Dishwashing Disappointments

By: Betty Sexton/Consumer Reports
By: Betty Sexton/Consumer Reports

A new dishwasher costs anywhere from $300 to more than
$1,300 But Consumer Reports tests of 33 dishwashers find some of the priciest aren't the best cleaners.

To test dishwashers, Consumer Reports dirties dishes precisely so each machine gets the same grimy load. Spoons are coated with sticky substances, such as oatmeal. Bowls get a dusting of bread crumbs on top of tomato sauce.

Then testers scrape the plates to get off loose food. The dirty dishes are loaded and left to sit overnight.

The dishes are washed on the normal cycle. Afterwards testers judge how well the dishwashers cleaned. While most machines did a very good job, some of the results were, well, spotty.

"There's oatmeal stuck to the bowl."

“This one has spinach on it. It didn't get cleaned at all."

Those dishes came from one of the most expensive dishwashers Consumer Reports just tested — this eleven hundred dollar Asko, (PRON: AS-coh) model D3250.

It was only fair at cleaning. And Consumer Reports' research shows Asko dishwashers have been more likely to need repairs than many others.

A new brand from China, called Haier (PRON: HI-er) was also included in the tests. It, too, wasn't great at getting dishes clean.

Most of the other dishwashers did a much better job. Consumer Reports named two Best Buys.

One is from Maytag, model number 5600. It was an excellent cleaner. It goes for 400 dollars.

And this less expensive Sears Kenmore was also an excellent cleaner. It's model number 1634 and costs 330 dollars.

Both are basic machines, but when it comes to dirty dishes, they really get the job done.

"This is a very clean glass, no water spots. Very clean."

Consumer Reports survey research has found both Kenmore and Maytag dishwashers have been fairly reliable.

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