The Complete Guide to Top-Control Dishwashers

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Doing the dishes is a chore no one enjoys. But with a reliable, high-performing dishwasher, you can cut through post-meal cleanup with ease. Most standard dishwashers have controls located on the front. But top-control dishwashers put the buttons and display up top, hidden away once installed.

This clean, streamlined look is popular in contemporary kitchens. Beyond aesthetics, top-control models offer useful cycles, upgraded drying systems, and smart features.

In this guide, we’ll cover the top top-control dishwasher models, what to look for when selecting one, and answers to common questions about these stylish appliances. Let’s get started!

The Best Top-Control Dishwashers

Many leading brands offer top-control dishwasher models spanning budget to luxury price points. Here are our picks for the best choices available:

Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N

For a superb balance of quality, performance, and sophisticated style, the Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N tops our list. With a sleek control panel on top, no unsightly buttons disrupt the smooth contemporary exterior.

The advanced CrystalDryTM Plus option thoroughly dries dishes using a heated element and natural airflow. The PrecisionWash system adjusts the spray pressure and location for customized cleaning. At just 42 dBA, operation is whisper quiet.

This Bosch model provides excellent cleaning power and drying while maintaining utmost care for fine dishware and glassware. Owners rave about its performance and reliability.

Key Features:

  • CrystalDryTM Plus for superior drying
  • PrecisionWash adjusts spray pressure
  • Ultra quiet at 42 dBA
  • Sanitize option kills bacteria
  • Triple rack loading system

Pros: Excellent drying results, very quiet, high-end cleaning performance

Cons: Expensive

Price Range: $$$$

GE Profile Top Control PDT755SYNFS

For an attractive, smart-enabled dishwasher, the GE Profile Top Control PDT755SYNFS is a top choice. Wifi connectivity allows monitoring cycles from your phone and receiving end-of-cycle alerts.

The Deep Clean Silverware Jets target stuck-on food on utensils in the dedicated silverware drawer. The upper rack can be adjusted to fit tall glassware and its fold-down tines enable flexible loading.

With a heated dry system and specialty wash cycles, this GE Profile model offers convenience and flexibility at a reasonable price. It’s a great option for tech-savvy households.

Key Features:

  • WiFi enabled connectivity and app control
  • Deep Clean Silverware Jets
  • Adjustable upper rack and fold-down tines
  • Sanitize cycle
  • High temp wash and heated dry

Pros: Wifi features, focused cleaning jets, adjustable rack

Cons: some reliability complaints

Price Range: $$

KitchenAid Top Control KDTM404KPS

Known for their stylish, well-built kitchen appliances, KitchenAid’s Top Control KDTM404KPS dishwasher impresses. The sleek control panel keeps buttons out of sight but easily accessible.

The ProWash cycle uses advanced sensors to adjust the wash for optimum cleaning. The upper rack adjusts up and down to accommodate tall glassware. At just 44 dBA, it runs very quietly.

With a durable build and handy cycles like the 1-hour wash and the energy-saving Eco cycle, everything about this dishwasher is thoughtfully designed. KitchenAid’s excellent reputation shines through.

Key Features:

  • ProWash intelligent sensor cycle
  • Ultra quiet operation at 44 dBA
  • Adjustable upper rack
  • 1-hour quick wash
  • Energy saving Eco cycle

Pros: Quiet, great cleaning performance, reputable brand

Cons: No specialty jet options

Price Range: $$

Amana Top Control DTC9305W

For an affordable top-control option without sacrificing quality, the Amana Top Control DTC9305W is a solid choice. The finger-print resistant stainless exterior maintains a like-new shine.

The dual power filtration system provides outstanding cleaning ability. The top-mounted control panel allows for a seamless built-in look once installed. With a decibel rating of just 47, this dishwasher runs quietly.

While not flashy, the Amana DTC9305W focuses on providing reliable performance. With a sanitization cycle and the durability of a trusted brand, it’s great bang for your buck.

Key Features:

  • Dual power filtration for quality cleaning
  • Nearly silent operation at 47 dBA
  • Stainless steel tub resists stains
  • Sanitization cycle
  • 3 stage filtration system

Pros: Great cleaning for the price, quiet performance, fingerprint resistant finish

Cons: Very basic features and settings

Price Range: $


For high-end features and luxurious performance, the Bosch 800 Series SHPM88Z75N leads the pack. The GE Profile Top Control PDT755SYNFS provides smart connectivity and specialty jet cleaning. KitchenAid’s Top Control KDTM404KPS earns high marks for its reputable quality. And the Amana Top Control DTC9305W gives you solid cleaning abilities without blowing your budget.

Keep reading for what to look for when picking out the perfect top-control dishwasher.

How to Choose a Top-Control Dishwasher

Here are the key factors and features to consider when selecting a top-control dishwasher for your kitchen:

Capacity and Size

The interior capacity determines how many dishes you can clean per load. Look for models sized for your household:

  • 8-10 place settings: Small families or apartments
  • 12-15 place settings: Average-sized households
  • 16+ place settings: Ideal for large families

Measure your intended dishwasher cutout space to ensure a proper fit. Standard widths are 18 to 24 inches.

Wash Cycles and Settings

Look for the cycles and options you’ll find most useful:

  • Heavy/Pots & Pans: Blasts away baked-on food
  • Normal or Regular: For everyday mixed loads.
  • Delicate: Safely cleans fragile glassware.
  • Rinse Only: For pre-rinsing dishes to hand wash later.

The more versatility, the better for tackling different loads.

Drying Performance

Many models now include upgraded drying systems to eliminate wet dishes:

  • Heated dry: Uses an internal heating element and fans.
  • Extended dry: Continues drying at low heat after the cycle.
  • Condensation drying: Circulates air to remove moisture.

These provide vastly better drying results than relying on residual heat. Look for a model with an effective drying system.

Noise Level

Top-control dishwashers range from about 40 to 50 decibels while running. Those with insulation and quiet motors operate at the lower end of this range. Choose a model with the lowest decibels for a peaceful kitchen environment.

Reliability of Brand

Stick with trusted brand names known for quality:

  • Bosch
  • KitchenAid
  • LG
  • GE
  • Whirlpool

Read reviews and recall notices for any model you are considering. Avoid brands with a reputation for frequent repairs.

Special Features

Higher end models provide extra perks:

  • Wifi: Monitor cycles remotely from an app.
  • 3rd Rack: Provides extra loading space for silverware and utensils.
  • Bottle Jets: Target stuck-on debris in narrow bottles and vases.
  • Leak Detection: Shuts off water and alerts you if it senses a leak.

Consider which special upgrades would be worthwhile for your household.


Expect to spend $500 – $1100 for a top-control dishwasher. Take advantage of seasonal sales around holidays. Focus on reliability and performance rather than paying for unneeded fancy extras.

Installation Considerations

  • A top-control model can’t have a countertop installed on top of it. Leave space above for the door to open.
  • They don’t require extra cabinet depth. A standard 24″ depth opening works fine.
  • Choose a custom panel kit for a built-in, integrated look.

FAQs about Top-Control Dishwashers

What are the benefits of top-control vs standard dishwashers?

The main advantages of top-control dishwashers include:

  • Streamlined appearance blending seamlessly into contemporary kitchens.
  • Buttons and display are hidden from view when installed under a counter.
  • Allow for a full countertop without disruptive controls.
  • Provide the same great cleaning abilities as standard models.

What capacity is recommended for families of different sizes?

Dishwasher capacities to look for:

  • 1-2 people: 6-8 place setting capacity
  • 3-4 people: 8-12 place settings
  • 5+ people: 12-16 place settings

Match the capacity to your average load sizes for optimum efficiency.

How do you properly load a top-control dishwasher?

  • Angle items so water can reach all surfaces.
  • Keep plates upright separated by tines or dividers.
  • Place bowls, pots, etc. face down.
  • Put tall glasses, knives, and utensils around the edges.
  • Don’t block the detergent dispenser or spray arms.

Do you need to pre-rinse dishes before loading them?

Pre-rinsing is not necessary with most models made in the last 5-10 years. Simply scrape off any large food pieces before loading. The dishwasher will handle the rest. However, heavily soiled pans may need a quick rinse.

What kinds of detergent should be used?

Look for 2-in-1 “gel pack” detergents that contain soap, rinse aid, and enzymes. Cascade, Finish, and Seventh Generation make quality options. Avoid sudsy formulas like hand dishwashing liquid. Always consult the manual.

How can hard water affect the performance?

Hard water causes scale buildup which can clog spray arms and jets. Install a home water softener or use a dishwasher cleaner monthly to remove mineral deposits. Add white vinegar to the rinse aid reservoir to help resist hard water spots.

How do you clean and maintain a top-control dishwasher?

  • Wipe door seals regularly to avoid mold.
  • Remove and rinse the filter monthly to clear debris.
  • Run empty appliance cleaner cycles monthly to sanitize the interior.
  • Use white vinegar rinses to de-lime mineral buildup.
  • Check/tighten connections to prevent leaks.

What are average price ranges for top-control dishwashers?

Budget models start around $500. Mid-range options with additional features run about $700 – $900. High-end luxury dishwashers can cost $1500+. Shop sales around holidays for the best deal.

How long do top-control dishwasher models typically last?

Around 7-10 years on average, similar to standard dishwashers, but high end ones often last 12+ years. Invest in a reputable brand and properly care for it, and your dishwasher should provide many years of reliable service.

How do finish and panel options affect the cost?

White or black plastic tubs are the most affordable. Stainless steel interiors cost a bit more for increased durability. Custom panel ready models that integrate seamlessly with cabinetry run $100-$200 more but have a built-in look.

Key Benefits of Top-Control Dishwashers

  • Streamlined contemporary appearance
  • Buttons and display hidden from sight
  • Allow for full countertops without disruptive controls
  • Provide excellent cleaning and drying performance
  • Cycles and options for all dishwashing needs
  • Quiet operation
  • Fingerprint resistant finishes

With the right pick matched to your household, a top-control dishwasher can make kitchen cleanup a breeze while blending in beautifully with your decor. Use this guide to shop smart and maximize value and performance. Make your dish duty as simple and sparkling as possible with one of these sleek and powerful appliances.

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