Thread Number: 49415
Kitchenaid KDS 20-21?
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Post# 714749   11/12/2013 at 00:17 (3,119 days old) by sngencarelli (Pennsylvania)        

Hi All,

I'm new to the forum, but have had a thing for appliances since I was very young.. I was always intrigued by washing machines, dishwashers, vacuums, etc.

At any rate, here is what brings me to this forum.. I've browsed many times, especially over the Kitchenaid/Hobart KDS posts, as my grandparents had one from the 70's.. I believe it was a KDS-16 or a similar model.. Faux woodgrain front, fully featured (party settings, etc).

I myself have had a Bosch dishwasher and currently a Miele LaPerla. I love the Miele for it's build quality and feature set (I'm not one to turn away from a touchpanel and large screen).. I dislike the Miele for it's cleaning ability. It runs forever and I really can't stand it's little filter basket at the bottom of the tub. Nothing like finding small bits of food after a cycle has been completed. Yuck.

I've recently been entertaining the idea of picking up a more "American" style dishwasher, something with a hard food disposer. My thoughts are that if the odd pea or corn kernel makes it into the dishwasher, it'll go down the drain rather than being cooked in the dishwasher water and then wind up in the filter basket. While looking at new models, my mind went back to the older Hobart/Kitchenaid models.. Knowing that they're beasts that use a lot of water but also clean very well and relatively quickly, I've started looking around to see what might be available.

I might have found a vintage Kitchenaid locally, but I'm not sure of the model (waiting to hear back from the current owner). It looks like maybe a KDS 20. They called it a "Supra", but I'm sure they meant "Superba". Attached is a picture. Does anyone have an idea model/year on this one, and if it's a desirable model? Does it happen to have a hard food disposer (I think that I've read that only a few select later models had this option). Also, would I be able to make a custom panel for this model, or do I need to stick with the black?

Any advice would be appreciated - Thanks so much!

Post# 714753 , Reply# 1   11/12/2013 at 01:00 (3,119 days old) by washer111 ()        
Thats a 21

To me, that looks like a Superba-21 series machine.


From the 21 series and up, you had a more or less guaranteed Self-Cleaning filtration system and hard food disposer - previous models had used a filter that apparently "floated" debris away during the draining sequence, although some members (Notably Combo52/John) have had qualms with this filter that often requires cleaning during very heavy loads of dishes. 


Then again, previous models still could dispose soft-food wastes, but this was accomplished through the pump impeller, not a separate chopping-blade apparatus affixed to the pump. The previous models also used two or more full rinses compared to the KDS-21's singular rinse. Okay, thats not quite true, there are "two" rinses, but one of them is actually a very low fill level designed to completely clear/purge the self-cleaning filter of debris and garbage for the final rinse. If you are using a Rinse-Agent such as Jet-Dry, I would stop. 

I think if you removed the flow-washer in the inlet hose, you can make this rinse a fairly complete rinse, and boost the water level for other parts of the cycle (notably the Pre-Wash phase, which is also uses less water). This can help bleed hot water for the Wash/Rinse segments and help to prolong the life of your dishes and machine itself (The racks on some models are prone to rot). 


If I were you, I might consider a KDS-20 if you rarely put really grungy stuff in the dishwasher. Otherwise, go for a 21 series up to the 23 series (Last of the machines of the Porcelain tank design. Uses a Whirlpool Power-Clean Pump module, that some think works better than the Hobart designed system). They all have the better pumps as well as the automatic water heating in the Pre-Wash and Rinse segments. 

For the ultimate in KitchenAid, maybe try to find an "ISE" (In-Sink-Erator) Classic Supreme or equivalent machine. These included the water heating as Hobart set it up, but also in the Main-Wash segment, ensuring that dishes were cleaner than those from the KA's. Those machines also washed as they heated the water, from what I read, rather than the "Stop:Heat" sequence followed by KA machines. 


Hope this helps :-)

Post# 714756 , Reply# 2   11/12/2013 at 01:09 (3,119 days old) by rp2813 (Sannazay)        

rp2813's profile picture

That's probably a series 21 - 23 Superba.   They're all good performers, but let me save the naysayers the trouble and warn you that these models only offer a single final rinse.  If you want more than one rinse at the end, you'll need to look for a 20 series or older.  The buttons on the 20 series are fatter and more rounded.


The series 23 machines have the Whirlpool Power Module system which is widely considered to be better than the Hobart design.


In-Sink-Erator put their badge on KA dishwashers from the period you're interested in.  If you see an ISE badged machine, it would be worth a look.  The only thing the TOL ISE lacks is the sanitizing cycle found on KA's Superbas.


There should be more color panels behind the black ones.  Probably white, almond, and harvest gold.  Stainless steel panels turn up on eBay once in a while, and Sears Parts may still carry them but their going rate is about $100 for a set.


Unlike your nearly silent Miele, you'll be able to hear everything a KitchenAid is doing as it goes through its cycles.

Post# 714800 , Reply# 3   11/12/2013 at 05:22 (3,119 days old) by chachp (North Little Rock, AR)        
The 20 series or below gets my vote.

chachp's profile picture
In my past two homes I had TOL Bosch dishwashers. Both cleaned very, very well and supposedly used less water and were very quiet. In fact, both had a light that shined on the floor to warn you they were running.

I took out the Bosch in this house a few years back and sold it on Craigslist in favor of an older Kitchen Aid. I hated these long cycles. I started with a KDS-17A which did not have a wash arm under the upper rack. Great performer, loved the sounds, very fast but you had to be careful how you loaded it or the top rack could get blocked.

I removed that one for a KDS-21 which looked like the one you have pictured here. Washes really well, is a little quieter, and has the wash arm for the upper rack. However, it always bothered me there was no second full rinse. The dishes were clean but almost seemed to have a film on them or something. Maybe that was the Rinse Aid. I donít really know.

I recently got my hands on a KDS-20. In my opinion this machine is kind of the best of all worlds. The cycles are fast compared to my Bosch, has the upper wash arm, has all the great sounds and has the full second rinse. This thing is a tank and cleans very well.

So, bottom line is many folks here have their own opinions and they sometimes vary widely and sometimes they don't. My opinion is look for a 18, 19 or 20 series machine if you want an older Kitchen Aid and I don't think you'll go wrong.

Some here prefer the 18 over the 20 but I have no experience with that model so I can't comment.

Hope this helps.

Post# 714807 , Reply# 4   11/12/2013 at 06:10 (3,119 days old) by stevet (West Melbourne, FL)        
KDS22 Unit

The machine in the picture you posted is a KDS-22 Superba. Made in the USA by Whirlpool(not Toyota!) with the Hobart designed pump which was the same one used in the 21 series. In the user's manual it intimates that it has multiple after rinses, but only has a single rinse poreceeded by the purges in between cycle segments. I had one I left in the house in NY and currently have anothter as a spare in the garage. Good cleaning machines, but the weak spot will be the wash arm support so check carefully. Don't turn down the machine just becasue of that. They are still around in decent numbers.

Post# 714821 , Reply# 5   11/12/2013 at 08:17 (3,119 days old) by Sngencarelli (Pennsylvania)        

Wow... You guys are awesome. I never thought I'd have so many responses by this morning!

Thanks for all of the information and advice. I'll probably go the a look at this unit and I'll also keep my eyes out for anything else that might come up.

Thanks again!

Post# 714824 , Reply# 6   11/12/2013 at 08:55 (3,119 days old) by DADoES (TX,†U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture

I had a KUDS22OT4 bought in 1992.† It dealt nicely with everything I threw at it.† My sister/bro-in-law took it several years ago.† The upper rack is suffering deterioration of the vinyl coating.

Post# 714830 , Reply# 7   11/12/2013 at 09:57 (3,119 days old) by chachp (North Little Rock, AR)        
Steve summed it up well.

chachp's profile picture
I think Steve summed it up well on these 21 and 22 machines. I actually had the Wash Arm Support issue on my 21 and he helped me with a replacement. That made a huge difference in performance.

We've all talked the one rinse to death and mine also has the issue with the deteriorating vinyl on the upper rack. I think the general consensus is that these machine suffer from that because of the single rinse.

My 21 is still a good performer. I never tried to remove the flow restrictor on mine because my water pressure is close to 100PSI and I just didn't want to depend on that float thingie to always stop the water from flowing in.

Post# 717465 , Reply# 8   11/24/2013 at 16:39 (3,106 days old) by tfromoregon ()        

Hi, Scott-
We have a 1975 KitchenAid by Hobart Custom model in brown that we took out of our kitchen for a remodel. It is fast, quiet and cleans extremely well. Now we're taking our chances with all new stuff! Anyway, it's free to a good home. We live near Portland, Oregon. Let me know if you're interested!

P.S. - we also have an aqua 1957 GE wall oven and aqua electric cooktop if you know anyone who wants to buy those.

I can send photos of all.

Cheers -

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