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29 Apr 2022

Which? testing reveals the dishwashers that can't clean without getting clogged

Be careful if you're buying a new dishwasher as our tests prove that some simply aren't up to the job

We lab test 60 dishwashers each year and recently found five that became so clogged up they couldn’t finish cleaning, leaving lots of dishes dirty and a big mess to sort out.

Normally you’d only have to clean your dishwasher’s filter once or twice a month at most, but with these you’d have to clean them once or twice a week or you'll regularly need to fish out last night's dinner.

Dishwashers are supposed to rid you of your chores, not add to them, so that’s far too often. As such, we didn’t hesitate to name them Don’t Buys - the products we find in our tests that are so bad we think they should simply be avoided entirely.

Read on to find out which dishwashers you should steer clear of and more dishwasher buying advice.

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Don't Buy dishwashers revealed

Every dishwasher we test goes through three rounds of dirty dishes to make sure our results are consistent each wash. Usually it doesn't end up being an endurance challenge - but that’s just what happened here.

We found five dishwashers that aren't up to the job and would need cleaning every few washes:

  • CDA CDI6241
  • Bush DW12SAE
  • Hisense HS661C60WUK
  • Hisense HV672C60UK
  • Hisense HV651D60UK 

When we investigated further, we found that the problem lies in the design of the central filter.

It either has smaller holes than most and as such gets blocked more easily, or larger holes which let big pieces of food in and these then block another filter further inside.

You can see this for yourself in the pictures, where what can best be described as an eggs Florentine has caused the blockage.

Unfortunately it's very hard to see if this will be a problem when shopping online or in-person.

Make sure to check our dishwasher reviews before buying to avoid wasting money on one that will let you down.

Be careful before buying

Getting clogged isn't the only problem we find with dishwashers.

Sometimes they simply can't clean thoroughly, making a dog’s dinner out of cleaning up yours.

A dishwasher is supposed to rid you of doing the washing up by hand, so any that can't wash your dishes sufficiently are named Don't Buys in our reviews.

Spending more does not necessarily save you from buying a bad dishwasher, too. We've found Don't Buys for as much as £469 before.

See our list of the best dishwashers for 2022 to find out which seriously impressed in our tests

What makes Which? dishwasher reviews different

Almost all free-to-access websites review dishwashers using an individual tester and generate scores based on that individual’s preferences. Free sites also typically get dishwashers free of charge directly from manufacturers or their PR representatives.

As well as using multiple testers in a lab-based scenario, we base our reviews on measurements and ratings supplied by the lab and we buy every single product we test.

Each test involves making and measuring out a specific amount of milk, tea, minced meat, eggs, oat flakes, spinach and margarine, which is hand painted onto every plate, glass, oven tray and mug. That way we know we are treating each dishwasher exactly the same and can compare the results fairly.

Read our full guide on how we test dishwashers to learn more about our energy use and ease of use testing, too.