dishwashers
Expert Score
6.5

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Dishwasher Review

An unapologetically simple dishwasher–and that's a good thing.

Credit: Whirlpool Corporation
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What do you want out of your dishwasher? If you want something that's reasonably quiet, has a stainless exterior, and costs under $350, we'd direct you towards the Whirlpool WDF520PADM (available at AppliancesConnection for $519.00). We spent a week testing this dishwasher, and found it that does a decent job cleaning dishes without breaking the bank. However, if you're not willing to compromise on performance, there are other options out there.

What you get

Controls
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan
The 520 comes with a limited set of options, but they cover most of the bases.

The WDF520 is entering its sixth year of production, and in all that time it has remained a top seller. It's easy to see why: This model is one of the most affordable stainless steel dishwashers in the game, and it's good. If you're looking to outfit a rental or your own kitchen in all stainless, this Whirlpool should be on your radar.

Basket
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan
To get the most out of the lower rack, you have to hang the cutlery basket off the door.

Moving onto the inside, the WDF520PADM is just like every other entry-level dishwasher. The unmovable tines can hold up to 14 place settings. In order to fit that much, you have to hang the cutlery basket on the door. While that saves space, larger plates can block the spray, keeping your utensils from getting clean.

Lower Rack
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan
The lower rack has no adjustable tines.

During testing, our testing results showed that the WDF520PADM did fine with meat and egg stains, but struggled when it came to spinach. It's not a deal breaker–most dishwashers struggle with caked on spinach.

Upper Rack
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jonathan Chan
The upper rack can hold irregularly shaped objects.

Perhaps if the WDF520PADM spent more time cleaning it'd be able to tackle tougher stains. However, speed can be a virtue, and cycles on this dishwasher tended to be on the shorter side. We clocked the Normal cycle at two hours and eight minutes, and the Heavy cycle averaged around three hours. The average dishwasher takes about two and half to three hours for a Normal cycle.

Is the WDF520PADM a good choice?

Other choices
Credit: Whirlpool Corporation
Other dishwashers, like the Whirlpool WDF300PADW may offer better value, depending on what you're looking for.

Dishwashers share a lot of similarities with omelettes. You can doll up an omelette with all the meats and veggies you want, but if the eggs aren't cooked well, the whole thing is a failure. Should your dishes not come out clean, no amount third racks and special cycles can redeem a dishwasher.

While the WDF520PADM does an adequate job cleaning off dishes, pans, and glasses, there are other dishwashers in its price range that do a better job:

Amana ADB1400AGS: For around $50 cheaper, you get the same stainless steel exterior, slightly better cleaning performance, but space for only 12 place settings.

Whirlpool WDF330PAHW: For $20 more, this model offers better cleaning performance, especially against baked-on stains. However, the cost-effective model is only in white. You have an additional $100 to get the 330 in stainless.

GE GDF610PGJWW: If you're interesting getting the best dishwasher under $500, this is it. It has room for 16 place settings and is the most powerful dishwasher in this price bracket.

Our take

You could do worse than the Whirlpool WDF520PADM. It's tough to beat that $350 price, especially with that stainless exterior. There are dishwashers that clean better and can fit more place settings, but they all cost more.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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