Sure, it has a few nice cycles, but nothing that makes up for that huge price difference over similar machines—including a few other KitchenAid models—that cost significantly less and do a much better job. And worse, the spending doesn't stop when you install it, as this is a relatively inefficient machine.

Back in black (or white), but stainless adds $150

The KUDE60FXBL has the look and feel of a high-end dishwasher. The controls are all located on the top of the door. This means that, for most kitchen worktops, the buttons will be hidden out of sight under the edge of the counter. Be careful—we found that the buttons were fairly sensitive, so you may accidentally trigger a wash when you close the door.

There's no hard food disposer, either—just a washable filter.

Inside, there's a stainless interior to speed up drying and keep washes quiet. There's a third, upper rack for cutlery—good for cleaning lots of serving spoons and steak knives, but it cuts into the headroom of the second rack, making it harder to wash wine glasses and other tall items. All in all, we could only fit nine full place settings in there. There's no hard food disposer, either—just a washable filter. That means quieter operation, but you will have to clean it out or risk redeposits of dirty food particles floating around your "clean" dishes.

Lots of options for customizing a cycle

First and foremost is the ProWash Cycle, which uses sensors in the water to determine when the dishes are clean (and, as such, when to stop running). A Top Rack Only feature uses less water by only washing the top portion, if you don’t need a full wash. Other options allow you to add extra rinses to the cycle, such as the Hi-Temp scrub (which increases the temperature of the main wash water) and the Sani Rinse, which heats the water for both the wash and the final rinse, to sterilize dishes.

The Sani Rinse heats the water to sterilize dishes.

The only issue here is the limited delay: with a fixed four hour delay, this dishwasher is not as flexible as some that let you schedule the wash at a more convenient time, or which save money by using cheaper electricity.

It'll do an OK job of cleaning your dishes, but it'll do an even better job of cleaning out your wallet.

The "1-Hour" Quick cycle offered rather disappointing results.

The KitchenAid Superba offers a range of cycles that run for very different lengths, from the appropriately named 1-Hour cycle to the ProWash mode, which takes a rather long three hours and 14 minutes. When it came down to it, we found a mix of performance results between the various cycles. Having tested other Whirlpool-built machines with a similar feature, we weren't surprised that the "1-Hour" Quick cycle offered rather disappointing results. At least the Normal and ProWash modes provided plenty of cleaning power.

We were shocked to see how much water this machine consumed for a standard load of dishes, though. On average, a year's worth of water and electricity for this dishwasher would cost a household $47.45. That's about $20 a year more than some machines we've tested.

A high-end price for low-end performance

Many dishwashers offer the same results at a lower cost.

The KitchenAid Superba EQ KUDE60FXBL performed acceptably well in all of our tests. It was especially easy to load and did a fine job cleaning dishes on all cycles other than the limited quick wash. However, with a selling price north of $1400 and high water and energy consumption, many dishwashers offer the same results at a lower cost. Move on.

We put standardized stains on regulation dishes for all our dishwashing tests. This KitchenAid did an OK job—but others perform better and cost significantly less.

We found okay cleaning on all but the 1-Hour Wash Cycle.

The quick cycle on this washer is called the 1-Hour Wash, but it only lives up to the first part of its name. Its cleaning performance was somewhat disappointing, with significant amounts of food remaining on our test dishes, and some food even transferring from one dish to another. The 1-Hour Wash did clean the tea from our test tea cups and saucers, though, and removed dried oatmeal from our dishes as well. But we would only recommend it for use with very lightly stained dishes: anything heavier than a slight stain may not be removed.

The Normal cycle is designed for everyday use and mixed loads of dishes; we found that this dishwasher did a very good job here, removing most of our stains. The tea, oatmeal and meat stains, in particular, were completely removed on all of our test dishes, but it struggled with the lipstick on the rim of a teacup and the more persistent egg stains on cutlery.

To try the ultimate cleaning power of the washer, we put burnt sugar, cheese and the remains of a failed lasagna experiment onto a number of test dishes and bowls. We used the ProWash cycle for this test, and we found that it did a very fine job, removing the majority of our stains and leaving most of our dishes spotless. However, it struggled with the lasagna, leaving a few very small spots of burnt pasta sauce on the lasagna dish.

This appliance is not very efficient at all.

We found that this washer used between 0.32 kWh for the 1-Hour Wash and just over two kWh for the ProWash cycle. That's more than other machines we've tested.

The more powerful cycles also used a lot of water, with 7.24 gallons of hot water used for the ProWash cycle, and 6.2 gallons for the 1-Hour wash. Basically, the more powerful cleaning modes are significantly more expensive to use, both generally and when compared to the competition.

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Richard Baguley

Richard Baguley

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