Solid Normal cycle
What you get
The WDF520 is entering its sixth year of production, and in all that time it has remained a top seller. It's easy to see why: This model is one of the most affordable stainless steel dishwashers in the game, and it's good. If you're looking to outfit a rental or your own kitchen in all stainless, this Whirlpool should be on your radar.
Moving onto the inside, the WDF520PADM is just like every other entry-level dishwasher. The unmovable tines can hold up to 14 place settings. In order to fit that much, you have to hang the cutlery basket on the door. While that saves space, larger plates can block the spray, keeping your utensils from getting clean.
During testing, our testing results showed that the WDF520PADM did fine with meat and egg stains, but struggled when it came to spinach. It's not a deal breaker–most dishwashers struggle with caked on spinach.
Perhaps if the WDF520PADM spent more time cleaning it'd be able to tackle tougher stains. However, speed can be a virtue, and cycles on this dishwasher tended to be on the shorter side. We clocked the Normal cycle at two hours and eight minutes, and the Heavy cycle averaged around three hours. The average dishwasher takes about two and half to three hours for a Normal cycle.
Is the WDF520PADM a good choice?
Dishwashers share a lot of similarities with omelettes. You can doll up an omelette with all the meats and veggies you want, but if the eggs aren't cooked well, the whole thing is a failure. Should your dishes not come out clean, no amount third racks and special cycles can redeem a dishwasher.
While the WDF520PADM does an adequate job cleaning off dishes, pans, and glasses, there are other dishwashers in its price range that do a better job:
• Amana ADB1400AGS: For around $50 cheaper, you get the same stainless steel exterior, slightly better cleaning performance, but space for only 12 place settings.
• Whirlpool WDF330PAHW: For $20 more, this model offers better cleaning performance, especially against baked-on stains. However, the cost-effective model is only in white. You have an additional $100 to get the 330 in stainless.
• GE GDF610PGJWW: If you're interesting getting the best dishwasher under $500, this is it. It has room for 16 place settings and is the most powerful dishwasher in this price bracket.
You could do worse than the Whirlpool WDF520PADM. It's tough to beat that $350 price, especially with that stainless exterior. There are dishwashers that clean better and can fit more place settings, but they all cost more.
Meet the testers
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Kyle Hamilton is a product tester at Reviewed, specializing in home appliances and technology.
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email