You will not believe this. For 5 years my wife and I went without a dishwasher when first married. We rented an old cottage style home in a small beach community and this place did not have a dishwasher. When a larger, more updated place opened up in the same beach village, we moved there (son #1 was on his way).
But, again we had no dishwasher there. We didn’t think too much of it at first, but after our son was born and the bottles and dishes piled up faster than we could keep the place stocked with Dawn, we bought a portable dishwasher – one that attaches to the sink faucet.
We were so happy with that little portable dishwasher. It was a game-changer for us. Fortunately, after that place (we didn’t stay long because a gorgeous home became available near the beach, then we moved to a larger house for son #2), all of our places have had full-size dishwashers. We’ve enjoyed the convenience of dishwashers so long now that we’ve forgotten what it’s like not to have one… except that one time our current unit broke.
The good news about dishwashers is you don’t have to spend a fortune to get one. We put together a terrific list of 10 excellent dishwashers under $500.
Table of Contents
- Countertop, Benchtop & Portable Dishwashers Under $500
- Versatile Freestanding Dishwashers
- Fully or Semi-Integrated Built-in Dishwasher
- 5. Bosch 100 Series Front Control Tall Tub Dishwasher
- 6. Amana Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher
- 7. Whirlpool Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher in White with 1-Hour Wash Cycle
- 8. Top Control Built-In Dishwasher With Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel
- 9. 18 Inches Front Control Dishwasher in Stainless Steel
- 10. 18 Inches Built-In Front Control Dishwasher in Stainless Steel
- 11. 24″ 54 dBA Built-In Dishwasher with Front Controls
- 12. 24″ 55 dBA Built-In Dishwasher
- Small, Slimline & Compact Dishwashers
- Are dishwashers gadgets or necessities?
- What to Look For When Buying A Dishwasher
Countertop, Benchtop & Portable Dishwashers Under $500
1. 22″ 55 dBA Compact Dishwasher
The 22″ 55 dBA Compact Dishwasher is perfect for office kitchens, apartments, or any small-sized kitchens. This fantastic dishwasher offers full-size power in a complete compact design. It’ll perfectly fit between most cabinetry and countertops.
Apart from that, it’s spacious cavity loads up to 6-standard place settings. Some of the other features of this dishwasher that made it a necessity for every home includes durable stainless steel interior and super easy controls.
- Consumes less space in the kitchen
- Very affordable
- Easy to get going
- Produces a loud sound while working
- Does not turn off automatically
2. Magic Chef Countertop Portable Dishwasher in White
This stunning dishwasher comes with all the convenience of a full-size dishwasher for adequately cleaning your dishes. It has enough space to accommodate 6-standard place settings, making it an excellent choice for apartments, office kitchen, singles, and couples.
With push-button electronic controls and ease-of-use, the Magic Chef Countertop Dishwasher is designed with a stainless steel interior that includes a silverware basket, durable rack, and cup shelf for easy loading.
- Quick-connect assembly for ease of installation
- Easy-to-clean filter
- Great for small kitchen
- Can’t run water while in use
- Does not remove food from dishes and silverware
Versatile Freestanding Dishwashers
3. Front Control, Freestanding Dishwasher in Stainless Steel
This 24 inches Front Control Frigidaire Dishwasher provides large capacity, tall tub design with 14-place settings, enabling you to wash an extensive collection of dishes at once. Secondary, the 3-wash cycle option offers you the flexibility to choose the type of cleaning that is suitable your load, so you don’t have to waste energy and water when washing smaller loads.
- UltraQuiet sound package at 60 dBA
- Easy to remove and unload silverware basket
- 2, 4, and 6-hour delayed start options
- Does not dry dishes
- Digital panels tend to need frequent replacement
4. 24 in. Built-In Tall Tub, Top Control Dishwasher in Stainless Steel, ENERGY STAR
The lustrous Frigidaire 24 inches built-in, freestanding dishwasher with integrated controls makes use of the special OrbitClean Spray Arm technology which provides 4X better water coverage.
It has a well Heated Dry system which ensures there’s no need to towel dry the dishes before putting them away. With its high capacity and ability to control water pressure, this top control dishwasher will guarantee a wash that perfectly fits your needs.
That’s not all; it also has an integrated console with Ready-Select controls which lets you easily select options with a simple touch of a button.
- UltraQuiet sound package
- Its NSF Certified Sanitize cycle eliminates 99.9 percent of common household bacteria
- May require expensive repair after the first year
- Doesn’t do a great job of drying
Fully or Semi-Integrated Built-in Dishwasher
5. Bosch 100 Series Front Control Tall Tub Dishwasher
The Bosch 100 Series Front Control Tall Tub Dishwasher gives you outstanding cleaning performance at an affordable price.
From its relatively quiet performance to the promise of sparkling clean dishes, this Bosch dishwasher model is designed to make things easy for you. It features an advanced wash system and flexible loading options for a painless cleanup.
The Normal and Heavy cycles do an excellent job of removing really tough stains. It comes in white, black, and stainless-steel finishes; however, the stainless-steel finish is a bit more expensive.
Also, the SHEM3AY52N Bosch model has a basic dishwasher control panel, but the buttons can be used to access different wash and cycle options.
While this low budget dishwasher doesn’t feature a true third rack, there’s a small utility rack located on top of the second rack, which is large enough to fit short glassware, ladles, or more cutlery.
- Awesome features
- Excellent cleaning performance
- It’s somewhat quiet (50 dBA)
- 24×7 overflow protection system to prevent water leaks
- Utility rack
- The controls are a bit confusing
6. Amana Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher
The Amana Front Control Tall Tub Dishwasher is a built-in dishwasher for low budget users. It’s a simple but complete model and comes fortified with all the features you will need to clean up to 12 place settings.
While there’s no hard food disposer, the Amana Front Control Dishwasher compensates with a triple filter system so you can easily get rid of even the tiniest food particles from the wash water.
There’s also a Heated Dry Option, which uses an internal heater to speed up the drying process so that you can leave the dishtowel on the hook. At 63 dBA, this unit is a bit louder than most mid-to-high-end dishwashers on the market.
Again, this Amana ADB1400AGW model has limited cycle selections, but all these are expected for a dishwasher of this price range. You can select from Heavy, Normal, or 1-hour wash cycles. You can also add a heated dry or high-temperature option to any of those three cycles.
Finally, it’s available in black, white, or stainless-steel finishes to match the décor and paint color of your kitchen.
- It’s very affordable
- Features the triple filter wash system so you can skip the pre-rinse
- High-temperature wash option
- 1-Hour Wash Cycle cleans light loads fast
- 1-hour quick wash
- ENERGY STAR certified to help save money
- No delay start
- It’s considerably loud
7. Whirlpool Front Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher in White with 1-Hour Wash Cycle
The Whirlpool WDF330PAHW is another fantastic dishwasher under the $500 price range. Its tall tub design and large capacity lower rack create room for up to 13 place settings.
It features front electronic controls, offering seamless cycle selection and a soil sensor, which determines how dirty dishes are and regulates the normal cycle as needed to ensure that dishes come out super clean.
Interestingly, this unit also has a control lock option to prevent unintended use. The upper rack provides lots of room for plastic ware, cups, and various containers – and the large capacity lower rack is designed to accommodate large dishes, plates, and bowls.
Additionally, it offers a 1-hour wash cycle to clean dishes quickly so your glasses, plates, and pans will be cleaned up thoroughly in just an hour. The high-temperature wash option also gives objects such as glassware, baby bottles, and dishes a more thorough clean.
With its quiet operation (at 55 dBA), you can wash your dishes without disrupting your whole home.
It’s worth noting that the racks do not have adjustable tines, so you may find it challenging to fit awkwardly-shaped or large dishes.
However, if you want a more streamlined and easier to operate interface, the Whirlpool WDF330PAHW Dishwasher model is all you need.
- Very efficient
- Quiet operation at 55 dBA
- Easy-to-maintain plastic tub
- Incredibly portable
- Clean dishes faster with the 1-Hour Wash cycle
- Not many features
- Finds it challenging to clean tough stains
8. Top Control Built-In Dishwasher With Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel
This stainless steel dishwasher will give you the right clean for your dishes. Just select the sensor cycle and let the dishwasher choose the proper cycle for you, or clean dishes in half the time with the one-hour wash cycle. On top of that, it comes with cabinet-dry dishes – thanks to the fan dry which pulls in fresh, dry air with a fan.
Another beautiful thing about this dishwasher is its soil sensor which determines how dirty dishes are and adjusts accordingly to ensure that dishes come out clean.
- Resist fingerprints
- Stylish and very easy to use
- It is moderately loud and has a plastic inner tub
9. 18 Inches Front Control Dishwasher in Stainless Steel
Dishwashing is a chore lots of people would rather do without. However, this fantastic front control dishwasher by Danby makes it an easy, effortless, and fun task. The sophisticated kitchen appliance comes in a stainless-steel and striking black design which lets it easily blends with any kitchen decor.
It has a very efficient and dependable unit which features an 8-place setting capacity, and at just 18 inches wide (45.7 cm), it takes up a little space in your kitchen.
- Up-front electronic controls offer easy and quick operation
- Has automatic detergent dispenser
- Quiet operation
- The bottom portion has little support and bends very easy
- The motor might spoil after awhile
- Many users complained of a fat dent on the front
10. 18 Inches Built-In Front Control Dishwasher in Stainless Steel
This built-in 8-place setting front control dishwasher is an excellent addition to any home. At 18 inches wide, this appliance occupies minimal space in the kitchen and is an excellent replacement for older kitchen appliances. It features 6-wash programs, 2-pull out dish racks, a time delay feature, and an error alarm which displays fault codes.
- Good Size & Weight
- Easy to Use
- Easy to Clean
- Difficult to install
- Does not have a dry cycle
Hidden Fully Integrated Dishwasher
11. 24″ 54 dBA Built-In Dishwasher with Front Controls
This stunning dishwasher provides outstanding quality and up-to-date technology to simplify your life. Interestingly, it came from one of the most trusted names in the U.S. Hence; you know that this appliance is as advanced as it is practical.
Moving on, it has a hard food disposer with a removable filter which helps to ensure consistently clean items; this stainless steel blade rotates at about 3,600 RPM to annihilate food particles and also prevents big particles from blocking the wash arms.
- Has a hard food disposer
- Comes with 16-place settings
- Sanitize option
No complaints so far.
12. 24″ 55 dBA Built-In Dishwasher
With 5 wash cycles, this energy star built-in dishwasher can handle your entire dish loads, from small plates to large pans and pots; it’ll take care of everything. It has up to 14-place settings with space-wise silverware basket that has multiple compartments which is also easy to unload and remove. Interestingly, you can set your dishwasher to run on your own schedule such as 2, 4 or 6-hours in advance.
- Effortless dry drying system
- Extremely quiet operation at 55-dBA
- Eliminates 99.9 percent of regular household bacteria
- Does not hide fingerprints
Small, Slimline & Compact Dishwashers
13. 18 Inches Built-In Front Control Freestanding Dishwasher in White
This built-in 8-place setting freestanding dishwasher is an excellent addition to any home. At 18 inches wide, this unit takes up a little space in the kitchen and is a perfect replacement for older appliances. It features 6-wash programs, 2-pull out dish racks, and a time delay feature.
- Error Alarm
- Rinse Aid Warning Indicator
- Stainless Steel Interior
- Quite Operation
- 6 Wash Programs (All-in-1, Normal, Heavy, Light, Rinse and Speed)
- Two Racks
- 2 Spray Arms
- Silverware Basket
- Automatic Dispensers
- Very easy to install
- Makes less noise
- Dishes don’t come out completely dry
- Silverware rack does not have a handle
Are dishwashers gadgets or necessities?
I venture to say neither. Gadgets have a superfluous connotation, even though they are useless. Good examples of gadgets are spray gadgets which can be found at Spraygadgets.com and of course kitchen gadgets. What about dishwashers being a necessity? Again, no. They’re super convenient, but you can always wash your dishes in the sink. We did as an early married couple for a few years… which is not common in 2008.
What to Look For When Buying A Dishwasher
Now that you’ve seen some of the best dishwashers that are below the $500 price range, there are also a few things you should always consider before making a purchase.
This will help you to narrow your options and make a good buying decision.
Price is always the first thing to consider here. You want to go for a dishwasher model that won’t drill a hole in your pocket.
But the good thing is that regardless of your budget, you can always find a model that gets your dishes clean. While some mid and high-end dishwashers do a great job of removing food stains, the more affordable ones (like the ones listed here) won’t disappoint you.
The price difference between these appliances is often down to a few more features and options.
Think about the available space in your kitchen. If you’re buying a dishwasher for a tiny kitchen or workplace, a more compact machine will probably be ideal for you.
On the contrary, if your kitchen is somewhat spacious and you wash a good number of dishes regularly, then a larger or more permanently-stationed dishwasher may be what you need.
Noise can sometimes be quite irritating and exasperating. And like most machines we use in our home, dishwashers produce sound too.
If you live in a small apartment, or perhaps your kitchen/laundry is near your sleep or study room, you might want to choose a dishwasher that features a sound-insulation mechanism that reduces or blocks the transmission of sound in the environment.
Generally, the quietest dishwashers on the market are around 38 dBA; however, you will still not be disturbed by a dishwasher that operates at 44 dBA or lower.
On the other hand, a dishwasher that’s more than 50 dBA will likely be loud enough to heat up the environment, so keep this in mind when buying one.
Modern dishwashers come with different cycles, so think of which ones are most ideal for your needs.
The standard options on most dishwashers today are quick wash, normal wash, and heavy-duty. But you may equally want a machine that features pots and pans, steam clean, extra rinse, delicates/fine china, and/or sanitizing controls.
Steam cleaning is a popular feature in dishwashers – and it works in different ways. Some brands use it in place of pre-washing as it uses hot air to remove residual food particles before washing.
On the contrary, some dishwasher models have steam-only cycles, which is designed to carefully clean delicate dishes.
Sanitation is also another popular cycle. This uses high temperatures of about 155° Fahrenheit to eliminate bacteria on the dishes. This type is usually used on cutting boards and baby bottles, as it kills over 99% of germs.
Do you prefer touch panel or buttons?
Touch panels arguably look sleeker most times, but some dishwasher touch panels are so responsive that you can accidentally start cycles by simply brushing against it.
On the other hand, some touch panels are so insensitive that you must touch them a couple of times before you could get them to work correctly.
Therefore, you will want to try the touch panel before purchasing so you can get a feel for how much you’ll have to press to start a cycle.
Every dishwasher features a rack, but the versatility usually differs. For example, many dishwashers today come with removable or adjustable racks, which lets you fit taller glasses on top of them or bigger plates in the bottom.
High-end dishwashers may also feature fold-down or adjustable tines, which lets you load in your dishes more efficiently, making sure that nothing falls off during the cycle.
There’s also another popular one known as “third rack.” It’s basically a shallow drawer positioned at the top of the dishwasher. They are suitable for oversized utensils and small objects such as espresso cups, and you can even reconfigure or adjust some of them to suit your needs.
However, the third rack is considered a premium feature and will affect the price of the dishwasher.
Fit and Finish
Dishwashers are usually available in a variety of finishes, from standard black or white to black stainless steel or panel-ready.
While it’s a good idea to buy a dishwasher that blends with the color of your kitchen and your other appliances, you should expect to pay more money for finishes that are more sophisticated than white, black, or stainless steel.