Whirlpool WDF540PADM Review

Updated April 25, 2016
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Whirlpool WDF540PADM Review
Bottom Line

If you just want a basic workhorse of a dishwasher, but would still like the stainless steel upgrade, then the Whirlpool WDF540PADM is for you. It has a decent number of features and wash cycles for the price, but lacks the customizable loading options of higher-end models. Still, it's an excellent performer when it comes to cleaning and drying -- which is really all that matters in the end.

ProsCustomizable cycles, Energy Star certified, Excellent washing and drying performanceConsFilter needs monthly cleaning, Racks are not adjustable

Breaking it down

Performance

This is where it shines. While the Whirlpool WDF540PADM may suffer a bit from some low-end touches to keep the price down, there's no skimping when it comes to performance. In one professional test, it earns an Excellent rating both for both washing and drying performance -- even getting plastic items dry, a particular challenge for almost all dishwashers. Johnny Yu at Reviewed.com comes to the same conclusion, saying "Cleaning dishes is what the WDF540PADM does best." As with some higher-end models, it failed the site's burnt on cheese test, but did well otherwise. Yu particularly praises the Soak & Clean cycle, which he compares to an overnight soak in the sink. Plenty of happy owners agree with the professionals' assessments, saying this dishwasher does a great job. A few say they have to rinse the heck out of their dishes to get the machine to clean well, but those complaints are very much in the minority. The Energy Star certified Whirlpool WDF540PADM gets very high ratings for efficiency, with an estimated annual operating cost of $31.

Ease of use

Controls are a bit fiddly. At Reviewed.com, Yu was irritated by the number of buttons he had to push -- and the number of times he had to push them -- to get to the cycle he wanted. Elsewhere, at the same professional testing site referenced above, Whirlpool WDF540PADM gets only mediocre ratings for ease of use. One problem is the lack of adjustability: The racks are fixed and there are no fold down tines to help with customization. However, most users say they really like the silverware holder that attaches to the door and has pre-cut holes for your flatware. And, frankly, the issues that the experts dislike don't really seem to bother owners much; we saw almost no complaints. The filter is not self-cleaning, it should be removed and cleaned about once a month or so, another issue that brings its ease-of-use scores down with experts but that actual users don't seem to care much about.

Noise

Mixed feedback for noise. At 53 dBA, the Whirlpool WDF540PADM is not the quietest dishwasher available, but, as we often see, noise seems to be in the ear of the beholder. In professional testing it's reported to be fairly noisy, and some users agree, saying it's distracting. However, hundreds of other owners praise its whisper quiet operation. At Reviewed.com Yu says the plastic tub causes more "whooshing" than you get from stainless steel interiors, but he notes that as a general statement, not one specifically about this dishwasher. If you're particularly sensitive to noise you may want to look elsewhere, if not, the WDF540PADM probably won't drive you mad.

Appearance/durability

Stainless steel finish is a nice upgrade. Most experts agree that it's pretty rare to get stainless steel when you dive below the $600 price point. Unfortunately, the plastic tub, which is common on less-expensive models, might not be as durable as a stainless interior. Still, we read very few reports of durability issues after a year or more; just the occasional complaint of a hose leaking or motor issues -- both of which sometimes happen even with top-end appliances.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Whirlpool WDF540PADM dishwasher, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

ConsumerReports.org tests the Whirlpool WDF540PADM dishwasher, ranking and rating it against several dozen others. Testing includes cleaning performance, energy efficiency, noise level and ease of use. Top models receive a Recommended tag; best values are also designated as Best Buys.

2. Reviewed.com

Whirlpool WDF540PADM Dishwasher Review, Johnny Yu, July 1, 2015

Johnny Yu gives the Whirlpool WDF540PADM a "Best of Year" award and an overall score of 6.6 out of 10, calling it a "solid value." He has some quibbles about ease of use and the plastic interior, but says it excels at its primary function, which is cleaning dishes.

3. HomeDepot.com

Whirlpool WDF540PADM Front Control Dishwasher in Monochromatic Stainless Steel, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of April 2016

In more than 1,490 reviews, the Whirlpool WDF540PADM earns an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5; 93 percent of customers would recommend this dishwasher. Owners say it's attractive and quiet, and is a top performer for the price. Several hundred of these reviews are original to HomeDepot.com, others are culled from the manufacturer's website.

4. Lowes.com

Whirlpool 53-Decibel Built-in Dishwasher (Monochromatic Stainless Steel) (Common: 24-in; Actual: 23.875-in) ENERGY STAR, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of April 2016

As we see at HomeDepot.com, some of the reviews at Lowes.com are imported from the Whirlpool website, but plenty of Lowe's customers also weigh in here, giving the Whirlpool WDF540PADM an overall rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Most are thrilled to get such a high-performing cleaner at such a low price, a few outliers say it's just okay.

5. BestBuy.com

Whirlpool - 24" Built-In Dishwasher - Monochromatic Stainless Steel, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of April 2016

There are far fewer reviews of the Whirlpool WDF540PADM here, but the nearly 25 reviews we saw are all unique to BestBuy.com. Those customers give the dishwasher 4.3 stars out of 5; 91 percent would recommend it. Most are very pleased, and say it is quiet and a good performer. The few low reviews don't seem to have one unifying theme, ranging from ease of use issues to durability issues.