Based on a design used by Bosch, the Thermador Emerald DWHD440MFM is a relatively affordable dishwasher. Despite the intimidating MSRP, you can frequently find this gem on sale for $0. That's right: With Thermador's One-Two-Free promotion, a Thermador dishwasher comes free if you buy a suite of select other Thermador products.
That’s a good thing, too. Unlike Thermador's highest-end Topaz and Sapphire machines, which feature interior lights and unique cycles, the Emerald’s features aren’t very different from what you’d find on other consumer dishwashers in that price range. During our week testing it out in our labs, we found that it cleans about the same, too.
So, rest easy if you're getting a whole suite of Thermador appliances and the dishwasher is included in the package. Our science-based scoring shows that this dishwasher does a good job cleaning dishes, but it doesn’t fully capture what this Thermador excels at: Looking pretty, handling well, and generally upping your kitchen cred.
The Pots & Pans cycle is the Emerald’s strongest cycle. It removed every stain we threw at it, including the notoriously difficult burnt cheese. Redeposit was virtually undetectable, and the whole ordeal only took 2 hours and 11 minutes.
Normal wasn’t quite as strong. This is the cycle you’re expected to use most often, and from our tests, we found it to be very good at what it does. However, we spotted many instances of redeposit as well. To avoid this, your best bet would be to scrape some of the stickier, leafier stains off (no need to rinse) before loading them into the wash.
Finally, we have the Quick cycle, which really lives up to its name. Clocking in at just 36 minutes, this is a great way to get clean dishes in a pinch. Unfortunately, it did a poor job cleaning our dried-on, baked-on stains, and nothing save for the egg stains came out perfectly clean. It will do a fine job against light food stains that haven’t been sitting out too long, but not much else.
Sturdy, solid craftsmanship
The DWHD440MFM is stainless steel inside and out, with a thick, protruding handlebar and sturdy—yet flexible—racks. Its control panel rests above the door and features blue indicator lights and a timer display. This dishwasher’s front is blank, but it beams a blue light on the floor to let you know it’s running a cycle. Since it’s so quiet (the manufacturer rates it at 48 dBA), you might not be able to tell otherwise.
If nothing else, the Emerald feels like a well-crafted appliance. The door opens and closes easily, and even though it feels heavy, it can hold any position without fear of crashing to the floor or slamming shut on your fingers. The racks have that same sense of tank-like ruggedness. Perhaps as a result, they make for a slightly more stubborn glide, but you never get the feeling that they’ll hop off their tracks.
The upper rack has three height options, allowing you to fit tall items. Most dishwashers in the DWHD440MFM’s price range only have two heights, and some don’t let you adjust it at all. That’s about it for moving parts on this Thermador, though. However, we found the tine layouts on both racks allow for great flexibility, as there are plenty of spaces where items of different shapes and sizes could be comfortably stowed.
This dishwasher has a PowerBoost feature, which intensifies the cycle’s spray jets and raises the wash temperature. This is basically a way to go nuclear if you know you’re dealing with particularly nasty stains. And although there is no explicit Sanitize option, the Emerald’s heavy-duty Pots & Pans cycle will sanitize your dishes.
Thorough Pots & Pans cycle, spotty Normal one
This Thermador’s Normal cycle cleaned well enough, but it had a noticeable redeposit problem. While it wasn’t anything major, we could easily identify spinach flecks spread among items on the lower rack. Our test loads are very heavy, though, so the average user at home shouldn’t have to worry about this problem too much.
If the Normal cycle doesn’t get the job done, the DWHD440MFM’s Pots & Pans cycle surely will. This cycle obliterated almost every stain on our test, and most dishes came out dry and sparkling. It also finished in just a little over two hours, which makes it rather quick.
Notably, the Quick cycle actually lives up to its name and finishes in 36 minutes. Judging by the amount of soil it left behind on our tests, though, you might want to restrict its use to very light, very fresh stains.
Overall, cycles didn't use a lot of water (under 3 gallons!) and had no major issues getting dishes dry, either.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Test Results Page.
Most of the dishes we loaded came out bone dry after a Normal run, and the ones that weren’t only had a few droplets left. However, this only applied to the porcelain and metal items. The plastic ones we loaded were noticeably moister than the others.
Understandably, the drying performance dipped in the Quick cycle, but not too sharply. Although very few items came out completely dry, they were still fine to immediately eat off of or to stow away in a cupboard. Again, the plastic items fared worse, and they all needed to be towel-dried before putting them away.
If you need warranty or installation instructions, look it up in the Thermador DWHD440MFM User Manual. Unlike other machines in its price range, which only have a year warranty, this Thermador comes with a full two-year warranty, and a further 5-year warranty on parts.
Based on our readings, the DWHD440MFM’s estimated annual utility cost is close to average, at $31.62. The Normal cycle used a surprisingly low amount of water (Only 2.26 gallons!), but it also used 0.90 kWh of power, which is a bit on the high side. This is generally true for the other cycles: Water usage is minimum, but power consumption tended to be higher than average.
Never pay full retail.
In a sense, the Emerald lives up to its name. While no one complains about getting one as a gift, other gems shine brighter. The DWHD440MFM looks and feels great, has an average Normal cycle, and a powerful Pots & Pans cycle. It’s not overloaded with special features, and compares well with other mid-range machines.
It does not have the same perks of premium, $1,000+ machines, which usually includes specialized spray nozzles, a third rack, and more cycle customization options. In other words, the Emerald is no diamond, and you shouldn’t have to pay as much for one. That's why it frequently comes free with purchase of other Thermador products. If it comes as part of a package, you'll be very happy with what you get.
If you're actually planning to spend $1,299 on a dishwasher, however, you can buy other machines—like this GE Profile that are truly crown jewels of the kitchen.
Meet the tester
Johnny Yu writes news, features, and reviews for Reviewed.com. He graduated from U-Mass Boston with a Bachelor's in Social Psychology and spends much of his free time expanding his gaming horizons. Sometimes, he does his laundry at work.
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