Consumer Reports: Replacing your dishwasher

Want to get back nine and a half days per year and save more than $400? You can by changing how you do just one chore in your home.

It's simple! Consumer Reports said to save time and money, use a dishwasher instead of hand washing your dishes. The best dishwashers can also help you save energy along the way.

Consumer Reports has ratings for more than 100 top performing models of dishwashers.

"We combine lab test results with predicted reliability and owner satisfaction into one overall score," said Perry Santanachote, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

Before you start shopping, measure your space. While conventional dishwashers do have some height adjustability they're designed for spaces 24 inches wide by 24 inches deep.

"If you've changed your flooring after you've installed your cabinets, that could affect the space that your dishwasher could fit into. New countertops can also affect that space," he said.

Another factor to consider is cycle times.

"Dishwashers can run from 90 minutes up to 200 minutes. That's like three hours long to finish a cycle," he said.

The recommended Bosch Ascenta (Model # SHX3AR75UC) may fit the bill. It offers one of the shorter cycle times, 95 minutes. Plus, it earns excellent ratings for reliability, owner satisfaction and washing performance. It costs about $645.

CR said prices vary widely, too. The dishwashers in its tests cost between $380 all the way up to more than $2,000.

If a quiet dishwasher is important, you'll probably have to spend more than $800 however, consider the Bosch 100 series (Model # SHEM3AY55N) for $550. It earned a 'very good' rating for noise and washing performance. Plus, an 'excellent' rating for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

Also don't forget about the filter. Most dishwashers come with filters you'll need to remove and clean manually. You should visually check it about every week. It may seem like a nuisance, but models with a manual clean filter are generally quieter than models that use a food grinder.
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