What Dishwasher Brands to Stay Away From?

If you are looking for a new dishwasher, you should avoid brands that have a history of recalls, poor customer service, low ratings, and frequent repairs. Some of these brands are Viking, Maytag, Kenmore, JennAir, and Bosch Benchmark.

Dishwashers are one of the most useful appliances in the kitchen, but they can also be a source of frustration and expense if they break down or malfunction. Choosing a reliable dishwasher brand can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run. But how do you know which brands to trust and which ones to avoid?

In this article, we will review some of the worst dishwasher brands on the market, based on recall data, consumer reviews, expert opinions, and service rates. We will also give you some tips on how to find a high-quality dishwasher that meets your needs and budget.

Dishwasher Brands to Avoid: The Worst Offenders

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a federal agency that monitors and recalls defective products, there have been several major dishwasher recalls in the past decade, affecting millions of units and posing fire and injury hazards to consumers. Some of the brands involved in these recalls are:

  • Viking: In 2023, Viking recalled about 17,300 dishwashers due to a potential fire hazard caused by an electrical component that could overheat. This was the second recall for Viking dishwashers in two years, after a similar issue affected about 2,000 units in 2022.
  • Maytag: In 2015, Maytag recalled about 1.7 million dishwashers from various brands, including Maytag, Amana, JennAir, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag, and Crosley, due to a faulty heating element that could ignite and cause fires. This was one of the largest dishwasher recalls in history, and it resulted in 12 reports of fires and one serious injury.
  • Kenmore: In 2012, Kenmore recalled about 1.6 million dishwashers from various brands, including Kenmore, Kenmore Elite, and Kenmore Pro, due to a defective control panel that could short-circuit and cause fires. The recall affected models sold between February 2006 and April 2010 at Sears and Kmart stores nationwide.
  • JennAir: In 2010, JennAir recalled about 42,000 dishwashers due to a faulty wiring harness that could overheat and cause fires. The recall affected models sold between February 2005 and June 2010 at Sears, Lowe’s, and other appliance retailers.
  • Bosch Benchmark: In 2009, Bosch recalled about 476,500 dishwashers from various brands, including Bosch, Gaggenau, Thermador, and Siemens, due to a faulty power cord that could overheat and cause fires. The recall affected models sold between May 1999 and July 2005 at appliance and specialty retailers.
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These are not the only brands that have had problems with their dishwashers, but they are some of the most notorious ones. Besides recalls, these brands also have low customer satisfaction ratings, according to Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that tests and reviews products. Some of the common complaints from consumers include:

  • Poor cleaning performance
  • Long cycle times
  • Loud operation
  • Leaks and floods
  • Rust and mold
  • Broken parts and components
  • Difficult installation and maintenance
  • Unresponsive and rude customer service
  • Expensive and hard-to-find repairs

Based on these factors, we recommend that you avoid these dishwasher brands and look for alternatives that have a better track record of quality, reliability, and customer satisfaction.

How to Find a Reliable Dishwasher Brand

If you want to avoid the hassle and expense of dealing with a faulty or defective dishwasher, you need to do some research before you buy. Here are some tips on how to find a reliable dishwasher brand that suits your needs and budget:

  • Check the reliability ratings: One of the best sources of information on dishwasher reliability is Yale Appliance, a Boston-based appliance retailer that publishes annual reports on the service rates of different appliance brands. The service rate is the percentage of units that require repairs within the first year of purchase. The lower the service rate, the more reliable the brand. According to Yale Appliance’s latest report, the most reliable dishwasher brands for 2023 are LG, Bosch, and Thermador, with service rates of 3.5%, 5.1%, and 5.9%, respectively.
  • Read the customer reviews: Another way to gauge the reliability of a dishwasher brand is to read the customer reviews on various online platforms, such as Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Best Buy. Customer reviews can give you an insight into the real-life performance, durability, and customer service of a dishwasher brand. Look for reviews that are recent, verified, and detailed, and pay attention to the pros and cons, ratings, and feedback. Avoid reviews that are too vague, biased, or fake.
  • Consult the experts: If you want a professional opinion on dishwasher reliability, you can consult the experts at Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, Reviewed, and other reputable websites that test and review dishwashers. These experts use rigorous methods and criteria to evaluate the cleaning, drying, noise, energy, and water efficiency, features, design, and ease of use of different dishwasher models and brands. They also provide ratings, recommendations, and buying guides to help you make an informed decision.
  • Compare the features and prices: Once you have narrowed down your options to a few reliable dishwasher brands, you need to compare the features and prices of different models to find the best value for your money. Some of the features to consider are:
    • Capacity: The capacity of a dishwasher is measured by the number of place settings it can hold. A place setting consists of a dinner plate, a dessert plate, a glass, a cup, a saucer, a knife, a fork, a teaspoon, and a soup spoon. A standard dishwasher can hold 12 to 16 place settings, while a compact dishwasher can hold 6 to 8 place settings. Choose a capacity that matches your household size and dishwashing frequency.
    • Cycles and options: Dishwashers offer various cycles and options to suit different types of dishes and levels of soil. Some of the common cycles are normal, heavy, light, quick, rinse, and sanitize. Some of the common options are delay start, half load, extra dry, and steam. Look for cycles and options that meet your cleaning and sanitizing needs and preferences.
    • Noise level: The noise level of a dishwasher is measured in decibels (dBA). The lower the dBA, the quieter the dishwasher. A dishwasher with a noise level of 45 dBA or less is considered quiet, while a dishwasher with a noise level of 50 dBA or more is considered loud. Choose a noise level that does not disturb you or your family, especially if you have an open kitchen or plan to run the dishwasher at night.
    • Energy and water efficiency: Dishwashers that are energy and water efficient can save you money on your utility bills and reduce your environmental impact. Look for dishwashers that have the ENERGY STAR label, which means they meet the strict standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) for energy and water efficiency. ENERGY STAR dishwashers use about 12% less energy and 30% less water than non-certified models.
    • Design and style: Dishwashers come in various designs and styles to match your kitchen decor and layout. Some of the common design and style elements are:
      • Color and finish: Dishwashers are available in different colors and finishes, such as white, black, stainless steel, black stainless steel, slate, and panel-ready. Choose a color and finish that complements your kitchen cabinets, countertops, and appliances.
      • Control panel: Dishwashers have either a front control panel or a top control panel. A front control panel is located on the front door of the dishwasher and is visible and accessible when the door is closed. A top control panel is located on the top edge of the door and is hidden and inaccessible when the door is closed. Choose a control panel that suits your aesthetic and functional preferences.
      • Handle: Dishwashers have either a bar handle or a pocket handle. A bar handle is a metal rod that protrudes from the front of the door and serves as a grip to open and close the door. A pocket handle is a recessed indentation on the top edge of the door that serves as a grip to open and close the door. Choose a handle that matches your other appliances and is comfortable to use.
      • Third rack: Some dishwashers have a third rack, which is a narrow tray that slides out from the top of the tub and can hold small items, such as cutlery, utensils, lids, and cups. A third rack can increase the capacity and flexibility of your dishwasher, but it can also reduce the clearance and spray coverage of the upper rack. Choose a third rack if you need extra space and convenience.
    • Price: The price of a dishwasher depends on the brand, model, features, and quality. Dishwashers can range from $300 to over $2,000, depending on these factors. Choose a price that fits your budget and offers the best value for your money.
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Buying a new dishwasher can be a daunting task, especially with so many brands and models to choose from. However, by avoiding the worst dishwasher brands and following the tips on how to find a reliable dishwasher brand that suits your needs and budget, you can make a smart and informed purchase that will serve you well for years to come. Remember to avoid brands that have a history of recalls, poor customer service, low ratings, and frequent repairs, such as Viking, Maytag, Kenmore, JennAir, and Bosch Benchmark. Instead, look for brands that have high reliability ratings, positive customer reviews, expert recommendations, and features and prices that match your preferences, such as LG, Bosch, and Thermador. By following these tips, you can find the best dishwasher for your home and enjoy the convenience and comfort of a clean and sparkling kitchen.