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Thermador Review

Saturday, June 25th

2022 Dishwasher Reviews

Thermador Review 4.5 Star Rating

Thermador

4.5 Star Rating
  • Floor light
  • Water softener
  • Third rack
  • Interior blue light

Thermador is a luxury brand that also carries the luxury price. They're still worth taking a look at as they have few complaints and offer unique features. Although their entry-level models have a heftier price tag, the quantity and quality of their included features makes even these models comparable to a mid-level or even high-level model of other brands, making the cost definitely worth it when all is considered.

Third rack standard

With Thermador dishwashers, even the entry level models have a top third rack included. Compare that with other brands' entry level options: it's either an add-on or not offered at all.

Star Speed

One Thermador feature we love is Star Speed, which uses hot water in cycles of 20 minutes. You can get great results in a shorter time, but this feature is available only in their Star Sapphire Series.

Water softener

You may notice spots on your dishes, glassware, or silverware after washing in your present dishwasher, and it might be embarrassing to use these pieces when company is at your house. A unique feature of Thermador is that some models include a water softener to offer spotless dishes every time, with no effort.

Floor light

Because their dishwashers are so quiet, Thermador adds a feature where a beam of light shining on the floor will let you know if the machine is running and it will also tell you the time remaining for the cycle.

Sens-A-Wash

Thermador can measure the cleanliness of each load and then adjust the wash cycle accordingly. Perhaps you only need a lighter wash with dishes that are less soiled. The machine senses it and adjusts the cycle.

Interior blue light

When the door is open, you can illuminate the tub to see into the back and know how much room is left; when unloading, you can easily see if there are remaining dishes on the rack. In the Star Sapphire Series, you have the option to illuminate with six different levels of lighting. Fancy!

Push to Open door

If your hands are full or messy, just press against the door to open it or to close it. Look, Ma, no hands! With this option, you can also choose to have no handle at all, using the push feature only, and allowing for a super sleek door front with no protruding handle and no unsightly pocket handle, either.

Smart features

Since the dishwashers are quiet, you can monitor the cycles with your smart device to know if the appliance is still running, which cycle it's in, and how much time is remaining. You can also receive a text when it's completely finished so you can unload.

Best Dishwashers

The Emerald Series

This series, which might be the entry level for Thermador, contains the features of the mid-range models of many brands. The Thermador price, however, is higher than many of the mid-range products of the other brands. The Emerald Series includes a top third rack, you can choose your handle, it's ready for a custom panel to match your kitchen cabinetry, and it runs quieter than the average standard dishwasher (52 decibels) at 48 decibels, which is quieter than many conversation levels. There are six choices of wash cycles plus five additional wash options.

Cost

  • Emerald Series: around $1,399
  • Topaz Series: around $1,799
  • Sapphire: around $2,299
  • Star Sapphire: around $2,799

The Topaz Series

The noise level of this series is 44 decibels, making it officially squeak into the quiet dishwasher label of the industry standards. There's a built-in water softener to eliminate water marks on glassware and other dishware, and we haven't seen this feature on any other brand. There are also foldable tines to better fit your individual pieces of glassware so they don't move.

The Sapphire Series

There's an interior blue light so you can easily view all of your dishware and glassware, even if the rack isn't pulled all the way out. The push door allows you to press on the door to open it or close it, especially if your hands are full. This is even quieter at 42 decibels. Their Star Dry with Zeo Light boasts to be one of the best drying systems on the market, and the zeo light has a mineral that facilitates this process. What's even better is that it takes no chemicals, so it's "clean" and there's no product to replace.

The Star Sapphire Series

For about $400 more than the Sapphire Series, this series offers a more flexible third rack, six adjustable lighting levels, and the added function of a 20-minute hot water cycle. The downside is that the noise level creeps up to 44. It's not a huge difference as it still stays officially in the quiet range.

Our favorite Thermador

Our best entry-level dishwasher is the Emerald Series, model DWHD650WFP. There are six cycles plus five options, the Sens-A-Wash option, and the quick-wash option. The Powerboost feature allows increased water pressure and a higher water temperature to attack any stubborn soil on your dishware. At 48 decibels, this is still a good noise level, even though it's not officially considered in the quiet range in the industry. There's a three-stage filtration system to discard sticky residues from coming back on the dishes. Wifi comes standard, and so does an adjustable upper rack, and a third rack. So you can see that Thermador's "entry level" dishwasher carries much more than what you might expect: it certainly delivers high end features.

1,2, Free

Thermador offers an option that if you are going to purchase an appliance set for your kitchen, the dishwasher would be the third piece, so they offer that free. Some have suggested offering this set even in a rental unit as the set together is quite high end for the renter, and you have the bonus of a free dishwasher.

Warranty

The warranty is good for 730 days from the date of purchase. Any manufacturer damage to the finish of the product is warrantied for 60 days after purchase date.

Downsides

There are a few things to mention here. Thermador is a little louder than its luxury counterparts. In addition, it dries the traditional way of using the moist, hot air with the drying cycle. They do have the Star Dry system which is more efficient at drying. More forward-thinking brands, however, will either have the door pop open for dry air to help the cycle, or will have a vent to allow outside air in to speed up the process. Also, Thermador isn't as accessible as other brands. Some stores, including big boxes, sell them, some don't, and some sell only a few models. You may have to look around to find Thermador models in person or to find a store that sells the one you think you'd like.

Great quality, a few drawbacks

Thermador offers a great American-made product. With only three series to choose from, making a selection is much easier. Each of the series includes advanced features that most brands would either have as options or only on their highest-end models, if at all. That said, you know that even at the entry level Thermador, you'll get a plethora of features, and the high price tag will reflect that. Complaints are few, and mainly have to do with the dry cycle and a bit with the noise. We don't see complaints about the machine breaking down. The price is higher than other brands, so make the choice that's best for your budget.

Which Brand of Dishwasher is the Best?

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.

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Dishwasher FAQ

Most homes have the space for a 24" dishwasher. Dishwashers come in 18" , a shorter below-counter model, or a countertop model, but they are quite rare in the US. The most standard color front panel these days is still stainless steel. Stainless looks nice and can blend nicely with other stainless appliances, regardless if your dishwasher is a different brand than your other appliances. Another common door is fingerprint-resistant stainless. It can be a slightly different sheen than traditional stainless, but is much easier to keep clean.
Dishwashers can run from $250 to $2,000. Your cost will vary, based on the brand, size, and features you select. Installation is another factor to consider with dishwashers. With big box stores, the install fee seems to be between $150 and $300, and includes the parts for the installation kit. It's wise to get a professional plumber's help with water hookup as you could pay dearly in flooring costs if there were a leak due to human error.
Entry-level machines may have an outdated front panel, may run loudly which could compete with the noise level of your conversations, have a limited number of tines to hold dishes in place, and a plastic tub which can rust more easily and radiate the noise from the sprayers. The higher-end dishwashers may offer interior lighting to see way back in the machine so you don't miss unloading any dishes, a smart feature so you can monitor and control the appliance from a distance or order detergent on a regular basis. They can feature more than 100 spray jets, jets that focus on specific glassware or specific pots and pans for a super clean load. They can feature grinding of leftover food so as not to clog your drain, soft water for a spotless finish even on plastic containers, and sprayers that change direction to get to every nook and cranny. These models may cost more, but the options may seem endless, and can have quite good user reviews.
Some brands have had complaints that their model can break within months. On the other hand, some can last more than ten years. Check the warranty of the brand you think you'll purchase. Most offer a one-year limited warranty with an extended warranty on some of the parts, up to usually five years. It's possible that your appliance has a ten-year warranty on some of the parts, so be sure to read our reviews for those details and also check for even more details from the manufacturer.
Most dishwashers will fit 14 place settings, which includes dishes, glasses, and silverware. Some dishwashers can hold 15 or 16 place settings, which is great for a large family or for parties so you're not waiting for one load to finish before you wash the rest of the place settings. Having a third rack and eliminating the silverware basket will add room to the bottom rack for more dishes or cookware.
The newer feature that's becoming more standard in dishwashers is the third rack. It's a shallow, top rack that fits silverware so you don't have to use the silverware basket. Or, keep your silverware basket and use the 3rd rack for long utensils like tongs, small plastic lids that might otherwise fit between the tines, small appetizer utensils that are hard to dig out of the silverware basket, or steak knives that might otherwise poke your hands if you wash them pointy-end up. Also, adjustable racks throughout the dishwasher make it easy to accommodate stemware, cooking pots, water bottles and more.
Some dishwashers can be barely audible, at below 40 decibels. These dishwashers usually include a smart feature so you can monitor and control the cycles from your smart device since you may not even hear the appliance at all. If your dishwasher has a 44 decibel rating or lower, it is considered by the industry to be a quiet dishwasher, so check for that. But, other dishwashers can be noisy and compete for your attention whether you're in a conversation, trying to watch your movie at a reasonable volume, or reading. The more inexpensive models may be at 50 decibels or higher, and we suggest avoiding those if you have an open-concept house where you for sure could hear the wash and rinse cycles.
Depending on the store you choose, delivery fees will vary. Our research finds that if you live within a reasonable distance from the store, the delivery could be free if the dishwasher costs $400 or higher. Since a majority of the dishwashers cost above $400, you can hope for free delivery. If your dishwasher is less than $400, you could pay $100 for delivery, so rather than spend your money on delivery, add the $100 or so to the price of the dishwasher to get more and better features plus free delivery.
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Continued from above...

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:

  • Average price range. You can spend anywhere between $250 and $2,000, depending on the brand and the features you're looking for. The less expensive, lower-end models may require you to rinse your dishes more, and the more costly, higher-end models can have smart features, meaning you can control the machine with your phone.
  • Installation. Be sure to ask if there's a fee for installation. Installation rates can vary, but expect an additional $200 for install.
  • Finishes, handles, and control panel visibility. Dishwashers, like most kitchen appliances, come in white, black, and stainless steel. There are two additional styles, which are finger-print resistant stainless steel and black stainless steel. The black stainless is a darker stainless, and the finger-print resistant looks like traditional stainless, but resists the dreaded finger prints. If you can be open to something besides stainless steel, white or black should save you a couple hundred dollars. If you choose the pocket handle over the bar handle, that could also save you some bucks. It's nice when the control panel hides when the door is shut. But if you don't mind looking at it, you can save yourself some money here, too.
  • Detergent. No matter what, use the right detergent. Using a poor quality dishwasher detergent, no matter the brand you choose, can make the best brands have poor quality output, due to no fault of the appliance. This is a simple, good decision everyone should make. Once you receive your new dishwasher, the manufacturer will probably recommend a detergent for optimum cleaning and drying results.
  • Noise. Most of us don't want to hear the dishwasher running its cycles as we are moving throughout the kitchen or resting in a room nearby. Most models are rated in decibels to convey the cycle's quietness. A machine rated lower than 44 decibels (dBA) is considered by the industry to be officially in the quiet range. Machines in the mid to high 50s are louder and could definitely compete with your conversation or for your attention.
  • Rack style. Racks are important features and should be carefully considered. Nylon-coated racks are the best because they are less likely to crack over time. Tines in rows that fold down are great for items that are large or unusually-shaped. Look for at least one folding row of tines. Having a top rack with an adjustable height is beneficial so you can lower it for taller glasses, vases, or stemware, or raise it if your cookware is tall or bulky.

    The best top racks have three adjustable heights where you can set both the right and left high or low, or one side can be high while the other is low, allowing space for taller cookware on the bottom rack. A third rack is becoming a more common feature, even with the more reasonably-priced appliances. This third rack is above the traditional top rack and is shallow, so it allows plenty of space for the glasses below it. Some people like to line up their silverware in between the small tines. It can fit shallow, awkward items like cup lids, tongs, long-handled serving/cooking utensils, where in other places in the dishwasher, they might be a hard fit. Not everyone is a fan of the third rack as it does take up space, but it is a feature that is growing in popularity. If, however, you end up not liking it after trying it, it's easy to remove.

    Consider even the little things like clips to hold delicate glasses in place, to make sure your glassware doesn't bang against anything else during the wash cycle. Ball bearings in the racks make the racks move more smoothly and don't jerk around the dishes as you pull or push the racks. A fancy, new feature is an interior light in the dishwasher. It certainly isn't necessary, but it's nice for seeing all your items as you load and unload. These are in the more expensive lines, of course. Now, imagine what you will load in your machine, especially on the bottom rack.

    Some dishwashers have their tines far apart, allowing space for pots, pans, bowls, and larger pieces. Others have several tines that are closer together for thinner salad plates and dinner plates. Still others have wide tines with additional tines that flip up or down, depending on the load. Check the thickness of your plates and think about if you want your plates closer together or far apart - tine width is a personal preference, but important in your dishwasher-buying decision making.
  • Available space. Be sure to measure the space you have. Most dishwashers come in 24" , so that's easy, but if your kitchen is on the small side, the space allotted might be only 18" . Save yourself a restocking fee and extra delivery charge by making sure the dishwasher will fit your kitchen space.

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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