Most helpful positive review
74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Definitely worth considering in the ~$350 range
on May 26, 2012
To help put my review in context, I was very fortunate and received this as part of the Vine program. I have, however, been considering getting a new dishwasher for quite some time and have been looking at washers both online and in the stores. My ~14-year-old Whirlpool dishwasher still cleaned well, but I thought that it was excessively loud and I wanted to get a quieter washer. Overall, I've been happy with this Amana and recommend that you consider it if you're looking in this price range. I've tried to detail out some areas for you below, and I've mentioned some tips at the bottom if you have this installed for you.
* CLEANING ABILITY - 5 Stars
Very good, IMO. Okay, I'm not the ultimate tester for this, as I tend to rinse off my dishes before I put them in the washer based on old habits. I haven't tried any baked-on lasagna :) I certainly don't "clean" dishes before putting them in the washer, though, so hopefully my results will represent what you'd see - and the results are excellent. I thought that my Whirlpool got dishes clean, but dishes come out of this washer looking even better. They seem smoother and have a better shine. I'm using the same detergent (Cascade Complete Pacs) as I've used for years. I have been using a new rinse aid (Cascade that came with the unit versus Jet-Dry that I've used for years), but I honestly think that it's the washer doing a better job. My Whirlpool only had a washer arm on the bottom, whereas this tall tub unit has washer arms underneath of both racks. Plastic dishes, ceramic bowls, glasses, cups, and stainless steel utensils have all come out looking great. I'm a fan of air drying, but I did use the heated dry once to try it out. The heated option certainly dried the dishes (although coffee cups with recessed bottoms still had some water pooled in them), but my utensils get water marks where they are touching the utensil holder (just like in my old washer), so I choose to air dry and take them out a bit early.
* COSMETICS - 3.5 to 4 Stars
Of course, aesthetics is all personal choice, so I'll discuss the quality of the materials used on the door. I think that Amana did a good job with this unit overall. The upper plastic section on the front panel that houses the vent, handle, and controls has a good feel to it and seems well made. The front metal door panel has a good paint coating and looks quite nice.
The one minor downside to me is the lower plastic panel that closes the gap between the door and the floor. It's just a thin piece of plastic that is kind of flimsy and doesn't give a really polished look to the installation.
* NOISE - 3 Stars overall, 4-5 Stars at this price
Whether you'll be happy or not with this comes down to your expectations. Also, how much noise it makes will depend on your surrounding cabinets and home acoustics. If you want whisper quiet, you'll need to look elsewhere and spend more. If you want relatively quiet, this is definitely worth considering.
This Amana is quieter than my old one, so I'm pleased. It's only about 4 dB quieter, but it doesn't makes the same rattling noises, so it's a lot more enjoyable to be in the house while it's running as compared to the old one. It measures around 66 dB at a distance of about three feet away in my kitchen. That's not exceptionally quiet, but for the price, that's not bad at all. The closer that you get to silent in dishwashers, the more they cost because of the added expense of the sound insulation. I've looked at the Bosch units with ratings around 40 dB, but those cost significantly more. I do think that Amana could have insulated the lower plastic piece underneath of the door better for little extra cost, though, and helped with sound from the motor and water flowing through the hoses.
Also, mine has a constant high pitched whine that comes from the electronic control panel. I only notice it if my head is about a foot away, but I wanted to mention it in case you are sensitive to those noises. I decided to connect mine to an outlet under my sink controlled by a wall switch (like a disposal is), so I can shut it off and get rid of that noise when I'm not using it.
* BUILD QUALITY - 4 Stars
Overall, it seems good to me. The internal washer area is sturdy, and the racks are just as good if not better than those on my Whirlpool. The front panel materials are also good. The top of the metal door where it mates with the upper plastic section is a bit loose on mine (only noticeable when I push on it, but I mention it because it might add to noise), and the lower plastic panel near the floor is a bit flimsy, but those are the only two things that I can think to point out. In the ~$300 range, I think that this is a good unit. Only time will tell if moving parts and water connections hold up, but I've inspected under the unit a number of times as I was adjusting the back feet, and nothing looks or feels sub-par to me.
* SUMMARY - 4 Stars
Things that I like:
- Tall tub, allowing larger items and/or easier access for regular items. For example, wine glasses that always had to be at an angle in my Whirlpool (and consequently often fell over during washing) fit on the top rack of this Amana just great.
- Washer arms underneath both racks, so there's no cylinder taking up room in the center of the racks for water to flow through allowing you to fit in more items
- Nice, clean look on the outside
- Utensil holders can be placed on the sides or front of the lower rack
- Overall good build quality and noise rating for this price
Things to consider:
- Lower plastic front panel doesn't give a really polished look, but you might not really ever notice it because it's near the floor
- Not whisper quiet (again, it's good for the price, but it's not exceptionally quiet in general)
* INSTALLATION HINTS
The installation instructions that come with the machine are good. Follow those, and you should be set. Mine was delivered and installed for me, and based on some issues that I had after the installers left, I have some hints for preparation and things to make sure that the installers do before they leave.
- Have some towels ready if you have a dishwasher already installed, because there will be water that leaks out when the hoses are disconnected and when the dishwasher is pulled out and moved. The guys that delivered mine were very nice, but they weren't used to removing dishwashers and didn't have any towels. If I would have had towels ready, that would have been prevented a mess.
- Make sure that the installers fit the insulation blanket on properly and keep it in place when they push the dishwasher into place. As a tip for them or you, you can use some tape to secure the front edge of the insulation in place - that worked great for me when I repositioned it.
- Inspect the location of the washer before the installers screw in the two tabs above the door. As I was writing this review and noting a cosmetic gap on each side, I noticed that the gaps were there because my installers had pushed the unit about 0.5-0.75" too far in. Because of that, the sides of the unit were recessed compared to the edges of the cabinet, and there was a large visual gap on each side. I just now corrected it by pulling the unit out and making sure that it was lined up on both sides, but I had to put two new holes into the wood brace above the washer for the screws (easy in my case, but maybe not for everyone). It wasn't difficult, but it took a while, and it will be easier for you if you check before they secure it.
- Make sure that they check that all four feet are on the ground and that the dishwasher is level. My installers never checked the back feet, and they weren't touching the floor - so the machine would slide in and out at the bottom when I opened/closed the door. Those feet are pretty easy to adjust, but you'll have to fit your arm past the hoses underneath to reach one of them - so it's best if the installers do it and make sure that all connections are still secure afterwards.