up a lot with the (except in performance, which is all-around stellar). When it comes to water consumption, this machine requires a considerable dosage—but, once again, not an outrageous amount. The Speed, Normal, and Heavy cycles used 5.89, 4.76, and 6.92 gallons of hot water per wash, respectively. This made for a water cost of 5 to 7 cents per wash.

Using the Normal cycle 50 percent of the time over the period of a year will yield an overall utility cost of roughly $30.91. This is based on a total water and energy cost of 13 to 19 cents per wash, depending on the cycle. By most standards, this is a fairly efficient machine. Once again, though, it’s not great—just good.

The is relatively quick. The longest wash (Sanitize) clocked in at 132 minutes, and most of the other cycles ranged from roughly an hour-and-a-half to two hours. There’s even a nifty two-digit display that indicates the amount of time left on a wash. However, this little contraption proved worthless, as it stopped functioning a few minutes into each cycle because of built up moisture.

Each of the three main cycles performed impressively well, especially for a mid-range dishwasher that is easily overlooked. Really, we’ve only come across a few other machines that approach this level of clean on all three main cycles.

The Speed cycle is hands-down the most impressive quick wash we’ve come across. Most other machines we’ve tested do poorly in at least one test area—usually milk, spinach, or egg. But the Speed cycle performed very well across the board. The spinach test (in which we bake chopped spinach into small bowls) was probably the least impressive, but compared with other quick cycles we’ve tested it was average to superior.

The Normal wash was near perfect in our meat, egg, oatmeal, and milk tests. Not only were dishes either thoroughly or completely cleaned, they performed consistently across multiple cycles. Like the Speed cycle, the spinach tests proved most challenging, but by no means were they inhibitive.

Normal Cycle

Our Heavy cycle tests include three extra dish stains: a leftover lasagna platter, a burnt sugar dish, and a bowl of burnt cheese. These three tests often take a toll on a machine’s heavy cycle performance, in that they sometimes spray sauce particles and pasta soils throughout the load.

But not the . While the three additional stain tests were not completely cleaned, they didn’t taint other dishes in the load—likely a testament to the machine’s robust filtration and spray systems. Because the Heavy cycle reached such high temperatures (peak: 154.4 degrees), it did very well on proteins, particularly our egg test (in which we bake egg batter onto spoons). Everything about this wash (and the others) was just impressive.

Pots & Pans Cycle

In addition to the three main cycles—Speed, Normal, and Heavy—the includes the Sanitize, Glasses, and Light washes. The Sanitize cycle uses more energy to heat water to a temperature high enough to kill bacteria (in this case, 157.6 degrees). The Light cycle, which is about as quick as the Speed wash, is intended for lightly soiled dishes that have been pre-rinsed. And finally, the Glasses cycle is intended for (surprise, surprise) lightly soiled glassware.

There’s no way to customize individual wash loads, unless you count the delay feature as customization.

Controls 2 Photo

The right control panel of the GLDT696TSS.

The Sanitize option is its own wash cycle, so you can’t add a sanitize feature onto a chosen wash cycle. But we can’t imagine that being much of a problem. There’s also a rinse feature--for spraying dishes with the intention of washing them later—and a delay start, which allows you to postpone a wash cycle up to 24 hours.

Controls 1 Photo

The left control panel of the GLDT696TSS.

We were able to fit 10 place settings in the —a standard size, by all accounts. This may actually be more impressive considering the small size of the top rack, and the odd layout of the spindles and tines.

Capacity Illustration

Top Rack

Capacity Top Rack Photo
Bottom Rack
Capacity Bottom Rack Photo

The lower wash arm is metallic and feels more sturdy than its plastic counterpart beneath the upper rack. Both are dual-ended and, evidently, must do a good job spraying water, considering how well the machine cleaned dishes.

The filtration system includes three components. There’s the central filter unit (which sifts out larger particles), the fine filter plate, and the internal fine filter cylinder. All can be easily removed for manual cleaning.

Wash Arms 1 Photo

The GLDT696TSS wash arms.

Wash Arms 2 Photo

The bottom wash arm of the GLDT696TSS.

Filter Photo

The GLDT696TSS filter.

The tines seemed oddly placed, at least for the dishes we were using (which are industry standard for dishwasher testing). For example, it was difficult to find a place for large casserole dishes, and dinner plates fit in a way that forced them to nudge up against the third row of tines. This wasn’t really a problem, but it required a bit more creativity for loading dishes effectively. The lack of adjustability only complicated this issue.

Bottom Rack Photo

The bottom rack of the GLDT696TSS.

The top rack seemed to defy logic; it’s small and cannot be adjusted, yet we were never pressed for space when loading dishes. If anything, we had more trouble loading the lower rack. The layout and placements of tines helped boost its flexibility, but it’s still a comparably small dish rack.

Top Rack Photo

The top rack of the GLDT696TSS.

The cutlery basket can only be placed on the right of the lower basket. We appreciate holders that can be rearranged in favor of flexibility, but the sheer size of this thing ensures that you won’t have any trouble fitting silverware post-dinner party. The handle was also pretty flimsy and poorly constructed; at one point it even fell out of its socket, allowing us to imagine an ugly situation for consumers who prefer to load their cutlery baskets at the dinner table and then carry them to the dishwasher.

Cutlery Basket Photo

The GLDT696TSS cutlery basket.

The detergent dispenser is pretty standard. There are two interior bays for differing amounts of detergent, and the rinse aid dispenser includes a removable lid. A testament to the strange design: it doesn’t flip all the way open. Instead, it smacks into a lip protrusion on the door. Once again, this isn’t a problem—it’s just odd.

Detergent Dispenser Photo

The GLDT696TSS detergent dispenser.

This machine is pretty easy to use. Some folks may be frustrated by the lack of adjustability and limited flexibility, but the interface is simple and intuitive, and it follows rudimentary guidelines for how dishwashers should function. We don’t imagine anyone will be overly perplexed by the .

It's a pretty quiet machine. Its soft whooshing sounds may even be pleasant to some owners.

The entire control panel is operated via three buttons: an On/Off switch, the Delay button, and a Select control. There are also green indicator lights to identify cycle selections, delay settings, power, and wash status (Sanitized and Clean). All options and selections must be operated while the door is open; the machine starts automatically upon closing it.

Controls 1 Photo

The left control panel of the GLDT696TSS.

Controls 2 Photo

The right control panel of the GLDT696TSS.

The Whirlpool Gold is considerably more efficient than the . It also offers more wash options and features, and unless you invest the extra $100 for a stainless steel finish it's less expensive, too. However, when it comes to pure wash performance, the Whirlpool doesn't hold a candle next to the .

The Asko is one of the best dishwashers we've tested; it's efficient, powerful, advanced, well designed and very modern. But it costs roughly $350 more than the . For that reason this comparison comes down to preference. If you're only looking for performance then we'd recommend the , as it's much less expensive for a comparable clean. If you're willing to spend some extra dough for stronger design, efficiency, and features, then definitely go with the Asko.

Washing Performance

Decent efficiency to match decent design. Abundant water consumption is checked by low electricity demands, making for a generally efficient machine. With an average cost of 13 cents per Normal wash, we expect the to cost roughly $30.91 a year to operate. Considering the machine’s top-of-the-line performance, this is a more than acceptable figure.

Each cycle we tested—Speed, Normal, and Heavy—performed very well. While the Speed wash offered the mildest clean, it was perhaps the most impressive—mainly because quick cycles are usually so bad. The Normal cycle performed even better (and was more efficient), and we’d recommend running it most often. Finally, the Heavy wash was also impressive in its ability to thoroughly clean dishware without spraying food soils from our three Heavy cycle stain tests.

The doesn’t have much by way of extra features. There’s a rinse cycle, a Delay (up to 24 hours), a Sanitize wash, and a time display. There are also three extra wash cycles (Light, Glasses, and the Sanitize wash mentioned above). Given the ’s superior wash performance, it’s hard to ask for much more.

Meet the tester

Tyler Wells Lynch

Tyler Wells Lynch

Contributor

@tylerwellslynch

Tyler Wells Lynch is a freelance writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Vice, Wirecutter, Gizmodo, The Rumpus, Yes!, and the Huffington Post, among others. He lives in Maine.

See all of Tyler Wells Lynch'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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