Monday, May 20, 2013

Home Review: Kenmore 1348 Dishwasher

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Quiet yet effect at cleaning dishes without leaving hard water spots
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Keeping dishes clean
Is no longer a hard chore
I like this machine

Keeping My Dishes Clean Despite My Hard Water

When I bought my condo a number of years ago, it came with a dishwasher.  Frankly, the unit looked to be about 20 years old.  When it needed to be replaced, I did some research and got this Kenmore Dishwasher.  I've been very happy with it for a year now.

I know that if I wanted my dishes to be their best, I would rinse them off and run the dishwasher on a regular basis.  But I'm a lazy bachelor.  Heck, my roommates actually do more cooking than I do.  So this machine has some work cut out for it if it is going to get my dishes clean.

Another hurdle it has to overcome is the very hard water in my condo complex.  Frankly, the water in the entire town isn't the greatest, but it seems to be worse here.  My dishes had a layer of scum on them from the hard water thanks to my old dishwasher.  I was hoping the features of this unit could help with this issue as well.


This is your standard one door, two rack dishwasher.  But it does have some nice features.  The water for the top rack comes in from the back, meaning you can use the entire bottom rack for dishes.  But the top rack is still fully adjustable.  I keep it in the upper position, leaving me plenty of room for stuff on the bottom.  But I never have trouble fitting things in the upper rack either.  The down side is the hooks on the rack to make this possible take up some room on the upper rack, so I have to make sure I put my small glasses there.  There is also a second shelf you can flip down to rest small tea type cups or to hold your long stemmed glasses.  Since I have neither, this is a feature I have never used.

The silverware basket is on the right hand side.  Frankly, I don't see this as a feature or a detractor.  What is nice, however, is the way it is set up.  It is divided into three sections you can take apart and remove if you need more room.  Each section has its own swivel cover, so you can load silverware and know it isn't near its neighbor, or swing the top up if you've got serving spoons that won't fit in the little slots.

Probably the biggest help to me is the rinse aid dispenser.  I realize most dishwashers have them these days, but it was new for me, and I think it has made a huge difference in how clean my dishes look.

As you would expect, there is a flip soap dispenser in the door.  Since the silverware holder is off to the side, you might be tempted to load something nice and big like a cookie sheet against the door.  DON'T GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION!!!!  I can tell you from personal experience that if you do this, the door won't be able to swing open.  The dishes might look clean when you are done, but you'll see soap still caked in the dispenser.

Cycles and Other Options

My dishwasher has six cycles.  I pretty much use two of them.  When I've got a full load, I run a quick rinse to get the worst of the grime off and give the rest a few minutes to get loosened.  It doesn't use detergent and takes about 10 minutes, or just long enough to make me forget I plan to run it.

When I remember to get it started, I use the Smart Wash cycle.  This cycle uses a censor to gage how dirty the water is.  If it seems really dirty, it keeps washing the dishes until they become clean.  It certainly seems to work well as most everything is clean.  Yes, the occasional dish that has really tough caked on grime might need to go through again, but everything else is clean.

The other options include Pots and Pans, Normal, and Light wash.  Like the Smart Wash cycles, these take somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours to run from start to finish.  The final cycle is the Fast Wash, which takes 30 minutes.  I've never used it, but it seems like you'd want to have the dishes pretty well clean before you start it, so what's the point?

There are some other options you can use when it's time to wash your dishes.  If you want to load it and get it ready to go, but run it later, you can delay start by two, four, or six hours.  Since my hot water heater is so far from my dishwasher, I never use these options.  I want to get it started when I know I've got hot water running into it.

You can also choose to increase the temperature of the water during the wash cycle and create a sanitary rinse.  Finally, you can have the dishwasher use heat to dry your dishes instead of just air drying them.  I always use all these options because I heard it helped with the spotting caused by my hard water.

But How Does It Work?

I love my new dishwasher!  As I mentioned earlier, it gets my dishes clean without me even worrying about it.  Only the occasional really stuck on piece of food doesn't come out.  But that would be true with every dishwasher.

And it doesn't leave the hard water spots!  I'm sure the rinse aid has something to do with that since I had never tried that before, but I'm giving the dishwasher some of the credit here, too.  I made sure to run all my dishes through in the first couple of months, and the old spots are gone as well.  Frankly, it used to be embarrassing when friends came over and saw my "clean" dishes.  No more of that problem.

This dishwasher is quiet, too.  Yes, I still hear it when it is running, especially if I am in the living room, which is right next to the kitchen.  But it is easily half as loud as my old one.  You can talk on the phone or watch TV with it running with only a minimum of noise distraction.  In my bedroom with the door closed, I don't hear it at all.


Would I buy it again?  In a heart beat.  A year later, and I am still quite happy I went with this Kenmore dishwasher.

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