Whirlpool WDF520PADM Review Of Its Features And Benefits

Whirlpool WDF520PADM

If you're looking for a dishwasher, the Whirlpool WDF520PADM (MSRP $579) presents a good option if you don't want to completely empty out your bank account on an appliance to clean your dishes. Whirlpool has been around for over a century and has released hundreds of models of dishwashers in that time.

Over time, Whirlpool has become one of the most prolific suppliers of dishwashers and other appliances. It is currently one of the most trusted brand names for dishwashers in over 170 countries. While the WDF520PADM isn't the most luxurious model Whirlpool has to offer, you'll be impressed with its ability to do its job.

The Whirlpool WDF520PADM is a sturdy machine that is designed for a user-friendly experience and efficient cleaning. But does it measure up to expectations? Is it something you would want in your kitchen over similar models?

How We Reviewed

We examined the specifications of each dishwasher. This, combined with user reviews and careful consideration of the features and benefits of each allowed us to determine which was the best option. But these models all have ups and downs, so in the end, it comes down to personal preference.

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Design and Features

The Whirlpool WDF520PADM is 34 1/2 inches tall and 23 7/8 inches wide with a depth of 24 1/2 inches. Whirlpool made the body of this durable, built-in 66-pound machine of stainless steel so it can withstand some of the bumps and bruises your kids might throw its way. Like the body, the pocket handle is also stainless steel.

This Whirlpool dishwasher is coated with corrosion-free and rustproof powder to guarantee it will last. It is also designed to withstand the corrosive effects of soaps while still cleaning dishes effectively.

This four-cycle machine features electronic push-button controls on the front that allow you to select cycles and settings easily. There are 14 different settings you can customize to match your needs. It also has four wash cycles that will help you clean any dishes you need to clean.

If you're in a hurry, you'll love the one-hour wash cycle. It won't clean your dishes as well as many of the others. But it is great if you want to wash a small load after dinner.

The plastic interior may turn some people off, but this is a standard feature of entry-level dishwashers. The WDF520PADM has a removable plastic cutlery basket that will hold a decent amount of silverware.

This dishwasher has two racks with immovable tines. You may not find this feature to be as desirable as that of some other, more expensive models with adjustable tines and an additional rack. But it will hold 14 place settings if you make use of the AnyWare Plus cutlery basket.

To add convenience, Whirlpool designed this dishwasher to remember your last cycle automatically. Just press start and go! 

Whirlpool WDF520PADM Performance

If you're looking for a quiet machine, you're in luck! The WDF520PADM runs at a quiet 55 dBA. This is great if you don't want to interrupt family movie night or don't want sounds resembling a jet engine to emanate from your kitchen.

The WDF520PADM is Energy Star rated and will save you money on your electric bill.

The AccuSense soil sensor will detect the amount of dirt on your dishes and adjust the Normal cycle accordingly if your dishes need a little additional love. The rinse-aid dispenser will automatically add a measured amount of the liquid to help decrease spotting. The NSF certified Sani Rinse option eliminates 99.999 percent of food, soil, and bacteria and the dual spray arms help ensure a thorough cleaning. And the Triple Filtration system will help conserve water while your machine cleans your dishes.

What's Good

The WDF520PADM has a pretty good capacity for the price. It's very easy to use and completes cycles very quickly. It's quiet, stainless steel, and conserves energy. Also, it's easy to install, and maintenance is a breeze. This machine has all the basic features you could need. It's not completely decked out, but this Whirlpool dishwasher isn't lacking in anything important.

You'll love that Whirlpool makes this machine, so you can be assured that you're buying a quality dishwasher.

What's Not So Good

At times, the WDF520PADM  struggles with some dried-on food. This may be because the cycles are a bit on the shorter side. The Normal cycle runs for about two hours and eight minutes. The Heavy cycle runs for around three hours -- around the time it takes for average dishwashers to complete a Normal cycle. But despite this, this Whirlpool provides a decent amount of cleaning for the money.

In addition, the tines (as was mentioned) are not adjustable. The racks are also a bit on the smaller side. While this machine can hold 14 place settings, this requires you to hang the cutlery basket on the door. Larger plates can block the spray. This may mean your utensils are left dirty.

What Owners Are Saying

Overall, customers love the Whirlpool WDF520PADM according to reviews on the company's website. "Super CLEAN dishes!!" one customer from Miami, Florida beams. "Can't say enough about this one," another writes. "It is just great!!" One customer says that this dishwasher cost about half of what their previous dishwasher cost but cleans just as well.

However, some customers complain that it doesn't meet their expectations. One person from Fort Worth, Texas says that it doesn't clean his dishes thoroughly even if he washes them first. Others concur that the WDF520PADM doesn't clean quite as effectively as they would like. Many say that the WDF520PADM does not adequately dry their loads. Some say it leaks. One person noted that it "nearly flooded" their basement because of parts that were broken upon delivery.

While some customers say some very negative things about this model, more than 85 percent of owners review the Whirlpool WDF520PADM at four or five stars. Only about five percent give it two stars or less. 

Alternatives to the Whirlpool WDF520PADM

If the Whirlpool WDF520PADM isn't quite right for you, you'll love that there are similar models available for around the same price. Some have advantages over this model. Others have disadvantages. Here are some of the best alternative models you may want to consider. 

[amazon link=”B0746T3KHW” tite=”Amana ADB1400AGS”]

[amazon box=”B0746T3KHW”]

This unit will cost less than the WDF520PADM while still providing you with exemplary cleaning action. Owners of the Amana ADB1400AGS routinely praise this dishwasher's cleaning power -- even on Normal cycle.

The Amana ADB1400AGS (MSRP $389) also features a stainless steel exterior. You can find it in white or black for a little bit less money.

Unfortunately, you'll hate how loud this unit is at 60 dBA. You'll want to run it when you're leaving the house or when you don't have anything important happening. Also, the capacity leaves much to be desired. It will only hold about 12 place settings under the best of circumstances.

Otherwise, this dishwasher is very similar to the WDF520PADM. It is Energy Star certified, features a triple filter wash system to conserve water, and has a one-hour wash cycle.

The Amana ADB1400AGS is loud and minimalist, but if you're cutting costs, it's something you could consider.

[amazon link=”B013Q9FX9E” title=”GE GDF610PGJWW”]

[amazon box=”B013Q9FX9E”]

The GE GDF610PGJWW presents you with another option for around the same price. You can pick this up in stainless steel or slate -- or in white or black for a little less money. No matter which option you choose, it looks beautiful.

If you're looking for something a little quieter than the WDF520PADM, this machine runs at 51 dBA. The GDF610PGJWW boasts a similarly basic interior. It doesn't give you the luxury of adjustable tines on either of its two racks. While it has removable cutlery baskets, they tend to slide around or even fall off if the lower rack isn't fully pushed in.

This dishwasher does have some features you'll love like a steam prewash that will help soften tough stains. You'll also love GE's Piranha hard food dispenser, which grinds washed-up food before sending it to a removable filter. One feature you'll find interesting is the option to wash either the upper or lower rack for half-loads. Presumably, this will save you water. Additionally, the GDF610PGJWW's bottle jets help power away food.

This dishwasher has some perks that the WDF520PADM doesn't, so you may consider it if you're looking for a little "more."

[amazon link=”B0056IZ10U” title=”Bosch Ascenta SHE3AR75UC”]

[amazon box=”B0056IZ10U”]

If you're looking for good alternatives to the Whirlpool WDF520PADM, you'll be happy to learn that Bosch is perhaps the top name in dishwashers -- period. While Bosch is known as the "quietest dishwasher brand," the SHE3AR75UC isn't much more silent than the Whirlpool model we discussed at 50 dBA.

Perhaps the most amazing feature of this Bosch dishwasher is the 24/7 Overflow Protection System, which makes sure that your unit doesn't flood your kitchen. The SHE3AR75UC has a durable stainless steel tall tub to reduce noise. It features six wash cycles and three wash arms to ensure a quality clean.

You can adjust the height on the upper rack so you can better fit your dishes in there and this model has adjustable tines for an even better fit.

This is not Bosch's best model or even close to it. But for the price, you'll love everything it does. Unfortunately, the SHE3AR75UC also costs more than the Whirlpool model. So while some features blow the WDF520PADM out of the water, you'll be spending more money on that. 


  • ​It's very easy to use and completes cycles very quickly.
  • ​It's quiet, stainless steel, and conserves energy. 
  • ​It's easy to install, and maintenance is a breeze. 
  • ​This machine has all the basic features you could need.


  • ​At times, the WDF520PADM  struggles with some dried-on food.
  • ​The tines are not adjustable. 
  • ​The racks are also a bit on the smaller side. 
  • ​Utensils prone to be left dirty.

The Verdict

The Whirlpool WDF520PADM gives you an excellent way to keep your dishes clean without spending a lot of money. While cycles could be longer for a better clean, it fits more dishes in it than many dishwashers within a similar price range.

You'll get more value out of the Bosch Ascenta, but it may cost somewhat more than you are willing to spend. The Amana gives you a little bit less, but it costs less.

Ultimately, the best choice of the bunch is the Bosch if you're willing to dig a little deeper into your pockets. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider the Whirlpool model. The job it does will satisfy you if your focus isn't on owning a dishwasher with a lot of "extras."

In the end, it all comes down to what works best for your lifestyle. If you need a lot of bells and whistles, you'll be thinking about an entirely different class of dishwashers altogether.

The Whirlpool WDF520PADM gives you an excellent clean. Since it holds 14 place settings (with a little squeezing), you won't have to do multiple loads after a big dinner. Its quiet design ensures that you won't ruin Thanksgiving after-dinner conversations by washing dishes.

Any dishwasher in this price range requires compromises. If you're willing to make them, you'll find yourself completely satisfied.


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