Consumer Reports: Top-performing dishwashers

Want to get back nine and a half days per-year and save more than $400? Consider a dishwasher over hand washing your dishes. The best ones can help you save energy along the way.

Consumer Reports has been testing dishwashers for years and is out with its latest list of top performing models.

After 30 years of hand washing dishes, Andrew Santeramo is renovating his kitchen and making space for a dishwasher. After pricing, Andrew didn't have too many concerns.

"After doing it thirty years by hand, the dishwasher's great," he said. "It's just perfect"

Consumer Reports has ratings for more than 100 dishwashers and its experts can help!

"We combine lab test results with predicted reliability and owner satisfaction into one overall score," said Consumer Reports Home Editor Perry Santanachote.

Before you start shopping, measure your space. While conventional dishwashers do have some height adjustability they're designed for spaces 24 inches wide by 24 inches deep.

"If you've changed your flooring after you've installed your cabinets that could affect the space that your dishwasher could fit into," Santanachote said. "New countertops can also affect that space."

Another factor to consider, cycle times.

"Dishwashers can run from 90 minutes up to 200 minutes. That's like three hours long to finish a cycle," Santanachote said.

This recommended Bosch Ascenta may fit the bill. It offers one of the shorter cycle times - 95 minutes. Plus, it earns excellent ratings for reliability, owner satisfaction and washing performance. It costs about $645.

Consumer Reports says prices vary widely, too. The dishwashers in its tests cost between $380 all the way up to more than $2,000.

If a quiet dishwasher is important, you'll probably have to spend more than $800. However, consider the Bosch 100 series for $550. It earned a very good for noise and washing performance. Plus, an excellent for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

Another tip from the pros at Consumer Reports: Don't forget about the filter. Most dishwashers come with filters you'll need to remove and clean manually. You should visually check it about every week, but the need for cleaning will depend on how much food debris accumulates. While this may seem like a nuisance, models with a manual clean filter are generally quieter than models which use a food grinder.

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