Every family does dishes differently, but big families can all agree on a few traits that they need in a dishwasher: a lot of space, efficient use of water and electricity, and great performance. So here we’ve compiled a list of the best dishwashers for households with plus-size dishwashing needs.
But first, a note on our thinking: capacity was our primary consideration in developing this list, followed by price and performance. We measure capacity by the number of “place settings” we are able to fit in a dishwasher. One place setting includes the following: large plate, small plate, small bowl, tea plate, mug, glass, fork, butter knife, and two spoons. For every six place settings, we also include one “serving setting,” which includes a large porcelain bowl, a medium-sized porcelain bowl, three large serving utensils, and a small porcelain bowl.
LG LDF8072ST (MSRP: $1,099.99)
The LG LDF8072ST is by no means cheap, but in our testing we came to the conclusion that the price tag is, for the most part, warranted. It’s true that the Bosch Integra SHX98M09UC (see below) scored better, but we felt the bloated price rendered it inferior to the LG.
In our testing, we were able to fit 11 place settings. What makes this machine unique, though, is the cutlery rack above the upper dish rack. While it feels cheaply built, this rack frees up plenty of space in the bottom rack, thereby greatly expanding its overall capacity. The LDF8072ST also features a wide variety of wash options that will allow families to customize their wash cycles—and their respective durations—accordingly. It’s not a very efficient machine, and its performance is nothing groundbreaking, but we imagine large households with a decent budget will find this to be their best option.
Bosch Integra SHX98M09UC (MSRP: $1,669)
The Bosch Integra SHX98M09UC is one of the best dishwashers we’ve ever tested, and it boasts the one-two punch that large families are looking for: large capacity and high performance. It also features a countdown display and a variety of extra programs—including an eco-wash that cuts down on water and energy consumption.
It’s one drawback, however, is pretty substantial: a price tag of more than $1,600. If price isn’t a concern then by all means pull the trigger on this beast, but if it is a major factor then you should look at any of the other dishwashers on this list.
Haier DWL2825SDSS (MSRP: $500)
Winner of our 2012 Best of Year Award for Best Value, the Haier DWL2825SDSS is both spacious and affordable—a combination you don’t often come across. For less than $500, the DWL2825SDSS offers a considerable range of wash options and decent efficiency performance.
While we found it to be a bit inconsistent in its performance (and rather ugly, too), the low price seems to make up for it. However, as mentioned with the Bosch Integra, if price isn’t a concern for your large family then go with either of the above dishwashers, as they are all-around better machines.
Electrolux EIDW5905JS (MSRP: $1,049)
Design is a subjective consideration, but we loved the look of the Electrolux EIDW5905JS—both inside and out. From the sleek control panel to the tank-like exterior, this machine screams durability and performance. But appearances can be deceiving.
As with all the other machines on this list, we were able to fit at least 11 place settings (including a serving setting). The folks at Electrolux also thought it important to include some extra wash options and cycles, which will no doubt come in handy in large households. However, the overall performance of the EIDW5905JS was so-so—not bad, but by no means good, either.
Finally, if you plan to do research beyond this buying guide, there are a few things to consider. For one, a dishwasher’s capacity has nearly everything to do with its cutlery basket. It sounds counter-intuitive but it’s true. If a cutlery basket can be collapsed into smaller components then that’s a good sign, as it frees up space in the bottom rack. Also, a separate cutlery rack (common among European brands) is a good sign that a machine can hold tons of dishes.
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