Kenmore Elite 12793 Review
This Kenmore Elite shows what it means to be high-end.
If a dishwasher costs more than $1,000, you can bet it'll try and wow with fancy features. The Kenmore Elite 12793 (MSRP $1,649) is relatively tame in that regard, but it does have some neat tricks like a no-slam door hinge, a handy LCD screen, and an adjustable top rack. It also delivers raw cleaning power wrapped in a professional, practical package.
Just like its pricier cousin, the 12833, the 12793 has Kenmore’s 360° PowerWash Plus motorized wash arm and TurboZone high-intensity spray jets. Unlike the 12833, we’ve found this beauty at sale prices for as low as $1,100. That’s an incredible value for a machine of this caliber.
Design & Usability
The fanciest hinge you can buy
There’s a lot to like about the Kenmore Elite 12793. The stainless steel door features a useful display to let you know if your current cycle is washing, drying, or done. The touch-sensitive controls are laid out in a row at the top, and hidden under your counter when the door is closed. The control panel also has a text display that guides you through selecting a cycle.
The 12793’s door uses torsion hinges, which means it stays put in any position. No need to worry about it slamming shut on your fingers or crashing to the floor. Its interior is identical to the 12833, which includes the red spray jets, motorized wash arm, and cleverly-designed handle for adjusting the top rack. It even shares the same cutlery basket, which splits conveniently into three parts.
There is one row of tines that can be folded down on the bottom rack, and two on the top rack. Between the adjustable height of the top rack and the flexible cutlery basket, this dishwasher has plenty of ways to hold cookware of different shapes and sizes. There’s even a separate knife holder for steak knives. We were able to fit ten standard place settings and one serving setting inside the 12793’s tub.
Highway to the TurboZone!
The 12793’s list of cycles and features is also identical to the 12833. Even though they’re dressed differently on the outside, they’re practically twins on the inside. You get a choice of six cycles: SmartWash, Pots & Pans, Normal Wash, 1 Hour Wash, China Gentle, and Quick Rinse. The wash customization options are also the same, with High Temp and Sani Rinse to adjust the water temperature, and the mighty TurboZone spray jets to blast tough stains off your dishes.
The only difference is the 12793’s delay feature, which is a little more robust: You can postpone the start of your next cycle for 1-12 hours. Other than that, everything is the same as the more expensive Elite. You even get the option to shut off the dishwasher’s sound if you don’t like listening to it beep.
You can't rush perfection.
The 12793's overall cleaning performance is impressive. Our only gripe is the length of the cycles, the Normal wash taking 2 hours and 14 minutes, and the Pots & Pans cycle taking close to 3 hours and 30 minutes. Still, if raw cleaning power is all you’re looking for, the 12793 certainly delivers. Most people wash dishes overnight anyway, so speed isn't a major concern.
The Pots & Pans cycle gets special mention for earning a nearly perfect score on our stain tests. Considering that we use heavier stains for our tests than a normal user would leave behind, that’s no small feat. Although three and a half hours is a long time, you’ll likely be running this cycle overnight after dinner, and nothing beats the assurance that you’ll be greeted by clean dishes when you open that door in the morning.
If you do feel a need for speed, though, the 12793’s 1 Hour Wash cycle has you covered. Clocking in at 65 minutes, its cleaning performance was almost as good as the Normal cycle, except it has a little bit more trouble with thick, oily stains. Using more than twice the amount of water as the Normal wash, we like to think of the 1 Hour Wash as the faster, thirstier version for when you need immediate results. In total, we estimate a utility cost (water and electricity combined) of $29.01 for a year of running this dishwasher—on the right side of efficiency.
For in-depth performance information, please visit the Science Page.
If you see it on sale, buy it.
The 12793 certainly earns its Elite badge, along with our recommendation. Design-wise, we were impressed by its trick hinge, flexible racks, and cool LCD screen. We were just as pleased with its performance. Yes, the MSRP is on the high side, and it's only available through Sears, but we found sale prices in the $1,100 range. If you are looking for a high-end dishwasher and are willing to wait for a sale, this should be one of your top choices.
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