Efficient appliances don’t just minimize their impact on the environment; they are also less expensive to operate. For this reason, many consumers are looking for dishwashers that will help keep their water and energy bills down while also reducing their overall environmental impact.
Fortunately, manufacturers are listening. But consumers still need to pay heavy attention to price, reliability, capacity, and performance when researching these green products. If not balanced appropriately, efficiency really doesn’t mean much. So here is our list of some of the most environmentally friendly and efficient dishwashers on the market.
Let's start by explaining how we test for efficiency: First we measure the energy and water consumption for each of the three main cycles on a given dishwasher. Then we calculate a yearly operating cost based on the assumption that the Normal cycle will be used 50 percent of the time and the other cycles (Quick and Heavy, usually) 25 percent of the time each. For more precise details be sure to check out the full reviews of each product, and our How We Test page.
Asko D5434XXLS (MSRP: $1,149)
Sometimes, the best-performing dishwashers are extremely inefficient, as they simply use a whole lot of water to rinse away stains. Innovative manufacturers like Asko work around this by developing new methods of cleaning dishes without racking up utility bills.
We’ve placed the Asko D5434XXLS at the top of this list for its almost perfect balance of efficiency, performance, and price (not to mention design). Thanks to minimal water consumption, the D5434XXLS only costs about $24.22 per year to operate—well below most of the machines we’ve ever tested. But unlike other highly efficient machines, the D5434XXLS doesn’t make up for it by charging a boat load; you can find this machine for under $1,000. Oh, and it has incredible wash performance to boot.
Bosch Integra SHX98M09UC (MSRP: $1,649)
This Bosch Integra is extremely expensive, but it’s also the most efficient full-size dishwasher we’ve tested. We were so surprised by its efficiency performance that we actually ran the tests again. It’s true that the heaviest cycle (Super Auto Wash) showed average water and energy consumption, but the other two main cycles used so little water and energy that we almost couldn't believe it.
In all, we estimate that it'll cost you only $19.46 per year to run. That is by far the lowest cost we’ve ever recorded for a full-size machine. But, of course, it is one expensive dishwasher—not to mention, its performance was a bit inconsistent from cycle to cycle.
Whirlpool Gold WDF750SAYM (MSRP: $749)
Winner of our "2012 Best Dishwasher for the Money" award, the Whirlpool Gold WDF750SAYM (which can be found online for around $600) is somewhat user-unfriendly and cheaply made. But the price—both retail and operating cost—makes up for its relatively few shortcomings. We calculated that the WDF750SAYM will run up your utility bill by about $27.61 per year.
Furthermore, the performance is both reliable and effective. We also really liked the design, despite the front-door interface (which we usually dislike). But that’s subjective.
Whirlpool Gold WDT790SAYW (MSRP: $699)
By no means the prettiest machine we’ve tested, the WDT790SAYW is highly efficient and offers a range of wash options and customization features. Everything about this dishwasher is intuitive and easy to use, and it can be found for less than $600. The WDT790SAYW’s low energy consumption and highly efficiency Normal Cycle make for a yearly operating cost of roughly $27.40.
Smeg STA8614XU (MSRP $999)
Aside from its efficiency and brand name, the Smeg STA8614XU is a fairly run of the mill dishwasher. Interestingly, the STA8614XU's normal and quick cycles kept the scores high despite the wasteful heavy cycle (Extreme Wash). In all, you can expect the STA8614XU to cost you about $27.59 per year. That’s on top of the heavy price tag and so-so performance, which is why this machine is at the bottom of our list.