Kenmore 15113 Dishwasher Review
A budget model with surprisingly strong cleaning power
Sometimes—whether you’re furnishing a rental on the fly or are generally tight on funds—all you want is a cheap dishwasher. "Cheap" can often turn into "bad", but the Kenmore 15113 (MSRP $459.99) has a low price that doesn't mean poor performance.
With retailers offering it for around $329.99, this is one of the most affordable dishwashers on the market. Plus, our lab tests found that its performance is on par with dishwashers that cost up to twice as much. The only real drawbacks are the limited cycle selection and an inflexible interior. Still, that’s the kind of fancy stuff you wouldn’t expect on a budget appliance in the first place.
Design & Usability
Nothing fancy here
Other than a stainless steel door, the 15113 is covered in plastic. The black, front-facing control panel features responsive buttons and bright green indicator lights, but its plastic coating picks up every smudge and fingerprint. If you can do without stainless, black and white versions are available for about $50 less.
The interior walls are also made of plastic, and are very bad at dampening noise. When the 15113 is active, you’ll likely be able to hear every hum, whirr, and splash coming from the appliance—especially if you're in a small apartment, which means doing dishes overnight isn't an option for light sleepers. Frustratingly, the one sound it doesn’t make is a tone or chime at the end of a cycle.
With a long cutlery basket hogging up space on the lower rack and a noticeable lack of adjustable tines, the 15113 offers zero flexibility when it comes to loading dishes. We were able to fit ten of our standardized place settings and a serving setting inside the tub, but we imagine users won't have such carefully coordinated sets of dirty dishes. Unless the dishwasher is pretty empty, finding room for tall or oddly-shaped items might be too irritating to deal with.
Covers the basics
Higher-end machines offer energy-efficient cycles, Start Delay, and other assorted perks, none of which are necessary to actually get dishes clean. As a budget model, the 15113 has none of those secondary options, with only three cycles to speak of: Normal Wash, Pots & Pans, and 1 Hour Wash.
Customization options are limited to two ways to boost water temperatures during the wash (High Temp and Sani Rinse) and Heated Dry, which activates by default on the Normal Wash and Pots & Pans cycles. These are the most common settings found on dishwashers at all levels, and are sufficient for most households.
Takes its time, but delivers remarkable results
Cleaning performance is where the 15113 truly shines. While it can't compete with top-of-the-line dishwashers, each of the 15113's cycles can clean as well as almost any other machine that costs twice as much. The one drawback was that cycles tended to run long.
We found that the Normal Wash—the workhorse cycle designed for everyday use—took just a little below three hours to complete. The results were very good, with only a few instances of leftover food and virtually no evidence of redeposit—food that gets washed off one item and smeared onto another. Mugs and glasses on the upper rack weren't as thoroughly cleaned, though.
The Pots & Pans cycle didn’t have those problems, and took almost exactly three hours to finish. As the 15113’s toughest cycle, we ran it against the nastiest stains we had: burnt cheese, burnt sugar, and baked-on lasagna—stuff you might find left over on your cookware. While it performed competently against sugar and lasagna, this cycle couldn’t quite cut it against the cheese.
The 1 Hour Wash lived up to its name and finished in exactly 60 minutes. Although not as strong a performer as the other cycles, it’s good that there’s a fast cycle in the mix for cleaning lightly-soiled dishes in a reasonable amount of time.
All that extra wash time means more energy, driving up the 15113’s annual utility cost. We estimate that this dishwasher will have an annual running cost of about $35.03, about $5 more than average.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
Why We Like It
Bang for your buck
Sometimes all we really want is an appliance that cleans dishes. The Kenmore 15113 does exactly that, with none of the bells and whistles you’d find on pricier machines that clutter up the control panel and intimidate consumers. This machine is for folks who don’t need a third rack, interior lights, or a large selection of extra cycles and wash options.
Sure, the 15113 could benefit from some modern elements, like a digital display, folding tines, or better sound insulation. That said, it's still a phenomenal bargain, whether you're a landlord looking to outfit apartments for the next wave of college students, or a budget-conscious low-maintenance consumer looking for something that just plain works.
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