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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dishwashers: Which one?

Our 6 year old Kenmore dishwasher is pretty well on its last legs. All kinds of bits are breaking off, it no longer cleans dishes well, and er, it STINKS (despite repeated cleaning). It is also an energy and water hog.

We have been generally displeased with Sears and the Whirlpool garbage that they sell under the Kenmore brand, as they are plainly not reliable nor durable. To compare, our previous DW was a 14 year old Maytag that we sold with our previous house, and as far as we know is still used on a daily basis. It was really loud, but it worked, and was clearly durable (I had to replace a few parts along the way, like door springs, but this was easy enough to do myself).

So we are beginning to evaluate dishwashers based on reliability and performance, mainly water and electricity consumption. Initial research on the net shows that in terms of performance, the favorites seem to be Asko, Miele, Bosch and Kitchenaid. Also Blomberg was rated very highly recently by the Quebec consumer watchdog in their Protegez-vous magazine.

We are looking specifically for a stainless steel front and hidden controls. We don't need an excessive number of cycles (just 3 is fine, we typically only use 1), so this will keep the cost down.

Kitchenaid is definitely out. While the machines seem tough and overbuilt, my experience with a stand mixer that broke its transmission the first time I made a relatively small quantity of bread dough left me rather indifferent. I no longer believe that any Hobart parts are left in these dishwashers. They are probably just Whirlpool junk made to look robust.

I was also a bit concerned about Asko, with reports of high parts costs but generally excellent reliability and performance, along the lines of Miele. I am concerned, though about reports like this one.

What I did find interesting was that Viking dishwashers are rebranded Asko machines. By the same token, Thermador uses Bosch machines (and are virtually identical).

After checking out the Natural Resources Canada energy-star website, we discovered quite a difference in hot water consumption between brands. Generally Bosch and Asko had the lowest, with a practical range of 9-11 litres per load. I was surprised that Miele and Blomberg use about double the water, with 19-22 litres per load. This is important performance criteria for us, as our water consumption is metered, and it is a goal of ours to reduce our water consumption significantly this year.

I have had pretty good experience with my Bosch Universal kitchen machine (mixer), which is what I imported to replace the Kitchenaid stand mixer. So, it looks like Bosch is winning out, at the moment. After the Blomberg, it is the least expensive, too.