When shopping for a dishwasher, it can be hard to tell one from another. So, why do chefs and homeowners so revere a Miele dishwasher?
And why are they so expensive? After all, dishwashers all have the same basic design, and they all use a combination of water and heat to clean and sanitize dishes, right?
They do, but Miele (pronounced Meal-ah) dishwashers are different. Also, depending on the features, they range from relatively affordable to about the cost of a semester's tuition at a community college.
While Miele dishwashers may contain the same basic materials as most dishwashers, how they're put together makes them quieter than all the others. They also get your dishes a lot cleaner.
However, that is not all, read on to find out why these dishwashers are above the rest.
What is Different About a Miele Dishwasher?
Like a BMW or a Mercedes, Germans make Miele dishwashers with all the precision you'd expect. They are often called the most exceptional dishwashers in the world, and it's because of the details.
The racks slide smoothly. The high-end models, especially, are whisper quiet. They offer features you may not find in other dishwashers, such as a third rack, soil sensors, a cutlery tray, and automatically closing doors.
The most important thing, though is how clean Miele dishwashers make your dishes, and that's where they shine (forgive the pun).
Is a Miele Dishwasher Worth the Money?
In a time of built-in obsolescence, where $1,000 phones and $2,000 computers are designed for replacement after only a couple of years, it's refreshing to know that there are still companies that make products for the long-haul. Miele appliances are built to last 20 years or more.
The question, then, should be whether you plan to keep your dishwasher for 20 years. Is your kitchen a classic, or are you the type who changes things out on a whim?
Are you a bargain hunter, or do you spend to get the finest quality? If you aren't afraid to spend the money, and especially if you've been disappointed by cheaper dishwashers, a Miele dishwasher may indeed be worth it.
History of Miele
Miele was founded in 1899, long before most homes had running water. The company, founded by Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann, made cream separators. They soon added butter churns to their lineup.
In 1903, the company ventured into the type of household appliances it's famous for now.
They manufactured a clothing washing machine with surprisingly modern technology like an agitator. The first electric version hit the market in 1910.MieleUSA.com
In 1912, Miele entered the burgeoning automotive manufacturing field, but the needed capital investments proved too much for the company. That experiment only lasted two years.MieleUSA.com
With a couple of exceptions, like bicycles, Miele stuck with washers, adding improvements like running water, until 1931, when it introduced a canister vacuum. The vacuum looked surprisingly like many you can find today.MieleUSA.com
It wasn't until 1963 that Miele entered the dishwasher market. Their claim to fame was an efficient use of space -- it could fit up to 12 place settings -- a stainless steel interior, a measured detergent dispenser, and it fit under standard kitchen counters.
In 1967, Miele's quality made it a favorite of laboratories and hospitals, where test tubes and dishes have to be more than clean -- they have to be sterile.
How Much Does a Miele Dishwasher Cost?
Miele offers five different series of dishwashers, with varying features. You can buy an entry-level Miele Classic Plus dishwasher for as little as $800 on sale or $1,000 when it is not on sale.
That is pretty close to average for a dishwasher. Their Diamond series can set you back almost $3,000. The other three series fall right in the middle, ranging from about $1,500 to about $2,000.
For a company that prides itself on its products' longevity, Miele's one-year limited warranty is surprisingly short.
However, if you're willing to opt for the top model, the warranty is a far more impressive five years. You can buy a five-year extended service contract for lesser models for $300.
Where Can You Buy a Miele Dishwasher?
Today, Miele is very particular about their reputation. Their exclusivity is enhanced by the fact that you won't find Miele in a big box home improvement store. They only sell through high-end appliance stores.
Types of Miele Dishwashers
Miele has five series of dishwashers, including (from lowest priced to highest), its Miele Classic Plus, its most popular Miele Crystal, the Miele Dimension, The Miele Lumen, and the Miele Diamond. Each comes in several models, and all of them offer:
Consumer Reports users give Miele's Classic Plus dishwasher an impressive 4.2 stars. The rating organization compliments the wash performance, says its energy efficiency is "excellent," the noise level is "very good," and the dishwashers are "very good" at drying plastic items.
On the downside, they said, the filter requires manual cleaning. Overall, Miele scored better than all but two dishwasher brands for repair problems.
Miele's Classic Plus dishwashers will run you around $1,000, but you can find them on sale for as low as about $800.
Miele's Crystal dishwashers have all of the standard features, plus:
Consumer Reports rates the Miele Crystal series, which starts at around $1,400, as "excellent" on all fronts but noise. Noise gets a "very good" rating. Users aren't quite so sure, though.
They give the dishwashers just 1.5 stars and complain about the fact that you have to clean the filter and other parts. They also say it doesn't dry the dishes and it has a weird smell.
Miele Dimension dishwashers have all the features of the Crystal, but with:
Perhaps it's the $1,700 starting price tag, but Consumer Reports was less impressed with the Dimension's quality and features.
It rated energy use as "excellent," but everything else only rated "very good." As with all the other series, the fact that the filter needs manual cleaning is a potential downside.
Miele Lumen dishwashers share all the features of the Dimension, with:
Consumer Reports rates everything about the Lumens as "excellent," except for energy use and noise, which were given "very good" ratings.
Again, they complain about the manually cleaned filter. One user review gives their Lumen five stars. The cost of the Lumen starts at around $1,800.
The Miele Diamond dishwasher is their highest-end and their most expensive. On top of the Lumen's features, this series offers:
Consumer Reports was far from wowed by the upgrades promised with the $2,700 price tag.
Overall, they found the performance impressive, but, they said, several $600 models of dishwashers performed just as well.
Miele Finishes and Customization
Miele offers three levels of customization, from your standard dishwasher to one that blends with your kitchen.
Pre-finished Miele dishwashers
Pre-finished Miele dishwashers range in price from around $1,000 to about $1,700. They come in white, black, and fingerprint-free stainless steel.
Integrated Miele dishwashers
Integrated Miele dishwashers are designed to fit into any kitchen, with either a stainless steel facade or a front panel designed to match your kitchen's cabinetry.
They range in cost from $1,400 for the smaller slim-line model, to $2,500 for the larger full-size model with a transparent control panel.
Fully Integrated dishwashers
Fully integrated Miele dishwashers conceal themselves behind your kitchen's cabinetry, instead of using a facade.
They also come in stainless steel. There are numerous models available, ranging in price from around $1,000 to about $2,700.
The Best Miele Dishwashers
Now that we know a bit more about the specifics of Miele dishwashers, which one might be right for you?
Miele G6745 Scu Clst ecoFLEX Dimension
We rate the Miele G6745 SCU CLST EcoFlex Dimension, at $1,600, as the best all-around Miele dishwasher.
It offers superior cleaning, built-in water softener, china and crystal settings, a resource-saving half load cycle, and a door that opens automatically at the end of the dry cycle.
Miele G4228SCUSS Futura Classic Plus
If you don't need bragging rights, you can still buy a great Miele dishwasher for a far more affordable price.
The Miele G4228SCUSS Futura Classic Plus retails for about $1,000 (less on sale) and still offers many of Miele's most convenient features, like the cutlery tray, the deceptively substantial amount of space inside, and the ultra-quiet wash cycle. It's also very nice looking.
Miele G6987 K20 EcoFlex Diamond
If you want to impress your friends, go for the Miele G6987 K20 EcoFlex Diamond dishwasher. Your dishes will come out with a brilliant shine, with no water spots, and it's virtually silent.
Perhaps the best feature, especially if you have a high-end kitchen, is that there is no outside panel to break up your seamless design. All you have to do is knock twice and the door opens, revealing a hidden control panel.
This one will set you back around $2,800 full retail, but you can find it for about $2,600.
Is a Miele Dishwasher Everything it's Cracked Up to Be?
Whether or not you choose a Miele depends on your priorities. With its high price tag comes high expectations, and the internet is filled with disappointed customers. You'll find at least as many happy customers, though.
If your top priority is quality, it's tough to beat the Miele Classic Plus series, especially if you can find it on sale.
You'll pay up to twice as much as a low-end dishwasher, but you'll get Miele quality and a dishwasher that can take you to your next kitchen renovation and beyond.
If you are planning a $50,000 plus kitchen renovation, the near $3,000 price point for Miele's Diamond series is a drop in the bucket.
The fully integrated panel can make your dishwasher disappear altogether behind your kitchen cabinetry. Its whisper quiet technology further conceals it.
The five-year warranty ensures that it will last. Most high-end Miele customers will also choose Miele's refrigerators, ranges, ovens, microwaves, and other appliances, to give their kitchens a cohesive look.
The mid-range Miele dishwashers offer all the features you could ever want in a dishwasher, but they come at a price that could be out of reach for most mid-range consumers.
The Bottom Line
Miele is the kind of dishwasher people buy when they want to forget they have a dishwasher.
Even with the Classic Plus, its flat, unobtrusive face blends with most kitchens, While most stainless steel appliances smudge when you simply brush against them, Miele's stainless steel doesn't.
Despite having all of the standard dimensions, all models seem cavernous inside. They all leave your dishes spotless and are very quiet.
About the only thing Miele doesn't do is load itself, clean it's own filter, and put the dishes away.
Can you get the same features for less? Absolutely, but they may not come with Miele's quality, and they certainly won't come with Miele's reputation for precision and an eye for detail.
Let's just say that Miele is the type of dishwasher people take with them when they move.