A Bosch Ascenta dishwasher has ascended to the top of Consumer Reports’ new dishwasher Ratings and, at $700, has been named a CR Best Buy. Dishes were squeaky clean after we ran 10 place settings that had been scraped but not rinsed through its 95-minute cycle. It was also an energy miser and pretty quiet, a feature on which Bosch prides itself. But several other Bosch models in our tests were even quieter—as was a Kenmore Pro HE.
Noise and cycle time are important if your dishwasher is near where the family spends time relaxing, talking or watching television. A noisy dishwasher with a long cycle can be very annoying. Take the Frigidaire Professional FPHD2491K[F], for example. It has a three-hour cycle and scored only middling on noise and is not on our recommended list. But at $600 it was very good at washing dishes and easy to use.
The noisiest dishwasher in our Ratings was also the lowest rated—the Hotpoint HDA3600R. And the award for the longest cycle, if you can call it that, goes to the Asko D5893XXL, which takes 205 minutes to complete its task. But the $2,000 dishwasher scored very good in all categories including washing, noise, ease of use and energy use.
Attempts to save energy are one reason cycle times have gotten longer and longer as dishwasher manufacturers strive to cut down energy and water use to meet tougher Energy Star standards. As of this past January, models that qualify for Energy Star must be about 9 percent more energy-efficient, and use almost 27 percent less water, than before.
Most dishwashers come with a soil sensor that assesses the turbidity of the water (how clear or dirty it is) and adjusts settings accordingly. Adding options for higher temperatures or tougher scouring can make the cycle even longer. So before you do, try your machine on its most basic settings to see how clean it gets your dishes. You may be happy with the results and the money you save too.
—Mary H.J. Farrell