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Stainless steel is as popular as ever. With a sleek modern appearance, it’s a natural choice for appliances, giving any kitchen a timeless, elegant appeal. The refrigerator may get all the glory in kitchen design, but a stainless steel dishwasher is just as important.
But looks aren’t everything. A stainless finish usually costs more than black or white, so you’ll want to ensure that the dishwasher you choose has great cleaning power and dries the dishes well.
Why stainless steel dishwashers are a better choice
A stainless steel dishwasher isn’t just sleeker—it’s quieter. A stainless interior holds back dishwashing noise much better than plastic. That’s essential when you want to have conversations in the kitchen, and is especially important for homes with an open floor plan. The sound of a dishwasher should never overpower the volume of the TV.
In addition to being quieter, stainless steel models offer other advantages. Stainless dishwashers can give you cleaner and more sanitary dishes because they can deal with higher water temperatures. A stainless interior gets hotter than a plastic interior, which can give dishes a better chance at drying.
How and why we test all dishwashers
All the dishwashers that come into Reviewed’s labs go through the same testing process, where we evaluate performance, features, and usability.
We smear dishes with food stains that include milk, spinach, egg, oatmeal, meat, and more. Then we load them and run them through the three major cycles on a dishwasher (Quick, Heavy, and Normal). We evaluate the amount of stain removed from each dish.
Redeposit is what happens when a dishwasher removes food particles from some dishes that get stuck on other dishes. We give a higher score to dishwashers with little or no redeposit.
Number of dirty dishes
After a dishwasher cycle completes, we count the number of dishes that are not 100% clean.
Shorter cycle times are far more convenient, especially when it takes more than one load to clean the dishes after a holiday meal.
It’s reasonable to expect a dishwasher to be able to produce dry dishes that you can put on the table as soon as you unload them. Many dishwashers fail, especially on plastics. We penalize a dishwasher for each dish that comes out wet.
Every dishwasher is also evaluated on its specific features. A third rack makes excellent use of real estate inside the machine.
The main cycles, Normal, Heavy, and Quick, are essential, but a Sanitize cycle can be useful if there’s a baby in the home or when someone in the family is ill. Frequent hosts might look for a dishwasher with stemware holders and a Delicate cycle to clean wine glasses.
Everyone’s needs are different, so you should decide before you shop which features are most important to you. The dishwashers that do best in our tests have the shortest cycles, do a stellar job removing food stains, and dry the dishes well.
Which stainless steel dishwasher should I buy?
After we tested dozens of stainless steel dishwashers in our labs, these models rose to the top of our list.
Bosch 800 Series SHPM98W75N (2017)
The Bosch 800 Series dishwashers are the best we’ve ever tested. They look sleek, get dishes sparkling clean, dry them well, and operate quietly. The 800 Series dishwashers have six wash cycles, along with desirable features.
Some of our favorites include touch controls, a third rack for silverware, a detergent dispenser made for detergent pods, and a running light that shines on the floor while a cycle runs. That’s a useful feature because these dishwashers operate so quietly, you might accidentally open the door while it’s running.
Bosch 500 Series SHPM65W55N
Bosch’s 500 Series dishwashers perform almost perfectly, quietly cleaning dishes to a sparkling finish and drying them well. Each SHPM65W55N dishwasher rocks a smooth-gliding third rack, an extra drying option, and a Quick cycle.
Bosch 300 Series SHXM63WS5N
With a smooth, sleek exterior, quiet operation, and excellent stain removal on each of the main cycles, this dishwasher is a great value. It offers five cycles, a standard third rack, and solid drying performance.
With top-notch cleaning performance, near-perfect drying, minimal redeposit, and a third rack that holds silverware, ladles, and whisks, this dishwasher is outstanding. The speedy cycles, futuristic control panel, and fingerprint-resistant exterior save time and keep the kitchen looking its best.
This dishwasher has a handsome look with a unique integrated handle, but the best part is behind the door. Quiet, efficient, and boasting a terrific cleaning performance, the LG leaves dishes spotless. Its Heavy Cycle removed 100% of stains on every dish with no redeposit. This model is feature-filled and well-priced.
Customization is this dishwasher’s strong suit. With adjustable racks, two spray zones for partial loads, seven cycles, and a number of temperature and drying settings, this dishwasher permits you to choose the options that work best for your dishes. The Heavy cycle is better at cleaning than the Normal or Quick cycles, but since it is somewhat slow, it may be best to run it at night.
Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N (2019)
Rocking Bosch’s trademark good looks, very quiet operation, and effective cleaning, this new model contains zeolite, a mineral that ensures dry dishes. This Bosch removes the toughest stains, though you may see a small amount of redeposit occasionally.
Bosch Benchmark SHE89PW55N
Bosch Benchmark series dishwashers are made in Germany to exacting standards. The SHE89PW55N is the quietest Bosch dishwasher we’ve tested and its performance is a marvel on the Normal, Quick, and Heavy cycles. Priced for those who appreciate the finer things, dishwashers in the Benchmark series deliver LCD touchscreens, telescoping racks, a deep third rack, and bright lighting.
An attractive model that cleans as well as it looks, this model provides nine different cycles and offers a high temp setting, a stemware cycle, and Eco wash. The 30-minute Fast cycle lets you wash lightly-soiled dishes quickly but if you’re in no hurry and you have to clean really dirty dishes, the much slower Heavy cycle is the one to use.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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