If you want a dishwasher that's as close to silent as possible, you're going to have to pay more. A majority of the models with the lowest sound ratings tend to have additional high-end features and command a top price. Still, if quietness is your priority, the Bosch SHX98M09UC (Est. $1,500) gets top marks in both professional and owner reviews.
The Bosch SHX98M09UC has a decibel rating of 42 -- the lowest rating of any of the models we analyzed. It also earns the highest rating possible for noise in a professional comparative dishwasher test, which takes into account mainly listener analyses and considers sound levels during the fill, wash and drain stages. In addition, about 25 users post about the Bosch SHX98M09UC to Amazon.com, giving it an average rating of 2.3 stars out of 5.
While we feel there are too few reviewer posts to make this average rating significant, it is instructive to point out that complaints involve factors other than noise, such as unsatisfactory drying ability and poor customer service from Bosch.
On the plus side, the owners who post to Amazon.com about this machine overwhelmingly say it is exceedingly quiet throughout the cycle. As one user writes, "The claims of it being quiet are not exaggerated, it is!" The machine's washing ability, ease of loading and energy efficiency also draw praise. Other high-end features include nine cycles (most have six), a 24-hour delay-start option, a 30-minute express-wash cycle, energy efficiency that exceeds the Energy Star water standard by 72 percent, and a warranty that includes lifetime coverage against rust coming through to the tub.
For those who'd like an extremely quiet machine but would prefer spending a few hundred dollars less, the Kenmore Elite 12783 is definitely worth considering, according to reviews. This model, which has a decibel rating of 43, also scores high in a professional comparative test of dishwashers, garnering top scores for noise as well as washing ability and energy efficiency.
The machine gets only a few reviews on Sears.com, but comments acknowledge the machine's quietness. Washing performance also draws compliments, but the machine is faulted for a "garish green" light that appears on the front to signal when the cycle is complete.