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Saturday, June 25th
Long ago, Josephine Cochrane patented what became the first dishwasher and originally sold it to restaurants and high-class hotels. In 1949, KitchenAid's dishwashers made their way into homes. Although there are many elite options on dishwashers today, much of the old design is still the basis for KitchenAid's present-day models. In the 2010s, KitchenAid had fallen out of popularity when European brands came to the US, offering quietness and innovation. In response, though, KitchenAid has bumped up their game to be better and more competitive, but not as much as other American brands.
KitchenAid can run from 44 decibels (dBA), equivalent to a quiet conversation, to 39 decibels, which is whisper quiet. It's best to choose a dishwasher below 50 decibels, as 50 is as loud as a conversation, and no one wants their conversation to compete with a running dishwasher. You won't have a noise problem with KitchenAid like you might with other brands.
This feature was initiated by the European companies, and KitchenAid has been forward-thinking to put it in all of their dishwashers, from the starters to the most loaded with features. Condensation drying removes the heating element from the interior of the tub. This is key because if a plastic piece were to fall during a cycle, it can't burn onto the heating element, leaving tough residue and stinking up the house.
No more soaking and pre-washing your dishes with 40 jets that remove the stuck-on food. Although this feature sounds ideal, there are other dishwashers that boast 120 jets, so be sure to choose wisely.
KitchenAid comes in various colors and materials, including stainless steel and a smudge proof panel. Most of the KitchenAid dishwashers come with a front panel that resists fingerprints, and that would include the black stainless door front. They call it their PrintShield Finish. There are models that are panel ready, meaning you can match your appliance to your cabinets, making it virtually unnoticeable. Be sure to let your kitchen designer know ahead of time to order a panel to fit the specs of your dishwasher model.
Stainless steel tubs
Many of this brand's dishwashers come with stainless steel tubs, and is the best option for longevity of the interior of the tub as it resists rust and deterioration over the lesser, plastic tub option. Stainless steel tubs also resist stains and odors.
The rows of adjustable pins can fold down for larger, bulkier dishes and cookware on the bottom rack. They also relieve the pressure of these heavy items on the standard, stationary tines.
While most dishwashers can hold between 10 and 14 place settings, KitchenAid can hold up to 16 place settings. This is key for a large family or dinner party, where you would rather clean in one load instead of leaving gross dishes with dried-on food for the next cycle. Nor should you have to hand wash very often, since your KitchenAid dishwasher can handle more than your previous appliance could.
Some of the models include a handy third rack. It slides in conveniently above the top rack and gently lines up your silverware, takes on long, or oddly-shaped utensils such as tongs, or can hold small lids or other items that might otherwise slip through the spaces. Their FreeFlex third rack is unique in that you can raise and lower it, and can even fit a pint glass on it. However, realize that the more you lower that top rack, the rack below it has less room.
This feature helps prolong the life of the appliance. Each model has a screen filter, a coarse filter, and a microfilter. Food can be removed from the water and not stick back on to dishes. The filters also help to not clog the drain, which could be an expensive fix.
A little bulky
It's great that these dishwashers hold so many dishes, but the downfall is that the door protrudes a bit far, not being flush with the cabinets. It can be an eyesore or people can bump into the door while passing by. Standard dishwashers are 24" deep, but KitchenAid's are 24.5" or 24.75" , which we think is too deep. Note that this is the depth without the handle. If you choose a pocket handle, this should still be your depth. If you choose a bar handle, that will add even more exterior bulk to your appliance. Be sure to carefully measure your space before purchasing any dishwasher to make sure it fits in the space and to see how flush it is with any nearby cabinetry.
Limited front panel styles
There are only about three different styles that KitchenAid offers. They start with the models with visible controls, then go up to a few choices of raised handles, followed by more door panel options including color and style. If you like to keep it simple, choose KitchenAid. If you like to have several features at your fingertips, a different brand might be for you.
For KitchenAid's most basic dishwashers, the controls are visible on the front panel. They do have adjustable racks, but they don't have multiple wash cycles to care for your varying washing and drying needs. These models will range between $700 and $1,600.
You will find a hidden control panel on the top of the door, so it's visible when the door is open and nice and sleek when closed. These models add washing cycle choices and still keep the adjustable racks. They range in price from $1,000 to $1,199.
They include a towel bar handle rather than a pocket handle. Also included is the third, adjustable rack, and they have a maximum of six wash cycle choices. These models can be priced up to $1,999.
No smart functions
If you're a techie or you like to use apps to control your appliances in your smart home or from a distance, KitchenAid can't help you out. At this time they don't have any smart features to control your appliance remotely.
Our favorite model
Of the KitchenAids, our favorite is the KDTM354DSS, which is an oldie but a goodie. It has Ultra-Fine Filtration for cleaner wash water, 40 spray jets, the Clean Water Wash System to continually remove food particles from wash water, it's easy to load, and has better drying capabilities.
There's a 2-year, limited warranty for materials and workmanship. The third- through fifth-year limited warranty covers certain components. See KitchenAid's warranty brochure for more details.
Nice features but lacking innovation
KitchenAid is a long-standing, reliable name in kitchen appliances. They fell a bit behind when the innovative European brands came to town. Other American brands have worked hard to compete in this area, but KitchenAid is just now beginning to up their game. That said, they do have nice features such as quietness and a large tub with more capacity along with good reliability ratings, but we believe you can get more bang for the buck with our more highly-rated dishwashers: less-protruding doors, far more than 40 cleaning jets, and several more current and helpful features to choose from.
Most of us don't think too much about our dishwasher. We load the dishes, it cleans, we empty. But when the dishes aren't coming out as clean as they should, it's taking more rinsing to get all the food off, you're drying your dishes by hand because the machine doesn't, or if the coating on the tines is chipping off, you might start thinking about replacing your appliance for one that holds up and maybe has some nice features that you deserve.
Did you know there are three types of dishwashers? There's built-in, countertop, and drawer. Built-in dishwashers are the traditional dishwashers most of us have had in our homes. They are full-sized or even narrow and apartment-sized, and are slid in below the counter. Counter-top dishwashers can be found in Europe and are just that - they are small and fit on the counter. The drawer models are shallow and fit below the counter. Because they are the most common type, we will look at only the built-in models.
Think about what you want in your new appliance. You'll obviously want a dishwasher that does a good job of washing your dishes. There are a lot of fun features you can have, such as a third rack, lights, and smart capabilities, but if the machine doesn't do a good job of actually washing your dishes, what's the point of any of the bells and whistles?
So once you choose a brand that you like, you can select your wish list features such as the third, top rack; a quick-wash cycle; a delay start; self-cleaning filters - yes, you should know if you need to clean your filters for maintenance, which is typical; food pulverizers; interior components made of stainless steel to promote longevity; child locks; sanitizer settings; sustainable materials; special jets under the silverware caddy; and smart capabilities, so you can control the dishwasher from your phone or smart home system.
And that's just the beginning. Here are several other criteria to keep in mind as you shop for your new kitchen appliance:
To help you make this important purchasing decision, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated today's most popular dishwasher brands. If you're done spending too much time pre-washing your dishes, continually re-arranging them because the rack and tine design is poor, drying them after the dishwasher supposedly dried them, or re-washing after the clumps of old food just don't come off after a full cycle, do consider a new dishwasher. You can save a lot of time by not pre-washing, post-washing, and drying. And with all that extra time, you could relax reading a book or watching your favorite show while a super quiet dishwasher does all the work while making virtually no noise.
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