KitchenAid KUDE48FXSS Review
A pricey machine, the KitchenAid KUDE48FXSS will deliver on its promise, and look good doing it.
Many dishwashers can make washing dishes less of a chore, but it takes a real quality one to reduce it to a minor inconvenience. Of course, that quality usually comes at a premium, and the KitchenAid KUDE48FXSS is no exception. Retailing at $1249, we’ve put this pricey piece of machinery through the paces, and we were quite pleased by the results.
What more should you expect from a dishwasher whose price tag breaches quadruple digits? Aside from a superior cleaning performance, the KUDE48FXSS also features a wide range of cycles and wash options, very versatile racks and cutlery holder, and an attractive look that would compliment just about any kitchen. If you think of a dishwasher as a high-end steak, this one may just be the same top-grade tenderloin as some of its lower-priced KitchenAid cousins. But the KUDE48FXSS is served with side dishes by a tuxedoed waiter.
Design & Usability
Premium price means you're getting a premium cut.
Inside and out, the KUDE48FXSS looks almost exactly like another dishwasher we’ve tested and reviewed: the KitchenAid KUDE20FBSS. For all intents and purposes, the KUDE48FXSS is an upgrade of the KUDE20FBSS, and costs 25 percent more. One of the features that stood out on both machines is the little light in the upper right corner of the front door. It changes colors depending on what stage of a wash cycle it’s currently at, letting you tell from a distance if the dishwasher is washing, drying, or done. Mounted along the top of the door is a touch-activated control panel with soft, blue indicator lights.
When you open the KUDE48FXSS’s door, the differences between the two machines are obvious. Both of the racks on the KUDE48FXSS have two rows of collapsible tines, allowing you to fit just about anything. At the front of the lower rack is a small, detachable basket that’s suited for holding serving utensils. This is in addition to the cutlery basket, which is also highly adjustable. Hidden in the back of its stainless steel interior are the nozzles for the KUDE48FXSS’s high intensity jet sprays. Finally, a third wash arm at the very top of the interior helps ensure that every mug and glass on the top rack gets a healthy splash of water.
While we were impressed by the KUDE48FXSS’s looks and its adjustability, it did have its drawbacks. The control panel suffers from the same problem as many of the other dishwashers that use a glossy, touch-sensitive interface: it’s a magnet for smudges and fingerprints. On a machine that looks so attractive, it’s a shame that it’s so easy to blemish the surface of the controls. Another inherent problem with touch controls instead of real buttons is that you have a good chance of accidentally engaging one of the controls while you’re closing the door. Thankfully, there is a control lock, and we recommend that you use it frequently.
Scalloped potatoes? Mixed vegetables? Grilled Brussels sprouts?
When it comes to features, the KUDE48FXSS is like a steak with all the sides. You have the usual Normal, 1-Hour Wash, and Heavy Duty Wash cycles, but there’s also a Light wash for china and crystal, and a Pro Wash cycle that lets the machine determine the optimal water and power use depending on soil levels.
Once you’ve chosen your cut and informed the waiter you'd like it medium rare, your choice of sides include a Hi-Temp Wash to raise the water temperature during the wash cycle, a Sanitizing Rinse to do the same for the rinse cycle, and a Pro-Scrub option to turn on the high-intensity jet sprays. Even on default settings, with none of the extra options enabled, we found that the KUDE48FXSS performed extremely well with our stains — a delicious iceberg wedge with bleu cheese dressing, if you will.
Leaves you full... of satisfaction.
We had high expectations for such an expensive dishwasher, and we weren’t disappointed, as the KUDE48FXSS performed well on all of our tests. The most noteworthy result came from the machine’s Normal cycle. It scored highly in every stain category, including removing lipstick, which is a test that even some of our highest-rated washers can't pass. Repeated Normal cycle tests delivered the same impressive results. One note: it took a long time—over two hours—to complete a cycle. But if you're washing dishes after dinner, like most people do, it shouldn't be a problem.
On the 1-Hour Wash and Heavy Wash cycles, the lipstick scores were much closer to average. The scores during these cycles were also very high, with most of the dishes coming out spotless. In other, less expensive machines, we’ve seen the problem of soil from one dish being washed off and then re-deposited onto another dish. Fortunately, that was not a problem here.
For those with expensive tastes.
Most people are understandably wary about paying more for something with the promise of greater quality. Thankfully, the KUDE48FXSS delivers on that promise. If you were wondering what sorts of features distinguish a higher-end, higher-priced dishwasher from the less expensive models, the KUDE48FXSS is a good example of what your extra dollars are paying for. With a good selection of wash options, extremely flexible racks, and an attractive shell, this machine shows that a dishwasher can do more than just wash dishes well. We’ve also found the KUDE48FXSS’s efficiency to be about average, so you’re not getting hammered in that area, either. If you're not convinced yet, head on over to the Science page to see the full results of our testing.
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