Unfortunately, it doesn't clean as well as some of its similarly-priced competitors from Electrolux and Bosch, among others. That's something no amount of specialized cycles or customization options can really make up for.
Redeposit was a common problem across all the WDT920SADM’s cycles. The quicker the cycle, the greater the redeposit. On the Normal cycle, we even found pieces of spinach on items loaded on the upper rack, far away from the bowls where they originated.
Tea is an easy stain for many dishwashers to handle, but we found noticeable brown rings in our mugs after some cycles. Also, meat proved a particularly difficult challenge for the WDT920SADM, with visible chunks of protein left on our plates after both Normal and 1-Hour runs. Only the Heavy cycle managed an acceptable 99.94% score with meat stains.
The Heavy cycle failed in other areas, though. This cycle only managed an average score of 87.71% with burnt cheese, and it left some lasagna and burnt sugar stains behind, as well. Although this cycle had the fewest instances of redeposit, there was still enough to drag down the score.
An attractive shell with many moving parts inside
The Whirlpool's stainless interior not only gives this machine a sense of style, but it also serves as good noise insulation and speeds up the drying process. The hidden control panel on the top of the door features bright blue indicator lights and a convenient digital timer display. There's also a small LED above the handlebar that lets you know if the dishwasher is active or idle.
This dishwasher’s cutlery basket can hang on the door or rest in the lower rack, freeing up more space for larger plates, pots, and pans. The basket's front swings open for easy silverware extraction, while fold-down slots keep your eating utensils separated during the wash.
Foldable tines on both racks, a pair of cup shelves on the top rack, and an easy-to-use height adjustment mechanism mean items of all shapes and sizes can find a home inside the WDT920SADM. We were able to comfortably fit eleven of our standardized place settings and a serving setting inside at one time.
Some unfamiliar faces
While the WDT920SADM has the usual Normal, Heavy, and 1-Hour Wash cycles, it’s also equipped with a Sensor wash, as well as Soak & Clean. The former uses internal sensors to calculate just how many wash and rinse cycles a load needs by detecting how dirty your dishes are.
Soak & Clean—which takes over seven hours—is meant to tackle the kind of tough, dried-on stains that even a Heavy wash can't handle. By constantly running water over the dishes before cleaning them—essentially adding a super long prewash—it's designed to save you from having to soak items overnight in the sink, only to load them into the dishwasher the next morning.
A small smattering of useful wash options round out the WDT920SADM’s list of features. Sani Rinse and Hi Temp Wash boost the water temperature of the final rinse and the wash cycle, respectively. Target Clean activates high-intensity spray jets located at the back of the tub. Heat Dry, which is on by default for most cycles, adds about 30 minutes of drying with the dishwasher’s exposed heating element.
The WDT920SADM uses more water and energy than the average dishwasher, leading to an estimated annual cost of $31.24 a year. The Normal Wash uses 0.78 kWh of power and 3.01 gallons of water, which is reasonable. However, the Heavy cycle and 1-Hour Wash bring efficiency way down. Heavy uses 0.86 kWh of energy and a whopping 8.14 gallons of water, while 1-Hour Wash uses 0.40 kWh and 8.05 gallons.
A less than thorough cleaning
Across all the cycles we tested on the WDT920SADM, there was a noticeable redeposit problem. Usually the result of poor filtration, this is when food particles from one dish get spread to another during the wash. During our testing, we often found flecks of spinach on each dish—even on mugs and glasses loaded on the top rack far from where the spinach originated.
Redeposit issue aside, the WDT920SADM still failed to clean other stains perfectly. Scores for leftover meat bits—a very common food stain—weren’t particularly great, and even tea remained at the end of some the cycles. Also, the Heavy cycle couldn’t handle the burnt cheese test on its default setting. The dishwasher’s optional Target Clean feature should help improve the results, but may increase water usage.
In addition, the WDT920SADM isn’t particularly speedy. Other than the 1-Hour Wash—which, unsurprisingly, took an hour—the rest of the cycles last well over two hours. With an estimated annual expense of $31.24 a year, this dishwasher isn't outstanding when it comes to water and energy use.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Perhaps its one saving grace, the WDT920SADM’s interior is filled to the brim with moving parts that make loading dishes a breeze. There’s a height adjustment mechanism for the upper rack, a flexible cutlery basket that lives on the door instead of the lower rack, and plenty of folding tines all around. We were able to fit eleven place settings and a serving setting inside without any hassle.
Great features, but performance lags behind
It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you put on a dishwasher. At the end of the day, it should be able to clean your dishes. Even though you can find the WDT920SADM on sale for as low as $714.60, there are other machines at or below this price that will serve you better.
Take, for example, the Electrolux EI24ID30QS, which you can usually find for around $700. It has even more cycles, features, and cleaning power compared to the Whirlpool. Alternatively, the Bosch SHX4AT75UC is an efficient option, and offers a great selection of customizable wash features.
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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