The only feature keeping us from declaring this dishwasher a model fit only for landlords is its stainless steel door, but the plastic interior and control panel still cheapen the overall look and feel.
It's hard to criticize an appliance that can be found on sale for under $300, because it's certainly better than nothing. But if you buy the WDF310PAAS, you may find yourself wishing you dropped the extra $100 on a different machine, especially if you're interested in a Sanitize option or foldable tines.
All cycles we tested showed at least some signs of redeposit. The 1-Hr Wash cycle had it the worst, but the effect was barely noticeable on Heavy. Redeposit aside, it was rare for any dish to come out of the WDF310PAAS completely clean. Small amounts of every food stain we loaded would be left behind after a run of any of the three cycles.
The Heavy cycle’s performance was of particular note. Although it handled the more common stains like milk, egg, and meat almost perfectly, it could not handle the actual heavy duty stains. Burnt sugar, burnt cheese, and baked-on lasagna all scored lower than we would’ve liked.
The 1-Hr Wash finished in an hour, as promised. Although it did poorly with milk and oatmeal, it handled lighter stains very well. We can see this being a perfect way to refresh some wine glasses when you’re hosting a party, or otherwise need some dishes cleaned quickly.
About as flexible as a brick
When we say basic, we really mean it. Other than a stainless steel door, the WDF310PAAS is made entirely of plastic. That means very poor noise insulation, so folks living in a small apartment might not want to run this bad boy at bed time.
The racks provided enough space to fit ten of our standardized place settings and a serving setting, but we don't suspect everyone’s loads are going to be so neatly-curated. Due to the WDF310PAAS’s lack of any adjustable tines, users will likely have problems finding spots for oddly-shaped or large items.
Even worse is the cutlery basket, which is devoid of silverware slots. Without slots to keep cutlery apart, your eating utensils might stick together and not get as clean as you'd like. The basket also takes up quite a bit of real estate on the bottom rack, leaving even less space for large items.
At this price, a quick cycle is a luxury
The WDF310PAAS features only the three most common dishwasher cycles: Normal, Heavy, and 1-Hr Wash. This shouldn’t be surprising for a budget machine; some lower-end dishwashers don’t offer a fast cycle at all.
Customization options include High Temp to boost the temperature of the wash, Heat Dry to dry dishes using an exposed heating element, and 4-Hr Delay, which postpones the start of the wash. A handy lock mechanism prevents accidental inputs, which is especially important on dishwashers with front-facing controls.
The WDF310PAAS is also loud. Run a cycle, and your kitchen will be filled with swooshing and whooshing sounds. Whirlpool rates it at 59 dBa—which is significantly louder than many dishwashers that cost just a few dollars more.
The WDF310PAAS’s water and energy consumption are about on par with other dishwashers, with a slightly higher-than-average annual cost of $30.62 a year. 1-Hr Wash used 0.51 kWh of power and 5.94 gallons of hot water, Normal used 0.76 kWh and 3.13 gallons, and Heavy used 0.99 kWh and a hefty 7.68 gallons.
We calculated annual cost based on most Americans’ dishwasher usage habits, where Normal is used for most washes and Heavy and 1-Hr Wash are used infrequently.
Your dishes won't exactly sparkle
While the WDF310PAAS didn’t completely flunk all our stain tests, its performance was certainly less than stellar. Even on stains that this dishwasher tried its best with, there would still be visible remnants of food left behind. That's not to say this machine won’t clean your dishes—we’ve just seen other machines do far better, including models that don't cost too much more.
There were noticeable bits of spinach spread among the items in the lower rack at the end of every test, pointing to an imperfect water filtration system. This is a phenomenon known as redeposit, and we weren't surprised to encounter it here; even some of the more expensive dishwashers run into this problem to some degree.
The Heavy cycle on the WDF310PAAS showed us fewer instances of redeposit than its other two cycles, but it didn't do a great job with our burnt cheese, burnt sugar, or baked-on lasagna tests—the kinds of stains you might find left over on pots and pans after cooking a hearty meal.
As for efficiency and speed, the WDF310PAAS is average in both regards. 1-Hr Wash finishes in exactly one hour, while Normal and Heavy each take close to two and three hours, respectively. Water and energy costs are estimated to be around $30.62 a year. Most dishwashers currently on the market will run you about $29-30.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
We were able to fit ten place settings and a serving setting inside the WDF310PAAS. Our biggest complaint about this dishwasher’s interior is the long, obstructive cutlery basket taking up space on the lower rack. Combine that with the lack of unadjustable tines and you’re going to have a rough time loading any oddly shaped novelty dishes.
Looks like a bargain, but know what to expect
At the end of the day, the WDF310PAAS will clean your dishes. If you’re looking to spend as little as possible for an appliance that accomplishes that one task, this machine will do. In fact, this dishwasher makes perfect sense if you’re a landlord planning to outfit multiple kitchens in an apartment complex.
However, spending a little more can make a huge difference. Inflexible racks and the lack of a Sanitize option really limit the kinds of items you can wash. For example, the similarly-priced Kenmore 15113 offers Sanitize, did a better job cleaning, and its cutlery basket has slots to keep your silverware separated. Given how close the Kenmore is to this Whirlpool in terms of cost, there’s little reason not to grab the clearly superior model.
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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