Both Frigidaire and Whirlpool dishwashers are affordable. If you’ve narrowed down your dishwasher search to these two brands, you probably know that much already. But sorting out the differences between Frigidaire and Whirlpool dishwashers and their dozens of models—from the wash technology to the warranties and service networks—is confusing. And when you can’t wash dishes, you need a new dishwasher now. Or, ideally, yesterday.
To help you pick the best dishwasher, and get you back to enjoying your day, we’re comparing the features Frigidaire and Whirlpool dishwashers each have to offer. We’ll also take a look at the price points so you can find one that fits your needs and your budget.
What Makes a Dishwasher Great?
It's a combination of features six features. But first, some background info you should know. Frigidaire dishwashers come in three categories: Frigidaire, Frigidaire Gallery, and Frigidaire Professional. Frigidaire Professional consists of just one dishwasher, its top of the line model.
Whirlpool doesn’t break down its dishwashers into categories like this. As you go up in price, you go up in category and check off more of the feature sets that help a dishwasher do its job well.
1. Quiet Operation
For starters, the best dishwasher is a quiet dishwasher. But considerations like the number of people in your household, your lifestyle, the layout of your kitchen, and its proximity to your living room, and your budget may affect just how much dishwasher noise you’re willing to tolerate.
When dishwasher shopping, pay attention to the decibel rating (dBA). The higher the number, the louder it’ll run. We recommend staying below 50 dBA, the level of normal conversation. Even more ideal, look for between 44 and 48 dBA. Lower than that, and you’ll need a light to confirm your dishwasher’s on because you’re not going to hear it at all.
When it comes to ninja-like silence, Whirlpool gets the closest—for a price. It offers a 41 dBA dishwasher, the WDTA80SAKZ, for around $949. At 47 dBA, and for $100 less, are the WDT750SAKZ and WDTTA50SAKZ.
Frigidaire dishwashers are not known for being the quietest in the classroom. Its quietest model, the Frigidaire Professional FPID2498SF, rings in at 47 dBA. It costs around $893.10. Unless you’re buying a full suite of Frigidaire appliances, we’d recommend looking for a more value-packed machine at this price point. At that prices, you can buy a dishwasher from Whirlpool or another one of the best dishwasher brands that will perform better and last longer.
Most dishwashers under $799 from Whirlpool and Frigidaire are louder than 50 dBA. At $713, the Frigidaire FDSH4501AS is a noteworthy exception.
The bottom line? Both of these brands make acceptably quiet dishwashers, but you need to seek them out. Most of their dishwashers are a little louder than we recommend, so keep an eye on the decibel level while shopping, and remember that under 50 dBA is a good rule of thumb.
If you're seeking an ultra-quiet dishwasher (i.e., 38 to 44 dB), you may want to consider one of the Bosch dishwashers.
2. Design & Visual Appeal
Quiet is good. Pretty—or at least unobtrusive—is even better. The first factor in any dishwasher’s appearance is what you see the most of: the door material. Lower-end models are available in black and white from both brands; Whirlpool also makes biscuit, an off-white. You’ll find regular stainless steel (not fingerprint resistant) with black accents too.
With Whirlpool, these models also frequently have controls on the front of the door and bulkier, more prominent handles. Frigidaire, to its credit, hides the controls at the top of the door on most of its models for a sleeker look—even some under $500. Frigidaire also offers sleek pocket handles at lower price points.
When you get to more expensive models with good decibel ratings, Frigidaire offers smudge and fingerprint resistant stainless steel as well as black stainless, and a towel bar handle or, on its nicest machine, a hardware look professional handle. Whirlpool offers smudge and fingerprint resistant finishes in regular stainless steel as well as black and sunset bronze, plus a panel ready dishwasher that you can cover to match the rest of your kitchen cabinets. It also makes an 18 inch small dishwasher that is panel ready, and ideal for a bar or butler pantry. On these higher-end machines, Whirlpool upgrades to a towel bar or pocket handle and a top control panel.
3. Cleaning and Drying Performance, Convenience Features
The main job of a dishwasher, of course, is not to look good but to get your dishes clean and dry. Both Whirlpool and Frigidaire dishwashers do that duty well. You’ll find all the basic wash cycles—light, normal, and heavy. As you go up in price machines, you get extra cycles, like sensor wash, a cycle that automatically gauges how dirty your dishes are and adjusts the water and wash time to get them clean. It’s called DishSense or Soil Sensor on Frigidaire and Sensor Cycle on Whirlpool. All Whirlpool models except for one come with Sensor Cycle.
Frigidaire dishwashers give you faster quick wash cycles, right around 30 minutes, on less expensive machines. Whirlpool has a one-hour wash cycle.
Plastic or Stainless Steel Tub
Stainless steel lasts longer and looks better than plastic. It's also essential if a dishwasher doesn't have a heated dry element, since in that case the steel helps dry the dishes. A plastic tubs keeps costs down. Over $799, most Frigidiare dishwashers have plastic . All Whirlpool dishwashers under $500 have plastic ; over $500, many models have stainless steel. But since all Whirlpool dishwashers have a heated dry element, the stainless steel tub is an aesthetic choice only.
Every dishwasher maker views this feature as a way to distinguish itself with a technology that works better than its competitors.
Frigidaire’s is the OrbitClean spray arm. Its machines have one or two of these spray arms, at the bottom of the tub and under the top rack, depending on the model. The goal? To improve water distribution. Unlike traditional x-shaped spinning wash arms with nozzles in them, OrbitClean spray arms have a round disc at the end that’s studded with nozzles; as this disc spins, it produces a spiraling water spray pattern. This gets the water around more, which means things get cleaner. You’ll find it on models under $599 and up.
Frigidaire also has developed PrecisionPro Wash Zones. These spray clips on the top rack of the Frigidaire Professional series dishwasher let you secure wine glasses, cups, mugs, and bottles, and fire soapy water directly into them to get them clean. Based on customer feedback, they take some getting used to but do work well.
Whirlpool’s version is the Total Coverage Spray Arm. It’s designed to cover the entire interior tub with a high-pressure spray via 21 nozzles to ensure that every dish is properly rinsed and cleaned. That can be difficult for many manufacturers, particularly when you consider that dishware and cutlery is often loaded in the dishwasher randomly.
The Downside: Neither Frigidaire nor Whirlpool dishwashers have a self clean cycle. Therefore, use tips on our how to clean your dishwasher checklist to freshen up these machines.
Frigidaire calls its best drying technology EvenDry. It’s condensation drying system, so it’s available only on models with a stainless steel interior and no heating element in the bottom. It enhances drying with a fan to blow lingering water off dishes and into a condensation chamber at the bottom. Its second best drying technology is called MaxBoost Dry. It consists of a heating element at the bottom of the tub and a fan at the top; the fan sends cool air down to blow water off dishes and into a condensation chamber.
Whirlpool has less to report in this category. One Whirlpool dishwasher, the WDT730PAHZ, has a fan dry feature. It speeds up the drying process as it efficiently circulates the hot air inside the tub. As we mentioned earlier, even though all Whirlpool dishwashers have a heated drying element (which means a stainless steel interior isn’t necessary), we like that Whirlpool dishwashers over $849 have a stainless steel tub.
Several Whirlpool models have the company’s unique AnyWare utensil basket that can be placed in two locations on the bottom rack or in the door. Whirlpool is the only manufacturer with this unique in door flatware basket. It’s convenient because it frees up space for pots, pans, and dishes on the bottom rack.
A third rack at the top of the dishwasher adds room for small items like ramekins and measuring cups, so that you have more space for taller glasses and bowls below. Frigidaire introduces a third rack at a lower price point: uder $799, compared with under $849 for Whirlpool.
If there's no third rack, it helps for the top rack to be easily adjustable. On Frigidaire models, look for the term SpaceWise. It means you can raise or lower the top rack to fit items of various sizes.
Frigidaire does not offer Wi-Fi connectivity on any of its dishwashers. You won’t receive a text from your Frigidaire dishwasher informing you that it’s low on rinse aid. The most high-tech feature you’ll get from Frigidaire is a LED light that shines on the floor to tell you when a cycle is still running or when it’s done.
Whirlpool, on the other hand, offers Wi-Fi capabilities on newer dishwashers, and we expect it to expand it to more in the future. It enables these features:
- Control Lock Mode. Remotely lock your control panel. You’ve finally figured out the best dishwasher setting for your needs. This lets you prevent others from messing with that by locking the control panel.
- Downloadable Specialty Cycles. Get additional dishwasher cycles. Say you bake a lot. That means a lot of pans and trays. You can create a baking cycle and save it online.
- Auto Maintenance. Your dishwasher will alert you when it needs maintenance. It can even send information to its service database and help you schedule an appointment.
- Amazon Replenishment. Enable this, and your dishwasher will automatically order detergent refills whenever it needs them.
Are smart capabilities important in selecting a dishwasher?
Yes, if you like checking off tasks on your phone. The Whirlpool app and others can auto schedule maintenance appointments and even order detergent for you.
4. Leak Protection
Most recent Whirlpool dishwashers released—WDTA50SAK, WDT750SAK, and WDTA80SAK—have a built-in Leak Detection feature.When their sensors suspect a leak, it drains the tub and flashes a light on the front of the dishwasher.
5. Durability and Longevity
This may or may not be important to you, depending on how long you plan to stay in your home and how much of an investment you want to make. Your dishwasher’s lifespan also depends on how much you use it, of course. A busy family that runs it twice a day will wear it out faster than a couple that uses it every other day. A dishwasher in your main residence also will get more wear than a beach house you visit once a month.
In our experience, Frigidaire dishwashers, on average, last five to seven years. Whirlpool dishwashers may do a tiny bit better, lasting six to seven years on average. Compare that with a Miele dishwasher, which costs twice as much but lasts 20 or more years.
Also consider that many Frigidaire dishwashers have a stainless steel tub, while Whirlpool features plastic tubs on most of its models. Stainless steel tubs are also available from Whirlpool, but for higher prices. Plastic can stain over time and begin to look older, even if your machine is still working well.
Whirlpool and Frigidaire are both legacy American brands with good nationwide support networks, so help should be neaby should your unit need repair, no matter where you live.
Whirlpool and Frigidaire dishwashers are known for their accessible price points. You can get a good Whirlpool dishwasher for under $629 on the low end, and up to $999 on the top end. As for Frigidaire, you can go as low as under $499, or as high as $1,149.
However, what you save in price you find that you pay for in noise. Look for the sweet spot between price and quietness, then pinpoint the features that matter most to you. That’s how we handpicked the best budget and best overall products from each brand.
Our Most Popular Whirlpool and Frigidaire Dishwashers
1. Best for Budget Frigidaire Dishwasher: FFID2426TS
At $488, this Frigidaire dishwasher costs less than half of what the company’s most expensive dishwasher costs. That’s reflected in its chunkier handle design and 54 dBA noise rating, but it’s a great value. It comes in black, white, and classic and black stainless steel.
2. Best for Budget Whirlpool Dishwasher: WDF520PADM
Listed at an affordable price under $599 during seasonal promotions, this model holds 14 place settings—less roomy than most competitors—and it's fairly loud at 55dB. However, it has Whirlpool’s flexible and unique AnyWare flatware basket that can go in the door, Soil Sensors, and a quick one-hour wash cycle.
3. Best Overall Frigidaire Gallery Dishwasher: FGIP2468UF
This model is quiet for its price: 49 dBA and just over $600. It also has some of Frigidaire’s best features, including dual OrbitClean spray arms and MaxBoost drying, plus a 34-minute Quick Wash cycle and a black or silver smudge resistant door. That’s so good we’ll let the plastic tub slide—it keeps the price down.
4. Best Overall Whirlpool Dishwasher: WDT710PAHZ
This model has a plastic tub and a 51 dBA noise rating, so it’s not perfect. But it has everything you really need to clean your dishes well for a great price: under $649. You’ll get all of Whirlpool’s standard features plus a one-hour quick wash cycle, Soil Sensors, the AnyWare utensil basket, and a fingerprint resistant stainless steel door.
Both Frigidaire and Whirlpool are classic American name brands. The benefit? You’ll find a good customer support network in most parts of the country, not just in metro areas. The downside? You won’t find the wide array of technologies on these machines that you’d see on an LG dishwasher, or the long lifespan and industry leading performance you’d get from a Bosch or Miele dishwasher. Choose one of the better dishwashers from either brand, though, and you’ll get an affordable machine that gets the job done and looks great in your kitchen.
Does Whirlpool or Frigidaire make a portable dishwasher?
Frigidiare does not make portable dishwashers, but Whirlpool does. If you don’t have the space or plumbing for a built-in unit, and need one that you can move around, consider Whirlpool.