Kenmore 13473 Dishwasher Review
The price is right, and the dishes are clean, but is it a good value?
If you’re looking for an affordable dishwasher with a decent range of features, you may be considering the Kenmore 13473 (available at Sears for $449.99). With a stainless finish and solid bar handle, the exterior might even seduce you. You can even choose a Black (13479) or White (13472) model, if it matches your kitchen better.
But once you open the door, which can be a challenge in itself, you might have second thoughts. We spent a week testing this dishwasher in our labs, and while its performance is good, especially on the Normal cycle, we have concerns about its design and reliability.
The look is upscale for a dishwasher at this economical price point. The control panel is at the top, so it doesn’t disturb the sleek appearance.
However, we found the door hard to open, and if your dishwasher had this issue it would probably annoy you every day.
The interior, constructed of gray plastic, is basic, with an exposed heating element. It reminded us of the Amana ADB1400AGS we tested, which makes sense, since both dishwashers are made by Whirlpool Corporation.
The tines on the racks don’t move to help you figure out how to load dishes. But if you follow the directions in the user guide (and I get it— nobody likes to do that), this model has room to load in service for 12.
The silverware basket takes up a lot of space on the right side of the bottom rack, but it’s easy to remove for unloading. You can pack in a full day’s worth of flatware, and it has a grid on each side to ensure proper spacing, so the silverware gets clean.
A design drawback we weren’t expecting—the shape of the spray arm at the bottom of the dishwasher makes it hard to remove the filter for cleaning.
This dishwasher offers a few more features than most entry-level models.
• When you want to check status, a glance at the display timer tells how much time remains in the cycle.
• A Sani rinse option may help kill germs, and Quick Rinse is convenient, holding dirty dish odors down when you’re not washing them right away. If you want to clean the dishes later, you can set a delay of 1-8 hours, 12 hours, 16 hours, 20 hours, or a full 24 hours.
• Heat Dry is the default option on the Normal and Heavy cycles.
The plastic tub doesn’t do much to muffle sound, but this model is not too noisy at 53 dbA. Dishwashers with stainless steel tubs run more quietly, but they cost more, too.
This model is efficient, costing about $28 a year to run. Like its Amana sibling, it gives a thorough cleaning, though the Normal and Heavy cycles take their time.
• The Normal cycle is the highlight of this dishwasher’s repertoire. It vanquished close to 100% of food stains in our tests, though it took two hours and 20 minutes to do it.
• The Heavy cycle, called Pots & Pans, couldn’t clean melted cheese off our casserole dishes, but in the lab we don’t soak or scrape before washing and you probably do. Lasagna, minced meat, egg, sugar, milk, and oats came off our dishes by the end of the cycle, but we had to wait just under three hours for it to complete.
• Don’t expect the 1-hour cycle to remove spinach from dinner dishes. After an hour, the cycle left loads of the green stuff on our plates.
What the owners say
Here's where the dishwasher hits its biggest snag. A number of owners who wrote online reviews of this dishwasher expressed disappointment that it stopped working within two years of purchase. While we can't verify the claims of all those owners, the volume of complaints was enough to warrant attention.
The Bottom Line
The $450 price point and good cleaning performance on the Normal cycle might boost this dishwasher's appeal, but some design quirks and user reviews suggest that it may not be the best value.
Compare this dishwasher to the Whirlpool WDF330PAHW. After testing it, we awarded that model our coveted Editors’ Choice badge. It’s a very good value, does a fine job washing the dishes, and the owners praise its cleaning power and ease of use.
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