The 7 best dishwashers 2018: get clean dishes with zero effort and low energy bills

Reduce your time at the sink in 2018 with one of these tech-laden crockery wranglers

TODO alt text

The dishwasher is one of the greatest inventions of all time, and these are the best dishwashers you can buy.

Getting a freestanding or built-in dishwasher for your kitchen means you can enjoy mealtimes without having to dwell on the clean-up operation that typically comes after, allowing you to relax with a digestif and let dinner go down in style.

What is the best dishwasher?

The best built-in dishwasher right now if you want the cutting edge of cutlery (and everything else) cleaning is the AEG FSS62800P. This offers a lower shelf that rolls out then actually rises up to around waist height for easy filling and emptying. A raft of other great features is also built in to this flagship machine.

Further down the scale, the Bosch Serie 8 SMS88TW02G offers the best blend of features, cleaning power and comparative affordability.  

As with most things appliance-related, Miele also rates highly with us.

How to buy the best dishwasher

If you've not bought a dishwasher for a few years (or ever) you may be surprised to find that the cutlery basket at the bottom is now a cutlery drawer at the top. We initially found these fiddly to fill – more so than dumping a load of spoons and forks in a basket, certainly – but we've come to appreciate the improved cleaning and increased space on the bottom shelf.

By definition however, cutlery drawers do leave less space in the top shelf, so tall wine glasses, for instance, will now have to be relegated to the bottom.

That aside, buying a dishwasher is pretty simple: measure up, pick a budget and get down the shops to inspect the goods, if possible. We don't recommend slimline dishwashers unless space is really at a premium; they're just never as good (and usually, not very space-saving either).

We don't really subscribe to the idea that there is a 'correct' way to load a dishwasher. So long as you don't totally overload your machine, and keep it topped up with salt and rinse aid, you should get decent cleaning results for years, even from the better cheapo machines.

But how do you know which ones are better? Easy. These are the 7 best dishwashers, with our favourite first and the rest in roughly descending order. 

Take up your tablets, rinse aid and massive bag of cheap salt and prepare to learn T3's choice of what the best dishwashers you can buy today are…

The best dishwashers, in order

1. AEG ComfortLift FSS62800P

The current state of the art in dishwashing

Type: Built in
Size: H 820 x W600 x D550 mm
Energy efficiency: A++
Reasons to buy
+ComfortLift drawer for easy filling+Third drawer for cutlery+Great all-round performance
Reasons to avoid
-A tad over-specced for many users

AEG has really been cranking up the tech innovation over the past year or so and has now pulled off the unlikely feat of creating a sexy and exciting dishwasher. Well, it's all relative, isn't it?

With three drawers – the usual two plus a very low profile cutlery drawer at the top, in which you lay your knives, forks and – more importantly – irritatingly massive utensils, flat. Soft grip 'spikes' hold your precious glassware equally safely.

The A++ energy and A cleaning/drying performance are as good as you'd expect. Drying is thorough but not to the extent that you won't ever need to wipe the odd glass when it's finished. However, the fact that the door opens by 10cm during the final stage, to gently let condensation out, is jolly clever.

However the real pièce de résistance is the multiple award-winning ComfortLift bottom drawer. As its name suggests, this pulls out, then rises up, to about waist height, so you can fill and empty it with ease.

The cutlery drawer is arguably a bit overly fiddly for standard cutlery, but it is handy for large utensils.

With 13 place settings, a good, 30-minute quick wash, and quiet (44dB) operation, this is the ideal dishwashing choice for tech lovers. It's totally over the top, and we love it.

2. Bosch Serie 6 SMV68MD02G

Best dishwasher for around £700

Type: Built in
Size: H815 x W598cm x D550 mm **Energy efficiency:** A++
Reasons to buy
+Excellent quick wash programmes+Generally very quiet+Mysterious but useful-sounding 'intensity zone'
Reasons to avoid
-Not much space on that top shelf

This is a classic Bosch dishwasher. There's nothing very sexy about it, apart from the way it projects the remaining time for each programme on floor. But, it sure does wash dishes. And very quietly too, with a quoted loudness rating of 44dB, which can be cut to just 40dB by using 'SuperSilence' mode. 

The slightly iffy thing about this Serie 6 model is that it has about 900 wash programmes. However the great thing about it is that they all seem to clean really well. A 35-minute quick wash and 1-hour hot wash (65ºC) give really good results so long as you're not cleaning up after a barbecue or Sunday roast.

In addition, the longer programmes can be cut short by using "VarioSpeed+" – where Bosch comes up with these names from I have no idea.

The Eco wash seems the best all-rounder to me – slow but effective and, of course, energy and water efficient – but when shit gets real, there's a 70º intense wash. 

There's also an 'intensity zone' button which can be deployed with most of the programmes, and blasts the lower shelf with more water (on the understanding that that's where your really mucky roasting tins and so on will be). As to whether this actually improves cleaning performance, I have no idea, as things seem to come out pretty pristine regardless. 

The down side to the Bosch's design is the same as most dishwashers with a cutlery drawer at the top. It's fantastic for cutlery, and the bottom shelf has loads of space, but it leaves the top drawer decidedly cramped. You will have to get used to doing wine glasses at the bottom, or hand washing them, I'm afraid.

That aside, a textbook dishwasher. Those who hunger for more tech might prefer the Serie 6 SMI68MS06G, which is very similar, but supports Bosch's Home Connect app via a Wi-Fi connection. This supports remote control (not very useful) and also fault/sundries diagnostic info (potentially handy).

3. Miele G6890 SCVi K2O

Best premium dishwasher

Type: Built in
Size: H 805 x W 598 x D 570 **Energy efficiency:** A+++
Reasons to buy
+Lights up when you open the door+Great cleaning+Salt tank in door, not on floor
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest of items

A thing of considerable beauty and cost, Miele’s flagship G6890 SCVi K2O dishwasher boasts an A+++- 20% energy rating, uses as little as 6.5 litres of fresh mains water per wash, and adjusts water and power consumption depending on the fullness of the machine. 

Opening with just a tap on the door, it lights up once open, and has assisted closing, too. The only way it could be more helpful would be if it could also somehow fill itself, although at this price, we'd argue that it probably should. 

Other highlights include app control, ‘enhanced cutlery tray’, a ridiculous 11 wash programmes including ‘Extra Quiet’, plus a QuickPowerWash programme cleans and dries in just 58 minutes, with 'A'-rated cleaning performance. 

There's AutoOpen Drying so, as with the AEG, the door actually opens slightly at the end of a programme to let steam out, so dishes dry more fully, at least in theory. 

Best of all, there’s an IN-DOOR SALT CONTAINER container. Anyone who's spent time refilling the salt in its usual, bottom-of-the-washer position will know what a great move this is.

4. Bosch Serie 8 SMS88TW02G

Best dishwasher for those who require less innovation

Type: Freestanding
Size: H 845 x W 600 x D 600
Energy efficiency: A+++
Reasons to buy
+Great cleaning and drying performance+Cheaper than the AEG
Reasons to avoid
-Typically dull Bosch styling-Less 'fancy' than the AEG

This typically reliable Bosch dishwasher uses ‘zeolites’ for the ‘best drying results with the highest possible energy rating’. 

No, a zeolite is not a tiny political fanatic wielding a dishcloth, it’s a mineral that absorbs moisture, releasing heat in return. In a dishwasher, this means that all that steam created during the washing cycle is magically absorbed by the zeolites and, in the process, extra, naturally-created heat is provided for the drying process. T

This Bosch machine also features a 60ºC programme that is hot enough to remove even the hardest substance known to mankind: dried Weetabix, and at just 42dB, it’s pretty quiet, too. 

The A+++-rated Serie 8 has the capacity for 14 place settings and features a three-stage Rackmatic system that makes it a cinch to change the height of the upper basket even when fully loaded.

7. Smeg D4SS-1 Slimline

Best slimline freestanding dishwasher

Type: Freestanding
Size: H 850 x W 448 x D 600
Energy efficiency: A+
Reasons to buy
+Easy to fit by dishwasher standards+Good performance and value
Reasons to avoid
-Too… Many… Programmes…

This 45cm-wide stainless steel number is very reasonably priced, especially coming from the premium stable that is Smeg. Furthermore, being both slimline and freestanding, it’s as easy to install as dishwashers get. 

Despite its diminutive dimensions, there’s still space for 10 place settings – the maximum plate diameter is 30cm – and a bewildering variety of washing programs, from Soak, Rapid (a 27 minute blast), Crystal and Delicate Quick to ECO, ECO Quick, Auto 45-65, Normal Quick, Super, Strong and Fast. 

AquaTest tech means it can measure the amount of muck that accrues in the water after the first drenching and then adjust both the heating and water usage during the rest of the wash accordingly – unusual in a slimline dishwasher.

8. Hotpoint Ultima FDUD 43133 X

Best for hygiene freaks

Type: Freestanding
Size: H 850 x W 600 x D 600
Energy efficiency: A+++
Reasons to buy
+A lot of dishwasher for your money+Smell-reduction function
Reasons to avoid
-Smell-reduction function not required due to presence of door

Hotpoint’s pulled out all the stops with its current range of appliances, and this elegant, tech-filled dish bather is a case in point. 

The super-quiet, stainless steel-clad Ultima provides capacity for a 14-place smorgasbord and comes with its own tranche of washing cycles, from a quick 30-minute dose to a delicate wash for fragile items. It also features zone washing and the obligatory flexible loading basket. 

Hotpoint’s boffins have also addressed an issue that affects most dishwashers: after smell – you know, that slightly cloying scent of musty water, detergent and dissolved grease that seems to emanate from the machine the moment you open the door. 

The Ultima’s Active Oxygen process ‘releases natural oxygen molecules to purify the internal atmosphere, removing up to 70% of odours even after 24 hours’. Lovely.

7. Bosch Serie 4 SKS62E22EU

Best tabletop dishwasher

Type: Tabletop
Size: H 500 x W 550 x D 450mm
Energy efficiency: A+
Reasons to buy
+Perfect for smaller homes+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Basic functions

Bosch doesn’t do things by halves although in this instance, perhaps it does. The Serie 4 is a table-top dishwasher for those who don’t have the space but still despise washing dishes by hand. 

It comes with enough space to accommodate six average-sized dinner plates, a few side plates, a quartet of mugs, a carving knife or two and a clutch of cutlery. 

Like most mid-priced dishwashers, it also comes equipped with a sensor that measures the level of contents within and adjusts water consumption accordingly. And because it’s pretty quiet, it shouldn’t disturb the peace if you live in a studio or open-plan.

The Serie 4 features five washing cycles from 40 to 70 degrees C, and does a solid job with most things. It’s pricy for its size, but if you're allergic to doing the washing but strapped for space, the Serie 4 could be an absolute godsend.