The $400 Kenmore 13002 24-inch Built-In Dishwasher confirms that cleaning power doesn't necessarily correlate with price. With a 73 percent cleaning score in our rigorous tests, this bargain dishwasher outperformed models that cost two to three times as much. To get the price down, the 13002 does away with almost all frills -- it doesn't have stem holders, foldable tines or really any features to speak of.
The Kenmore 13002 is even more stripped down than the $400, which at least has stem holders and a flexible silverware basket. The 13002 is a better cleaner, but I still slightly prefer GE's $400 model. The 13002 isn't a good enough cleaner that you don't have to rinse or scrape your dishes, and the GE GDF520PGJWW is a much better dryer.
If you're looking to save money on a dishwasher, also consider the $500if you want a model with a little style, or the $500 if you want a machine that's a legitimately great cleaner. If you're intent on spending $400 or less, the 13002 does its main job admirably and is therefore worth your consideration.
Ordinary at a glance
Kenmore made smart choices when deciding what to trim to get the price down on the $400 13002 -- which is to say, the company cut everything but performance. The all-white exterior will blend in well with white cabinets and that's about the best thing I can say as far as the design goes. It's inoffensive. The plastic tub and white interior don't spice things up, either.
The 13002 is easy enough to control. The buttons feel plasticky, but you can scroll between three different cycles: Pots and Pans, Normal Wash and "1 Hr Wash." The 13002 has a couple of options you can add to your cycle: "High temp," "Sani Rinse" or "Heated Dry."
The control panel on the front is its only visual adornment other than the Kenmore logo. But the lack of interesting cycles or countdown timer isn't damning at this price. The GDF520PGJWW has an autosense cycle and a steam prewash option, but otherwise matches the 13002's lack of choice.
You can't fold down any tines on the interior of the 13002, but they're spaced well enough to fit standard dishes. Even at 10 place settings, however, the dishwasher felt cramped -- it holds a maximum of 12. The GDF520PGJWW has room for 16, as well as stem holders and an upper rack you can raise or lower.
The GDF520PGJWW is also quieter, rated at 54 dB compared with the 13002's 56 dB. But you'd be hard pressed to notice the difference unless you were running both at the same time. You'll need to speak up if you're having a conversation in the same room while either model is running, but you should barely hear it by the time you get to an adjacent room.