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An attractive exterior, but nothing special when you open it up

We can’t imagine a kitchen environment that wouldn’t work for this machine.

We liked the PDWT280VSS’s sleek stainless steel design, particularly the control panel. The interior is also impressive, with black metal racks and a shiny steel wash tub. The indented lip at the top of the door seems a strange design choice, but the more we looked at it the more it grew on us. Though it follows the design language of the full GE Profile lineup, we can’t imagine a kitchen environment that wouldn’t work for this machine.

The racks featured a single cutlery holder and a sparse layout of tines, though neither inhibited the machine's capacity of ten place settings.

No Quick cycle or rinse, but a steam option.

There are a few nifty customization features. The Steam option, which is neat, adds steam and some 26 extra minutes to cycle times and is intended for heavily soiled dishware. There’s also a Heated Dry feature and an Added Heat option. Finally, with the Delay button you can choose to postpone the start of your wash by two, four, or eight hours.

Relatively quick, relatively inefficient cycles had trouble getting out stains.

The PDWT280VSS didn’t perform poorly, but after our trial washes our dishes still had plenty of stains left over. Although it lacks a quick cycle, the Normal wash performed like one: large blotches of spinach, flakes of dried milk, and faint impressions of oatmeal stuck around after the wash. The Sanitize cycle was a little more competent, but at just under two hours you shouldn’t have to rely on it for a normal wash.

Although it lacks a quick cycle, the Normal wash performed like one.

To add insult to incompetence, we calculated that the PDWT280VSS would run up your utility bill by about $37.02 a year based on the costs and wash patterns of a typical user. This is pretty high for a dishwasher, and doesn’t seem justified by the cleaning power.

Trust us: You can do better.

At an MSRP of $1099, the GE Profile PDWT280VSS is anything but cheap. This may not be much of an issue for some homeowners who only want an exterior that matches the other appliances in their GE Profile suite, but don’t be fooled: this washer is an example of why price shouldn’t be gauged as a measure of performance. Unless your idea of a dishwasher doesn't include getting dishes clean, we recommend picking another model—even it doesn't perfectly match the rest of your appliances.

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We put all the dishwashers we test through a standard round of testing, subjecting each one to the same dishes, plates and stains. The GE Profile PDWT280VSS was a disappointment, using a lot of energy to get dishes not quite clean.

Only the strongest cycle packed a punch

The Normal wash reached sufficiently high temperatures to perform well on our egg and meat tests (proteins require high temps to clean), but the water pressure and agitation wasn’t enough to adequately rinse out our spinach and milk stains (in which we dry spinach and milk to bowls and glasses, respectively). What’s more, performance proved inconsistent across multiple wash cycles.

While the Sanitize cycle—recommended by the owner's manual for heavily soiled dishes—reached high enough temperatures to kill off germs (157.3ºF), it still suffered in our milk and spinach stains. It was, however, considerably better than the Normal cycle.

The dishwasher lacks a Quick cycle, though there is a sensor-based automatic cycle and a China cycle.

Water and electricity use are both pretty high

Most inefficient dishwashers score poorly because of either excessive water use or high energy consumption. Unfortunately, the PDWT280VSS features both. While the 5.23 gallon Normal cycle is fairly average (but by no means stellar), the China wash used a whopping 8.02 gallons of hot water. This may help keep your finest Baccarat crystal spotless, but it isn’t very good for the environment. The Sanitize cycle commanded even more water: 9.35 gallons. This makes for a water cost of 2 to 4 cents per wash.

The China, Normal, and Sanitize cycles consumed 0.47, 0.74, and 1.17 kWh, respectively. This averages out to between 5 and 12 cents per wash for electricity alone, depending on the cycle, and that is by no means cheap.

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

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.

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