Testers spend a day dirtying dishes, glasses, and silverware - smearing on peanut butter, sauce, egg yolks, spinach, and more. Then the dishes are left in the dishwasher overnight - letting all that food get caked-on - just like you might do.
"A dishwasher that does well in our tests - whether very good or excellent - should be able to handle anything you throw at it," explained Emilio Gonzalez of Consumer Reports.
Some dishwashers leave behind small bits of food, but many dishwashers produce nice clean dishes. After cleaning performance there is more to consider, like run time.
"The normal cycle for most dishwashers these days is between two and three hours," Gonzalez said.
The $800 Blomberg cuts cycle time almost in half with an 85-minute normal cycle. It is a bit noisy, but even with its shorter cycle, the dishes come out super-clean.
In the end, top-ratings went to the $1300 Kenmore Elite from Sears, which solves another problem. With most dishwashers' spray arms, if something like a stray fork gets in its path, it gets stuck and the water can't reach everywhere. The Kenmore Elite has a motorized spray arm, so when it hits the fork, it reverses direction.
The Kenmore Elite is also available without the motorized spray arm for 100 dollars less.
Consumer Reports also named a Best Buy for about half the price. It's a little bit noisier and doesn't have a stainless-steel tub, but it delivers excellent cleaning power. It's the $730 Bosch Ascenta, Model SHX3AR7UC. It's available online at Lowe's.
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