Overall, we saw some of the best feedback for Bosch 500 series dishwashers. This is a family of dishwashers that vary in finish, style and control placement, but not in performance -- or satisfaction. We've elevated the Bosch SHP65T55UC (Est. $900) to Best Reviewed status, but we'd expect that any in the series would be an equally good choice. The Bosch SHP65T55UC features a flush pocket handle and digital controls that are hidden away on the inside top edge of the door. There are no exterior buttons, displays or markings. A red InfoLight shines on the floor to let you know that the dishwasher is running -- a good thing because reviews say that, yes, this machine is that quiet.
Other options include the Bosch SHX65T55UC (Est. $950), which replaces the pocket handle with a 24-inch bar handle and adds around $50 to the price. The Bosch SHE65T55UC (Est. $900) moves the controls to the front for a more traditional, and less built-in look, and loses the InfoLight feature. All of these come in a stainless steel finish. You can save around $50 by opting for the Bosch SHP65T55UC or Bosch SHE65T55UC in white or black, but the SHX65T55UC is stainless-steel only. The Bosch SHP65TL5UC (Est. $900) is identical to the Bosch SHP65T55UC (Est. $900) but adds a SpeedPerfect function that's said to deliver the same cleaning performance but in less time. It's also available in white and black versions for about $50 less.
Feedback is very strong for the Bosch line. One independent reviewer tests the Bosch SHP65T55UC and based on that recommends every member of the series. Reviewed.com names the Bosch SHP65TL5UC an Editors' Choice, and comments that "This dishwasher is loaded with features normally not seen for under $1000." Performance is strong as well, especially in the Heavy cycle.
With the exception of the SpeedPerfect option found on the SHP65TL5UC, and the finish, handle and control panel layout differences detailed above, these dishwashers offer similar features. You'll find five wash cycles to handle everything from lightly soiled items to those with heavy, baked on stains. You can further customize those with options to sanitize dishes or treat them with extra care. SpeedPerfect does cut down cycle time, but uses more water. An Extra Shine option is designed to keep spotting to a minimum. Load flexibility is good. Niceties include an upper rack that can moved up or down as needed for tall items. There's also a very shallow third rack that can accommodate silverware or other items, leaving you the option of not using the silverware basket. In addition to increasing loading flexibility, Bosch claims that it increases capacity by as much as 30 percent.
These Bosch dishwashers carry a 44 dBA noise rating. You can find pricier machines with better ratings, but users and experts say that it would be hard to improve on the Bosch. More than one user reports that were it not for the sight of the InfoLight on the floor, they wouldn't know the machine was running. User reviews are very strong at most sites for all versions, including a 4.6-star score for the Bosch SHP65T55UC at BestBuy.com following more than 425 reviews.
There are several other dishwashers in this price range that are also worth considering. The GE Profile PDT750SSFSS (Est. $1,100) is described as "one of the best dishwashers we've ever tested," by Johnny Yu at Reviewed.com (though it's since been eclipsed by a pricier model that they -- but not many others -- like more). It's also recommended in another large independent dishwasher review. User feedback is strong, but we found it just a step behind the Bosch dishwashers above -- still, its 4.2-star rating following roughly 425 reviews at HomeDepot.com is nothing to sneeze at.
One drawback is that this GE Profile dishwasher is a bit pricier than the Bosch SHP65T55UC, at least at its everyday selling price. But if you shop carefully, we've seen occasional sales promotions that cut the difference to essentially zero, improving the value proposition.
Either way, this is an impressive dishwasher. Performance is judged to be excellent overall, but a few stumbles are noted. One reviewer says that cleaning proficiency with plastic items could be better. Reviewed.com, while mainly heaping praise, notes that items in the far corners of the top rack failed to completely clean -- though everything in the bottom rack came clean regardless of position.
On the features front there are some significant pluses and minuses. The biggest miss compared to the Bosch is the lack of a third rack, so you lose some capacity and flexibility. The biggest plus is four Bottle Wash Jets -- raised jets in the top rack -- designed to completely clean tall items. Controls are integrated on the top inside edge of the dishwasher door, so they are hidden, but there's a small LED display on the front, above the rounded, protruding handle. The noise rating is 42 dBA, and user comments that say you can only hear it working in a silent room are common. The GE Profile PDT750SSFSS comes in stainless steel. This dishwasher is also available in slate as the GE Profile PDT750SSFSS (Est. $1,100).
The Kenmore Elite 12783 (Est. $900) is another dishwasher in this price range that's worth considering, according to reviews. This model, which has a decibel rating of 43 dBA, also scores high in a professional comparative test of dishwashers, garnering top scores for noise as well as washing ability and energy efficiency. User reviews are both more limited and less impressive, however. While the Kenmore brand draws top grades in a recent satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates, there are some user complaints regarding reliability with this model.
You can, of course, spend lots more for a snazzier, more feature-packed dishwasher. But whether you can do so and get a better performing or audibly quieter model is more of an open question. For example, the same experts that test and recommend the GE Profile PDT750SSFSS don't view the step-up GE Profile PDT760SSFSS (Est. $1,400) as favorably. Reviewed.com allows that performance and efficiency of the PDT760SSFSS are slightly better, and that the noise rating, at 40 dBA, is slightly lower. The addition of a third rack is another plus. But Yu says that all of that does not equate to the $300 M.S.R.P price difference. "In our opinion, the 760 is the dishwasher to buy if money is no object," he says. "But we think the 750 is still the better value."
The GE Profile PDT760SIFII (Est. $1,400) is similar to the PDT760SSFSS, but with one important difference. In place of the stainless steel door, the PDT760SIFII is designed to accept a custom door that matches your kitchen cabinetry for a truly built-in look. The display is moved to the inside top edge, but other than that the features are the same and, though it's not been professionally tested, performance should be as well. Keep in mind that you'll also have to budget for the custom door from the maker of your kitchen cabinets, as well as a handle of your choice, to complete the installation.
Elsewhere in this report:
Best Reviewed Dishwashers: These are the best dishwashers as identified in reviews. We discuss the best built-in dishwashers, as well as the best values. Top portable dishwashers are named, too.
Best Value Dishwashers: Looking for a solid performing dishwasher that won't wash away your bankroll? These dishwashers perform better than their price tags might indicate.
Best Portable Dishwashers: If a built-in dishwasher won't work in your kitchen, these portable dishwashers can be a surprisingly strong alternative. Top countertop and roll-away dishwashers are discussed.
Buying Guide: We discuss what you need to consider when figuring out which dishwasher is best for you. These are the key factors you need to consider when shopping for the best model.
Our Sources: These are the expert and user reviews we used to name the top built-in and portable dishwashers, along with some budget-saving alternatives. They are ranked in the order of their helpfulness and expertise.