Hey, lazyweb! Help me buy a functional dishwasher please! We’re tired of handwashing dishes while standing next to an overpriced piece of malfunctioning junk.

In our old house, we bought a nice quiet KitchenAid dishwasher and loved it. Our new house came with a junk loud GE dishwasher that cleaned poorly and which we loathed, and eventually we replaced it with a quiet, high-end KitchenAid. Shortly after the warranty ended, we started pouring money into it, and we’re to the point that the repairman suggests that we cut our losses rather than pay him to replace the failed pump—to have him replace it would mean that even with discounts for repeat service we’d have paid him more this year than the initial purchase price for this KitchenAid so-called dishwasher. #kitchenaidfail

The repairman suggests that we reward KitchenAid for selling us utter junk at an inflated price by buying a new KitchenAid, since his experience is that going back to GE would be even worse. I’m less than enthused by this suggestion. I’m not eager to go to GE for other reasons, including the microwave that died and the supposedly high-end GE fridge that is falling apart. (I think the only GE appliance that I’m satisfied with is the gas stovetop, and this kitchen started out with only GE appliances. Not a stellar record. #gefail too)

At this point I’m currently thinking about Bosch or Miele. Bosch is built just down the road in New Bern, NC, which I guess supports the local economy, and avoids shipping big appliances from one continent to another. I’m reading mixed reviews about Bosch service recently though, including one that it’s all outsourced now and that service passes the buck to Bosch and then the buck gets dropped on the floor. Any good experiences recently with Bosch service?

Any suggestions for other brands to consider? Other features that you like or dislike in your dishwasher? Experience with warranty service?

We want quiet since it’s in the middle of open space, doing a good job of cleaning, filter screen instead of hard food disposal, and reliability. A built-in water softener might be a good idea (we have hard water and no whole-house water softener).

If I buy a Miele, I’ll have to learn how to pronounce it.

Curtis Olson September 09, 2014 21:30

We installed kenmore about 2 years ago. Just a basic model, but it’s been trucking along performing adequately … no frills or fancy features, but our dishes have been coming out clean as best as we can tell.

Michael Tiemann September 09, 2014 22:11


Eugene Crosser September 10, 2014 00:47

“a functional dishwasher”

and what’s wrong with imperative dishwashers?

(kidding, sorry..)

Michael K Johnson September 10, 2014 06:04

+Eugene Crosser Heh! Yes, I want a dishwasher without side effects. One for which I can trust that given the same inputs, I’ll get the same outputs. Inputs of dirty dishes, clean hot water, and water treatment as necessary (rinse aid, softener salt); outputs of clean dishes, warm wastewater discharge, heat, and as little noise as possible. Side effects like broken main control boards, switches, racks, gaskets, and pumps are not desirable. A functional dishwasher is indeed exactly what I want, and it’s this imperative model with side effects of breaking parts that’s exactly what is so frustrating! ☺

John Pitney September 10, 2014 06:32

A few years ago, I went for the Kenmore Elite that Consumer Reports liked.  It’s been fine.  

Joseph Pingenot September 10, 2014 11:02

Check out Consumer Reports and shop around a lot. Also, it’s (usually?) very easy to install a dishwasher.

Michael K Johnson September 10, 2014 11:30

I trust CR much less than I used to, for two related reasons. The first was that they didn’t seem to exhibit much insight in most of their reviews, and the second was when I saw them reviewing things I actually knew something about, I recognized that the perceived lack of insight was real; they were honestly clueless and not just “dumbing down” their articles. Maybe cars are an exception. But after years of being annoyed, I finally let my subscription lapse.

The only normally hard part of a modern dishwasher swap (where the electrical and plumbing is already modern) is that anchor positions aren’t standardized so you can’t typically reuse the anchors from the previous installation. To pop the old epoxied anchors off the bottom my stone countertop last time, I sharpened a putty knife to use like a chisel. I tried using self-adhesive anchors but the self-adhesive didn’t last, so back to epoxy for me…

And on some dishwashers, levelling is a pain, if you have to adjust back legs…

Joseph Pingenot September 10, 2014 11:32

Alright. Looks like you know more about the things I posted than I do.  :)

Curtis Olson September 10, 2014 11:43

I bought a used car once partially on the recommendation of CR (and I liked the car and wanted it) … they had full red dots or red circles (best or next to best) ratings for every category.  The next year they came out and had black circles for every category – the same make,  model, year as before (of course after I bought the car.)  That and CR seems to mostly review models of things that are above my price range, so less useful for those who can’t buy top of the line stuff every time they go to the store.  So it’s interesting to page through their magazine and I probably learn a few things along the way, but I don’t think I’d subscribe.

Our previous homeowner installed kitchen floor tile after the dishwasher was installed, so the everything was harder to get in and out and really difficult to reach under to wrench on the leveling posts … but we eventually got it done.

Florian La Roche September 10, 2014 14:56

I can recommend Bosch. Usually also very quiet, never tried Miele due to the extra price points for their products…

John Pitney September 10, 2014 18:09

I guess I’ve had the same impression about CR when they happen to review something I know a bit about, too.  I just imagined that, if they could evaluate anything, it would be dishwashers.  Also, their review could probably serve to eliminate some of the decidedly poorly designed units.  

Michael K Johnson September 10, 2014 21:05

The local Miele shop won’t even post prices and offers quotes on request (“let’s see how much of a sucker you are! “ it seems to me) which bumps them down a notch. The salesman I talked to at one of the big box stores this evening said that he was impressed with the new Samsung units until they got 10 returns in the last week due to doors popping open and spraying dirty water around the kitchen, so he had changed his own plans to buy one.

That seems to leave Bosch and LG. The LG units look like Bosch clones with extra features like more collapsing times and a few dB quieter; the prices are similar. I don’t know how to interpret the 10 year motor warranty on the LG units, though - it is parts not labor on the extended term, so it seems mostly worthless. If they really wanted to convince me that their unit was high quality, they could offer more than a one year warranty. The fact that even the high end dishwashers still have only a one year warranty makes me hate buying a new unit…

We would prefer visible controls on a semi-integrated unit, but the nice units seem to be available only with hidden top-of-the-door controls (fully integrated).

Michael K Johnson September 13, 2014 10:50

To research repair costs for LG vs. Bosch to decide which to buy today, I wanted to compare to the KitchenAid prices I’ve seen so far. This led me to finding a link for the “$200” pump that the repairman mentioned: http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Circulation-Pump-Motor/W10239404/1548518 for $135. Nice markup on top of $80 call-out fee and $80 minimum labor cost — $160 just to walk through the door.

That led me to a decision: We’re not using the non-functional dishwasher, so why don’t I pull it out and see if the pump is really easy to replace. $135 is a lot less than a new dishwasher! Yes, it was that easy to pull out (one connector, one bolt), and lo and behold, the filter screens were completely clogged. The impeller wheel showed no signs of damage. I cleaned the screens. I tested the capacitor and it was well within tolerance. I put the motor on the bench and powered it up and it ran fine. I put it back together and now it passes the “upright cup test” — an upright mug in each rack fills up with water in a few minutes. Haven’t run a load of dishes through it (hand-washed almost everything last night) but I think the problem may be solved.

I’m rather less impressed with this appliance repair company. My wife likes them because they are nice, but I am also interested in competence and thorough diagnosis. (My son may be disappointed that we don’t have a new pile of motors, solenoids, sensors, etc. to “do electronics” with, though!)

Michael K Johnson September 13, 2014 14:09

…and a load of dishes came out clean! I think we need a different appliance repair shop for future appliance work, at least when it goes beyond my abilities.

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