Most of the mid-range and up dishwashers will clean your dishes. However, there are some things to put on your check list as you shop. Each unit will have from one to three spray arms. The idea is that the more spray arms, the cleaner your dishes will get. With just one arm you are relying on water only coming from the bottom of the machine. A three level wash system includes an upper wash arm, lower wash arm and a center tower and is considered the minimum. Most effective models have five or six wash levels.
Another indication of cleaning effectiveness is the number of the spray holes on each arm, and their size, the idea being that the more places for water to spray, the cleaner the dishes. If the holes are smaller, they produce a stronger, finer spray.
Older dishwasher models were notorious for raising a ruckus. Nowadays, manufacturers are aware of your need for a quiet machine, especially with open house plans. European manufacturers must maintain a maximum of decibels but American manufacturers are not held to any standard. To make it more confusing, units of measurement differ, some using “sones” and some decibels. Sears is asking its dishwashing providers to state decibel levels for all models for simplicity sake.
Keep in mind that the so-called “builder’s model” that is put in new construction are by and large the worst culprits in the noise category. Low cost dishwashers will be noisier. Generally the higher range models will be quieter, as they have more and better insulation. When shopping, look for insulation on all sides of the tub. For best sound suppression, find a dishwasher with hard rubbery insulation inside the fiberglass blanket.
Haier America HDT18PA Space Saver Compact
Frigidaire FDB126RBB 24" Built-in
Frigidaire PLD2855RFC 24" Built-In
Frigidaire Professional Series PLD4375RFC 24" Built-In