Broken oven? Hateful refrigerator? For any kitchen overdue for an upgrade, F&W’s Christine Quinlan identifies the best appliance advances of the past decade.
1. Stainless Steel Interiors
Stainless steel tubs are more durable than plastic ones and can shorten drying time. Once found only on high-priced models, they’re now available in lower-cost lines like Bosch’s Evolution 300 Series, which starts at $650.
2. Energy and Water Efficiency
Most dishwashers—like the Dacor Millennia—now have the option to dry dishes mainly with fans, which can cut energy use by 15 to 50 percent. Many machines also use less water: Miele models require as little as three gallons for a full cycle and come with sensors that determine how dirty dishes are, then adjust the amount and temperature of water accordingly. The trade-off for energy savings is a longer cycle—up to three hours in some machines.
3. Noise Reduction
One complaint about dishwashers, especially ones with grinders that keep food scraps from clogging the drain, is how noisy they are. Some companies, including Thermador, have solved the problem by eliminating grinders and instead using filters that must be cleaned manually, while others, such as KitchenAid, add extra insulation to reduce noise.
4. Flexible Loading
Most dishwashers, like those from Kenmore, now have racks that adjust in height; the racks have dividing tines that fold down to accommodate larger items. Plus, many brands, such as LG and GE, space the tines closely, so the machines hold as many as 16 place settings.
5. Multiple Sprayers
These days, dishwashers typically spray water from several arms for more thorough cleaning: Whirlpool’s, for example, has three individual arms.