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If you’re looking for a low-cost dishwasher and don't mind a slightly less efficient machine, the MDB4709PAB is one to consider.
Okay, we have to admit: This Maytag took us by surprise. Most dishwashers that sell for close to this one's $499 MSRP are pretty average. And while the MDB4709PAB is certainly average in regards to design, features, and usability, it had some mighty impressive performance scores.
However, it’s one of the more inefficient machines we’ve tested when it comes to water and energy use. It also has an undeniably “cheap” feel to it—whether it’s the flimsy exterior controls, boring design, or plastic interior. But if you’re not concerned about any of that and just want an effective dishwasher that's cheap to buy, the MDB4709PAB is certainly one to consider.
Design & Usability
We weren't blown away by the design, but what can you expect from a $500 machine?
The MDB4709PAB isn't going to win any design awards with its reflective black exterior, front controls, and big push buttons. If you dig a retro dishwasher, then full speed ahead, young Padawan. We’re not exactly moved by the design, but it’s certainly not atrocious, and a stainless version costs $100 more. In fact, design only really gets on our nerves when it infringes on a product’s functionality, and that's not the case here—although the control panel's responsiveness leaves something to be desired.
Everything you need, nothing more
The MDB4709PAB features four main wash cycles: Quick Wash, Light, Normal, and Heavy. There is also a Rinse Only cycle, which is intended for rinsing dishes in preparation for a later wash.
We found each of these cycles to be more than adequate in serving home dishwashing needs. In fact, the MDB4709PAB heated water to such high temperatures that even heavy food soils on the Light wash couldn’t stand a chance.
Features-wise, this machine is somewhat limited, but there’s not a whole lot to complain about. As far as wash options go, there’s a Hi Temp Wash, Heated Dry, and Steam Sanitize (which reached an adequate 157.5 degrees Fahrenheit in our tests)—plus a Control Lock and a Delay option of two, four, or eight hours. All these options can be added onto individual cycles.
By far the most impressive feature of the MDB4709PAB is its wash performance.
Cleaning power is the MDB4709PAB’s strongest trait—a good thing, considering the main function of a dishwasher should be to, well, wash dishes. However, the reason why the MDB4709PAB excelled so much in this area is simple: It uses a boat load of water and energy. This Maytag actually proved to be one of the most wasteful dishwashers we’ve tested. With the Sanitize option on, the Normal wash drained a whopping 13.72 gallons of hot water. That’s almost enough to fill a beer keg. To put it in perspective, the most efficient dishwashers use about three to six gallons per wash, and often get similar performance to this Maytag.
We calculated that this dishwasher will cost you $43.57 per year to operate. More efficient machines cost nearly half that, which would save you about $100 in water and energy costs over a five year period. Consider spending that money upfront and getting a slightly more efficient dishwasher.
It's cheap and gets the job done, but our recommendation is conditional.
This is a tricky one. We often say that our recommendation comes down to exactly what you’re looking for in a dishwasher—efficiency, cost, design, performance—but the Maytag MDB4709PAB’s shortcomings are as great as its strengths, so it’s difficult to say. Yes, this machine is extremely good at removing stains from your dishes. But, man, is it inefficient—one of the most wasteful machines we’ve ever come across. Also, it looks and feels cheap.
So if all you care about is getting some of the best cleaning power out there in a $500 dishwasher, then pull the trigger. If you care even remotely about design, environmental impact, wash options, or your utility bill, you may want to look elsewhere.