Maytag MDB7749SBM Review
The Maytag MDB7749SBM is a powerhouse of a dishwasher that's cheap to buy, pricey to run.
In the film Romeo Must Die, there’s a scene where Jet Li fights off a bunch of bad guys using a fire hose, proving that you can solve just about any problem if you throw enough water at it. The Maytag MDB7749SBM seems to have taken that lesson to heart. This dishwasher delivered some truly impressive results, punching dirt the way Liam Neeson punches wolves. The drawback: Your water bill might get caught in this action hero’s crossfire. Then again, what’s an action hero without a little collateral damage? With a $699 MSRP, and even lower sale prices, this Maytag is a good deal when all you want is someone who will get the job done, consequences be damned.
Design & Usability
An action hero in wingtips and pinstripes
Every action hero has to blend in. How else would they infiltrate the dinner parties that criminal masterminds have a tendency to host? With its stainless steel door and front-mounted controls, the MDB7749SBM fits easily into most kitchens, without standing out so much to arouse suspicion. Its presence is known, everyone can tell it’s a dishwasher, but no one can tell just by looking what a bruising it can deliver.
Open the door, and nothing stands out. The inside walls are also stainless steel, making for quiet cycles and faster drying. Both racks are stable and sturdy, but neither of them have any collapsible tines or other forms of adjustability. The MDB7749SBM features a food chopper instead of a removable filter. This acts as a mini garbage disposal that grinds all the waste material washed off of the dishes, which then gets drained along with the water.
One thing to note about the MDB7749SBM’s design is the grayish plastic front-mounted control panel, which may be a dealbreaker for some buyers. Cycle and feature selection are simple and easy to figure out without referring to the user’s manual. However, the buttons don’t protrude, and the only indication that you’ve successfully pushed them is when a little orange light goes on above whatever you just selected. We’ve found the responsiveness of these buttons to be somewhat lacking, as sometimes we have to press the buttons harder, or press them again. The glossy surface of the control panel is also prone to picking up smudges and fingerprints.
Well-trained, with the right moves.
The MDB7749SBM features a host of cleaning options, all programmable and easily accessible at the touch of a button. There are the usual Quick, Normal, and Heavy cycles. Perhaps fittingly, the Heavy cycle on the MDB7749SBM is called, “Jet Clean,” which is about as action-hero-y a name as you can expect from a dishwasher. On top of those cycles, there’s a Light cycle for lightly-soiled items, an Auto option that leaves it up to the MDB7749SBM’s soil sensors to determine the optimal amount of power and water to use, and a Rinse-Only function for sprucing up dusty dishes.
It's the extra wash options that really stand out. Buttons for Tough Scrub and Hi Temp Wash let you turn on high-intensity water jets or raise the wash temperature, respectively, and two more buttons for Heated Dry and Steam Sanitize allow you to finish the job the way you want, with respect to speed and your electric bill. A delay control also lets you postpone a wash for two, four, or eight hours. Finally, a control lock feature means your kids—or your spouse—won’t accidentally start or stop the machine.
This dishwasher has a license to clean.
The MDB7749SBM truly shines here. The Normal and Jet Clean cycles performed exceptionally well, leaving most items completely clean. On the notoriously difficult spinach test, the MDB7749SBM had no issues with "redeposit" — when dirt from dirty dishes gets washed onto previously clean ones.
The downside of such a powerful clean was the amount of resources this dishwasher used and how long it took. Not only did the Normal cycle take nearly three hours to complete, but it also guzzled a staggering 6.63 gallons of water. The end result is a machine that costs anywhere between $10 and $20 a year more than comparable machines to run. The Jet Clean cycle took over 3.5 hours, and ate up 12.16 gallons. Like Steven Seagal in any movie, MDB7749SBM throws efficiency out the window.
All this action hero needs is a catchphrase.
The MDB7749SBM’s calm outward appearance does a good job of hiding the beast inside. The way this dishwasher does whatever it takes to get the job done, it makes Jack Bauer look like a slacker. It’s well worth the $699 if all you care about is getting those dishes cleaned. At an estimated annual operating cost that's at least $15 more than other machines with comparable performance, though, we wouldn’t fault you if you’re a little intimidated.
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