Few things adversely impact family life faster than having a dishwasher go “Out-of-Service.” My crew is a family of five. The speed in which our dishes go from clean and stowed, to dirty and cluttering countertops, is faster than a rabbit hopping through an illicit carrot patch.
The archaic dishwasher that came with the house I recently purchased died within two weeks of it being put to serious work. The house dates to 1960, and it appeared this unit might be from around that same year.
While there can be a therapeutic nature to washing dishes by hand, it adds a tremendous amount of time to cleaning up after meals. It didn’t help matters that the task of dish washing fell primarily to our two teenage boys. Motivating them to stay on top of this chore went about as smooth as you can imagine.
This quickly got me researching dishwashers. I needed to get up to speed on brands, features and ultimately what machine held the highest quality in my price range.
After reading reviews and visiting Lowe’s, I found it prudent to remove brands such as Bosch from consideration. Upscale lines such as these often rate high on year-end reviews, but come with a hefty price tag.
Likewise Samsung and LG, which have made significant inroads into the appliance market, were taken off my list. Both are feature-laden brands. Which means there is more stuff that breaks. Both brands log significant service calls, it takes longer for replacement parts to ship, and technicians are less willing to work on these dishwashers.
I found it interesting that in new home construction and kitchen remodels, contractors and consumers predominantly lean toward installing the same brand of appliances for all their kitchen needs. While this may guarantee a seamless aesthetic appearance, few brands do everything well. This was quickly apparent after speaking to service reps, repair techs or from simply reading feedback about individual brands.
After careful consideration, the features I found essential to have in a new dishwasher model included: low noise; nylon-coated racks; soil sensor; stainless-steel tub; top controls; energy efficient; and a third rack.
With these features in mind, and that a stainless-steel front was preferred, I quickly narrowed to three brands, one model from each: KitchenAid (KDPE234GPS), Maytag (MDB8989SHZ) and Whirlpool (WDT970SAHZ).
Unbeknownst to me, Whirlpool manufactured all three of these lines, with KitchenAid being its premium label. This was evident during my compare/contrast of each, with the similar design and feature options seen. All three are solid machines. Each were recommended by more than 90 percent of those who purchased them.
Maytag was the first eliminated from contention. It featured a four-blade food chopper or masticator, which is interesting but a bit overkill for generic plate debris. It’s also something else to break. To Maytag’s credit it backed the four-blade chopper, along with the stainless-steel tub and racks, with a 10-year warranty, but masticators add noise, and I preferred the unit be as quiet as possible.
The Whirlpool got my mom’s seal of approval (and by the way, mad props to Mom for all her valuable input). I liked this Whirlpool unit a lot. The silverware holder was located in the door, freeing up more interior space. Also, it was the least expensive of the three units at $579.
Ultimately KitchenAid won out. It’s a beautifully constructed unit. The stainless exterior is accented by a black pocket handle, offering a completely smooth front. This was particularly of interest to me, as an adjacent drawer to the right of the dishwasher was unable to open past the handle of the old unit. With the KitchenAid’s pocket handle, full use of this drawer was regained. The exterior of this black pocket handle also features a digital readout of the dishwasher’s progress when moving through a cycle.
Inside is stainless as well. As is the rotating jet-wash applicator. The KitchenAid ProWash Cycle determines the ideal cycle for washing dishes based on soil level, and then makes real-time adjustments to achieve the best cleaning performance.
The third rack is a huge difference maker. This allows for kitchen knives, spatulas and similarly elongated items to have a spot where they are not awkwardly leaning from a silverware holder or taking up excessive space laying down in one of the racks below.
Generally, this machine is able to knockout our family’s dish usage in a single load. The standard cycle does have a long run time, but that is part of this unit’s energy efficient charm. If I start the wash cycle before bed or when leaving for work it’s not an issue. And let me tell you, this KitchenAid runs quiet as a church mouse.
I did notice some complaints about dishes not being dry after completing a wash cycle. Like with all modern appliances, they are much more particular about how they are used, what cycle is appropriate and in this case, what detergent is preferable. If one doesn’t follow the unit’s instructions, and operate the machine as indicated, your results may be less than desired.
I have had no issues with drying. I do recommend adding Cascade Power Dry. My dishes come out crystal clean, clear and 100 percent dry every time.
The KitchenAid (KDPE234GPS) earned an average of 4.7 stars out of 5 for satisfaction, and was recommended by 95 percent of reviewers through the Lowe’s website. It retails for $999 and I found it during Lowe’s Christmas sale for $649. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty. For an additional $86.97, I opted in to Lowe’s 3-year Major Appliance Extended Protection Plan.
I couldn’t be happier with my KitchenAid dishwasher – love the look, design, functionality and performance.
Thanks Mom & Dad!