Whirlpool's dishwasher has a practical bend (first take)

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/ Updated: September 8, 2013 9:40 PM PDT
Whirlpool

The Whirlpool WDL785SAAM is the first and only dishwasher currently included in Whirlpool’s line of 6th Sense Live smart appliances. At $949, it sits in the upper mid portion of the dishwasher price spectrum. Unlike many other smart appliances we've seen so far, Whirlpool isn't wrapping the connected features in a luxury package. Instead, the company seems confident to let the practical connectivity features stand on their own.

At its core, the WDL785SAAM is a tall tub, built-in dishwasher with a stainless steel tub and two removable racks. Because it is a tall tub washer, it can hold up to 14 place settings. The stainless tub should make this washer quieter during a cycle and more resistant to heat damage or warping. In addition, steel tubs are more energy efficient as they hold heat better, useful during both the washing and drying cycles.

The control panel on this dishwasher is mounted on the front of the door, rather than on the top, and consists of buttons, rather than a touch screen or pad. You get six cycle options, including a one-hours wash, an eco mode, and heavy duty, normal, overnight, and sensor wash/dry modes. The sensor wash cycle uses Whirlpool’s Auto Soil sensor to measure the water clarity in order to determine how dirty the dishes are. Depending on the reading, the dishwasher may automatically add more water and adjust the temperature accordingly. That sensor set-up sounds useful, even if it's not new to the category.

Whirlpool

In terms of design, you wouldn’t pick it out as the high-tech model from of a lineup of similarly-priced dishwashers. But what it may lack in design ingenuity, it makes up for in less visible ways thanks to Whirlpool's smart app.

The app enables gives the dishwasher, and in fact all 6th Sense Live appliances several different functions. First, Smart Stats provide information as immediate as the current status of your wash cycle but also as broad as how many days the dishwasher has been in use and online. Smart Energy connects the dishwasher to the Smart Grid, if it’s available in your area, to keep track of energy expenditures and efficiency.

Smart Nudges are reminders send straight to your phone or tablet. The most common you will encounter is the nudge that tells you your dishes are clean and ready to unload. Smart Alerts notify you in the event of a power outage. Finally, Whirlpool’s Smart Store allows you to order replacement parts right from the app.

Whirlpool

It looks mostly like Whirlpool is playing a conservative hand with this dishwasher, working through the new connectivity elements before making any major design overhauls that could require complete retooling. Who can blame them? The refrigerator is seen as the centerpiece of the kitchen. Consumers will shell out for an oven. But the dishwasher seems to be that appliance that, for all of the convenience it provides and labor it saves, gets far less attention.

We will treat the Whirlpool WDL785SAAM to a full review in the coming weeks. We have high hopes given its price and its practical-seeming smart app.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Compliant Standards CEE Tier 1
  • Exterior Color monochromatic stainless steel
  • Special Features 6th Sense Live
  • Special Programs 1 hour