dishwashers

Kenmore Elite 12762 Review

Top-of-the-line performance for a mid-range price tag

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Kenmore only gives the Elite badge to its high-end appliances, and as far as dishwashers are concerned, they deserve it. Every Kenmore Elite we’ve tested so far has aced our stain tests. The Kenmore Elite 12762 (MSRP $1,149) is no exception. Although this dishwasher lacks the features and design of the other Elites that have gone through our labs, it’s a few hundred bucks cheaper. The 12762 also shares the TurboZone high-intensity spray jets and 360° PowerWash Plus motorized spray arm of its cousins, so it still packs quite a punch.

If you’re looking for a trimmed-down Elite that loses a few options without sacrificing cleaning power, the 12762 is a great choice. Only available from Sears, we’ve seen sale prices for around $859 for the white 12762 and black 12769, and $889 for the stainless 12763—identical aside from the finish. That puts it squarely in competition with most mid-range models.

Design & Usability

Deceptively sophisticated

The 12762's control panel faces forward and consists of a row of touch-sensitive buttons and bright blue indicator lights. The interface is clear and responsive. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the exterior, but fans of hidden controls should look to another model. If you think the 12762 looks similar to some Whirlpool models, you've done a good job guessing who built it for Kenmore.

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The Kenmore Elite 12762's detachable filter and motorized spray arm View Larger

But as romantic comedies over the years have taught us, it’s what’s inside that counts. When you open the 12762’s bright white door, you’ll notice that it stays in place at any angle. Thanks to the clever design of its hinges, the door will never slam shut, nor will it fall to the floor. The interior is stainless steel all around, with the bottom of the tub dominated by a motorized spray arm and a steel screen filter. Located in the back is a quartet of red spray nozzles. These are the TurboZone spray jets, which will blast even the toughest stains off of your dishes.

There are quite a few ways the 12762 makes loading your dishes easy. The silverware basket can be split into three parts, which can help free up space on the bottom rack. Stemware and plasticware clips on the top rack keep awkward items in place, and the whole top rack can be raised or lowered to accommodate tall items. We were able to fit ten place settings and one serving setting inside the 12762.

Features

All the usual suspects, including TurboZone

The 12762 may be slimmed down in the features department compared to other Elite models, but it still has everything you need for every type of wash. There are five wash cycles: Smart Wash, Normal, 1 Hour Wash, Pots & Pans, and Quick Rinse. Their names pretty much tell you what they do, so there are aren't any surprises here.

If you need more power, engaging the TurboZone option will obliterate tough and greasy stains. The other usual suspects are there: Sani Rinse, High Temp, Heated Dry, Top Rack Only, and 4 Hour Delay. There’s a Control Lock option, too, which is especially important for this machine due to its front-facing control panel. The sound can also be disabled, letting you press buttons in peaceful silence.

Performance

Effective and efficient? This one's worth the wait.

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Milk stains before 1 Hour Wash cycle
Kenmore-Elite-12762-MilkAfter.jpg
Milk stains after 1 Hour Wash cycle

Overall, the 12762’s cleaning performance was impressive. The Normal cycle felt like the heavy duty cycle of lower-end dishwashers, taking nearly 3 hours and leaving very few stains behind. The major difference is that this cycle used less than 3 gallons of hot water to do its job. It also had no issues with redeposit, which is when food gets washed off of one dish and stuck to another.

The Pots & Pans cycle picked up even what the Normal cycle left behind, getting nearly perfect scores on all the stain tests. Redeposit was once again non-existent, and even tough stains like the burnt cheese and lasagna were removed entirely. This cycle took even longer than the Normal, clocking in at 3 hours and 34 minutes.

If you don’t have three hours to wait, the 1 Hour Wash cycle will give you faster results. It performed reasonably well, with scores that were only slightly lower than the Normal cycle. The only exception was the milk test, in which the 12762 performed significantly worse. For an average load, you’re better off sticking with the Normal cycle, which also happens to be the most cost-effective wash cycle on this machine. We estimate that the cost to run the 12762 for a year will be about $29.18, which is slightly below average.

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

Conclusion

Cleanly outclasses other mid-range dishwashers

Although the 12762 doesn’t have a cool LCD screen or a neat handlebar for adjusting the top rack, it still performs as well as the other Kenmore Elites that we've tested. This dishwasher is a lighter version of its more expensive cousins, with some of the fancier features removed to cut costs. While this machine might not be the best bargain at its full price, it is definitely worthwhile if you find it on sale.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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