The front of the is plain and simple with a rounded, screw-on handle and a small Maytag logo.

The stainless steel finish is robust and should offer considerable durability, although it easily collects fingerprints.

The control panel is located at the top of the dishwasher door. The push-button setup features indicator lights beneath each selection, a status display (Wash, Dry, Clean, and Sanitized), and the standard Start/Cancel buttons.

Controls 1 Photo

The MDB8959SAS control panel.

Controls 2 Photo

The MDB8959SAS control panel.

The stainless steel wash tub serves both design and function, as it looks nice and helps expedite the drying process. The nylon dish racks also complement the reflective interior.

Front Open Photo

The MDB8959SAS with door open.

We were a bit frustrated by the rack layout, as its slippery nylon coating and lack of flexibility made larger dishes somewhat of a challenge to load. But the adjustable height levers certainly helped alleviate this concern. Beyond that, the design was tasteful and appropriate.

Top Rack Photo

The top rack of the MDB8959SAS.

Although the bottom rack is made from the same material as the top rack, it was a bit easier to use. The tines are equally spaced and allow for considerable maneuverability.

Bottom Rack Photo

The bottom rack of the MDB8959SAS.

The cutlery basket(s) is actually a series of three removable baskets, each of which includes a detachable lid with utensil holders. It’s the idealization of cutlery flexibility.

Cutlery Basket Photo

The MDB8959SAS cutlery basket.

While the Quick Wash consumed a paltry 0.29 kWh per cycle, the Normal and Jet Clean cycles used considerably more—1.10 and 1.40 kWh, respectively. This made for an electricity cost of just 3 cents per Quick Wash, but a whopping 11 to 14 cents on Normal and Jet Clean.

Conversion Chart 1

There wasn’t a single cycle that didn’t consume a considerable amount of water, and there isn’t even an Eco-Wash option! Between the Quick Wash, Normal, and Jet Clean cycles, the MDB8959SAS consumed 6.48, 7.10, and 12.42 gallons of hot water, respectively. Even the Light wash required a large volume of water (6.76 gallons). These figures make for an average water cost of 6 to 12 cents per wash.

Running the will cost you between 12 and 32 cents per wash, depending on the chosen cycle. That’s a large amount by any standard. Using the Normal wash 50 percent of the time, this averages out to a yearly operating cost of $44.88, making it one of the most inefficient dishwashers we’ve tested.

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Good cleaning power usually takes time, and seemed to understand that in building this dishwasher. While the Quick Wash was indeed quick (very quick) at just 35 minutes, the Normal and Jet Clean cycles took 162 and 205 minutes, respectively. The Light wash was also pretty slow at 103 minutes. While duration is not much of a deal-breaker for most consumers, it’s definitely worth considering, especially for the $900 price tag.

Conversion Chart 2

While the Quick Wash was just decent, the Normal and Jet Clean cycles were among the most impressive wash performances we’ve ever tested.

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Compared with other quick cycles, the Quick Wash was average at best, but compared to the machine's other cycles it was bad to the point of being useless. It was inconsistent and ineffective in most of our stain tests, and it only reached a peak temperature of 132.9 degrees. It’s not even very efficient, so unless you’re in a major hurry and unwilling to wash dishes by hand, we don’t imagine you’ll be using this cycle very much.

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The Normal wash, on the other hand, was extremely impressive. Our first run saw a perfect score in 6 out of 8 of our stain tests (dried milk, tea, minced meat, baked egg, dried oatmeal, and margarine), and the second run saw perfection in three (minced meat, baked egg, and dried oatmeal). Even the tests that were not perfect received high scores, although there was some inconsistency in our spinach test (usually one of our toughest stains).

Normal Cycle

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The Jet Clean cycle was also very powerful, although less impressive due to the tougher nature of tests in this cycle. The minced meat, egg, and oatmeal tests were all near-perfect, and even our baked lasagna stain was almost completely cleaned. Our one complaint with this cycle had more to do with the ’s hardware; because the filter cannot be manually removed and cleaned, some of the larger food particles (pasta and burnt cheese remnants) got stuck. After some time this created a nasty smell that was pretty unbearable. Consumers can get around this by either rinsing their dishes thoroughly before loading them, or by getting down and dirty when cleaning the filter.

Pots & Pans Cycle

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The includes four main cycles (Quick Wash, Light, Normal, and Jet Clean), plus two extra cycle options (Auto Clean and Rinse Only).

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Some wash options can only be added to certain cycles, but the range of features makes the a highly customizable dishwasher. In addition to the standard delay and sanitize options, there is a wash intensity feature (“tough scrub”), a heated dry, an extra dry, and a high-temperature wash.

Controls 2 Photo

The MDB8959SAS control panel.

In addition to the above customization options, there's a delay feature that allows you to postpone the start of a wash by 2, 4, or 8 hours, and a control lock for keeping curious children at bay.

Controls 1 Photo

The MDB8959SAS control panel.

The received a standard capacity score, as we were able to fit 10 place settings and a serving setting. We imagine this will be more than enough for most consumers.

Top Rack

Capacity Top Rack Photo
Bottom Rack
Capacity Bottom Rack Photo

The ’s plastic wash arms are straight with eight spray nozzles on each arm. While they were sturdy enough, the filter was a source of some frustration. This filter is actually quite common among Whirlpool-built dishwashers (Whirlpool manufactures Maytag machines), but it’s difficult to work around. Most dishwashers feature detachable filtration systems that can be easily rinsed in your sink. But the fact that this filter is static made it difficult to clean.

Wash Arms 1 Photo

The MDB8959SAS wash arms.

Filter Photo

The MDB8959SAS filter.

The lower dish rack includes a removable unit that serves as an additional shelf for large or bulky dishes. While the rack itself cannot be adjusted, it’s spacious enough that you shouldn’t have trouble filling the machine to capacity.

Bottom Rack Photo

The bottom rack of the MDB8959SAS.

There's latch on either side for adjusting the height of the basket, and it's one of the most user-friendly adjusters we've come across. We imagine this would be very convenient in certain circumstances.

Top Rack Photo

The top rack of the MDB8959SAS.

The three-unit cutlery holder is extremely versatile, and its maneuverability allowed us to fit large loads in the bottom rack.

Cutlery Basket Photo

The MDB8959SAS cutlery basket.

There’s nothing special about the detergent dispenser (there rarely is), but the rinse aid meter is certainly convenient.

Detergent Dispenser Photo

The MDB8959SAS detergent dispenser.

As mentioned, the is only complicated if you’ve engaged a number of extra features—be it the timed delay, the “Touch Scrub” feature, the adjustable top rack or the add-on utensil holder.

The stainless steel interior makes for a pretty quiet machine, but the duration of some of the cycles is worth thinking about if you’re concerned about noise.

The push-button interface is as intuitive as it needs to be. There are quite a few buttons, which gives an overall cluttered look to it, but this is simply because the offers so many extra options.

Controls 1 Photo

The MDB8959SAS control panel.

Controls 2 Photo

The MDB8959SAS control panel.

We calculated that the costs about $44.88 per year to operate, making it one of the most inefficient dishwashers we’ve tested. Not only does it consume a lot of energy (1.10 kWh on the Normal wash), it soaks up a heck of a lot of hot water (7.1 gallons on the Normal and 12.42 gallons on the Jet Clean). Some consumers may not be concerned about their dishwasher’s impact on the environment or their utility bill, but it’s the main reason the didn’t score as highly as it should have.

One of the strongest performers we’ve tested, the Normal and Jet Clean cycles were perfect in some stain tests and pretty close in others. This is partly due to the high temperatures it reached (peak of 147 degrees on Normal, 156.9 on Jet Clean), but also the duration of each cycle; this machine takes its time. The Normal wash took 162 minutes to complete and the Jet Clean a whopping 205 minutes.

The includes a number of extra features. In addition to the two dry options (heated and “extra” intensity), there’s a “Tough Scrub” feature, a high temperature wash, a steam sanitize, a delay (2, 4, or 8 hours), a control lock, and a status display (wash, dry, clean, sanitized).

Meet the testers

Tyler Wells Lynch

Tyler Wells Lynch

Contributor

@tylerwellslynch

Tyler Wells Lynch is a freelance writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Vice, Wirecutter, Gizmodo, The Rumpus, Yes!, and the Huffington Post, among others. He lives in Maine.

See all of Tyler Wells Lynch's reviews

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