Best dishwasher features for 2020

Many modern dishwashers hide super capabilities in meek outdoor areas. Many dishwashers look similar at first glance – they usually have a 24-inch wide stainless steel front that is decorated with a simple company logo. Even the interiors usually house two similar racks for tableware with a choice of foldable prongs as well as rotating jets of water under the racks. Take a closer look, however, and these interiors vary widely in detail.

All the major dishwasher brands’ websites have tons of features for their models that make tidying up the kitchen easier than ever. Some of these functions are actually up to the task. Here are the best you can find when shopping for your new dishwasher.

We have linked to models from various brands and retailers that contain the features described below. Note that we have not yet tested these individual models at this point. We update this list regularly.

Tyler Lizenby / CNet

In addition to the common nozzles at the bottom of the tub, some dishwashers have special nozzles for specific dishes. I love those. GE and Electrolux dishwashers have bottle washer nozzles. They attach a baby bottle or water bottle to it and they spray directly into the bottle to make sure the floor is cleaned. Kenmore and Samsung offer nozzles for baking dishes. Load the bowl into the back of the lower rack, and those nozzles hit the corners with a spray.

This is my favorite dishwasher feature as it is part of cleaning your plate – instead of hand washing your bottles, the dishwasher can take care of it. I also appreciate this feature because it’s so specialized – unless you wash bottles or casserole dishes regularly, you don’t have to worry about it. If so, this feature is a godsend.

Better still, dishwasher manufacturers don’t charge a premium for these options. You can find them as nice add-ons in common mid- to high-end models. If you want to wash fewer dishes by hand, consider a dishwasher with special nozzles.

Chris Monroe / CNet

Most dishwashers have something to hold your stemmed glass in place, and most are passable. Generally, it’s a plastic part that descends on the stem and braces it. Electrolux and Frigidaire have soft-grip racks that actually secure your glass. Press your stem into the blue plastic and it will wrap around the step and grab it.

We did not find many broken handle dishes from a dishwasher during our tests. However, if you want to feel extra safe with your breakable glasses, most Electrolux and Frigidaire dishwashers come with these well-designed handles so you don’t have to pay a premium.

Richard Peterson / CNet

Yes, there are dishwashers with internet access. Most allow you to remotely check the status of your cycle and notify you when your dishes are clean. While most people I know are neat in theory, they leave their dishwasher running at the end of the day or at night when they don’t need clean forks badly. On the other hand, one smart feature is consistently useful – Amazon Dash Replenishment.

Smart GE, Whirlpool, and LG dishwashers all have this option, which will automatically give you new detergent containers when they are almost empty. The dishwashers keep track of the number of pods you’ve ordered and the number of times you’ve run the dishwasher, so you can cross an item off your list to worry about shopping.

Smart models from all three companies tend to be at the higher end of the dishwasher price ranges, but the premium is worth considering if you want your dishwasher to be state-of-the-art.

Screenshot by Andrew Gebhart / CNet

If you regularly run out of space in your dishwasher, consider buying one with a third rack. Most manufacturers offer this feature, but models tend to be slightly more expensive than traditional two-rack options. The smaller third frame stands on top of the others and is intended for cutlery, small cups, serving utensils and the like.

While you can only fit small items in a third rack, by placing all of your cutlery in a separate location you can place larger crockery items in place of the cutlery basket on the lower rack. Moving the small pieces up will give you more space in the rest of the dishwasher for anything else you want to wash.

Screenshot by Andrew Gebhart / CNet

Some of my family members swear by the practice of opening the dishwasher door at the end of the run. You want to let off the steam so the dishes can dry better and with fewer water stains. Newer models from companies like Bosch and Samsung can now do this job automatically.

Both Bosch and Samsung use fans to prevent steam from damaging your meter when released. Samsung’s AutoRelease Dry feature opens the door in 5 to 15 minutes. The function saves time and energy by letting in fresh air to speed up the drying process.


silence – High-quality dishwashers from companies like Bosch have sound levels of just 38 decibels. If you were in the same room as this dishwasher while it was running, you would not be able to hear it. Quiet performance is a priority for many dishwasher manufacturers. You will usually pay more for extra quiet models, but it can be a good option to look for if you live in a small place or are sensitive to noise.

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The InfoLight lights up when the dishwasher is running so you can see it even if you can’t hear it.


Infolight – Some quieter dishwashers also have one Infolight that shines on the floor. They work so quietly that the light will help you know when they are actually running. The Bosch and Electrolux models both use these lights, which are a pleasant convenience and can provide additional entertainment if you have a cat.

Simple rack – Certain LG dishwashers allow you to raise and lower the top rack with a simple lever. While this isn’t a fancy feature, it makes moving the rack particularly easy when you need to mount tall pots and pans on the bottom for one load and tall glasses on top for the next batch.

Comfort lift — The Comfort lift function from Electrolux ‘parent company AEG inspires me. It would likely be higher on this list if it were available in the US. You pull out the lower rack and it swings and rises so you don’t have to bend down to unload and load the dishes. It’s great, but for now we can only wait and hope that one day the feature will be available in the US.

With the right function, a new dishwasher could exceed your expectations with helping around the house. Check out our Dishwasher buying guide Knowing what else to get for your buck will help you find the perfect machine for your budget.

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