Whirlpool DU850SWPB is a Strikeout in the Making

May 17, 2007
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:High temperature boost setting; Delayed start option

Cons:No digital readout; Utensil basket too small; Loud noise

The Bottom Line: This is a simple dishwasher with few redeeming qualities.


Washing dishes is one of the few household chores that don’t really bother me very much. Even if I have to wash the old fashioned way with a dish rag and soapy water, I don’t find the task as bad as others. Still, I am not one to say no to anything that will save me time so a dishwasher is still a welcome kitchen appliance. One dishwasher I am familiar with is the Whirlpool Model DU850SWPB Dishwasher, a basic way to get dishes clean automatically.

Basic Facts About This Product:

This Whirlpool dishwasher is offered as a built- in model with dimensions of approx. 34 inches in height, 24 inches in width, and 24 inches in depth. It offers four cycles: Normal, Heavy, Pots & Pans, and Rinse only. An optional Hi- Temperature Boost and No Heat Dry are also available.

On the inside of this dishwasher, the door contains two separate dishwasher dispenser cups- one marked as “main wash” (with a lid that snaps shut) and one marked as “prewash” (an open cup with no lid). The lower rack holds up to ten place settings and the top rack holds about six glasses if arranged down the edge of each side (six per side = twelve total), with room in the middle for more glasses, bowls, etc.

To aid in the cleaning process, a large tube sticks out of the center of the bottom rack, with a smaller tube directly above it, on the top rack. When the racks are pushed back into place and the dishwasher is turned on, water is forced up through the bottom tube, where it then shoots through the upper tube and is then dispersed onto the dishes in the upper rack.

Product Info/Customer Service:

If more information on this or some other Whirlpool appliance is desired, the place to check is the web site, whirlpool.com. Customer service can be reached by calling 800-807-6777.

Final Thoughts:

Whirlpool Model DU850SWPB is a basic, inexpensive dishwasher (cost is less than $300) with few features and simple operation. This dishwasher is the type one would expect to find in an apartment, in a timeshare condo, or other similar location- places where dishwashers are often purchased in bulk and a high level of quality is generally not expected.

This dishwasher covers the bare minimums expected in a dishwasher but little else. Starting with the cycles offered and general features, this dishwasher is very simplistic. It offers only four cycles, a temperature boost setting, and an energy saving no heat dry. It also offers the option to delay the start time, which is nice. But the lack of precision on the control panel is a definite strike against this dishwasher. The cycles and special features are all operated by pushing a button, but the control that gets the washer started is nothing more than a round knob. There is no digital panel or anything else to indicate how far along the cycle is or how much time is remaining. There are no minute markers on the knob, either.

Cleaning ability with this dishwasher is acceptable, but to make sure dishes get clean the first time, consumers really need to use the Pots & Pans setting. This cycle is the longest of the three main cleaning cycles and the extra cleaning time is often needed for getting rid of the dirt and grime on certain dishes. If I have skillets, cookie sheets, etc., my experience has shown me that the Normal and Heavy Duty settings are not long enough to get these dishes clean. The high temperature boost setting helps, but the longer running time offered by the Pots & Pans setting is really what you need to get the dishes as clean as possible.

One unique feature of Whirlpool DU850SWPB is its central cleaning system, which I started to describe above. There is no upper spray arm in this dishwasher, like there is in many of the better dishwashers. In its place, Whirlpool has this series of tubes. The tubes, of course, are not directly joined because if they were, the upper and lower racks would be attached to each other. Instead, the tube on the lower rack is situated directly underneath the one on the upper rack so that when the racks are pushed in and the dishwasher starts, the water will shoot through the bottom tube through the tube above, where it then hits the lid of the top tube and is dispersed through the openings around the side, spraying hot water on the dishes in the upper rack. This helps get the dishes on the upper rack a little cleaner than otherwise, but this system isn’t as effective as having a separate, rotating spray arm on top, like some of the better dishwashers.

Looking around at the other features of this dishwasher, another complaint I must make is with the utensil basket. This basket is far too small and it doesn’t hold many pieces of flatware. Also, it isn’t very deep so many utensils will fall over if they are placed here. I have opened the dishwasher after a completed cycle and found long spoons lying on the bottom rack- spoons that had originally been placed in the utensil rack.

Yet another strike against this dishwasher is the loud noise. If you use this model of dishwasher, hopefully your sleeping quarters are located sufficiently far away from the kitchen. The dishwasher starts out quiet enough, with only the sound of water filling the inside. Then, when it starts its cleaning operation, it starts to make a loud grinding/vibrating noise. It sounds like something is falling apart on the inside, but there is no need to worry. Every part on the inside is intact- it is just the excessive noise from the dishwasher itself.

Whirlpool makes a few good appliances along with an occasional spotty offering that doesn’t quite deliver acceptable quality to most consumers. Whirlpool DU850SWPB ranks as one of the less desirable Whirlpool appliances. It would probably be fine for someone who has never owned a dishwasher before, but for someone with experience using dishwashers, this unit won’t satisfy. It doesn’t offer enough settings, makes too much noise, has inadequate space for utensils, and gets dishes clean only if the longest setting is used. Its okay for a week or two, but it’s a product to avoid for long- term use.


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