KitchenAid Architect Series II KDTM354DSS Dishwasher Review
Smooth as silk
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If cleaning dishes were against the law, the KitchenAid Architect Series II KDTM354DSS (available at Home Depot for $1,034.10) would be one smooth criminal. From its design to its performance in our lab tests, this all-new dishwasher is all about fluidity and grace. It's equipped with KitchenAid’s new ProFilter technology, which continually removes food particles from the wash water. That means the KDTM354DSS doesn’t have the nasty habit of spraying dirty water onto clean dishes—a problem that many of its competitors face. Looking the get the latest and greatest dishwasher? Check out our rundown of the best dishwashers on the market.
As of 2015, KitchenAid has renamed its ProFilter filtration system to Clean Water Wash. The system is the same, and only the name has been changed.
Design & Usability
As part of the Architect Series II line of KitchenAid appliances, the KDTM354DSS got a recent redesign. It's marked by smooth, rounded edges and a seamless appearance. The protruding handlebar gently curves outward, and a simple, forward-facing LCD screen is embedded flush with the stainless steel door.
The controls are concealed on top of the door. In keeping with the smooth look, the control panel uses flush, touch-sensitive buttons. Although lacking the tactile feedback of mechanical buttons, we found the KDTM354DSS’s controls responsive.
Inside, things get interesting. The drain and filter at the bottom of the KDTM354DSS’s tub look nothing like the detachable screen filters or the hard food grinders found in other dishwashers. There’s only a small detachable piece that traps larger food particles, which you’ll occasionally have to remove and clear if it gets too clogged. More on that later...
We were able to fit 11 place settings and a serving setting inside the KDTM354DSS. The upper rack is on ball bearings, so it glides out smoothly. Its height can also be adjusted by pressing and holding a pair of levers. ProScrub high-intensity jets sit at the rear of the tub, and a plethora of adjustable tines lets you load bowls both shallow and deep.
For cycles, the KDTM354DSS features the usual suspects: ProWash, Tough, Normal, Light, Express Wash, and Rinse Only. Just pick the cycle that corresponds to how much dirt is on your dishes, or use ProWash if you have a mixed load.
There are a handful of available options to customize your wash further. ProDry is a default on many of the cycles, and it’s used for adding a heated drying period to the end of a wash. You can disengage this to save time and power. ProScrub activates the high-intensity spray jets located at the back of the tub for powering through tough stains. The rest of the options—Hi-Temp Wash, Sani Rinse, and Top Rack Only—are pretty self-explanatory.
You can also delay the start of a cycle for 2, 4, or 8 hours, shut off the dishwasher’s beeps and chimes, and lock out the control panel.
ProFilter really works
You may not know this, but a dishwasher works by repeatedly spraying water onto dishes, recycling and filtering that same supply of water multiple times before draining it and performing a final rinse with clean water. As the water gets cleaner, so do your dishes.
If a dishwasher's filtration system isn't well-designed, food particles can be washed onto otherwise clean dishes. We call this phenomenon redeposit, and we’ve spotted it on dishwashers at all levels and price ranges.
KDTM354DSS’s ProFilter seems to have eliminated the problem entirely. We could not find instances of redeposit on any of the cycles we tested. The Normal cycle left a few meat, milk, and spinach stains behind, but the stuff that did get washed off didn’t end up somewhere else. Even the Express cycle, which clocked in at a little under an hour, had no trouble with redeposit.
How each cycle cleans
The Normal cycle removed 99.88% of the meat stains and 99.99% of the oatmeal stains. Without redeposit dragging the scores down, this cycle gave an amazing performance. We did find one problem, though: Items loaded on the rear of the top rack weren’t as clean as ones that were placed elsewhere.
This sort of pattern usually indicates poor water coverage, and isn't unique to this KitchenAid. Innovative wash arms—like Electrolux's Satellite Spray and Samsung's WaterWall—can alleviate the issue.
The Tough cycle lives up to its name but for one test. It removed 100% of dried milk, oatmeal, burnt sugar, egg, but only 93.53% of burnt cheese. Interestingly, the water coverage issue from the Normal cycle is absent in this cycle, which is always a plus.
Express Wash clocked in at 52 minutes. Despite being the weakest performer of the three cycles, it did an excellent job compared to the quick cycles on other machines. The lack of redeposit certainly helped, and even though it’s designed for light stains, this cycle scored 100% on the dried oatmeal test—one of toughest stains to remove.
All that power comes at a (slight) cost
Even though the KDTM354DSS cleans very well, its water and power usage are only a little above average. The Normal cycle took 0.80 kWh of energy and 2.63 gallons of water, adding up to a cost of 12 cents per run. Other dishwashers’ Normal cycles are around 10 or 11 cents, but since this is the most frequently-used cycle, those extra pennies add up.
This is balanced by the KDTM354DSS’s Tough cycle, which used 1.12 kWh of power and 4.13 gallons of water. The estimated cost is 17 cents each run, where other dishwashers have that figure closer to 19 or 20 cents. Express Wash used 0.79 kWh of power, but guzzled 5.08 gallons of hot water, driving its cost up to 15 cents per run. In total, we expect the KDTM354DSS to only hit you for $29.33 a year in utility costs.
Why we like it
When a manufacturer boasts about new, innovative technology that will drastically enhance an appliance’s performance, it’s up to us to see if the product lives up to the hype. The ProFilter wash system seems to do exactly as advertised, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it in other KitchenAid dishwashers soon.
Should you buy a KDTM354DSS of your own? We think so. This is one of the best-performing dishwashers in its price range. We found it on sale for around $1,075, and sale prices may drop lower. If you're a KitchenAid loyalist, it's especially attractive.
If more features and a minimalist look are important to you, the Electrolux EI24ID50QS offers even more value. Not only is the Electrolux cheaper, but it comes with bottle washer jets, stemware clips, and a dizzying nine cycles to choose from.
Still, we've got to hand it to KitchenAid for some true innovation, and we look forward to testing more products that feature ProFilter.
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